As far as brands are concerned, Twitter is one of the best “all-round” platforms for expanding your audience. It’s fast, easy to use, and is highly community-driven. While the user-base may be skewed towards the under 50s, it still counts for a large portion of social media opportunities for the vast majority of business, with a 100 million daily active users.
Regardless of how modest or ambitious your aims may be, Twitter provides a number of free promotional opportunities for brands, regardless of your market or area of interest. Whether you simply wish to give your business a more informal, human face, or have a larger set of plans for implementing a marketing strategy on the platform, Twitter gives you instantaneous access to a huge audience that is ripe for cultivation.
Part of Twitter’s great appeal is its ability to provide instant interaction and feedback, which is what makes it such a great tool for building your brand awareness and following, in a very organic, conversational way. To help you benefit from these attributes, and build an active Twitter feed which meets your goals, here are some easy-to-implement ideas for building an audience, and driving communication:
Reach Out to Industry Influencers, Enthusiasts and Experts
Wherever you fall in the pecking order of your industry, whether you’re a seasoned expert or a new face on the scene, interacting with fellow influencers can be a great way to position yourself as an engaging contributor, while also elevating your profile within your industry.
This could involve everything from a simple follow to more regular interactions, in which you make an obvious effort to share content, and get involved in conversations which relate to your area of interest. The most important thing to remember, is to keep things naturalistic, by avoiding robotic and repetitive behaviour. When introducing yourself, commenting or retweeting, always try to inject some personality into your language, and convey genuine interest.
*Tip* Think beyond the obvious in terms of who you connect with; could there be an untapped audience for your brand on Twitter?
Run a Competition
Whether you’re looking to increase the desirability of your product, reward your customers, or simply grow your follower count, running a competition can be a great way to boost your audience and interaction rate.
The most important thing to remember, is to get your competition tweet seen, as there’s little point in running a competition that only circulates amongst your existing follower base. While you could run the competition outside of Twitter, I would suggest a simple ‘follow and retweet’ formula, if you want to earn the highest level of interaction. The truth is, many people will find it a hassle to fill in a form or navigate outside of Twitter, particularly those on mobile. Allowing them to remain on the platform and perform a few simple actions is more likely to encourage them to enter, and will help your competition circulate at a faster rate for further entrants.
Of course, if your aim is to get people to sign up to a newsletter or take another form of action outside Twitter, then perhaps this format alone is not suitable for your aim. This approach, like many, has its pros and cons, which you can weigh up when planning your competition. The fast and easy route is more likely to earn a higher number of low-value follows from serial competition participants, but on a positive note, it will also get more attention in general, increasing the likelihood of it reaching someone with a genuine interest in your industry.
Once you’ve thought through your format and aims, conduct a bit of research into the optimal post time for your audience (geographic/age/industry factors), and make sure to include #competition in your tweet, to give it the best chance at success.
*Tip* Hold on to your followers! Of course, you’ll always get a few people who are “just in it for the free stuff”, but a competition can still bring in lots of engaged followers who are interested in your products/niche. Maintain interaction with your new followers, keep posting quality content, and you should see the benefits of your newly extended audience
Watch the Trend
One of the things that makes Twitter such a great way of tapping into conversations, is the fact that it has a constant stream of trending topics, along with an array of commonly used and time-specific hashtags, which allow you to tap into collective moods, and keep up with relevant hashtags.
Whether it relates to news, popular culture or simply a specific time, keeping an eye on the trending topics on a daily, even hourly basis, is the easiest possible way of keeping your Twitter feed active and engaging. This may seem fairly obvious as such a key element of the platform, but it’s surprising how underused the hashtag is in many instances, particularly by those who are new to the platform.
While each individual account may have a tone and approach which relates specifically to their brand or following, it’s almost always a good idea to weigh in on popular topics, even when it comes to something as simple as the weather. Relatability and affinity are the arguably the driving forces of Twitter, so it’s important to keep this in mind in order to boost activity.
