Twitter is only the 8th largest social media platform but it has the second most referral sites in the US with over 1.6 million sites leading to the platform. Arguably, Twitter is one of the most influential platforms for culture, politics, and business.
No matter your industry or sector, Twitter marketing is a valuable tool that can help you reach your goals and engage with both current and prospective customers. Twitter combines the instant gratification of TikTok and Instagram with the flexibility and content-rich messaging of Facebook.
Most importantly, from a business perspective, Twitter works. According to Twitter for business, Twitter users spend 26% more time watching ads than the users of other social media channels. Whether in the form of paid or organic exposure, time is the most valuable asset a consumer can share with a brand.
This article focuses on best practices to help brands effectively market organically via Twitter.
Plan to Succeed on Twitter
As with all digital marketing efforts, the first step towards successful Twitter marketing is planning. Your planning effort must include:
Establishing Your Campaign Goals: A fundamental of all marketing efforts is to define your goals. The more concrete and explicit your goals, the easier it is to define a plan to achieve them. Goals are important so take the time to explore “WHY” they matter for your business. Twitter is especially susceptible to “big audience” planning. Successful plans have goals that focus on building the right audience, not just a big audience. Don’t fall into the trap of setting a target number of followers as your primary goal.
Researching Your Audience Persona: Twitter is a great platform to expand reach and identify new audiences. Since Twitter is search-friendly, head over to business.twitter.com, click start a campaign, and you can immediately explore the mountains of audience data that is available on Twitter even before you start your own efforts. You can search demographics, keywords that audiences search that you might want to use as hashtags or content starters, and you can quickly find competitors and the content they’re generating. Find the right audience, not just a big audience.
Creating a Personable Profile: Create a brand profile on Twitter that matches your goals and will align with your target audience. A complete profile includes:
- Handle: This is your brand’s username on Twitter, it is the information after the @. For example, our handle is @rainmakerhq. We recommend the handle be branded, easy to remember, and search friendly.
- Header (AKA Banner) Image Add an image that will quickly communicate your brand personality and build a connection with the audience. Images create stronger memories and communicate more quickly than words and the header is a great tool to quickly introduce ideas to the audience. Plan to change out the header as your content changes.
- Profile Image: This image is the “face” of the account. For consultants and professionals that sell services as individuals, use a headshot. People connect with people and this is a great way to share who you are without flooding your business account with personal images. All other businesses should use a square logo, optimized for Twitter with a minimum size of 400 x 400.
- Bio: Unlike LinkedIn and Facebook, Twitter limits the bio to 160 characters. The bio is NOT a place for fluffy language. Get to the heart of the branding. You can include any content you wish including links, hashtags and handles. When audiences discover your accounts, the bio is an opportunity to impress.
- Website: Another link opportunity in the profile is the website. It is limited to 100 characters so consider a URL shortener if you have a long URL. Twitter will show the end of the URL if your link is too long for the browser’s display.
You can also list a birthday and some brands will use the date their company was formed, an auspicious / important date for the company or even the date they joined Twitter. We recommend NOT using the birthday field unless you have a reason to use it.
Twitter Best Practices
Monkey See, Monkey Do: With over 300 million monthly users, one of the easiest ways to get started developing best practices and content models that will work for you on Twitter is to search for hashtags and keywords that are relevant to your business and follow “top” people (accounts). Study what they do and say. This will give you an idea of what is interesting to your audience and will help you find ways to build engagement. As with all other content channels, the goal is to become a recognized and trusted authority that your audience will actively engage.
Handle Your Business: A quick aside on both engagement and best practices. Consumers often name twitter as a primary customer support channel. If you start a Twitter marketing effort, you must be prepared to quickly (typically within 1 hour) address any complaints that come in via Twitter. RMDS recommends addressing the complaint publicly. Only take a complaint off Twitter if it becomes abusive or private information is needed to address the complaint.
Tell’em You’re Here: The combination of referral popularity and high visibility on search engines make Twitter a great destination for cross-platform and cross-media outreach. Whenever possible, tell your audience that you’re present and active on Twitter. Include tools like social sharing on your website content, include your Twitter handle on LinkedIn, Telegram and any other active content channels you use.
Get Native: Another best practice is to actively use the tools within Twitter to build your following. From searching for relevant accounts and content to follow and engage with to including active hashtags, Twitter will reward accounts that reinforce their technology. RMDS suggests you participate in at least one relevant trending topic per week and include between 2 and 5 hashtags with each tweet. Twitter is also driving the shift from copy to media so consider using memes, GIFs, and videos whenever appropriate.
Other ways to gain exposure and expand your audience include Live tweeting (participating as a part of a live event) and Tweet chatting (interacting with others via a shared hashtag). Twitter allows for easy assimilation into the platform and expertise is quickly gained through usage.
Better Is More: One of the most highly debated best practices is the frequency of tweeting. Recommendations range from a minimum of 5 times per week to more than 20 tweets per day. Visibility comes from maintaining an active presence throughout the day. The challenge today is that users have the ability to customize their timelines and choose between most popular (Top) and most recent (Latest) tweets. This distinction sets up the classic digital debate between quantity vs. quality. When you’re starting, you’ll have to lean on quantity tweeting to learn what interests the audience and then you can distill your campaign to focus on creating Top tweets. A common editorial recommendation is 7–10 tweets per day for the first 90 days and as few as 3–5 tweets per day for an established handle.
During the period where you’re focusing on quantity tweeting, the good news is that each tweet does NOT need to be unique. In fact, RMDS recommends no more than 7-10 unique tweets per week. In the past, you had to use a 3rd party tool to schedule tweets but now you can create a tweet and schedule within the platform. This will allow you to produce once and publish multiple times.
Pay To Play
Though RMDS believes strongly in investing in building your digital presence through a website and organic content, content marketing today does require the consideration of paid exposure.
This is particularly true of Twitter. Once you follow all of these organic marketing best practices, consider advertising on Twitter.
Recent research shows that video ads are up to 50% cheaper than other video platforms. That suggests that all other factors being equal, Twitter will deliver higher ROI on advertising than other social platforms.
A Final Word
Social media continues to evolve and Twitter has done a good job of changing to keep their platform relevant.
While no single social channel meets all marketing needs, Twitter has proven its ability to help brands engage with customers, communicate news, share (and start) trends, and build an audience. Like all content marketing Twitter requires discipline, commitment, and effort to pay-off.
If the idea of creating and/or executing on a Twitter strategy seems overwhelming, know that you don’t need to go it alone. We’re in this with you. If you need a little help, just drop us a line, anytime.
Rainmaker Digital Services