Twitter. Tweets. Followers. You’ve probably heard the lingo even if the concept is hazy in your mind. But it’s time to take a deep breath and jump into the social media world of Twitter. Your business might need it.
Why Consider Twitter?
Twitter has everyone. Friends. Celebrities. Family. Brands. Political groups. News networks. Most importantly for you: customers. Anyone can talk to anyone simply by tweeting them (though of course they can choose whether to reply or not). Best of all, if you are looking for something – for example people’s thoughts on a new product – just search the hashtags and find out what people are saying. You will find that people are rarely shy about sharing their opinions on this platform.
Tweets can contain links, photos, GIFs or videos, or 140 characters of text. The brevity of tweets is probably what is most unique about Twitter: it forces content to be short and sweet – and to the point.
However, it’s helpful to keep in mind that Twitter works in a very specific way. It is best for short bursts of information, rather than essays outlining your business philosophy. A tweet also has a very short lifespan, as tweets are shown in the newsfeed in the order they happen in. New tweets push older tweets down the newsfeed. This means most of the engagement will happen in the hour after it is tweeted. But don’t be discouraged – invest in Twitter for the long haul and you’ll see the benefits in time.
Why Invest In Twitter?
Twitter gives your business a unique opportunity to connect with customers, get their feedback, give them news in real time and increase sales through tactics like give away coupon codes and promotions for those following you. It also opens doors for branding, marketing and building brand loyalty. Especially: Twitter is viral. Produce the right content at the right time and your brand could be all over Twitter’s newsfeeds.
How to start
First of all, create your business account. Go to Twitter.com or download the app and sign up. The full name will be your display name – but you can change that as you like, whenever you like. Your username is what people use to contact/tweet you (by putting an @ in front of your username in a tweet). Pick an avatar and background image, and then write your business’ bio – this will let your potential followers know who you are and if you are something they might be interested in.
Now find some people to follow! This might be industry leaders, your customers, competitors or other relevant users. Search keywords related to your business to find other users like you. Once you have a few followers, all you need to do is click the home tab and your feed will be displayed, showing all the latest tweets from those you follow.
The basic controls
Here’s what you need to know. Tweets can be 140 characters – a photo counts as 24 characters, but you can add four photos. To say something, click the ‘compose new tweet box – this allows you to share other media as well. A link counts as 23 characters. If you want to tweet at someone – and make sure they see your tweet – use an @ and then their username in your tweet. An ideal tweet is about 100 characters – short and sweet.
Hashtags are the big deal on Twitter – if you are joining a larger conversation, use relevant words as hashtags. For example, if you have a giveaway coupon, use the #giveaway hashtag so people looking for deals can find you.
There’s some phrases to get used to – a RT is a retweet (when you share someone else’s tweet, with or without your own comment) and a DM is a direct message (if you choose to have that feature turned on).
The main thing to know is to be active on Twitter – retweet your own tweets, use hashtags, follow people back, reply to all the tweets that @ you. This can help you build a stronger presence and gain more followers on Twitter.
Who sees what?
Everything on Twitter is public by default. There’s an option for a private experience, but this limits your reach for potential new customers severely. So when you are tweeting, remember that what you are saying can be seen by everyone and anyone. If anyone is spamming or annoying your account, you can block and mute their account as well as reporting their behaviour.
Direct Messaging is a feature that Twitter has had with mixed success. It does allow people to talk privately on Twitter, but due to the risk of having unwanted interactions, many users choose to turn off this feature. It may be a helpful avenue to talk to customers in a not so public way, or you may choose to keep it professional and limit private communications to emails. It’s up to your and what fits with your business.
What Should I Tweet?
Developing your content strategy for Twitter is the same as developing content for any social media platform – it’s just character limited. Try to split what your share between stories and ideas from other sources, your own brand content and content promoting your business to gain followers. If in doubt, have a look at what others in your industry are tweeting – especially industry leaders. Don’t just use text – use images and videos as well!
A schedule and content calendar will help you a lot, especially as the timing of content releases is so important on Twitter. Posting regularly will increase your visibility, and so increase your engagement, and so increase your follower count. To do this well can be time-consuming, and it may be worthwhile asking a professional to do this for you. A social media marketer will create a strategy, implement the strategy, and grow your Twitter followers. It will also be integrated with your website.
To really get the most out of Twitter, use it daily. If customers are using it to contact you, part of what they expect is a quick reply. So turn on email notifications if you need to – just make sure you are tending to your account at least once a day. This includes liking and re-tweeting content as well as following new accounts and looking at trending topics.
This may all seem like a lot to learn and take in, but Twitter is not as scary as it may sound. Use the first few months to trial and error as you build your presence and get to know your audience. It’s easier to do when the tips in this post have helped you start ahead of the game already!
If you’d like to boost your social media presence, contact us today. We are experts in designing social media strategies, implementing them and analysing the results.