Twitter is a great tool for live updates, and interaction with your followers. While interacting with your prospects and clients, you can position yourself as a thought leader. The key is to share your knowledge, and provide your followers with valuable content.
Twitter can also be used to generate traffic to your website or blog. Tweet about your new blog post, link back to the article and encourage employees to include your twitter handles in their profile information. Building links on Twitter won’t directly help your SEO ranking (Twitter has nofollow links, which means that search engines are instructed not to give any credit to your links on Twitter), but it will help to generate traffic to your site, which can be great from an inbound lead-generation perspective.
Not only can Twitter be used to promote your content, it can also be a source of new content. Host a live conversation on Twitter, and allow your followers to ask questions. The conversations can then be used as input for a new blog post.
Recent research by Optify found that Twitter was the most successful social network in generating leads, producing 82% of all social-generated leads.
Marketers should consider leveraging Twitter as a lead generation tool only if they have:
- Followers - is your target audience/industry using Twitter? If not, spending time on Twitter probably doesn't make sense
- Great content - to get followers, you need to promote great content. Make sure you have a library of whitepapers, videos and blogs to promote, and that you're creating content on a regular basis
- Time - you'll need time to create your content and tweets, and to keep track of what others in the industry (clients, competitors, prospects are saying.
- Lead capture processes - there's no point in directing followers to your site if you have no way of capturing their details once they get there. Offer downloadable assets, email subscriptions and other thought leadership in exchange for contact details.
- Nurturing processes - not everyone who comes to your website via Twitter will be ready to buy, which is why you need to nurture them. Make sure you have a nurturing process (e.g. email, newsletter) that you can put them into, to keep positioned with them.
What to tweet?
So, what should you Tweet about? Diversity is the key. Inform your followers on your products or services, blog posts, latest news, and the details of your upcoming event. However, remember that you’re trying to position yourself as a thought leader, and therefore you shouldn’t limit your Tweets to promoting your own events and articles. It’s key that you share knowledge that is valuable to your followers, so link to other interesting articles that you’ve found. A blog post in HubSpot reported that links placed in the middle of a tweet receive more click throughs than those placed at the end. Also, shortened links make your tweet appear clearer and host tracking information so you can assess the effectiveness of your tweets. You should also retweet interesting tweets, comment on other tweets, and give credit to fellow tweeterse by mentioning them in your own tweets (i.e. @Bill Gates). By including the twitter handle of the brand or user you are crediting, you increase the likelihood they will see it and retweet it.
According to a blog post on the Marketo website, twitter users should adopt the following 2 rules:
-The 80/20 rule says to post 80% helpful or entertaining content and save 20% for self-promotion.
-The 9:1 rule says for every 9 tweets about your industry, topics of interest, or network, tweet 1 time about your company or its products.
It is important to not be overly focused on only promoting your company or product. Twitter users should strive to contribute to the conversation and build up relationships.
According to Twitter's Small Business Guide, people tend to share tweets that solve a problem, answer a question, entertain or inspire. The most retweeted content tends to contain links, photos, videos or quotes.
Some tips from Douglas Karr of Marketing Tech Blog:
"Rather than throwing out general questions to my followers, I ask direct questions to people I want to follow or want to build a relationship with. Some accounts aren’t my target audience, but they have authority in the industry and so I engage them. If I’m worthy, they’ll talk to and even promote me... that lends authority and builds my following.
I utilize social media monitoring to identify opportunities to help others. When you help others, it often leads to building business relationships which can ultimately lead to monetary engagements."
The tone of your Tweets is also important. Try to evoke the reader’s curiosity to read on, and follow your link. But, prevent yourself from sounding too ‘sales’ like by saying things like “Buy now” or “For FREE”. You are trying to position yourself as a thought leader, and the tone of your Tweets should represent that. For our own Tweets we use the following guidelines:
- Ensure that the Tweet is informative and provides the essentials of the content that you are promoting
- Keep it short so users can easily retweet without deleting words
- Offer the reader a solution to a problem
- Stimulate conversation and open a dialogue
- Use a positive tone
- Be consistent
Another way to strengthen your positioning as a thought leader is by using the hash tag in your Tweets to comment on popular pending topics (e.g. #BarackObama). Track topics that are relevant to your industry, and participate in the conversation by using the hash tag. Remember to be selective with what you hashtag. Salesforce reported that tweets with one or two hashtags received 21% higher engagement than tweets with three or more hashtags. According to a blog post on HubSpot you should tag the most important word i.e. the one which represents the theme of your tweet. Also, the use of one hash tag to maintain consistency with your company can help customers filter through more effectively. Alert customers to the use of one hash tag by responding to them with it (i.e #align.me).
Ultimately, your content should create value and be helpful to your network.
Who should tweet?
The power of Twitter lies in the fact that there’s direct, and personal interaction. Rather than tweeting from your company name, make it personal, and appoint a person within your company to be the sender of the tweets. Even better, appoint a thought leader within the company, someone with credibility and authority. This will enforce your positioning.
When should you tweet?
Since Twitter is all about live updates, and tweets expire within a couple of hours, you want to make sure that your followers actually get to read your updates. Research has shown that the highest Twitter engagement time occurs from 5- 6 am and 7-8 am. Friday is the least engaging day, with the most effective days to send out tweets being Monday and Wednesday. You should avoid sending tweets out after 8pm early on in the week and after 3pm on Fridays and the weekend.
According to Guy Kawasaki, repeating your tweets four times at eight-hour intervals increases click-throughs by a factor of four.
A great tool that tells you when you will receive the most exposure, and when most of your followers are online is Tweriod. They provide you with a report that differentiates between weekends and weekdays, allowing you to exactly identify your most effective time to Tweet.
