How to Use Twitter Effectively
At this point, most marketers are aware Twitter is an important piece of the social media marketing mix. With over 320 million monthly active users across various demographics, it’s a great platform to reach your audience.
However, the sad truth is many of those same marketers and businesses exist on Twitter, but do nothing else. Scheduling Tweets to be sent out throughout the week to create “social media activity” isn’t an effective Twitter marketing strategy. Using Twitter effectively requires you to put in time, effort and sometimes even money to reach your goal. Here are some actionable tips for how to use Twitter effectively.
Develop a Twitter Strategy
This basic step gets ignored so often, and it’s the reason so many marketers don’t get results. Because Twitter is so easy to just jump right into and get started, planning out a strategy first gets forgotten. But taking some extra time to craft out a plan for how you’re going to use Twitter will stop you from wandering around aimlessly.
Your Twitter strategy should define:
- Who you’re trying to reach
- Relevant profiles/influencers you want to connect with
- Your overall goals (for example: build brand awareness, generate leads or get website traffic)
- Your company’s “voice”
- What you’ll be Tweeting
- Your Tweeting schedule
- How you plan on engaging with other users
Search Engine Journal outlined its strategy, which should give you a nice starting point or template to use. Having a plan in place will ensure you’re working toward a specific goal and building an account that will help improve your business, instead of just being present on Twitter.
Make Twitter a Daily Activity
To piggy back off the previous tip, you should get in the habit of using Twitter daily. Because the social network moves so quickly, it’s not something you can try to fit in whenever you have the time. You need to make time. The best way to do this is to schedule set times for you or someone on your team to handling Twitter tasks. These tasks could include:
- Responding to other users
- Liking and Re-tweeting other content
- Following new accounts and organizing them into lists
- Thanking new followers
- Looking at trending topics and finding ways to incorporate them into your strategy
- Scheduling posts with (Sprout Social
- Responding to DMs
Create a checklist for activities that need to be done on a daily basis to create accountability and to ensure you’re getting everything done. It’ll also make it easy for new employees to pick up and follow.
In addition to that scheduled time, you also need to monitor your accounts throughout the day. Remember, Twitter moves in real time. If customers have technical problems or complaints about your business, you don’t want to wait too long to respond. According to data from Kissmetrics, 42% of customers expect businesses to reply to Tweets within one day.
Since Twitter gives you the ability to see conversations about your brand in real time, you need to take advantage by actively monitoring it all and engaging with prospects, leads and customers.
Humanize Your Brand
When is the last time you were excited to sit through an automated system when you called your cable company or bank?
People simply want to do business with other human beings and not a faceless corporations with no personality. Twitter is the perfect platform to showcase your brand’s personality. Humanizing your brand on Twitter not only helps others connect with you, but it also allows your organization to stand out in a sea full of bland and boring accounts.
If you glance through Red Bull’s Tweets, you’ll notice the fun and energetic personality the brand built.
Humanizing your brand is all about creating the personality and character you want to have on Twitter. Do you want to be fun and upbeat? Controversial? Informative? Whatever your brand’s persona is, keep it consistent.
The second part is Tweeting like a person. Get into conversations with people, and reply to Tweets that aren’t necessarily about you. For instance, if you’re a hair salon and someone you follow Tweets a blog post about hair styles, Like and reply to the post. There’s a false belief companies should only engage on social media when it’s about them. By taking a more human approach, your Tweets will be received much better.
Social networking is supposed to be fun, don’t lose that just because you’re Tweeting on behalf of your business instead of yourself. Nobody wants to follow a boring account.
Promote Other Accounts
When you share a link on Twitter, do you give credit to the source? If not, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with others.
A lot of blogs and businesses don’t actively track mentions of their brands or content on Twitter, especially if they’re not using a Twitter dashboard. But when you @mention them within your Tweet, they’ll get a notification. This is a great way to connect with influencers and make that first contact without spamming your audience.
