Social media has changed a lot of things — the way we interact with each another, the way we consume news, and yes, even the way we market our business. If you haven’t started using social media to market your new business, then you might want to consider doing so.
Different social networking sites have different roles in the lives of the customers you are trying to reach.
Facebook, for example, is a social media site where people typically “share” content with family and friends. While Twitter, on the other hand, is a social networking site where people engage other people through “followers” and “following.”
We’ll get into this more of this later as we talk how Twitter works. Facebook still remains to be the social networking site with the most number of users. (You can learn how to build a Facebook page and market it here.)
However, other social networking sites are also quickly growing and have their ‘niche’ which might be where your opportunity as a business owner is. According to a study, of the 500 million total users of Twitter, there are over 28 million who are monthly active users and 60% of Twitter users access is from mobile devices. Good to know, right?
This means that most Twitter users have access to Twitter, whenever, wherever. In addition to that, 34% of marketers use Twitter to successfully generate leads. Although it will take time to get to that point (everything worth having does), you can get there too.
If you think Twitter is the right social media network for your established startup, let’s dive deep, create an account, and learn how to successfully use it for marketing.
First off, what exactly is Twitter? It is a social networking microblogging site where people connect through followers. It allows its users to send out messages called “tweets” up to 140 characters long. People who see these tweets are those who follow you.
If your profile is made public, people who don’t follow you will see your tweets when they go directly to your profile page.
1) Go to Twitter.com, fill-up the sign-up form, and click sign-up.
2) You will be asked to fill-up another form. Make sure to complete the form. When thinking of a username, use your business’ name. Your business name should be the same in all platforms of social media, for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes.
This will make it easier for your followers to search for you online. Once you’re finished, click the “Create my account” button.
3) You will then see a blank page. Don’t freak out! Before anything, you’ll need to build your Twitter account step-by-step. Twitter will help you on what to do. Just click the next button.
4) Follow people. Twitter will ask you to start following at least 5 people. Twitter will also have a list of suggested people you should follow. Your business account should follow influencers who your business wants to engage.
Do you sell clothes? Who do you think would be interested in your product? Who do would you want to retweet your tweet? Beforehand, also learn about your audience.
Are you for women in their mid-twenties? Who are the influencers in this category? Do you need bloggers who write about fashion trends? Who you follow and who follows you on Twitter is important.
Unlike Facebook where you have friends and family as connections, Twitter users follow people and brands that they believe in. For example I’m a huge fan of Bill Gates. I follow him on Twitter because he’s a hero of mine and I love what he’s doing with Gates Notes.
Once you’ve followed some people, you will see their tweets on your newsfeed.
5) Twitter will ask you to follow 5 more people who are influencers. Twitter lets you select from a group. For example, “politics” “news” “music” etc. Click the group and you will see influencers and popular people in this group. Choose the right people to follow. After you’ve done that, click ‘Next’.
6) Now you can search for people you know through your email. Connect your email to your Twitter account and Twitter will find your friends on Twitter. You may also invite your friends who are not yet on Twitter or you may skip this step.
7) Next, set-up your profile. Upload your business’ logo or a photo for your business and write a short profile about it.
8) Go to your profile and customize your profile page. Add a photo to your header and change your background. Be creative! You have to make sure that your profile reflects your business.
To change your background, go to your settings which can find by clicking the gear icon in the upper right side of the page. By clicking settings, you’ll be redirected to another page. Click ‘Design’.
There’s a set of pre-made themes that you can choose from but I’d recommend you customize your own for branding purposes.
A good example of a great Twitter profile would be Doc Pemberton’s, the inventor of Coca-Cola.
Keep in mind that Twitter has started to change their interface and while some profiles still look similar as above, some profiles now look different. Take a look at McDonald’s profile:
9. After setting everything up, you’re ready to tweet!
Now that you have already created an account, you should know how to properly use Twitter for your brand. Like all other kinds of marketing, social media marketing shouldn’t be the only strategy for your business. It is just another part of it.
For instance I’d highly recommend you look into using email marketing or search engine optimization to market your business as well.
It’s important that you understand your overall marketing strategy and know where to place Twitter in all of it. Social media marketing is cheap and effective, if done the right way, but not the end all and be all of your marketing. Do not forget to strategize, strategize, and strategize!
Now, for the big question. How exactly do you actually use Twitter for your marketing? What are the do’s and don’ts? How do you engage your audience? How will you generate leads and sales? Let’s dive in and get started!
1) You need to know the tone and feel of your brand and use this while tweeting and talking to your audience.
One good example would be Doc Pemberton. Doc Pemberton uses a first person point of view, as if he were really alive. He talks like an expert (he’s a doctor, after all), and talks in the same way as he would decades ago. This makes Doc Pemberton interesting to follow on Twitter.
The Twitter account, of course, a marketing strategy of Coca-Cola that is obviously effective. He has 132,000+ followers with influencers like Ellen DeGeneres. He frequently tweets to @CocaCola and uses hashtags like as #AtLeastThereWouldBeCoke. It’s actually pretty entertaining.
Delta Airlines also has a good tone and feel to their tweets. They tweet as if they were one person talking to another person they know, not just passengers who are strangers.
They greet good morning and good night (not in a formal way). Their tone is always exciting and friendly, allowing their audience to be comfortable and interact with them. They sound cool even in sharing their history.
They tweet, “It takes two baby! 68 years ago this month…” instead of just, “68 years ago…” See the difference? Your tone and feel is such an important part of your strategy.
Who do you want to be when you talk to your audience? Do you want to act like an expert or as a friend? Do you want to be like a parent or like a teacher? Who are you in their lives and will they listen to you when you talk in that way?
Nobody likes a bland corporation. Find your voice! It will make all the difference when you start marketing on social media where conversations are essential.
