Founder & CEO, Keynote Speaker, Entrepreneur, Recipient of Comparably’s Best CEO ’17
August 14th, 2015
Twitter has been around for some time and has established itself as an inbound marketing staple.
Is your company active on the micro-blogging platform?If your answer is no, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to drive targeted traffic to your website, generate qualified leads, and fully establish your company’s online presence and expertise.
But first things first – if you’re reading an article titled Twitter Marketing 101, chances are that you’re new to the platform.
To get you acquainted with the social network and the amazing marketing opportunities that it brings to the table, I’d like to start with a brief Twitter overview. Once we figure out the unique aspects and strengths of the platform, we can move on to exploring how these tools can be used to your advantage.
Ready? Here we go.
What Makes Twitter Unique?
As already mentioned, Twitter is a micro-blogging platform.
The micro stems from the fact that you only have 280 characters per post (recently up'ed from just 140). That’s basically a short sentence and a link. Some people also use Twitter to share bite-sized daily updates, quotes, or fun thoughts.
With so little real-estate to work with, what matters here is that your message remains to the point and brief. The brevity of the updates is the characteristic that sets Twitter apart from many other social networks.
To determine whether Twitter is right the channel for your campaigns, it may be a good idea to take a look at some of the statistics about the social network. Here’s what Twitter looks like in numbers:
Second most popular social network among B2B marketers
If it were a country, Twitter would be the 12th largest in the world
The average time that a user spends on Twitter monthly is 170 minutes
B2B marketers that have a Twitter account generate twice as many leads as the ones that don’t
83% of all Marketers use Twitter
34% percent of the Marketers that use Twitter are capable of carrying out a successful campaign
The final one is a bit alarming, isn’t it?
It’s clear from this number that many Marketers commit mistakes because they don’t understand the specifics and the strengths of Twitter. Whether it’s being used for B2B or B2C promotion, the channel should be utilized in the right way. It’s not Facebook or LinkedIn. These facts will most definitely have an impact on campaign execution.
Building a Content Strategy for Twitter
For a business, random tweets just doesn’t work. To make the most of it, you need to be aware of your audience’s specifics and you need to build a content strategy.
Twitter gives you a chance to have a conversation with your audience. It isn’t just about sharing links and making sure that people click and follow through to your website.
What does it take to get people engaged in that conversation? The answer is simple – useful and relevant content.
Your content strategy should be based on your buyer persona.
What kinds of businesses or professionals are you trying to attract? Do you have a good idea about what these people are looking for?
A good strategy to follow is to do a bit of competitor research. Look for the profiles of your industry influencers and companies that have a large number of followers. Take a close look at the content strategy and the types of information being shared.
By doing competitor research, I don’t mean replicating everything that a successful brand on Twitter is doing.
Use your research to get inspired and to understand a bit more about what the audience wants. Once you have this background information, you can start brainstorming for ideas and coming up with a unique content plan, a plan that will make your Twitter presence stand out.
The 80/20 Principle
When coming up with a Twitter content strategy, you may want to follow The 80/20 Principle.
The strategy is easy to understand – 80% of your activity on Twitter should be interactions with others. These interactions consist of several things:
Retweeting interesting and relevant posts
Favoriting relevant tweet
Replying to inquiries
Commenting on the posts of others
Replying to direct messages
The other 20% of your tweets should be unique content, links to your website or blog, and promotional tweets.
This mix is great for building a community and establishing yourself as a helpful expert. If you focus too much on your own content and you don’t engage with followers, chances are that many of your tweets will be ignored and the click through rate (CTR) will remain far from satisfactory.
Building Your Twitter Following
The effectiveness of your marketing attempts will be heavily dependent on the number of followers you have. Followers don’t just come out of nowhere. You have to put conscious efforts in building a community that drives targeted traffic to your messages.
When it comes to building a community of Twitter followers, both the quality and the quantity of followers will matter. Many Marketers commit a grave mistake here – they see a brand that has 200,000 followers and they want the same.
Guess what, it’s possible to have 200,000 followers and to have very low engagement. Many people play for “#TeamFollowBack” and will return your follow even if they don’t have a particular interest in the message that you have to share.
So, building a community the right way should be one of your main priorities.
One thing you should never do is buy followers. That’s the easy way out and chances are that once you put your Twitter profile together, you’ll start getting dozens of messages that guarantee you an x number of followers.
The main reasons why you should never buy Twitter followers are:
It’s not about the numbers, it’s about engagement
This strategy will prevent you from establishing the right kind of online reputation for your business
There are analysis tools that can be used to find out whether your account has fake followers
The ROI is minimal
Now that this awful practice has been discussed and is out of the way, it’s time to take a look at the legitimate opportunities for building your community and getting followers the right way:
Post engaging and useful content on a regular basis. Interested individuals will discover your profile on their own.