When you’re consistently promoting others, you’ll start to form an audience of influencers who not only read your Tweets, but will also start to share your content as well. You can use these new relationships for partnership opportunities, influencer marketing and more. But it all starts with highlighting others first.
Manual First, Automation Second
With so many different tools available for Twitter marketing, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to automate everything possible. Automating certain tasks can help you become more efficient, but if you don’t have an understanding of how to use Twitter effectively first, then automation can do more harm than good.
Before you start automating content curation, manually search and find content to share. Instead of automating the accounts you follow, look through Twitter to find people and companies that you actually want to follow. This will give you a better understanding of how Twitter works and what tasks should be automated.
One thing you should never automate is user engagement. Having automated replies that you send out to customer inquiries can cause PR nightmares.
We apologize for the regrettable tweet that went out from our account. Our filtering system failed & we will be more vigilant in the future.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 14, 2014
The New England Patriots sent out an automated message once they reached a certain number of followers. However, the follower’s username the team highlighted was offensive and completely off brand. This could have easily been prevented if the messages were not automated, but instead, sent through a message approval system.
Even if you automate your Tweeting by scheduling messages to be sent throughout the week, that doesn’t mean your work is done. You should still be sending out Tweets manually too.
Learn to Craft Eye-Catching Headlines
You only get 140 characters per Tweet. When you subtract the characters from URL’s and any @mentions you include, that number shrinks down to about 120 or less in most cases. That means you have to be creative with your headlines. The best Twitter users are able to make their Tweets appealing so you’re pulled in as a reader.
Copyblogger recommends the 4-U approach for Twitter headlines. According to the 4-U approach, your headline should:
- Be useful
- Provide a sense of urgency
- Give a unique benefit
- Be ultra-specific
You don’t want people to think twice about clicking through. Remember, the main purpose of your headline is to get people to click. At the same time, you should deliver on what your headline promises once people click-through. Avoid using click-bait headlines that oversell the content you’re sharing. It might earn you a few more clicks, but readers won’t stick around if they don’t get what they expected.
Also, it’s smart to avoid long headlines when possible. Studies show 50-60% of the most effective headlines are eight words or less. That fits perfectly with Twitter’s short character limit. Read our post, 7 Headline Writing Tips That Get Clicks for an actionable guide on how to write better headlines. It’ll take some practice, but after a while you’ll be writing captivating headlines that your followers can’t ignore.
Be Bold & Creative
Twitter has a lot of very useful features that tend to get overlooked. If you start harnessing Twitter videos, polls and Twitter Cards, you’ll transform your Tweets from standard to exciting and appealing.
Sure, it’s easier to just schedule a bunch of standard Tweets to go out over time. But plain content isn’t how you’d describe your marketing, right?
The very first thing you should do is setup Twitter cards for your website. This will help your content stand out when you share your blog posts.
Next, experiment with different types of content in your Tweets. Everything you publish doesn’t have to be a headline and a link to a blog post. Make short video clips using Twitter’s native video feature. Live Tweet images at events you attend or vlog a day in the life of your business. You can even generate some engagement by integrating Twitter polls, which is an extremely underutilized tool that can have a big impact.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to experiment with Twitter ads. Although the advertising platform isn’t as popular as AdWords or Facebook Ads, there’s still plenty of opportunity. You can run Twitter ads to:
- Get followers
- Generate traffic
- Earn leads
- Build engagement
- Promote apps
While the targeting isn’t quite at the level of Facebook, you have the ability to target based on keywords, followers, interests, behavior, events and even what TV shows people are watching.
Twitter is a well-known platform to curate existing content. In fact most marketers don’t even consider mixing in original content. Start thinking outside of the box and come up with ways to give your followers exclusive content that can’t be found elsewhere. Not only will it entice more people to follow you, but it’ll improve your engagement as well.
Do More Than Exist
In the end, using Twitter effectively comes down to finding ways to stand out. More than 65% of businesses use Twitter for marketing. And there are over 6,000 Tweets sent out every second! In order to avoid blending in with the noise, you need to develop a strategy, connect with people and be bold. That’s the recipe for being effective on Twitter.