It's 9AM on a Tuesday morning. You've been up all night writing what you're pretty sure is the blogpost of the century—scratch that, the millennium. It's useful, it's actionable, and you better bet it's interesting. You push publish, head to Twitter and tweet out the link. There your announcement is, high upon the feeds of all of your followers, and the world doth rejoice...for all of about ten seconds before it's buried beneath a pile of competing "glorious" blogposts and inane comments about Miley Cyrus' disputed levels of sanity.
If this is all too familiar of a scenario, you're not alone. While most business owners or marketers worth their salt know that Twitter is supposed to be a part of their marketing strategy, it's hard to know how to get heard in such a loud space. To really master the platform, we highly recommend reading through this extensive guide to Twitter, which takes a deeper look at all of the platform's many ins and outs. Below are just a few more helpful tips to really get your feed rolling.
1. Actively Build Close-Knit Customer Connections
Sure, you want to let customers know about your super cool services, but if you want anyone to actually click through to your website, you'll have a much easier time of it if you've invested in developing some good will first.
If that sounds like a line from a customer service training manual, that's because, when used correctly, Twitter is one of the best customer service platforms on the market. With such direct access to customers, you can use Twitter to engage in real conversations. Does someone have a complaint about your latest product release? Respond immediately with an @reply to learn more and find a solution. Is someone else praising that new product? Retweet their tweet and give them a shout out that makes them feel special. Is there a major outage or supply problem that's rendering your product nearly unusable? Use Twitter as a triage center where you can walk people through their technical issues.
The key here is to really embrace the platform as a part of this new and transparent digital world. Talk like a human being, engage in real conversations, show empathy, admit error, and your customers will be much more likely to engage with your more blatant marketing efforts as well as in the marketplace.
2. Use Data to Provide Content Customers Actually Want
One of the best ways to thrive on Twitter is to link to actionable, useful content customers actually want, whether it's an expert how-to video hosted on your blog or a national news article that's relevant to your business or industry. However, the only way to actually know what your customers want to consume is to track and measure their interaction with your feed. Bit.ly links can be especially helpful for this, as they not only make your links user friendly, but they also show you stats on just how many people are clicking through. If you're linking to your website, Google Analytics can also be helpful in this regard.
While you're experimenting with different types of content, you may even want to try out a little A/B testing for the actual crafting of your tweets. You may, for example, want to test out different headline or tweet styles to see just what kind of wording really lures your followers in. It's also important that your tweets give your followers a way to act, so you might want to test your wording for incentives as well.
The more data you have, the better and more relevant both your content and your headlines will be.
3. Find the Influencers
More than any other platform, Twitter is all about the conversation. But people pay far more attention to some speakers than others. In the social media world, we call these people influencers, and they're important to recruit onto your team. This could mean reaching out to an industry expert to see if they'll review your product, or just asking for a guest blog exchange to be tweeted and retweeted on Twitter. It could also mean using a tool like Klout to measure the relative impact of Twitter users and reach out to key influencers with special incentives. Or, it could mean simply responding to and retweeting posts to demonstrate your own expertise and develop relationships with the users you're reposting.
Whatever you do, the key to keeping the conversation going is both quality and speed. Download the Twitter app for your phone so you never miss a beat, and if you're on multiple social media platforms, use a tool like Hoot Suite to condense all of your feeds into one.
4. Get Serious About Your Platform Branding
Twitter is all about developing personal relationships, and that just can't be done with a blank profile photo and a bland headlines that says, "We sell shoes." Just as you invested time and money into designing a logo, business cards and a website, it's important to invest time into keeping the look of your Twitter profile well-branded and up to date. If you're a solopreneur, a great photo of you will do well for the profile picture, while a logo will keep things on brand for bigger companies. Having a good header image at the top of your profile is also important, as it will set the mood and tone for a customer's interaction with your brand. If your company operates in a visual field, this might just be a great time to show off what you can do with your background as well. Whatever you do, keep it high quality, visually compelling and on-brand.
5. Set a Twitter Schedule
The line between providing helpful content and just being downright annoying on Twitter can be very thin, and the last thing you want is to make your followers feel like you're spamming them. But limiting yourself to a few posts a day doesn't mean that you have to take a leave of absence for the rest of the day. Instead, set aside several times to respond to comments and direct messages, another for tweeting out someone else's helpful content, another for doing a little outreach to influencers and another for posting your own very meaty content. This way you'll be engaging with Twitter much like the casual, non-business user, further strengthening relationships as you go.
When used the right way, Twitter is as powerful a social media platform as they come. With just a few tricks up your sleeve, you'll be a master of 140 characters in no time. Good luck!