Find and follow relevant people in the industry – being part of their community will give you a chance to stand out and to attract relevant followers
Engage with your audience by retweeting the posts of others and favoriting tweets that are relevant to your industry or field of experience
Use relevant hashtags
Choose the right time to tweet new content (we’ll discuss this in the coming sections of the article)
Ask questions and stimulate your audience to leave feedback – this way you can learn more about their preferences and improve the quality of your tweets
If you’ve developed a niche already, think of a sub-niche that will help you appeal to an even more targeted group of people
Getting Your Twitter Content to Trend
The best aspect of social media marketing is that your audience can do a lot of the promotion instead of you. So, what can you do to make people retweet your links or engage with your content?
There’s no simple answer!
You should have a very good understanding of your audience and what makes it tick. To increase your chances of having the message spread out or “trend”, however, you can once again follow a couple of rules.
Getting your Twitter content to get noticed is heavily dependent on the quality and the relevance of your tweets. Here are several additional rules for maximizing your reach and getting your audience to cooperate:
Pay attention to existing trends: Take a look at the existing trending topics. These are hot right now and if you share such content, chances are that it will get retweeted by your audience. Look for a hashtag that’s professionally relevant and pertaining to your niche. Don’t just jump on the trendy bandwagon or your Twitter presence will lose its focus.
Understand the types of content that people tend to retweet: certain types of content are more likely than others to get retweeted. The tweets that are shared most often include news, instructions (how-to guides), entertainment, and opinions. Product-based tweets are at the bottom of the chart. Don’t overdo it when it comes to self-promotion and focus on interesting things that people would be curious to learn about.
Timing: sending out your tweets at a time when your audience is active will make a lot of difference when it comes to boosting engagement and increasing your chances of content going viral. Here’s a great tool that has a free version and that allows you to analyze the performance of your top 100 followers. Based on this information, you can decide how to time your tweets effectively.
Shoutouts: including the name of a popular industry influencer in your tweet is a wonderful option for generating some buzz. Direct your tweets to relevant members that are already recognized as experts within the field. Use @ + the Twitter handle of the user to generate a shoutout. Use this technique sparingly and only when you have something interesting to share. Abusing the opportunity will simply get you labeled as a spammer.
Use hashtags: the inclusion of the right hashtag in the tweet will make it reach people that have a particular interest. Since these people already have an established interest in the topic, chances are that they’ll also be willing to share relevant tweets.
Measure Performance, Adjust Your Strategy
Just like other social networks, Twitter gives you an opportunity to measure your performance on your go and introduce strategy adjustments. Ignoring the importance of analyzing campaign results will deprive you of a chance to do better targeting, reach the right crowd, get a high ROI and accomplish your marketing goals.
Have an objective
Each of your Twitter campaigns should have an objective. It could be increasing website traffic, generating leads, or announcing an upcoming promotion. When you have an objective, you’ll have a better idea of what to measure.
Referral traffic is just one of the metrics. You should also pay attention to the number of new followers, the tweets that happen to be most engaging, the number of impressions, and the number of conversions.
Paying attention to the number of people that have unfollowed you can also provide some information about the effectiveness of the campaign. Tools like UnFollowers and Friend or Follow will give you data about people that have stopped following you. If the number of unfollowers is growing, chances are that you’re doing something wrong.
View your Twitter Analytics data, as well. The feature was introduced in 2014 as a response to Facebook Insights and the Google+ profile analytics. This dashboard will give you a lot of information about the number of tweet impressions, profile visits, mentions, new followers, your best-performing tweets and your top followers.
Having such real-time information will make it a lot easier for you to adjust the scope of the campaign on the go. If you notice that something isn’t working, you can make a quick adjustment and explore the analytics data to see whether the change has delivered the desired outcome.
A Few Final Suggestions
Just like all other social media marketing strategies, Twitter requires a lot of hard work. You’ll need to maintain a posting schedule, interact with your audience, measure performance and keep on working.
Don’t expect instant results, especially if you’re just getting yourself acquainted with the ABCs of Twitter. Building your reputation in the online realm, especially if the industry already has numerous well-known players, will require both time and hard work.
Share valuable content, personalize the information and create an online persona. People have had enough generic content and if you rely on the same, you’ll never get to stand out.
Use the search feature of Twitter to discover what your clients and business partners want, what they’re looking for. When it comes to inbound promotion, doing research and getting audience feedback is as important as executing the campaign itself.
Once you build a community, you can get this kind of feedback from your audience. Trial and error, putting together a sound content strategy and paying attention to the audience’s response will all be essential for lead generation and seeing the highest possible campaign ROI.
To learn more about Twitter Marketing check out these other resources from our blog:
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