You’ve got social media marketing nailed. Your Facebook page is second to none, LinkedIn is no problem, and you even have a really nice Google+ account. So what about Twitter? Yes, the one where you can only post 140 characters. What can you do with less than a paragraph? We’re here to let you know you can make Twitter work for you, and get great results from it.
Twitter is also called micro-blogging. You send out short messages, up to a 140 character limit, to all the people who follow you. Basically, it’s a status update for Facebook, Linked-in, or Google+, but shorter. Like the other sites, you can include a photo, video or link to any other content. The difference is you don’t have to fight with Facebook’s EdgeRank and you can reach the strangers that LinkedIn won’t allow.
Twitter’s approach to marketing
Saying Hello To The Twittersphere
Your Twitter profile is the foundation of your account. It’s how you tell the story of who you are to the community of Twitter’ers. One of the most important things is to maintain a level of consistency with the rest of your online presence. This means that your username, which appears next to every tweet you send out, should match your username on other sites. It should be as close to your exact business name (or personal name, if your business is you) as possible. Next, you have your profile images. You’ll have three:
- A small profile square that goes out with the username on tweets, and a header behind your small profile square. For that profile square (81 x 81px), use your company logo (or headshot, for the business individuals).
- You also have a large background photo on your profile page. The header (520 x 260px) is a chance to tell a story about your company. It can be something iconic to you, something fun, or eye catching since there is plenty of room to express yourself and reveal your personality.
- The background image (1280 x 1024px) lies behind the news feed so your viewer will only be able to see up to a 66px wide area.
Again, just remember that all of this, username and images, should have the same feel as your other online profiles. Don’t use different logos or color schemes between your website, Facebook to Twitter. It’s important to keep your branding consistent.
The other way you present yourself to your followers and potential followers is your profile information. This stuff is actually pretty important. Make sure you fill it out completely. If you can’t be interested to write out all about you, then why should anyone be interested?
Three things you must include in your Twitter Profile:
Location – if you have a physical location, then people need to know where they can find you. Include country, state and city, as you never know when you’re going to get visitors from outside of your normal range of influence.
Website – You should have a link to your main website or blog here. If you want, you can use a special Twitter landing page on your website and personalize your information for the Twitter user who is interested in your business.
Bio – There is a 160 character limit here, so you need to be a little clever with what you’re going to put. Try to avoid any mission statements or generic ‘About Me’, as this is a great chance to add some personality and keywords to your profile.
If You Want To Lead, You Need To Follow (On Twitter)
Following people on Twitter is basically subscribing to their feed. And following is a good way to get people to follow you, in turn. Don’t go crazy adding everybody you can get your clicker on, though. You need to be a bit selective about whom you choose, especially in the beginning. Twitter has some really strict rules about aggressive following. You may not follow a mass amount of people just to increase or inflate you own number of followers. In fact, you can get suspended for this pretty quickly, so try following some of these people instead:
- Business partners, suppliers, contractors, venders, etc
- Trade or professional organizations relevant to your industry
- Nearby businesses
- Anyone in your professional network
In addition, Twitter can scan your email address book to help find anyone you know.
Let Your Tweets Ring Out
So, now that you that all set up, it’s time to get communicating. Before you jump in headfirst, hang out for a bit and listen to how and what other people are saying. Twitter is pretty fast paced and hectic, so don’t approach it as you would any other social media site. The basic ways to talk are:
The Tweet – A message that will go out to everyone who follows you. This is what Twitter is all about.
The @ – The @ symbol is used to reply to a Tweet you’ve read. You’ll use it and the Twitter handle of the person you’re replying to, and this message will show up in your feed and that of the other user. The @ can also be used to mention another Twitter user, like a ‘shout out’ if you will.
The RT – This is a Re-tweet, and it’s a message Tweeted by someone else, that you share with all your followers.
What do you talk about, though? Well, that’s hard to say since it can be pretty different based on your type of business and industry. For the most part, you have to balance out talking about things your target audience might want to hear, and things that promote your business. Too much of either and you can miss on generating business, or turn people off by sounding like a spam bot. You should focus on being a resource, and give useful information. Remember that with Twitter, there is a lot of back and forth between you and your followers, so be prepared to answer questions and just talk to them.
To add to your online presence, you’ll want to connect Twitter to your other sites. There are a few ways to do this.
