Social media has become the mainstay of marketing for startups and small businesses. Though Twitter doesn’t embody the glitz and glamor of Instagram or the stability of Facebook, it is still reaping dividends for businesses across the board.
According to the latest statistics from Funnel Overload, Twitter has over 330 million active users across the world.
As a social networking platform, Twitter has continued to grow, despite many believing it would fade away. The network has stood firm in the face of stiff competition and has even successfully absorbed the users who bailed on Tumblr.
For small businesses trying to reach customers organically and generate leads, the benefits of social media marketing, especially Twitter marketing, are immense.
But there are a few tips small business marketers need to keep in mind when using Twitter. We outline some of the most important points for Twitter marketing.
Don’t Ignore Your Twitter Profile
Example of a Twitter Header. Source: Venngage
Your company’s Twitter profile is the first thing consumers will see when they visit your page. If your profile isn’t appealing and informative, you will lose customers before you have even begun to convert them into followers.
Your profile image should be a good quality version of your logo—the logo will get compressed when uploaded to Twitter so use a high-res version to ensure there is no loss in image quality.
The Twitter header is another visual aspect of your profile that you need to optimize. Ensure that you use images and graphics that share the personality of your company.
Avoid making the header too busy or including your logo in the header—your logo is already being used in your profile picture, there is no need to duplicate it.
With these visual elements ascertained, work on your Twitter bio. It should be concise but not vague—think about adding a call to action, your location, and including your brand hashtag. Update your bio every so often so it stays relevant to the market.
Include links to your website, as well as other social media accounts—you want to increase followers across the board and get more eyeballs on your site.
You should also add a pinned tweet to the top of your profile—new products, a launch, an event, or a new campaign, all of these make for a good pinned tweet.
A strong Twitter profile will entice users to explore your page further and become followers.
Example of a branded tweet. Source: Venngage
Another aspect of branding that small businesses need to keep in mind, particularly on social media, is brand voice. And Twitter is the kind of network where you can easily share your brand voice and personality.
Establish the kind of voice you want to use—funny, serious, sarcastic, informative—and use that throughout your tweets.
But you don’t need to stick with the same tone of voice forever. You can experiment from time to time, but don’t make any changes abruptly, or you will lose followers.
Also ensure that your Twitter marketers know what topics to avoid, what words they should or should not use, and how to deal with negative comments or followers.
Create branding guidelines for social media use, as that will help the marketing team feel more secure when posting to the account.
With Twitter’s 280-character posts and threaded tweets, you can share your company’s unique personality with users and grow your following.
Comment. Converse. Connect.
Twitter is all about connections and conversations. While you will be tweeting about your business and interests, you can’t expect people to stumble upon your account—you need to do some outreach first.
Comment on relevant posts, retweet, like, and quote tweet posts that would be of interest to your followers.
When someone follows you, send them a tweet thanking them for following. If they have a good following of their own, consider following them back.
Follow a handful of accounts such as experts in your industry, influencers, top commenters in your field, and even some competitors.
By following the right people, you will place yourself in the vicinity of those who are likely to follow you based on similar interests.
Use Twitter As a News Source
Example of an informative tweet. Source: Venngage
It is tempting to send out strings of tweets about your latest products, services, and company-related activities. But that is not what Twitter users visit the platform for.
While Facebook and Instagram are leading the way in terms of entertainment, Twitter has become a primary source of news for internet users. Treating Twitter as a sales promotion platform will lead to a drop in follower numbers
Instead, share informative blog posts, how-to guides, infographics, industry news, and interviews. You can include some sales-forward posts in the midst of these but those posts should be minimal.
By utilizing Twitter as a knowledge-sharing platform, you place your business as a thought leader in the industry and not as another brand trying to sell people something.
Stay Updated on Twitter Changes
Social media is constantly changing and upgrading itself. It can be hard to keep up with the changes but if you want to make the most of the platform, you have to know what is changing.
One of Twitter’s major changes to its platform happened in 2015 when it changed its ‘favorite’ button—which was shaped like a star—to the heart-shaped ‘like’ button. Though both buttons essentially do the same thing, the change in design caused an uproar.
And recently, when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey mentioned getting rid of the ‘like’ button, there was uproar again because of how accustomed users have become to it.
Then in late July, Twitter changed the appearance of its desktop website—though the layout is similar to past iterations, it does take some getting used to.
The changes Twitter makes aren’t relegated to its platform—Twitter now doesn’t allow third-party schedulers to send tweets to more than one Twitter account at a time.
For businesses that may have multiple accounts—such as a primary account and one for customer service—this is important information to have.
And Twitter also makes changes to its algorithms, similar to what Instagram and Facebook have been doing.
A few years ago, you could use multiple hashtags in a tweet to boost your posts, but now, too many hashtags look spammy and make your tweet hard to read.
