guide to Twitter marketing

With over 316 million monthly active users and a young demographic to boot, Twitter is a great platform for most marketers. Starting up a Twitter page for your company is easy.

Anyone can find a Twitter handle, upload their profile photo, fill out their bio and send out their first Tweet. What’s not so simple, however, is growing your Twitter account and turning it into an actual tool that generates leads and builds up your brand.

Growing a real following on Twitter takes more than sending out Tweets whenever your company has a product being released or an upcoming event. It’s about connecting with your target audience and interacting with them. Successful Twitter marketing is powerful. If you can become a pro with this fast paced social networking site, you’ll unlock new opportunities to grow your business online.

What Makes Twitter Different

Your approach to every social media site should be different. For example, your Twitter marketing strategy isn’t going to be the same as your Pinterest or Facebook marketing plan. Understanding how Twitter works and where it fits in the social media landscape will shape the way you use it.

Some of the main ways businesses use Twitter include:

  • Sharing information and content
  • Driving engagement for promotional activities
  • Interacting with consumers
  • Networking
  • Branding
  • Reputation management

As you can see, most of these activities have to do with interactions. It’s not necessarily just about broadcasting your content like Instagram or Pinterest, for example. Twitter thrives off communication. Keep that in mind as we continue with the rest of this guide and get into the nitty gritty of Twitter marketing.

It’s time to go beyond the “setup your profile correctly” and “follow influencers” tips. We’ll go over real Twitter marketing strategies that will help you be more successful, and the steps you need to take to market like the pros.

Twitter Chats: The Untapped Market

For years, marketers were asking the question “how do I get more Twitter followers?” But the question you should really be asking is “how do I get more active Twitter followers?” The answer is Twitter chats. We’ve been pushing Twitter chats for quite some time now, and it’s nice to see a lot of marketers slowly start to realize the power of Twitter chats when it comes to gaining active followers.

The reason why Twitter chats are so effective is because the people who participate in them are the ones that enjoy actively engaging on the social network. They don’t use it just to distribute and consume content. Instead, these people use Twitter for the purpose it was meant for, which is to interact. These are the types of users who are going to reply to your Tweets, Retweet your content and amplify your message.

To get started, look for Twitter chats related to your industry. If you’re in the business or marketing industry, Chloe West put together a great resource of the latest Twitter chats around topics like content marketing, social media and business. And you can always use Google as well.

Can’t find any Twitter chats for your industry? Start your own. The key to success with Twitter chats is to be more than a spectator. You have to add value to the conversation and differentiate yourself. For example, instead of just tweeting text, why not create a special graphic instead? Tools like Canva make it extremely easy to create a beautiful Twitter image within a couple minutes.

Another tip that will earn you engaged followers during Twitter chats is to reply to other chatters. The majority of your Tweets should be replies to other people. Don’t forget to @mention them so they get a notification. Lastly, follow up with the new connections you make during the chats.

Create a Twitter list for each Twitter chat you participate in and add the users you engaged with to the list. Then, start to Retweet, favorite and reply to their Tweets and share their content. Don’t let the connections die out after the Twitter chat is over.

Plan Ahead

It’s October right now. You should already have special Tweets and content ready to go for Halloween. By the time November rolls around, you should have some Thanksgiving-themed Tweets ready to go. Planning ahead for holidays and special events will give you time to craft high quality content to take advantage of trending hashtags and topics. For instance, we know hashtags like #Halloween, #Thanksgiving and #Christmas will be trending as it gets closer to those dates.

Instead of waiting until a few days before, start coming up with campaigns at least two to three weeks ahead of time. Here’s a little known tool from Twitter that you should become familiar with. The #OwnTheMoment planner gives you upcoming events, as well as ideas on potential Tweets you can send out.

Twitter OwnTheMoment Planner

Once the special day comes up, follow any trending hashtags about the event and do some real time marketing too. That is one of the key benefits of using Twitter. You get to send out content as events are happening instead of having to wait until after the momentum has died down.

