Using Twitter To Market Your Business
Twitter is one of the more misunderstood social media marketing platforms. I’ll admit, it can be a little intimidating to get into the flow of it at first. Hence why there are so many profiles you come across that have 4 followers and the default gravatar as the profile picture. When I first started on Twitter, first for my band and then later for my business it took me a while to get the hang of it. I remember reading so many statistics that it is a great lead generating asset for businesses and not believing it. But after buckling down and giving it my all it has now turned into a great source of leads and industry contacts. So how do you best use Twitter to build your brand?
Brand Your Page:
The Bio: The Anatomy Of Your Content
This is what separates the men from the boys, or the women from the girls. The biggest twitter bio faux pas is having a bio or having a cheesy hashtag-loaded bio that screams you’re a noob and not a professional. Remember, just like a tweet you only have 280 characters, so make them count. A nice blend of what you actually do, unique wording, and a little bit of humor can go a long way to making your profile shine.
It is ok to add a hashtag or 2 into your bio, but don’t overdo it. I have seen more than my share of profiles that have 5+ hashtags. It makes your profile hard to read and jarring, in my humble opinion it looks like you are trying to hard and don’t really understand the platform.
Add it, seriously. So many profiles do not add this and it does not look good. You can add several if that is appropriate to what you do.
Take advantage of the link section. Add your website, or better yet depending on what your goal is to create a special Twitter landing page on your website that provides a nice informative page specifically for your twitter followers.
Images & Branding
One of the most important aspects is ditching the default gravatar and branding your page. Twitter has 2 different places to add your marketing collateral. First is the profile image. This is a great place for a good close up corporate headshot if you are branding yourself, or a spot for your logo design, depending on its style.
Profile Image Dimensions: 400px X 400px
The Header Image.
This is the area behind your bio. A good portion of it has text overlaid so try to avoid an overly busy cover image. This is a good place for an image or a nice brand graphic or even just a cool textured effect. Be sure to test the design out on mobile and make sure none of your important text gets cut off.
Header Image Dimensions 1,500px X 500px
The mistake many brands make with Twitter is not posting enough. Pro Tweeters post A LOT! It is a fast-moving feed and you really need to post often to be seen and to build your followers and create conversation. At least once a day at the bare minimum, but 5-10/day is the ideal mark to shoot for.
So what kind of content should you post? Think a good blend of useful industry-related links to articles, images, and of course statistics, quotes, and tips are great pieces to tweet. Think of your audience. Twitter can be a powerful lead generator if used properly. When it comes to self-promotion, tread lightly. Try to follow the 80/20 rule, where 80% of your tweets should be useful to the audience, and only 20% is used to promote your brand. You can even shoot for a 90/10 rule here. Believe me, people will know what you do, if you go on a rampage of shameless self-promotion shouting from a soapbox about how great your brand is you will alienate your audience very quickly.
Hashtags are critical to your content being seen on Twitter, as well as building your follower base. Avoid tweeting without hashtags, every so often is fine, but you want the tweets to get seen. Be sure to keep your hashtags to 1-3 per post. Do not make every word a hashtag, this looks bad and you will not get engagement from it. You also want to use appropriate and popular hashtags. So avoid #thinkingyoucanjustaddahashtagtoanylongthoughtandmakeitwork, get it? You can search for trending hashtags, and a few quick searches will yield the most used hashtags for your industry.
One of the most important parts of being involved in the Twitter community is engaging in conversations. Again, it is not a good platform for shameless self-promotion. Look through your feed, answer questions, ask questions, ask new followers how their day is going. Twitter is pretty close to real-world social mores. You know the guy at the party that doesn’t ask anyone anything about themselves and when someone does talk to them he just goes on a monologue all about himself? Yea, don’t be that guy. No one likes him.
As you are going through the feed and you find tweets that you really like, retweet them. Everyone loves to be retweeted, and many times you will get retweeted in the future by them, or a thank you and the beginning of a conversation. When you can retweet with a comment that is insightful.
If you like a tweet but don’t feel it is appropriate enough or just doesn’t fit into your Twitter strategy “like” it. Again, everyone loves their tweet to be liked, not as much as a retweet but it is still nice.
#Content Curation & Scheduling
So where to find all of this content to post 5-10 times a day? There are so many great blogs out there and content is everywhere, it is just a matter of finding good industry-specific blogs and adding them to a blog aggregator service. I personally use Feedly and have several hundred blogs fed right to the panel broken into different categories.
Posting 10 times a day can be rough, but don’t worry, you are not expected to be glued to your computer or phone all day long. Using a scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite allows you to browse great content in your downtime, optimize, and schedule posts for days to come. Then you can spend the day casually checking Twitter for conversations and posting from the hip without feeling stressed about having to come up with so many on the fly. And most importantly, show your personality!
The Growing Strategy
Growing Your Followers:
Gaining followers can be slow going, but get into it and you will find it starts gaining momentum pretty quickly. You will not gain followers without reaching out and follow other people. While having more followers is better, you also want them to be real and relevant to your brand. If you are a restaurant in Chicago, follow people that are local to your eatery. If you sell interior design goods to designers, do a twitter search for #interiordesign and follow those with an interest. Stalk your competitors twitter profiles and follow those that are following them, just be sure to make sure they didn’t just buy a bunch of followers by checking their engagement to their follower count. Be creative, think outside the box, and find profiles that are relevant to your industry by either location or market and follow the people that are following them.
Once you follow a good amount of people, 500-1000, give it a week or 2 and then go in and unfollow those that did not follow you back. Many accounts are abandoned, or used very infrequently, you do not want to follow these accounts as with twitter you want a good following to follower ratio. You generally want to average having slightly more following you than you are following. While this will naturally fluctuate as you are growing your base, you don’t want to get stagnant where you are following 1,000 people and only 120 are following you back. If someone does not follow you back in a week or 2 it means they are either not interested in your brand, they are inactive or that they do not check their page often.
A good practice to get into as you start your page is organizing people into Twitter Lists. Create a range of lists by region, industry interests, etc. and add people to them as you go along. These people will be notified that you have added them to a list and can be a great way to solidify the relationship.
While Twitter can be a bit hard at first and takes some time to get into once you do you will find it is a rewarding and fascinating platform for social media marketing. There have been many business success stories that are based simply on the marketing mastery of Twitter. The main key is to be persistent and give yourself to it completely. It may take a number of months before you see it translating into leads, but rest assured, if you do it right the leads will come. But most importantly, HAVE FUN!
What strategies have helped your brand grow on Twitter? I’d love to hear your input.