Twitter as a social media platform is very different from other platforms out there. The term micro blogging came into existence because of Twitter, and the world at large learned they could limit their character count to 140 and still make a point.
Twitter has evolved over time, and user feedback lies at the very heart of this evolution.
Features like @replies, Direct Messages, #Hashtags, Retweets, favorite etc. were all born because users had invented them for different purposes. This evolution continued with the need for sharing pictures, videos and gifs on Twitter; all this is now integrated in the Twitter ecosystem officially by the company. Even link shorteners were born because people wanted to share links in their tweets and still meet the 140-character requirement.
With its tremendous growth over a decade since its unveiling, Twitter has been a force to reckon with. Everybody is using this social platform. Companies provide news and excellent customer service through Twitter and it's a great marketing tool if used in the right sense.
Now, Twitter-based marketing isn't easy, but there are certain elements that are part and parcel of every Twitter marketing campaign. If you keep them in mind, you can optimize Twitter marketing deliverables for your business.
Here are nine such elements:
1. Manage your Brand identity
A Twitter account and profile is the foundation of a company's Twitter experience. Both introduce the company to its target Twitter community; so use the same logo, account name, tag line and images as used across your online presence to provide a consistent user experience and make your brand easily identifiable.
A good example is that of Nike. On the company's Twitter profile they have the iconic swoosh logo, the tagline #justdoit and the header photo is in line with the company's motto of keeping people fit.
Also, the company's Twitter handle is its name with no special characters. Not using special characters or punctuations in username is a great way to make it easier for people to access handles from their mobile phones.
Twitter's founder has always said that the service was designed to be used in conjunction with mobile phones right from its inception.
2. Build a Strong Foundation
There are times when businesses ignore filling out profile info like location, website and bio. This is a cardinal error as there are very valid reasons why such information needs to be filled in its entirety.
Location is helpful for people to find your business. Since people outside the country might not be aware of the city, state or country and won't recognize the exact location of your business, giving detailed information is advisable.
Website section allows you to share a web address which can be a website address or a blog, but it's a good practice to have a dedicated Twitter landing page thus getting analytics as to how well it is working for the company.
Bio is again a place where creativity helps. Instead of the company mission statement, tell people what you can offer them with a little sense of personality added to it.
3. Create relationships
Interact with target customers, industry influencers, brand advocates and other brands on Twitter by following them, replying, Re-tweeting or marking their status as favorite; this improves the visibility of your handle and by association, your brand and its products and services as well.
So interact with:
- Business partners, suppliers, vendors and contractors
- Competitors or Peers
- Trade or professional organizations in your industry
- Businesses in your neighborhood and
- Your trade circle
Proactive engagement helps generate conversations around your business, which in turn helps improve visibility and build relationships.
4. Provide Value
Twitter is a great platform to share, learn and grow. A lot of accounts provide amazing value to their followers. Twitter accounts like CNN breaking news, BBC breaking news and more provide news as it happens on Twitter while a lot of business accounts provide customer service and updates about their services and products.
Customer support by companies through Twitter has been a focus of attention because it can make or break them.
What they are actually doing is providing value to the Twitter community, which essentially is a crucial element of marketing a business through Twitter.
Promoting a business through Twitter is all about smart talking and making sure there is a fine balance in providing useful information and variety of content rather than the same promotional tweets. Giving people useful information and answering their questions will do brands a whole lot of good than just promoting themselves and putting people off.
The quality of content shared on Twitter will build up the follower count and for that you need to develop an effective communication strategy.
5. Connect your online presence
Once you have Twitter activities rolling along, it is important to integrate your Twitter marketing efforts with other online efforts. Twitter provides a handful of tools to integrate itself into blogs, websites and helps add a social layer to other online avenues.
A Twitter button, which redirects to the Twitter account of your business or the whole timeline, can be added as a widget on the business website or blog.
Also, a Twitter share button which enables users to share a blog post or website content with their friends and followers on Twitter helps trigger content virality. Again, there is an option to do this directly from Twitter but there have been external solutions making this possible way before the official launch. The last option is to embed a tweet into your website, thus allowing people to jump into the Twitter conversation.
6. Add media to your tweets
They say "a picture is worth a thousand words" and when you have a limitation of 140 characters, nothing expresses things better than pictures or videos. It's a proven fact that online content with media gets better attention as compared to plain text.
Twitter has integrated pictures and videos in line to avoid users being redirected to third-party websites. The pictures and videos convey more and are a natural fit for the Twitter ecosystem; and there are some great examples of companies utilizing Twitter Vine videos for making the most of Twitter.
7. Use Lists to your advantage
Twitter blocks you from following more accounts after you hit certain limits. If you want to follow more people, you will have to wait for those limitations to be lifted. In this scenario, the lists come in very handy because you can make lists of people you want to, but can't, follow. List can also be used to categorize different groups of people like:
- Potential Customers
- People you talk to most
- Neighborhood or community business
- People who inspire you
Lists can either be private or public. The public lists are visible to everyone while private lists are just visible to the user who created them. Lists also help focus on the tweets of just the users added in a list and as such not miss any updates from a selected few people.
8. Use Hashtags to expand Audience
Most people limit themselves on Twitter to the people they follow. It's not a bad idea to look for new and interesting people to follow to keep the Twitter conversations going.
Hashtags can lead to easy discovery of a topic and related tweets or can be used by a business for marketing or advertising campaigns. One of the most common uses of hashtags is event based. #SXSW is a hashtag used for South by South West which is a film, music and interactive conference held in mid-march in Austin, Texas, United Sates every year. #MWC is another hashtag used for Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona every year in the 1st week of March and many events and conference around the world use their own hashtags.
It's easier to find all the tweets of these conferences through hashtags and Twitter shows a stream of tweets related to and from the event. Businesses can use hashtags for customer service or creating brand awareness of any service or product by creating a particular hashtag.
These 8 elements will help market your business really well on Twitter and utilize the power of Twitter in branding and advertising to its full potential.