2) Use keywords and hashtags consistently and wisely. Remember, you only have 140 characters to say what you want to say. Using hashtags and keywords will not only allow your users to find you, it also allows you ton find people who are interested in your brand and who have something to say about you.
This will also allow you to engage them in conversations and will let them see that you are listening to them and that you care about what they say.
A good example would be Oreo’s #OreoSnackHacks hashtag. The hashtag is all about different ways how to eat an Oreo cookie. By using this hashtag, Oreo is able to find and retweet their audience’s tweets about their product. By doing so, they are able to promote their product organically (not paid), with the help of their audience.
3) Add photos to your tweets. Most people on social media love visuals.
They share or retweet if they find good content, including good photos. Again, a good example would be Oreo. Oreo’s tweets are mostly with images of Oreo cookies as part of different recipes. Oreo’s tweets with images have more favorites and retweets than their tweets containing only text.
4) Engage your audience and join the conversation. Reply to their questions, retweet their posts that you find good, make them use your hashtags, use other hashtags other than your own when they’re relevant.
Here, Oreo asks a question to their audience, including a hashtag which their audience can use if they decide to answer the question.
In this example, Oreo interacts with another brand, Product Poet. Oreo tags Product Poet in their tweet and uses the hashtag used by Product Poet.
If you look closely, Product Poet has its own following of 136,000+ followers. By interacting with Product Poet, Oreo gets a chance to be noticed by another brand with a huge following.
If Product Poet retweets Oreo’s tweet or replies to Oreo, Oreo gets free advertising to the 136,000+ followers of Product Poet. But remember that Oreo does this by being smart and witty. Not aggressive and pushy. Oreo literally creates a poem for Product Poet.
And Oreo isn’t afraid to give a witty reply to their “critics.”
However, remember to choose your battles. Don’t spend your time replying to trolls or critics, unless they can be useful to you, too. Oreo replied to Vanity Fair because it IS Vanity Fair, another big brand with a huge following. Their reply is witty, too. So unless you can handle your trolls and critics really well, just ignore them. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you.
5) Connect with the right people. Like we have been talking about, the right people will get you the leads you want. There are tools such as Follower, Twellow, and Wefollow that will help you find the people you are looking for.
6) Use other tools that will help you manage your Twitter account such as scheduling posts and learning about your Twitter insights. Some tools are Tweetdeck and Hootsuite.
7) Of course, don’t forget to link your twitter to your website and your website to your Twitter account. Here’s an example from Oreo where their website has its Twitter feed embedded and where people can easily follow them:
And in their Twitter account where people can easily find their website:
1) Twitter Searches
Twitter searches are powerful and handy when you want to listen to what your audience has to say about a certain topic or about you. If we search, for example the #OreoSnackHacks, we will find all tweets that use this hashtag.
If you are Oreo, you can look for great content which you can retweet and share. You can also use this information to see how your product is being used by your audience.
You can also just type in the name of your product and see what your audience is talking about and what they think of you.
2) Twitter Lists
Twitter lists help you monitor users in different categories. It helps you curate and group Twitter users according to whatever categories you want to put them into. This will help you see what a particular group of people you are following are talking about. Lists does not allow you to send a direct tweet to members of a list but allows you to read their tweets. You can make your lists public or private.
To make a list, click the gear icon and click on Lists and click Create New List and fill up the form about your list.
Search for users who you want to be a part of your list and add them to it. Afterwards, if you check your list, you will see exactly who you’ve added. There will also be a newsfeed dedicated to only the tweets of the members of your list. Remember that you can add users who you are not following into your lists.
If you make your lists public, people can subscribe to this list. Other people will also see the list they are a part of. Here’s an example of a public list made by Hufftington Post:
You may also subscribe to other people’s lists. By doing so, you’ll see what a group of people are talking about on certain topics:
You will find that the lists you subscribed to as part of your lists. Lists are actually very important in getting to know your audience and joining the conversation. You have to know what people are talking about and how to reach them and this is a good way to start.
3) Trending topics and hashtags
Again, a good way to join the conversation is to join trending topics and hashtags that you can relate to your business. You can customize your trending topics based on specific regions and cities. You can go as specific as you would like.
This lets you have a conversation with your audience. For example ESPN uses #PacWins hashtag and joins in on the Pacquiao-Bradley fight that’s trending Worldwide:
4) Tweet more on weekends
According to Dan Zarella, social media scientists, click through rates on Twitter are higher on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
5) Make it short and sweet!
Again, according to Dan Zarrella, shorter posts tend to have more engagement.
6) Note the growing audience
Twitter’s fastest growing demographic is 55-64 year olds. Surprise! Most people on Twitter are in their youth but studies show that the 50+ year olds are quickly adapting to the cool platform. Knowing your audience includes knowing who are already on Twitter and who are adapting to it.
7) Know your Twitter prime time
There are specific times in a day when people are mostly online and checking their twitter accounts. Don’t post during down time, otherwise your tweets will only get buried below other tweets. Tweet at the right time!
8) Tell them what you want them to do
Have a direct call to action and tell your followers what you want them to do. Want them to retweet your tweet? Say it. Ask them to retweet your tweet. Don’t make your audience mind readers.
9) Build a tribe
Twitter is known to have and help build high brand loyalty. Remember, people on Twitter usually only follow people or brands that they trust and want to hear from. 67% of Twitter users are likely to buy from brands they follow.
Remember that like any marketing strategy, you have to use the right tools to be successful. Before you dive head first into Twitter and other social networking sites for your business, know how to use them first and learn about your audience and the best ways to reach them online.
Keep all these things about Twitter and you’re good to go. And don’t forget to follow @StartupSavant for daily business hacks and tricks!