Twitter Tips for Better Results
Why do you spend the time to maintain a Twitter account for your business?
If you have fallen into or been tempted by the “everyone else is doing it” reasoning, I would contend that there is at least a little validity to that. When we are talking about the mainstream, most widely used social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), you have to consider how likely it is that customers or prospective customers might search for your business there. Customers increasingly expect you to be a “social business.”
Ultimately, if you’re using Twitter because you think you’re supposed to, your social media strategy may be no more than a shot in the dark. Are there other areas in your business where you blindly do things without clear objectives and a deliberate strategy? Why treat Twitter or any other social media tool that way?
So ask yourself what you hope to accomplish on Twitter. Well, in a nutshell, your objective is to provide value to your customers and attract new customers. On Twitter, four main goals that will help you accomplish this objective include:
- Get More Twitter Followers (increase brand awareness, grow your audience),
- Get More Retweets (extend the reach of your content),
- Get More Traffic (drive more views to your site, blog, or other content), and
- Get More Engagement (build goodwill and loyalty with customers).
GET more twitter Followers
Your first goal is to get followers. You want this connection with customers and potential customers as it is essentially like getting their permission to show your tweets and content in their Twitter feed. Setting up a complete, well-planned profile and then understanding best practices for tweeting will help you gain more followers. Here’s where you start’:
SET UP A COMPLETE BIO INCLUDING A PROFILE IMAGE AND A LINK TO YOUR HOME PAGE.
- Profiles showing only an “egg” as a profile picture do not entice followers.
- Do not forget to provide a link to your home page (you’d be surprised how many do).
- You have 160 characters for your bio – use them well. Succinctly convey your expertise and experience here. This is the ONE place on Twitter it is good to talk about yourself!
SHARE AS MUCH RELEVANT, INTERESTING CONTENT AS POSSIBLE!
- Of course, be responsive and answer questions and complaints genuinely and honestly…
- However, realize a large following is not built on replies but on sharing content – lots of it!
- How much should you be posting? Probably more than you are right now! Research shows that the “sweet spot” may be as high as 22x/day.
FOLLOW THE BEST PRACTICES OF OTHER USERS/BRANDS WITH LOTS OF FOLLOWERS.
- Avoid self-reference, be audience-centric. Minimize the use of “I,” “we,” “my,” etc.
- Stay positive. Do not vent or criticize. Use sarcasm very carefully.
- Include a link in about three out of every four tweets (75%).
Get more Retweets
Your next goal will be to get people to retweet your content on Twitter. Expanding the reach of your tweets will build brand awareness and more people will find your content and your company.
- Use “Please Retweet” – data shows that just asking can get you four times the retweets!
- People seem to retweet more between 3-5pm (EST) in the afternoons and even more on Fridays. Reserve this time for your original content that you most want shared.
- Keep in mind this list of the top words found in retweets:
|1. you||6. blog||11. please retweet||16. how to|
|2. Twitter||7. social||12. great||17. top|
|3. please||8. free||13. social media||18. blog post|
|4. retweet||9. media||14. 10||19. check out|
|5. post||10. help||15. follow||20. new blog post|
Get More Traffic
Finally, your ultimate goal is to drive traffic to your content or your website. While gaining followers gives you a valuable connection with your customers and prospects, if you can convince someone to do business with you in 140 characters, we should talk! When someone clicks on a link to your content, you have the opportunity to provide real value and to move them along your sales funnel from casual follower to customer to brand evangelist. That’s the objective! Here are a few more data-based ideas to help you realize more link clicks from your tweets:
- Just as more people seem to retweet on Friday afternoons, data shows that people may be more likely to click on a link in the late afternoon especially on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. It is worth experimenting with your own tweets to see if your followers respond well on weekends. Focus on tweets sharing your own original content at these times.
- Use action based calls to action in your tweets. Say, “Check it out!” or “Tell me what you think” – be creative.
- Put your link toward the front half of the tweet. The darker area of this heat map graphic shows the placement of your (shortened) URL link for the best click through rate (CTR):
GET MORE engagement
Data shows that Twitter accounts with a lot of followers are focused on sharing tons of content more than on engaging with and replying to tweets and mentions. You must keep in mind that this data may be affected by large brands who are simply too large to be able to (or need to) respond to all the comments and mentions of their brands. When someone tweets about Coca-Cola, for example, they are likely not expecting a response. Consider, however, the example of JetBlue Airlines doing a tremendous job of engaging their customers directly on social media and standing out in an industry not exactly known for stellar service and happy customers.
This is where data and common sense must come together. While it is true that commenting, replying, and engaging with followers one on one will not necessarily build your reach or move the needle on your alalytics, part of being a social business is being social. A few tips to keep in mind:
- A free tool like Hootsuite can make it easy to track comments and mentions. Respond to these promptly with genuine interest, honest information, and sincerity.
- If you put @username at the beginning of your tweet, your reply will only be seen by that user and their followers. Move this within the tweet if you want it to be seen by your followers as well.
- Search out and engage potential influencers within your Twitter community. A little effort to build a relationship with users who have a lot of followers can ultimately be a way to build goodwill and brand awareness with those users as well.
Known as “the Social Media Scientist,” Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella has compiled extensive data over several years about what works best on Twitter – the types of tweets, words to use, when to tweet, and so much more. I drew extensively from his data to create the tips above. More of his vast data and expertise has been compiled in his new book, “The Science of Marketing” with an entire chapter devoted to Twitter. RetweetLab.com is a free tool you can use to analyze your own tweets and see if the data he has found holds true for your audience on Twitter.
Using the extensive data that is available you can fine tune your Twitter strategy to get better results. For more tips and help to get the most out of the time and resources your dedicate to Twitter, download our free eBook, “Attracting Customers with Twitter” today!