You and I are one year older, this year. Twitter is, too.
Yes – like us human beings, Twitter also ages, but it ages differently – thanks to its (let me say it, creative) designers, it gets more and more user friendly every year.
Do your marketing practices also stay young, fresh and friendly?
I hope so, but just in case you need a refresh, here I prepared a list – inclusive of expert quotes – of 10 essential rules to Twitter marketing just for you.
1. Don’t Forget the Basics!
Carrie Anne Foster says that there are 3 basic tips to make it on Twitter:
1. Pin a tweet to the top of your profile: When you pin a tweet to your Twitter profile, it stays at the top of your Twitter profile page. This will be the first tweet that people will see when they visit your profile.
2. If you use a free product to encourage people to sign up for your mailing list, regularly tweet it out.
3. Don’t use a Twitter validation system. This is one extra step that requires people to follow you. More often than not, people will simply skip this step which will potentially lose you followers.
These 3 simple tips are the very essentials anybody can start with, even non-marketers.
And I’ll add one more: retweet your own tweets!
Since 2016, you can do that with every tweet you have ever posted, making it easier to remarket old but still good content and giving it new life – and since you can add comments to retweets, you can use an extra call to action (CTA) to drive engagement and signups.
2. Build Relationships
Nancy Seeger at Seeger Consulting Inc. says that engagement is key to Twitter Social Media Marketing.
“Those I engage with are more likely to retweet and support my marketing efforts.” Seeger says. “I use Comun.it as the platform that makes Twitter conversations easier and allows me to engage more effectively.”
But engaging with wonderful small influencers isn’t the end of the marketing story on Twitter.
Jeffrey Romano at WP Lighthouse says that “one of the best ways to use Twitter is to build relationships with Twitter influencers. These are people who have many followers, tweet regularly and are highly engaged on the social network. To market effectively on Twitter, connect with these influencers, share their tweets, reply back to their tweets, and engage with their content (even if its not on Twitter).
They will eventually notice you and realize that you are one of their champions; it will be in their interest to get to know you better. Once you’ve built relationships with a group of influencers, start build relationships with another group, while keeping in contact with your newly-made Twitter friends.”
I’ll conclude this part with advice by Pierre Eustache Chardavoine at HeedPages:
“For social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, it is all about connection. Talk for real with your peers, don’t simply post for promotion; make a conversation. The ROI is a larger network, interactive buddies, actions and traffic.”
3. Use Twitter Chats
Anna Fox at Hire Bloggers suggests you use Twitter chats – TWChat.com, for example – because they “work best for finding active Twitter friends who’ll boost your interactions”.
Twitter chats work with hashtags, those topical “containers” preceded by a “#” that make the bread and oxygen of the life on Twitter. I’ll tell you more about hashtags in Tip #4.
How can Twitter chats benefit you?
- Like Anna Fox suggests, they can get you to interact with active Twitter users in your same niche.
- You can use chats to generate quality content for your blogs.
- You can use chats to survey people about a certain industry trend.
If you find this hard to believe, check out our Twitter chat recaps by Jason Chow – #WHSRnetChat is much loved hashtag!
Also, as of 2016, links to videos, GIFs and @usernames at the beginning of a tweet no longer count towards the 140-character limit, so you finally make your chats richer in content and opportunities.
4. Hashtags? Play it Smart
As David Faltz at White Rabbit Marketing says, “use #Hashtags strategically, and don’t overuse them.”
“Make use of trending and high traffic hashtags,” Mr. Bharat from Page Secret recommends. “You may also tag/include a brand or celebrity in order to target a wider audience.”
“But don’t overdo it,” warns David Leonhardt of THGM Writing Services. “On Twitter, more than one or two hashtags looks like spam.”
5. Content Must Bring Value to Your Users
“Value could be a lot of different things to different people,” says Don Seckler of Peak Inbound Marketing. “You know your audience best. Give them content that helps them in some way that is related to your business. That will definitely be perceived as value.”