*Tip* ALWAYS check the hashtag! If you see a hashtag trending, don’t presume to know what this relates to, without checking the posts attached to it first. While certain hashtags won’t relate strictly to a particular use, others will be used specifically in connection with a certain movement or development, making their misuse blindingly obvious. Using a hashtag that has nothing to do with your content can not only appear irrelevant and somewhat desperate, it can also be deemed insensitive and offensive in the worst instances.
Countless studies have shown how visual mediums can enhance social media posts, so be sure to take advantage of this benefit wherever possible. Even without the statistics on how many more likes and retweets can be gained from a post with an image, it doesn’t take a social media expert to understand that these enhancements are bound to stand out in your Twitter feed.
We’re by no means suggesting that text-only tweets are incapable of creating a significant impact, but it’s important to realise how useful these additions can be for boosting initial attention, as well as the appeal for further promotion. Social media has made us a generation of meme-sharers and gif enthusiasts, who are able to communicate using nothing but a set of emojis, making it a vital aspect of social media culture. Again, it comes back to the point of relevancy, combined with the ability to communicate clearly, and impactfully.
In fact, it’s about to get even easier to share images in your tweets as of September 19th 2016
, thanks to the fact that these will no longer count towards your 140 character limit. This means that you won’t have to sacrifice words for visuals, or vice versa, so you can share infographics and vine clips to your hearts content.
*Tip* Know when to let an image speak for itself. In some cases, a brief caption can be more impactful then a longer, accompanying explanation, so keep this in mind if your visual content is the main aspect of the tweet, as opposed to an addition. This is also particularly true if the image itself contains text.
Make Great Use of Third Party Content
Naturally, it’s imperative that you keep your Twitter original, but you should also consider how an efficient use of third party content can enhance your feed, and build interaction within your community.
It may seem vital to have a steady stream of your own content, and of course that’s true, but a fully original Twitter page can become just as boring and repetitive as a constant outpouring of retweets. If your Twitter makes the mistake of becoming too focused on your own ideas, products and opinions, it runs the risk of being seen as overly self-promotional, which may alienate your audience over time.
Just as we mentioned in our first tip, engaging with fellow influencers is a great way to build relationships, and can also show your willingness to take an interest in your chosen community. If you’re pointing at a particular content creator as a good source of information, it’s likely that you may also receive some positive attention in return, as part of Twitter’s reciprocal spirit. The most important thing to remember, is always to @ your source in the tweet (if possible).
*Tip* Always read the content and understand it fully before sharing! Oftentimes, titles can be misleading, so don’t just share content without actually engaging with it. No cheats or quick fixes here I’m afraid!
Although controversy sometimes has its place in online marketing when used intelligently, we aren’t talking about making your followers angry. What we mean, is starting up thought-provoking conversations, and encouraging your community to share their opinions with you.
In recent times, Twitter has made this much easier for users, thanks to the introduction of the Twitter poll last year. Perhaps it’s the anonymity factor or the element of curiosity, but Twitter polls hardly ever fail to drive engagement levels, making them a great way to improve activity on your page, whilst also learning something new about your audience.
In its most simple form, this could start with addressing a question to your audience, which is a great way to get community members interacting with your page. This could be employed in a casual way to inspire debate, but could also be used by businesses to involve their customers in the creative process. For example, you could post a preview of a new product, which could not only help you gauge its popularity, but could also help to generate a sense of anticipation ahead of its launch.
*Tip* Always treat public opinion/engagement requests with caution. If you think your conversation is at risk of bringing negative customer experiences to the fore, or could possibly be hijacked in a way that would reflect badly on your business, then stay away!
If you’re not using the pinned tweet feature on your page, then you’re missing out on an opportunity to show off your latest news and best moments to followers, along with any potential followers that you could be missing out on! Not only is this a great way to give an extra boost to a tweet you want noticed, it’s also incredibly useful for making a strong impression on those visiting your page for the first time, giving them a clear impression of your brand identity straight away.