This infographic from Fusework Studios based on a report by Buddy Media shares some data on the best days of the week to tweet and the best times of the day, and best practice on hashtag usage, tweet lengths, and retweeting.
According to Datafication, Australians retweet more in the morning than at any other time of the day, and reply mainly in the evenings. People also tend to share content at the beginning of the month, and share less at the middle of the month.
Twitter use in Australia
As of April 2012, found that 11% of the Australian population use Twitter, which amount to a total of 2.8 million Twitter users. The majority of these users (34%) are within the 45-54 year age group.
The hospitality, entertainment, retail and technology sectors are the biggest business users of Twitter.
Datafication recently conducted research on different Twitter user profiles, and created a series of videos that documented their findings. The results were collected by creating geographical boundaries over Australian cities. As a result they found out that Sydney and Melbourne accounted for the most tweets at 30% and 28% respectively, yet Hobart has the most Tweet users, and that 54% of Tweeters were female, while 46% were male. Interestingly, Sydney users tweet more during work hours than anyone else in the world. Their data also shows that time spent on Twitter is declining, and that lovers are the highest Tweets users.
Protecting your Twitter profile
Twitter’s username policy doesn’t allow you to ‘reserve’ a username, and as a result it is first come, first serve. There is no policy either that allows small business users to verify their account. However, there are other steps you can take to protect your company’s identity and reputation:
- Link your accounts and profiles Add a URL to your Twitter profile pointing to your business website and vice versa. Similar links should be built between your Twitter account and all other social media platforms that you are active on. In doing so, you will also generate exposure for your account, which in return could lead to followers.
- Protect your trademark and logos For small business owners who hold the trademarks over a business name, Twitter has a more nuanced policy. If another Twitter account is using your name, trademark or logo, and is misleading or intentionally causing confusion, lodge a help ticket. Twitter will evaluate the case, and may suspend the other user.
- Customize your Twitter profile to match your branding, logo, colour scheme etc.
There are several tools that help you manage your Twitter account. Tools that we recommend using are Social Oomph, Tweetdeck and [ http://thetwitcleaner.com/ Twitt cleaner]. Social Oomph and TweetDeck enable you to schedule tweets, follow multiple topics and provide you with insightful statistics. Twitt cleaner is aimed at removing spam from your account. For more information on managing Twitter and other social media tactics simultaneously click on this link: Tweet Me, Friend Me, Make Me Buy
Read our Click To Tweet page that offers plans to track your click through rates to Twitter.
- Twitter has recently evolved its strategy and this will result in a change to the way Tweets appear in third-party applications. For instance, Tweets will no longer be displayed on LinkedIn. Any conversation you start on Twitter will no longer be automatically shared with your LinkedIn network, even if you synced your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. If you would like to share through both accounts, post initially on LinkedIn and click the share through Twitter option. For more information, visit the LinkedIn wiki.
- Twitter's advertising platform is now open to all U.S. users (it was previously invite-only), allowing account owners to promote specific tweets, or their accounts (as a suggested account to follow). Ads can be targeted based on location or interests.
- Twitter recently tested an ad feature allowing account owners to embed call-to-action buttons within tweets. When someone clicks on the embedded button, Twitter registers the click, notifies the advertiser, and provides them with the user’s contact information. There is no word at this stage on when this will be released as a feature to users.
7 Twitter Habits to Adopt to Increase Follower Numbers
Leo Widrich from Buffer outlines seven habits that Twitter users should adopt to increase their number of followers.
1. Tweeting more often and to a variety of sources
Studies show that Tweeting between 5-10 great content Tweets per day led to more followers. Additionally, it is a good idea to Tweet a greater variety of sources, not just to your own site. Higher click through rates and an increase in followers are directly related to a larger variety of links.
2. Endorsing others often and thoughtfully – and publicly
This especially encourages your retweet rate to increase significantly, enhancing the reach of your Tweets. Through this you can improve the visibility of each of your Tweets, which will ideally lead to a natural increase in your followers. This is also a great way of strengthening connections.
To send a message to another user place a handle directly at the beginning of your tweet. Anyone that followers you, or just the user you are tweeting, will be able to see this tweet. If you want everyone to see, whether or not they are a follower, put a period as a character at the start of the tweet.
3. Gaining focus with your Tweeting topics
It is a good idea to pick three words or topics that describe you the best on Twitter, and stick to them with your Tweets. By focusing your Tweets in the manner, you build trust among your followers, and it can help become much more proficient in that particular area. You may have to play around with your core topics for a while to find out what works best for you.
4. Limiting your time on Twitter to 60 minutes (or less)
This allows you to become much more focused and concentrated for a limited time, rather than spending hours on Twitter. Alternatively, you could use this extra time to write a great blog post or do a podcast, to complement your Twitter presence.
5. Posting a quote, or other thoughtful non-link Tweet per day
Because this sort of Tweet requires less involvement to retweet (i.e. the follower does not have to read an article or blog post), they are more likely to do so. Studies show that is it these types of posts that get a lot more retweets compared to others and trigger quite a few new followers.
6. Use the new Twitter follow button
This Twitter follow button makes it so easy and straightforward to get new followers. If placed at the end of a blog post, for example, a reader is able to easy click ‘follow’ upon finishing the article if they are compelled to learn more from the author.
7. Create a list of Twitter mentors to observe
Create a list of your top Twitter users you want to observe, as it can be extremely powerful to have such a list of great minds you can check in with every so often. The reason to do this is that there is always more to learn, and observing these personal favorites will remind you to keep a high quality of your Twitter presence.