But how to offer valuable content to your Twitter fans and followers?
“Helpful content in a very specific how-to style if often perceived as value.Plus it has the added benefit of helping build a perception that you are an expert and someone who can be trusted to provide helpful advice in your industry. That can lead to business for you.”
No need to go into detail to explain how beneficial this approach is with all social media, not just Twitter.
As an added bonus, Twitter implemented a small but remarkable change in 2016 to no longer require a period before a username to broadcast a tweet starting with an @username to the entire network. So while replies are still only shown to those who were involved in the conversation, the period is no longer necessary for all the other uses, and you can easily broadcast helpful content to all your followers instead of just the person you are talking to.
6. Visual Content Impacts
It’s why Twitter has introduced and recently improved photos in channels (since March 2014, with tags, too). You can build small infographics to lure your followers into clicking on the content link in the tweet where they can read more about the topic at hand.
It is best if you use the same image in the post, too, so it builds continuity.
In general, Carrie Anne Foster suggests that you “use the same image for all of your social media platforms. This will make you easily recognizable.”
7. Little Following? Don’t Give Up
After months of marketing efforts, you may still see a low follower count on your Twitter profile.
It can be disheartening, but you shouldn’t give up, because real success takes time and patience.
“The key is to be consistent and to add your own unique voice and views,” says Edwin Dearborn. “Twitter is not easy when one begins. The key is to keep on tweeting, to engage with people who resonate with you and to read up on [the platform] so you become better. Like any social media, it takes commitment and patience to become proficient.”
“Another great tip,” Edwin adds, “is to find the “tribes” you want to contribute to and find out what hashtags they frequently use.”
8. Spice Up User Engagement with Trivia
See what NameCheap does annually on Twitter to engage their clients with the brand – they give out domains, services or even money or special coupons to trivia winners.
The prize doesn’t have to be money (this isn’t allowed everywhere in the US either) but it has to spark interest in potential users.
9. Don’t Disdain Controversy
Any niche carries both lighter and heavier topics to the table, and they’re both necessary to keep the boat afloat, so you shouldn’t skip the latter – even when your followers may engage in a heated discussion.
The discussion will eventually cool down, but everybody will come out of it with deeper knowledge of their field and they will appreciate you for allowing it, which can only work toward an improved reputation for your brand.
10. Be Available to Answer Questions on Twitter
Twitter is not Quora or a support system, but you can use your channel as such if you want.
77% of users on Twitter feel more positive about a brand when they get a reply back.
Having an authentic brand voice matters. Make some time or have one of your team respond to support tweets during the week and encourage your users to get in touch on Twitter if they have an emergency (it can take longer to reply to an email).
How does this help with marketing, you ask? It’s simple – you can redirect your users to the right resources on your website or invite them to try another service you offer while you fix the other.
The interaction happens within the same ecosystem, so to speak (your brand), so it can grow… from the inside.
BONUS — Use Direct Messages for Marketing
Twitter’s own private messaging system – Direct Messages, or DMs – underwent some important changes in 2016 that affect marketing positively:
- DMs are no longer just for one-on-one conversations – you can add multiple recipients for your message.
- DMs are no longer subject to the 140-characters limit like tweets. That means you can go in detail in your conversations, and you can add photos, GIFs and emojis to enrich your messages.
- You can activate push notifications for DMs – an invaluable feature if you also use DMs for customer service.
As a blogger who provides a number of services, I’ve closed deals through DMs over the years, bought and sold domain names and advertising, and found opportunities to guest post on other blogs. The next step is holding mini-interviews via DM. Will it work? I think so.
The possibilities are endless.
Twitter SMM Toolbox
Jeffrey Romano suggests you “use Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your tweets beforehand. This will help you avoid having to be on Twitter throughout the day. Just by browsing your Twitter feed, skimming email newsletters, and seeing what the influencers you’ve got an eye on are up to, you’ll easily find content to tweet.”
For more tools and strategies, you can read our 24 social media marketing rules here.