From competitions to appearances at important conferences, pinned tweets can give an extra boost to posts you want prioritised, or would like to lend some additional exposure to. As the first thing a visitor sees when they click on your profile, you’ll want to make sure that you double check your tweet for any mistakes, and be extra discerning about the wording before you post. Once you’re confident, however, this makes a handy promotional tool, and gives you some additional control over the shelf life of your tweet.
*Tip* Don’t let your pinned tweet get out of date! Once you’ve pinned your tweet, don’t just go away and forget about it, or you could completely defeat its intended purpose. If your tweet is an expired competition or a piece of news that has long since passed, you run the risk of looking like you don’t check your profile regularly. Like all other parts of your profile, pinned tweets should be considered and updated regularly when required.
Another important aspect of your interaction with your followers and online community, is to provide useful information, and answers to any questions they may have. Of course, if a follower comes to you with a question directly, it’s more than evident that you should respond promptly and politely, but this should also extend to your wider social media strategy.
In fact, questions can be a great way to introduce yourself to a community member, and can also be used to promote a useful piece of content you may have written, if executed correctly. Keep your eye out for people on your own feed who are looking for solutions or advice, but also actively use the Twitter search bar to look up specific queries that people may be making. As with any social media interaction, you should always be cautious about making the response too self-promotional, and should consider whether your answer is appropriate to the situation before positing. You could even share a third party solution with them, providing that they are not a direct competitor.
*Tip* Use your insights gained on Twitter, to influence your wider content strategy. If you notice a pattern of common problems arising in your Twitter community, it could be time to address these. This could be as simple as creating an advice piece, or, if this relates directly to your business, it could mean making more impactful changes.
Post at the Right Time
While avoiding any cliché statements about being in the right place at the right time, Twitter posting should be carefully considered if you want to make the most of your opportunities. For the best results, you need to consider the data collected in your Twitter analytics in combination with general user insights, in order to plan your most important posts to go out at particularly active times of the day.
While it’s a good idea to post on Twitter over a variety of hours, in order to maintain activity, you should always ensure that your most important tweets are posted at points of peak activity, to avoid losing out on potentially valuable interactions. Naturally, this approach should be employed sensibly, and shouldn’t interfere with the impulsive nature of Twitter, which could even have the opposite of your desired effect. If a topic is currently trending, or there is an important event occurring, of course you should avoid this approach, which we will discuss further in our final point.
*Tip* If you have a good idea, but don’t think your timing will help you get the most from your tweet, you can use a tool like Hootsuite to help you schedule your posts. This way, you can prevent yourself from forgetting an idea or missing an opportunity, whilst ensuring that your tweet has the best chance of gaining attention and generating interactions.
Interact and React: Make the Most of Real-Time Events
Picking up from our last point, our final piece of advice concerns the value of interacting in correlation with real-time events, which is one of the most common uses of Twitter as a whole, but is perhaps one that could be adopted more by businesses.
Naturally, the Twitter buzz surrounding high-profile conferences and business events is well-known, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be capable of hosting one such event, in order to make the most of the hype generated by them. In fact, this rule doesn’t just apply to events which have their own manufactured hashtag at all, but rather to the general live-reaction spirit of Twitter as a whole. It could relate to a television programme, popular culture, or even politics, but as long as you’re sure that it relates to your community, go ahead and make the most of these opportunities for extra exposure.
Naturally, some events and developments will relate clearly to your usual content and brand, but this doesn’t mean that they are the only events that you should be paying attention to. Think about your target audience, along with subjects that are closely related to your field, if not directly so. For example, a brand targeted at students would naturally be tweeting during high-profile events such as exam results, but could also benefit from tweeting about other events that would interest their audience, perhaps during the coverage of a music festival, for example. As always, the main aim is to strike a balance between being overly specific and focused on a single subject, and losing focus of your direction by jumping on every Twitter bandwagon that comes along.
*Tip* Always proofread your hashtag, and make sure you’re using the right one.
If you'd like our help to create a thoughtful and engaging social media strategy, that will allow you to enhance your brand following and build relationships with your customers, simply get in touch with Designer Websites today!