By: Christina Gaines | @stinaegaines
Unless you’ve been overtaken by one freight train of a medically induced coma over the last decade, it shouldn’t be news to you that social media and business are soul mates; whether you fancy it or not, how you are projected onto these platforms could be the be-all and end-all of your investment.
Social media channels are very transparent about what they are. Social. We already know that people have talked about you, are talking about you, and will talk about you. It’s what exactly they’re saying that is anyone’s guess - and every good businessperson’s concern.
Social media allows us to control the conversation. You can manipulate your specific brand personality, project an image and create a voice. Meaningful engagements are the golden ticket to building a relationship with the masses- one by one, post by post, tweet by tweet.
Because of the many different available formats, it’s important to distinguish the inherent comparisons of platforms and initiate only those that would propel your business efforts.
For example: in any given month, 284 million Twitter users are active. If it were a country, it would be the 12th largest worldwide. On top of that, the average time spent on Twitter monthly is 170 minutes. However, your message is constrained to only 140 characters.
Whether your inner soapbox hog feels it’s outrageous or just outrageously genius, it is the reality. It also presents an exclusive opportunity for marketers to KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) and try their hand at being clever in a snap. With its smaller word count, there is no room for needless fodder or long-winded promotional soliloquies. Herein lies a very special way you can fish for engagement.
We’ve accumulated 10 basic laws for Twitter, starring you and your business, to follow and swear by.
- People 1000% judge a book by its cover. When you make (or revive) your account, be sure to choose high-quality, high-resolution pictures in both your header and profile photos. If you use cruddy, pixelated ones that don’t seem to compliment each other you will look lazy, talentless, and unprofessional. Choose pictures that are interesting and that capture your company culture. Because Twitter is becoming increasingly more visual, also build up an arsenal of photos and videos to use for your posts to make them more appealing and more likely to be clicked through.
- You never get a second chance to make a first impression- your Twitter bio is equally important. You wouldn’t walk up to someone at a business meeting and introduce yourself by just word-vomiting a load of hashtags without context or spewing poor grammar with a side of monotony, would you? Good, I would hope not. Instead, optimize it by being clever, descriptive, and interesting. (I.e. “I have a cat” vs “Affectionate caretaker for my vicious, striped feline Simba.”) The way you say things, whether it be a personal or business profile, is very telling. Don’t bore your audience to tears, and don’t forget to throw in key industry words so that it will be easier for your profile to be discovered through a search engine.
- Unearth influencers in your field and follow them. Retweet, comment, and interact daily if possible. The likelihood is that whoever follows their account, is interested in your shared line of work and possibly your services. If they see the dialogue you are creating, they may follow you as well. In turn, it allows you to see who you should follow or prospect in the future. You can also, if you wish, organize these accounts into “Lists”. This tool can be accessed from the profile photo drop-down menu on the top right corner, and is a nice contrast to your continually slammed Twitter feed.
- The hashtags you choose to wield are crucial. Keep in mind that your biggest goal from using them is to increase reach and thus garner more followers and (hopefully) engagement- so whenever applicable, it would be useful to tweet hashtag topics that are already trending. IMPORTANT: Make sure to look up what the hashtag is truly about before just mindlessly jumping in to avoid embarrassing situations. Then use tools such as RiteTag or Twitter analytics to check out the number of impressions you have received. This is a good way to see what’s putting you on the map.
- At the beginning of the month, craft a calendar for your company. It’s clear you can’t plan for everything, but any holidays or major events that are relevant to your company’s message or your audience’s interests would be a good thing to block out. Setting aside posts for these days allows you time to come up with a cunning, engaging way to address them. (Always be on the lookout; even if a current event is something a little off-the-wall, you might think of a sidesplitting retort.)
- Share content that adds some sort of benefit to whoever is following your account- if you wouldn’t want to click on it, chances are they wouldn’t either. What would your audience want to know about or what articles would they be interested in? Ask questions, and tell them a little about yourself (but don’t make everything about you). Talk to people directly by using their Twitter handle. If you put the handle in the beginning, it will show in the “Tweets & Replies” tab, if not, your profile. So be courteous and do not forget to acknowledge any mentions or retweets. (“Favoriting” tweets is also a kind gesture.)
- USE SHORTENED LINKS. Full-blown URLs are intimidating and ugly to slap on your poor profile. I recommend bit.ly.
- Tweet regularly. There are certain times of day that a user may not be online and may not think to go to your profile to update themselves, so you will have to show up to the party pretty often in order to appear relevant. However, that does not mean you flood their feeds with spam or terribly written posts just to get something out. Planning ahead how many times a day you will post, and what about, is necessary for best results. You want to show the world your Twitter account is an active one.
- Find out what time your target audience is likely to be online. Is it the morning? The weekend? Right before they go out Friday night? You can also test the waters by posting at different times and gaging reaction.
- Make sure your Twitter aligns with your other marketing objectives. Additionally: It’s okay to link to another social media channels, just don’t make your posts the same across the board or your audience will catch on.
What would be your best Twitter marketing tip? Share with us your pearls of wisdom below!