Here are some best practices to use Twitter successfully to grow your small or medium-sized business:
1. GET THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB.
There are incredibly useful and powerful social media management tools on the market that can help you monitor your social media, post replies to messages quickly and efficiently and even coordinate social media workflow if you have more than one person responsible for your online presence. For example:
Hootsuite, which allows you to manage and update several different social media accounts (including more than one account on the same network and even your Google+ business page as one of the few partners with full access to the Google+ API), supplies regular social analytics reports for free, has great functionality for team management, lets you store message drafts for frequently asked questions, works well across a variety of platforms and offers dedicated mobile apps.
Sprout Social which users repeatedly rave about as very intuitive, gives you the ability to review your Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds on one screen, work with a team to manage social media, post directly to social media accounts from the dashboard and determine impact by reviewing comprehensive analytics reports.
2. GET THE BASICS RIGHT.
Ensure that your Twitter profile is current and showcases your brand well, striking just the right tone to showcase the personality of your business. Post actively with interesting information that is timely and informative – and don’t forget to use hashtags, great images (they get retweeted and get more clicks than far more often than tweets without), and links to video or other social media platforms. Rather than taking a hard sell approach, seek to create content that builds relationship and trust. Twitter is about relationship, which means you need to engage your audience in meaningful dialogue and not just lecture. When you use Twitter advertising ensure that you are offering something valuable that won’t alienate people who dislike having their Twitter feeds taken over by sales pitches.
3. TIMING IS EVERYTHING.
Use social media management analytics tools like KISSmetrics to determine when your audience is most engaged so you can time your updates to coincide with the time of day and time of the week that you should get maximum benefit. Not only that, you can determine which frequency of posting on Twitter or Facebook will generate the most interest. It pays to test your audience yourself by tweeting the same message out at different times and monitoring results. Every audience is different and you need to figure out what works best to reach your unique demographic.
4. LEARN FROM MARKETING SPECIALISTS.
Follow the blogs of successful online marketing companies that specialize in social media marketing to stay informed about the most recent trends and tips for Twitter marketing success. Don’t forget to follow their Twitter and Facebook accounts as well! Start by reaching out to a Twitter expert who will answer your questions about the best first steps for your business and industry in social media (Twitter) marketing.
5. EXPLORE TWITTER ADVERTISING OPTIONS FOR BUSINESS.
There are three main Twitter advertising options: promoted accounts (to gain more qualified followers), promoted Tweets (to establish your brand presence and offer deals), and promoted trends (to build awareness widely prior to a launch or event – recognizing this is the most expensive advertising campaign). You can target followers by location and work within a specified daily budget. Not certain where to start? Watch this great overview of Twitter advertising here:
6. RECOGNIZE THE VALUE OF STRATEGIC MARKETING AND WELL-CRAFTED CONTENT.
Yes, even on Twitter. Great tips from marketing pros (like these ones from the Social Media Examiner team) include how to match the emails of your clients to their Twitter handles so you can analyze demographics and which keywords they use, how to tweet about an article to capture the interest of your audience (don’t just use the headline!), and the importance of timely content that connects with people in real-time.
Having a well-planned, creative, and consistent social media marketing strategy for your business is a crucial first step. Making sure that it functions to support what you’re doing elsewhere online is next (and equally as important). How easy is it for website visitors to find your business’ social channels? It should be exceptionally easy. Here’s how: Ensure you’ve got links to all your social accounts on your website — usually as linked icons in the top-right of your website’s header and again in the footer (and, vice versa, that your social bios / profiles include your website URL and that your social posts include links to pertinent pages on your website).
A. ENABLE SOCIAL SHARING ON YOUR WEBSITE AND BLOG.
Make it easy for website and blog visitors to share your content with their networks by adding social sharing features to your content — “Share this!” and “Tweet this!” This is one of the easiest ways to take advantage of invaluable (and free!) word-of-mouth advertising.
B. TAKE IT A STEP FURTHER AND EMBED TWEETS:
Consider adding embedded tweets to your website, like a Twitter feed on your Homepage that features select Tweets with website visitors.Here’s a handy “How To” from the Twitter developer blog.
Sample embedded Tweet:
— Stir Solutions (@stirsolutions) February 10, 2015