Make Tweets Conversational

The way that a lot of brands Tweet is very one dimensional. Their Tweets are essentially just broadcasts, which is not what Twitter is about as we mentioned earlier. Your Tweets shouldn’t consist of only headlines with a link, inspirational quotes or funny statements. They should open the door for communication and conversation.

Want to know what these types of Tweets look like? Check out a few recent Tweets from Gary Vaynerchuk.

Engaging Tweets Example

Another great example is Ramit Sethi. If you take a look at his Twitter feed, you’ll notice that a lot of his Tweets are replies to other people, not just broadcasts.

Ramit Sethi Tweets

There’s a reason why both Gary and Ramit are extremely popular in the marketing world, they know what they’re doing. You can start taking a similar approach to both of these social media marketing pros by making your Twitter marketing strategy less about broadcasting and more about conversation.

  • Tweet out questions
  • Make at least 30-40% of your Tweets replies to other people
  • When Tweeting links, add a line of your own insight to spark conversation
  • Tweet directly to your audience. Instead of “Blog Post Title, [link]”, try “What do you all think of this new post? Blog Post Title, [link]”

Being more conversational means higher engagement, which results in additional activity for your Twitter account in the long run.

Create a Tweeting Strategy/Schedule

Similar to planning ahead, you should also have a set posting schedule for your Twitter account. Your Tweeting schedule should detail what and when you plan on Tweeting. Your strategy should outline things like when you’re going to Tweet links to your new posts and other updates.

It’s a good idea to include this as a part of your overall content strategy, particularly if you publish content across several different platforms like a blog, YouTube, guest posts and media coverage. A benefit of having a set Tweeting strategy is so you avoid mistakes like only Tweeting out links to your new blog posts once. In general, this is one of the biggest mistakes brands tend to make on social media, but it’s particularly bad on Twitter.

The problem with Tweeting out links to your content just once is that most people won’t see it. You need to space out your Tweets to improve your visibility, and to ensure that as many people as possible are able to see your content. The next logical question is when should you Tweet? Sprout Social actually has a built in feature that takes care of this problem for you. The ViralPost feature chooses the most optimal times for you to share updates depending on when your followers are active.

ViralPost

The ViralPost feature is quicker and a more convenient way to handle your social media posting. And on top of that, you’re more likely to get engagement around your Tweets because there’s a higher chance of people actually seeing them!

Set Goals and Milestones

If you’re like us, you’ve probably read several Twitter Marketing tips online. But for some reason, this crucial tip gets glossed over or completely forgotten. No marketing strategy is complete without having measurable goals that you want to achieve. Without goals, objectives and milestones, you’re bound to make the same mistakes that so many small businesses on social and marketers fall into when it comes to social media marketing.

An astounding 41% of companies have no idea whether or not their social media efforts are working or not. A big reason behind that number is companies aren’t keeping track of their activity, and haven’t set any type of objectives for what they want to achieve on Twitter.

Instead, businesses just publish content and hope that something happens to improve their brand. The publish and pray approach simply won’t cut it. First, you’ll want to set some objectives and goals on Twitter.

  • Build an engaged following
  • Monitor and improve your brand’s reputation
  • Respond to customer complaints quicker
  • Generate leads
  • Get more traffic to your website
  • Network with bloggers and influencers

Then, you’ll establish accomplishments that tie in with those objectives.

  • Increase @mentions and Retweets by 15%
  • Keep response rate above 90%
  • Maintain a response time of under 10 minutes
  • Generate at least 20 leads from Twitter
  • Improve referral traffic from Twitter by 30%
  • Add at least 100 new contacts from Twitter

Of course, all of your goals should include a specified deadline. This could be weekly, monthly, quarterly or whatever works best for your industry. Use a social media management tool like Sprout Social and a website analytics tool like Google Analytics to measure your activity and track your goal’s progress.

EngagementReport-short-640

If you follow these tips, you will go above and beyond the basics of setting up a Twitter account and following random people in hopes for a follow back. Try to focus on using Twitter to engage and grow your brand.

Do you have any awesome Twitter marketing strategies that have helped your business? Let us know in the comments!