Social Media has changed the landscape for how we consume content, network, and communicate with friends and family. The current marketing scene has become a lot about social media due to its flexibility, focused targeting, and cost. At its base, social media is free to use and is an effective avenue for online marketing. Instead of blindly sending an email to a large list, creating banner ads, or sending direct mail, you can target your exact audience and directly market to them.
Although there are hundreds of social media platforms, you want to focus on the big four: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Over the next four weeks we will be breaking down each platform and give you 6 tips to get started. Today’s article focuses on the benefits and best practices of Twitter.
What is Twitter?
The definition on Twitter’s website states “Twitter is a real-time information network where people can discover what’s happening in the world right now, share information instantly and connect with people and businesses around the globe.” In this day and age of consuming content on the go, Twitter found 78% of their users use the app instead of the desktop site. With over 271 million monthly active users, Twitter is extremely effective of reaching a lot of potential customers while they are on the go.
Where do you start? What do you post? How often should you post? There are many questions to ask before you begin, but to get off to a good start you need to know the basics of Twitter. There is more to just hashtagging and tweeting at followers. Similar to any marketing campaign, strategy and knowing your audience are the building blocks to a successful campaign.
1. Don’t Stress Over What You Say
Although important to convey the right emotion with whomever is reading your tweet, the lifespan of a tweet is not very long. In fact, according to Moz the lifespan of a tweet is 18 minutes. Tweeting is important but don’t spend hours agonizing whether to use one word or another. It’s ok to use abbreviations and hashtags because users will be ok with what is needed to keep your message to 140 characters or less. However, having correct spelling and grammar is very important. Users will not look past misspellings and bad grammar and leave with a negative view of your knowledge on the topic at hand.
2. Use Images and Video
Including a photo or video with your post immediately helps visibility. Twitter conducted a study of over 2 million tweets and found adding a photo boosts your tweet by 35%. Additionally, adding a video can boost your tweet up to 28%. Another study performed by Buffer used A/B testing for tweets with and without images. The results were even more staggering. Buffer found tweets with images increased retweets by 150% and clicks by 18%.
In order to take full advantage of using pictures or videos with your tweets, use the official Twitter website and/or app. This is the only way for your picture or video to show up in full dimensions on your followers feeds. Third party Twitter extensions do not support posting full dimensions of videos and images at this time.
3. Use the Favorite Feature
Whether you are a huge brand or a start-up, using the favorite feature is a quick and easy way to show followers you care about what they say. Be careful about using the favorite button because clicking favorite too much can hurt the credibility of your Twitter account. Twitter rules ban aggressively favoriting tweets through automation in order to boost your accounts visibility or draw attention to a link. Twitter is watching for bots that are designed to favorite anything and possibly everything you set it up to do.
The function of the favorite button is to show you like a tweet, so use it that way. Followers love to be acknowledged and love to feel wanted. Favoriting too many tweets will make your account look like its not genuine and getting a tweet favorite from your brand will not mean as much to your followers.
4. Spread Out Your Tweets
When starting your Twitter marketing campaign, the frequency of your tweets is very important. Tweets need to be spaced out and scheduled just like any other digital marketing campaign. Think about tweeting like reaching out to a customer to request a sales meeting. Would you call them five times a day leaving messages? Only if you would like to lose a customer. Tweeting is the same thing. Crowding someone’s feed will turn them off to your brand and make what you have to say less important. Make your audience look forward to your content and give them a reason to wonder where you have been if you have not posted in a few days. Less is more when trying to build a social media presence on Twitter.
5. Reply Correctly
Replying sounds simple enough but there are certain secrets you need to know about replying on Twitter. A common misconception is when you tweet back to someone, all of your followers will see it. If you tweet at a user, only that person and any followers you have in common will see that tweet. This limits your tweet visibility quite a bit but is not necessarily a terrible thing. If every reply from every Twitter account was shown, feeds would be so crowded it would be nearly impossible to follow anyone. Starting a reply with their username only limits the amount of people who see the tweet. If you want to get around this and tweet to all your followers, a simple period in front of the username will bypass Twitter’s rule and show your tweet in the feeds of every follower. Twitter wrote an article that goes into more detail about replies and mentions.
Twitter explains a hashtag as “any word, or phrase without spaces, beginning with the # symbol.” The purpose of hashtags is to organize conversations in order to make it easier to find content about a specific topic. For example, if your business sells candles using #candles in your tweet will be visible to anyone searching that hashtag. This increases visibility and many people will see your post simply by using a hashtag.
Hashtag responsibly though because overdoing hashtags can be detrimental to how people perceive your brand. This could be seen as spam and will turn people away from your Twitter account.
Using Twitter and understanding how it works can be daunting at first. Persistence and consistency are the key to start growing your audience immediately. Once you start a Twitter campaign, stick with it and see it through. In the end, Twitter could be one of the top ways to increase your organizations online presence. Use Twitter the right way and it can lead you to reaching your goals as an online marketer.