Single tweets are also becoming a thing of the past—most users create threaded conversations instead.
Changes are happening thick and fast, and small business marketers need to be on top of the latest trends.
Follow Twitter’s official account and their blog, as well as the latest trending hashtags, to see what changes are being made, and how they can affect you.
When it comes to the digital sphere, particularly social media, you have to be prepared to revise your strategy every six months, at the very least, or every year. This is not a one-size-fits-all system and treating it as such will be detrimental to your social media goals.
Social media can’t be used as a one-way channel where you send out information and hope people will respond. People are having conversations about you and around you, without you being able to see them.
But these conversations affect your brand, even if you know nothing about them. Monitoring conversations about your brand even when they don’t use your hashtag or tag you is social listening.
Twitter is the kind of platform where users unabashedly @mention you when they are upset with your product or service. But not all complaints happen so directly.
What if users are upset about the industry as a whole? They may be having conversations using industry-targeted keywords, even when those keywords aren’t directly related to your business.
You will find yourself losing customers without any knowledge of why if you aren’t following those industry-specific keywords.
You can also use social listening to understand the larger conversation around your brand. This is useful when there has been some kind of scandal related to your company, but there may be other reasons for an outpouring of negativity.
On the other hand, by using social listening, you can find out whether your customers are looking for something specific that your brand could offer.
For example, assume that you are a company that makes fire pits. Perhaps customers looking for fire pits are talking about the difficulties they have in installing the pits on their own. If nobody else has entered the fray, you could find a way to include installation as part of your services.
This method will not only help you solve a customer problem that wasn’t directed at you but will also increase your customer base.
By monitoring the conversations on Twitter around your brand, you will be in tune with how consumers feel about the industry, and how you can innovate to make them feel more comfortable and convert them into loyal followers.
Paid Twitter Posts
Most small businesses avoid paying for social media, but it is something you could think about implementing down the line.
There are a few ways to adopt paid promotions on Twitter—sponsored posts, sponsored trends, and Twitter ads.
Sponsored posts on Twitter work on a similar model to Facebook and Instagram—you add a budget to a tweet that has already been published or a new tweet and send it.
Promoted tweets appear as regular tweets, except for a small ‘promoted’ sign on the tweet. These tweets reach Twitter users who aren’t following you, so they’re a great way to boost your tweet and reach new followers.
Sponsored trends are really not applicable to small businesses—they require upwards of $200,000 to promote a trend, which is beyond the budget for a small business.
Twitter ads allow you to make campaigns—similar to Facebook advertising—and give you several options for the kind of ads you can make.
Your ads can be tailored towards increasing your followers, generating leads, or increasing website clicks. Depending on your needs, you can choose from the options available to you.
While paying for promotions on Twitter can be a daunting task for a small business, there can be many benefits to putting aside a small budget towards paid promotions.
Twitter Posting Schedule
The days of logging into your Twitter account and manually tweeting every post are long gone. Most marketers use social media scheduling tools that post tweets for them at select times of the day and during the week.
Tools ensure that marketers have to upload their content only once, which saves them a great deal of time that they can use to focus on other aspects of their job.
Twitter is a busy platform—according to G2’s Twitter statistics, 6000 tweets are sent every second. The Twitter feed is constantly being updated with new content, so you need to post more often here than on other channels.
But you also need to post at the times that your audience will see your tweets. When are people looking at their account? During breaks in their day, such as on their commute and during their lunch hour.
Users won’t be spending time on Twitter after hours or on weekends—that is when they will be out and about, or with their families.
Finding the best Twitter posting schedule that works for you is also about trial and error. Try out a few experiments and measure how well the posts do in terms of engagement and click-through-rates to decide on the best times for you.
Analyzing and Reporting
Example of a social media report. Source: Venngage
Tweeting at random isn’t going to get you the results you want. You need to analyze your tweets and report on successes and failures.
Have tweets with graphics done better than those with stock photos? Are longer videos resulting in more engagement than GIFs? Is it better to post at 10 am on Tuesdays or at 3 pm on Wednesdays?
Conduct your experiments and then make detailed reports so you know how close you are to achieving your objectives, and what else needs to be done.
You can use Twitter’s analytics to examine your tweets or use third-party tools like the aforementioned schedulers, many of which have reporting capabilities.
Once you have analyzed your tweets and created a report, you will know which posts you need to emulate and which to avoid.
Twitter is an excellent channel to reach customers but you need to use it well to make the most of the platform.
Work on your Twitter profile, engage with audiences and listen to the conversations happening around your industry and brand.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with posting times and schedules, and consider paid promotions as a future proposition.
More than anything else, analyze everything you do so you know what is, and isn’t, working for your brand.
The effective use of Twitter will help you reach new audiences and generate leads, while also placing you as an industry leader in the eyes of consumers.