When devising a social media strategy, you have your choice of social networks to choose from. With over 310 million monthly users, Twitter is undoubtedly a platform you should consider adding to your marketing mix.
What is Twitter and Tweeting?
Twitter is an online news and social networking service. Users of Twitter can post and interact with messages known as Tweets, which are restricted to 140 characters. Registered users can post tweets, whereas unregistered users can only read them.
People follow (subscribe) to your Twitter account, and you follow other people. This allows you to read, reply to and share their tweets with your followers (retweet).
What makes Twitter different to any other social channel?
In the wonderful world of social media, Twitter falls into the category of microblogging tools. This is due to the short, messages it distributes.
Twitter shares a lot of the same features as most of the well known social media channels. Below I have listed the top social media platforms and outlined why Twitter is so different.
Facebook: A tweet is like a short Facebook status update. Facebook’s EdgeRank limits the reach of your posts which means not everyone see’s all your posts. However, Twitter delivers every tweet to all your follower’s which is awesome!
Pinterest: Twitter allows you to share photographs and provide commentary in your tweet. This makes it easy to have a conversation around any of your shared images. Whereas, Pinterest limits your ability to engage with your audience to just the comment feature.
LinkedIn: A tweet is like a short LinkedIn status update. LinkedIn is based on two-way agreements. But, Twitter allows you to follow anyone, including strangers. This is helpful when you target potential customers.
Google+: A tweet is like a short Google+ status update. Twitter also allows you to organise conversations by adding your followers into lists this is similar to Google+ groups.
That’s all great, but where should you start?
Step #1: Present Your Brand
Your Twitter account and profile are the foundation of your Twitter experience. It’s your chance to tell your business story to the Twitter community.
Make sure your account name and images are consistent with your company branding. This helps people identify your business and builds trust.
Choose a Twitter Username that’s relevant
Nothing expresses your brand on Twitter more than your account username. This name appears next to all your tweets, and is how people identify you on Twitter.
Try to avoid using punctuation this ensures your name is easy to type on mobile devices. If your exact business name is not available, choose a similar name for consistency.
Add images to your profile
Twitter uses two different images to represent your account. It’s important that you take advantage of both of these images to tell your business story. You upload these images under Profile in your account settings.
Your Twitter profile photo is a square photo that appears next to every tweet you send.
Your Twitter profile header is a large background photo where you can tell a story about your business. Similar to the Facebook cover photo, your header photo appears at the top of your profile page.
Step #2: Build a Strong Foundation
It’s important to complete your Twitter account profile completely. Each feature gives more details about your business that contribute to your business story.
Don’t miss these important features under Profile in your account settings.
- Location. Remember to tell people where they can find you.
- Bio. You only get 160 characters make sure you include who you are and what you do. You can also add your website address in this space.
Step #3: Start Following People
When you follow another Twitter user, you subscribe to read what they share. So be selective about whom you follow, especially at first.
To start following users, click on the Follow button within a user’s profile.
Ultimately your Twitter experience is defined by whom you follow, not by who follows you.
In general, start following people in these categories:
- Your customers
- Your business partners, suppliers, contractors and vendors
- Your competitors or peers
- Trade organisations or professional organisations for your industry
- Businesses local to you
- Businesses within your professional network
- A quick way to start your Twitter following is to allow Twitter to scan your email address book. Use the Find Friends menu option on the Discover page to get started.
While you are out following people, you may notice that people are starting to follow you. This is great, your Twitter journey has begun!
Step #4: Start Talking
Talking on Twitter is different from every other social media site. It’s a fast-paced, hectic, but it’s also fun.
The five types of Twitter messages include;
Tweet: a message you send out to everyone who follows you. A tweet is a short message sent out to everyone who follows your Twitter account.
@Reply: a message you send out as a reply to a message you received. The @reply is a public message that mentions the Twitter username of the person. It shows up in the tweet stream of everyone who follows both of you, and on the @connect (mentions) page of the Twitter user.
Mention: a message you send out that mentions another Twitter username. A mention tweet includes the name of a Twitter user but is not a reply to a previous tweet from that person.
Direct message (DM): a message you send privately to another Twitter user. You can only send a DM to someone who follows you.
Retweet (RT): a message created and sent by someone else that you share with the people who follow you.
Step #5: Be smart with what you talk about
After you master the five types of tweets, you are ready to attack the big question: What should I talk about on Twitter? For many businesses, the answer is to focus on how your products and services benefit your customers.
Give people useful information and answer their questions, and they will consider you a authority of their community. That’s an important first step to winning a new customer.
Over time, the quality of what you share will help you grow a strong Twitter following.
Step #6: Drive Traffic to Your Website and Blog
Twitter is a great tool for driving traffic to your website and blog. To do this, you create a tweet around a link, writing a message that compels people to click to learn more.
Step #7: Connect Your Online Presence
Now you are up and running on Twitter, it’s time to integrate it into your overall online business presence.
There are three ways to do this:
- Add your Twitter account information to the social media account information on your website and blog.
- Add a timeline of your Twitter messages to your website and blog.
- Make it easy for people to share your website and blog content on Twitter.
Step #8: Get Mobile With Twitter
Nearly every mobile phone can connect you with your Twitter audience. The Twitter app mobile devices allows you to perform nearly every Twitter activity from your phone that you can do on Twitter.com.
With Twitter, a speedy response is best, and push notifications make it easy for you to know what’s going on in real time.
Step #9: Share Photographs in Your Tweets
People love to look at pictures, so include photographs in your tweets whenever possible.
Twitter adds every photo you share to a photo (and video) gallery. The first six appear on your profile page. Take advantage of this feature to share pictures that tell your business story.
Step #10: Organise Your Followers Into Conversation Lists
As you follow more people, it can be challenging to focus on the information coming from specific people and groups. That’s where Twitter lists come in.
A list allows you to see the tweets from the list members as a separate Twitter timeline. This distinguishes them from the crowd so you can pay attention to what these people say.
To add someone to a list, go to their profile. Click the gear icon and choose add or remove from lists. Then check or uncheck them from your list of Twitter lists.
You can add any person to your lists, even if you don’t follow him or her.
Step #11: Expand Your Audience With Hashtags
Most people’s Twitter experience is limited to the people they follow. It’s always a good idea to keep looking for new, fresh voices to follow to keep expanding your online conversations.
There are two great ways to expand your Twitter audience beyond your circle.
Hashtags appear in tweets to identify a common topic or theme. They use the hash sign followed by a unique identifier. For example: #HelenCopeMarketing
When you see a tweet with a hashtag, click on the hashtag to see a list of all tweets that include the same hashtag. You will see tweets from people you do not follow.
Try creating a unique hashtag for your business and start using it in your Tweets to help people find your company and the conversations around it.
Step #12: Pinpoint Potential Local Customers
You can use Twitter to help you find potential customers who live and work near your business. Check out the Twitter Advanced Search feature to find people your local customers by city and post code.
Take Your Tweeting to the Next Level
After you master these Twitter skills, there are still more ways you can use Twitter to meet your business goals. Here are a few to get you inspired.
- Start measuring your Twitter performance.
- Focus on building your Twitter community.
- Learn which tweets are most effective with your audience.
- Expand your Twitter conversation topics.
- Fine-tune your Twitter presence to get better results.
When used correctly Twitter can be a valuable marketing tool for any business. I hope you find value in this article, be sure to let me know how you get on. If you would like to discuss your online marketing requirements further drop me an email at email@example.com