Top 5 Twips for Twitter success

November 3, 2011

Twitter has grown more in the last 9 months than in the last 5 years. This staggering growth is fantastic news for brands. Twitter is a platform which offers a range of opportunities to brands, with companies having used Twitter in innovative and effective ways to increase online visibility, communicate key messages, provide customer service, promote themselves and, most importantly, engage directly with their audience.

Working with brands and developing a Twitter community we have found that people who follow brands on Twitter are more likely to both buy and recommend those brands’ products. Indeed over 50% of users are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after following them on Twitter.

This ability to increase customer loyalty means brands must be ready to take advantage of the opportunities Twitter provides. Yet, it is not a simple or straightforward process – building an audience on Twitter requires you to both attract and continuously engage with your fans and build a longstanding relationship with them.

So, how do you attract and keep the audience that you want? Here are our top 5 tips:

1.       Set out objectives

The first and most important question must be: what do you want to achieve with Twitter? Before embarking on any social media activity it’s crucial to have tangible aims in mind and a clear vision of what success means for you. There is no point (and, most importantly, it’s a wasted opportunity) launching a Twitter account with no clear objectives in mind. You need to decide: is it a customer service tool? Is it a promotional tool? Is it simply for brand awareness?

At the outset you must carry out research on your competitors so you can analyse what they are doing on Twitter and uncover the gaps in the market. Brands can use this information to devise a way to differentiate themselves and offer their audience something new.

When formulating your Twitter strategy you also need look at the broader marketing and strategic goals of your business – this will give you an understanding of what you want to accomplish. The most important thing to ascertain is if Twitter is right for your business. If it doesn’t make sense for your company, then don’t use it.

If you decide it is the right platform you must set out measurable goals and KPIs so that when you launch you have a clear focus and are able to measure exactly what you have achieved.

2.       Monitor to understand your audience

When it comes to understanding your audience Twitter is an invaluable source of information and insights. Its real-time search engine provides you with an immediate pulse of public opinion and it’s vital you use this to discover what your audience or clients want. Utilising this information will be invaluable in understanding the public perception of your brand and devising an ongoing strategy that responds to audience needs.

There are also a range of external tools you can utilise to track your brand on the platform. By creating search queries for key industry terms and tracking them throughout the day using a tool such as HootSuite you can uncover and understand the conversations that are happening around your brand.

Utilising Twitter monitoring tools allows you to track conversations about a problem your business can solve and gain insights into what is happening in your industry. You can also understand if one of your customers is making a complaint about you (and respond immediately) as well as receiving direct and immediate feedback on promotions you are running.

3.       TwOptimise your Tweets

Optimising your brand’s keywords on Twitter is crucial to your brand’s social success and must form the foundation of any strategic plan.

Think carefully about your keywords and create a content plan that schedules what you are saying and sets out which key terms you will be using in your posts. Keeping a very clear focus on the core essence of your brand – and the keyterms you will be using – is crucial for optimising your brand for search.

While Twitter is about being flexible and responsive, it’s also crucial to have this content strategy in place so you stay focused on achieving key objectives. This doesn’t mean you can’t vary the type of tweets you are posting but it does mean that you have to regularly publish ones that are on-topic and keyword-rich. This will ensure that your Twitter page ranks higher than your competitors.

There are other ways you can make your brand easier to find for search engines. Your Twitter profile is like any other page Google is indexing, with a headline, body copy and links. Therefore, you must ensure that the copy is keyword dense – while not forgetting that it needs to be compelling enough so that whoever reads it will want to follow you.

4.       Remember: Twitter is a value exchange

Many brands, particularly smaller businesses (but also some bigger businesses as well), are misusing Twitter as a platform to simply push out promotional messages onto users’ Twitter streams.

This is a mistake. At the forefront of your mind should be that Twitter is not about you – it’s about providing something of value to your audience. People follow brands for specific reasons: for example, to receive exclusivity, promotions and be “in the know” (67% of brand followers expect unique content from them). As a brand you need to be offering all of these things – and more – to ensure that people read your tweets and are engaged enough to click on your links and retweet you.

Carry out research to uncover what your audience want to hear about and tweet it. Understand which tweets get the most interaction and refine what you are saying until you have perfected it. You must also follow relevant people and use the features on Twitter, such as hashtags, to engage in conversations and make your brand more visible.

Through all of this you must remain strategic about how you tweet. This means focusing on your brand proposition, providing value and not focusing solely on ‘the sale’. In this way you will develop a style that matches your brand personality and engages with your consumers in a consistent, compelling and helpful way. Such an approach ensures that when your audience need what you offer, you are the brand they choose to use.

5.       Fit Twitter Into Your Social Media Marketing

Your online and social media marketing needs to be integrated and connected and it’s crucial to constantly keep in mind how Twitter fits into your overall social media marketing strategy. This can help to build stronger relationships by offering value across the social web. There are a number of ways to do this.

At the simplest level you must make sure that there is a clearly displayed link to your Twitter account on the homepage of your website.  In addition to this add a link to your account in your email signatures. It’s also best practice to add your profile to popular Twitter directories such as WeFollow, Twellow and Just Tweet It. These directories increase the chances of relevant audience groups finding you as they allow you to put your brand in the most relevant and popular categories.

Another effective way to ensure a ‘connected strategy’ is to link your tweets through to relevant content you have produced on other platforms. Linking through to blog posts will allow you to drive traffic and engage in industry debates with your followers. If you are running a competition on Facebook use Twitter to promote it, and vice versa. This kind of cross platform promotion is a great way to keep your audience engaged and aware of everything you offer.

However, remember that each platform demands its own strategy – so don’t have tweets that are synched directly to your Facebook Page, as hashtags and the way tweets are presented do not often lend themselves well to Facebook.

Your audience is out there

The great news for businesses is it’s clear that if you get all of these elements right the audience on Twitter are very open to having a relationship with your brand. Too many get it wrong and don’t understand why their follower numbers are low or why there is no interaction. However, brands who do provide value and engage with their audience are really seeing the benefits of using the platform. Your audience is out there, you just need to understand what they want – and deliver it.



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