Twitter has been around since 2006 and many companies still struggle with how best to use the platform. When done well, twitter can be a powerful part of the integrated marketing mix.
Whether you're new to Twitter, a veteran, or somewhere in between, here are some helpful Twitter tips.
Post a clear and concise bio and take advantage of opportunities to brand your Twitter Page
Twitter allows you 160 characters to post a bio on your profile page. Humanize your bio. Choose your keywords wisely and describe your product or service succinctly. Add a link to your website or any page you want your followers to click on to get more information out there about your brand. Take advantage of the new cover photo feature Twitter rolled out recently. Use the extra page real estate to promote a campaign or new product you offer. Much like the cover photo feature on your Facebook page, take the opportunity to use this space effectively to communicate more about yourself and your brand.
Offer value on your stream
If shameless self promotion is your only strategy, you're doing it wrong. Sharing information about your brand and services is important and sharing posts about your campaigns and events is important; however, sharing information relevant to your audience is most important. Take the opportunity to build your thought leadership within your community. Share information that will help your community grow and learn new things about your industry or business. If people like/value your tweets, they will suggest you to their friends. Take note that 69% of follows on Twitter are suggested by friends.
Be present and proactive
It's interesting to note the latest Twitter statistics state 56% of customer tweets to companies are being ignored. Engagement and relationships built with customers are key to acquiring loyal followers. Watch your @replies and make sure you reply to questions and inquiries made by your followers. Joining in conversations will also allow you to better know what your customers need. It is good practice to be have a consistent presence to build your base, not only when you have a campaign running. Relationships are not created overnight. Be patient and stay at it.
There are now more searches performed on Twitter each month than Yahoo and Bing combined ( 24 billion on Twitter, 4.1 billion on Bing and 9.4 billion on Yahoo.) If your competitor is present on Twitter and you are not, you are missing out on a huge opportunity.
Make use of hashtags
The hashtag on Twitter is a tool where in keywords in messages can be categorized and searchable. Including the # symbol before a relevant keyword or phrase in a tweet makes that word a search term and will bring up a Twitter search page for that term when clicked. Create your own hashtag or follow hashtags to access relevant and real time search information. When creating your hashtags, make sure you don't over do it. Choose one or two keywords in every tweet and make sure it is relevant to what you are tweeting about. If you want to know more about hashtags and how to use then effectively, check out this article from Mashable. Hashtags are also a great way to monitor your tweet stream to see who is talking about your brand and monitor mentions related to your product or service.
Take advantage of photos and videos in your Tweets
Twitter recently rolled out a feature where users will see better search results that highlight visual experiences. Search results now include photos and videos shared on Twitter. Take the opportunity to share your stories via photos and videos. When someone searches for an event or a hashtag, users will now see a grid of the most relevant media above the stream of tweets. With more people tweeting on the go, users can also see media embedded in search results on smartphones phones and mobile devices. Photos and article summaries automatically show previews offering a tree top view of what's happening at the moment.
Participate in Twitter Chats
Twitter chats are a great way to get more exposure on Twitter, find great people to follow and encourage people to follow you. Oneof my favs is #MMchat for marketers on Monday at 8P EST for marketers and advertising pros who are interested in all things social media. If you want to create your own Twitter chat, check out tweetchat.com to find out how to go about creating your own chat or get a list of other chats to follow. If you have the budget, why not sponsor a Twitter chat that is relevant to your brand and take the opportunity to connect with people in your industry.
Add a Twitter button to your website
According to MediaBistro there are about 500 million registered users on Twitter and 50% of active users say they follow companies and brands on social networks. 79% of active users will recommend brands to their followers and 67% say they will buy from brands they follow. Make it easy for people to share your brand story with their friends by adding a Twitter button to your site. This will make it easy for people to share your content with their networks. Don't forget to add a "follow" button to make it easy for people to follow you. Twitter offers several free widgets you can use on your website or blog.
Twitter is a powerful social media tool you can use to compliment your marketing campaign. Knowing how to utilize this social networking platform will help you gain insights about your customers, what's trending and what is being said about your brand. I hope these tips will help you take advantage of Twitter for engaging and building your community. Are you using Twitter as part of your advertising and promotional strategy? I invite you to share your experiences here. We'd love to hear your thoughts.