- Add your Twitter info on your website or blog. There are several tools to help you. For example, WordPress has several plug-ins to help developers. Twitter even has a Follow button that you can put on there for instant access.
- Add a timeline of your Tweets on your websites. By using the widget that Twitter provides, you can easily share your conversations with visitors to your website. Just make sure that all the Tweets you share contribute to your business story.
- How about allowing other people to Tweet about you? Add a ‘Tweet This’ button to your content, and it becomes easy for visitors to share it with all their followers.
- Ttry moving the Twitter conversations to your site by embedding Tweets. You can select a Tweet, and then insert it into a blog post. Now, anyone who comes to your page can go right into the conversation.
Stay In It On The Go
Just about every phone nowadays can connect you to Twitter. All smartphones can use the Twitter app, which lets you send Tweets and see what everyone else is saying.
With Twitter, a fast response is the best, so you need to know when someone mentions you, Re-tweets something you said, sends you a direct message, or just starts to follow you. Just set up ‘push notifications’ on your smartphone, and you’ll be alerted every time something happens.
A Picture Is Worth 140 Characters
People tend to respond better when you include pictures with your content. It’s a good thing that Twitter makes it rather easy to add photos. You should be adding pictures whenever you can, and with cameras on just about every phone, there’s no reason not to.
Whether you are using your desktop or the app, Twitter will add a picture to your Tweet rather easily. Anyone who can see the Tweet will also see the photo. Plus, all the photos are added to a gallery for you, with the first six showing up on your profile.
Say It With A Video
140 characters really isn’t a lot of space. When you have a longer message you want to get out, and really engage your audience and the same time, add a video to your Tweet.
While videos show up on your timeline like a photo would, you can’t just add them directly to a Tweet. First, you need to upload them to a video service, like YouTube, and then link to the video in the Tweet. The video will play in the Tweet, though.
Twitter does have a native video service called Vine. It allows you to take a super short video, just 6 seconds, and play them in a loop in Twitter. This, like regular video and pictures, are super easy for your followers to see. All they have to do is hit the ‘View Media’ button.
Keep It Easy And Make A List
As your Twittersphere grows, it can be tough to follow the coming and going of all the information you’ll be getting and giving to different groups and people. To make it easy on you, you can separate the people you follow into groups, called ‘Lists’. By making customers, local businesses, trade organizations, etc, all into distinct groupings, you will be able to manage what you are looking at, and help reduce information overload. The Lists will show up as separate timelines, and you can make them public, so people know what list they are on, or private, which people won’t know when they are on. They will also help you develop a more strategic marketing plan.
Get With The #Hashtag
To keep your conversations from getting stale, you should always be looking for new voices to add. The # is a great way to do that. Hashtags show up in Tweets to group them with a common topic or theme. For instance, if you see the hashtag #Ilovecatvideos, be prepared to see some cute kitties. When a hashtag is clicked on, it brings up all the Tweets that use that same one, even if you don’t follow those people. By making a unique hashtag for your business, you make it easier for people to find your company and what people are saying about it. You could even use hashtags to turn Twitter into a customer service and support line.
Find Customers In Your Neighborhood
The whole point of social media marketing is to drive business and get new customers. While Twitter is great tool to connect you with people from all over the world, one of the best things about it is you can use it to help find and focus on people right in your area.
By using Twitter’s advanced search, you can locate anyone who might work or live near you. Just identify your location by city or zip code, and Twitter will use this information to bring up a list of people who are using it near there. The next step would be to give each a glance, to see if they would be interested in your company, and start following them, or adding them to a potential customer list. Then, all you have to do is start Tweeting!
Case Study: National Park News @NPCA
When the federal government threatened to shut down several parks across the country, and the National Park Conservation Association wanted to make sure the parks stayed open, the NPCA sprang into action. They used a unique hashtag, #IfGovernmentShutsDown, to spread the word quickly about the looming shutdown and encourage citizens to contact their Congressional representatives to help keep the parks open. They also used the hashtag to keep their followers updated on the impact of the shutdown.
What were their results?
Their promoted tweets resulted in an additional 5,200 congressional contacts. One of their tweets was chosen as one of Twitter’s Top Tweets and was featured on CNN.
What was the secret to their success?
- They used current events- the impending government shutdown.
- It was the right message at the right time.
- They inspired others to take action.
All this is just a slice of what you can do with the micro-blogging social platform. Used right, Twitter can really be a great tool to add to your social media marketing plan.
“Follow Me” from master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net