On Twitter, words matter. Centered on dynamic conversations, snappy replies, ongoing threads, and mentions, Twitter is a valuable place to create a voice for your business and make that voice heard. Unlike other image-forward social media platforms, Twitter is much more text-based. And with just 280 characters per tweet, it’s important to choose your words—and message!—with intention. With more than 187 million daily active users sending out 500 million tweets per day, Twitter is a logical place to build a marketing strategy for any business, product, or brand.
How to Make Twitter Work for Your Business
When you’re ready to start wordsmithing on Twitter to boost business, there are a few key elements to keep in mind to keep you from getting overwhelmed in the fast-paced Twitterverse.
Prepare to Tweet
First things first: if you don’t already have an account for your business, product, or brand, create one! When customizing the profile for your business, make sure to add a good quality photo that fits in the circular space as well as a distinctive header image. Bonus: you can change the header image to keep your profile up-to-date with your company’s current happenings.
Next, pick an account name (aka your “handle,” for example @nobledesktop) that is identifiable and on-brand. Then add your display name, which shows up beneath the handle. Don’t forget to include a bio! Your bio is where you have 160 characters to showcase your company, so choose the description wisely. Write something that draws people in!
Your bio should also include your location. If you have a brick-and-mortar shop, this is where you’d list it; if you’re completely digital, pop in the founding city’s headquarters or even your hometown. Making local connections with the global Twittersphere is important for creating a community nearby. If you have a URL to a company website or a landing page for your brand, you can also list that. Having this information at the top will foster communication with your current and potential Twitter followers, as well as drive people to your website or other social media networks.
The last element of your bio is a pinned tweet. Since it’s right at the top, your pinned tweet is what people visiting your Twitter page will see right away. This is a place to let your brand’s personality shine. You can share breaking company news, information about an upcoming launch, highlight an ongoing sale or promotion, and more. This space is for you! Make it yours—providing as much information as possible boosts business and lets current and future followers and fans get to know you and your business, product, or brand.
Do a Deep Dive
If you already have an account (or after you’ve created one and been running it for a bit), take a closer look to ensure everything is up to date, on-brand, and it complements your other social media accounts. Use Twitter Analytics to do a deep dive into your account. Take stock of your followers and how you’re using the account as a whole.
Twitter Analytics can provide data points on hashtag performance, individual tweet performance, and useful information about your followers such as engagement rate and demographics. Analyzing details such as age, gender, and location of your followers can help you figure out what content to create, how to write tweets that resonate, and the best times to post. Twitter Analytics can also provide tools for measuring engagement. You can even track retweets, clicks, and app installations!
Once you’ve had these measuring techniques in place for a while, go back and assess the data. Evaluate where you need to change your strategy, where you’re doing well, and which elements of your social media strategy could use some love. These analytic tools are there to help you—let them do the work so you can keep your business moving forward.
Determine Business Goals
Knowing what you’re using Twitter for and how it will enhance your social media strategy is just as important as what you’re posting. These goals don’t have to be the same as anyone else’s. Maybe you want to increase followers. Maybe you want to drive traffic to your website. Maybe you want to encourage followers to visit your physical storefront. Regardless, your business goals will give your content meaning. Think about setting SMART goals for your Twitter feed. These Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely goals will help you reach your company’s personal and professional milestones.
Utilize the Lists Feature
Twitter can feel overwhelming, especially while you’re getting the hang of it. It moves fast, and as a business owner who wants to connect with followers and fans, it’s important to stay on top of what’s going on in your Twitter corner. One good way to keep things straight is by using Twitter lists.
Twitter lists can keep you from getting swamped with tweets and ensure you stay on top of threads, issues, and niches you’re following. You can create lists for just about anything from global issues to your company employees to industry rivals. You can also subscribe to lists that other people have created within their accounts. Just don’t forget one important element: whether you create one or join someone else’s, all lists are public.
Establish a Schedule
Although Twitter can feel like a spur-of-the-moment platform (and there is a certain amount of spontaneous interaction simply because of Twitter’s structure), you can also map out business-related tweets ahead of time. Doing your thinking and brainstorming in advance can help lessen stress and save time on the day of.
Twitter may be all about off-the-cuff retorts when engaging in the moment, but having a designated posting schedule determined in advance using a tool like TweetDeck or another scheduling tool can help take the guesswork out of your tweets. Planning can help your business, product, or brand stay on track. Schedule posting at optimal times to deliver consistent content to as many members of your target audience as possible. You can use your tweets to boost engagement on Twitter as well as drive traffic to your website, landing page, or other social media platforms.
Peek at Your Rivals
Make checking out what other businesses or brands like yours are doing part of your social media marketing strategy. You can do this on your own by examining their feeds, lists, followers, trends, and hashtags. You can try Twitter’s advanced search tool to get even more specific data by searching for words, phrases, hashtags, accounts, filters, links, dates, and even engagement—including minimum replies, minimum likes, and minimum retweets.
To gain still more insight, consider using an outside source to monitor keywords, hashtags, mentions, and other important data. Knowing what similar businesses and brands are doing, as well as what’s working for them (and what’s not!) can help you make savvy decisions for your social media marketing strategy.
Twitter can be a valuable part of your company’s social media marketing strategy. Check out some ways to make the platform work best for you.
Find Your Style
Twitter is the perfect place to establish and cultivate your company persona. Each product, business, or brand should have a distinctive voice on social media and Twitter is no exception. So if more than one person is managing your account or responding to followers, get everyone on the same page about communication so your company’s true style shines through. Most important: your tweets and replies should be genuine.
Take risks! Of all the social media networks, Twitter is the one where being bold can work to your advantage. It’s where many people let out their inner snark, 280 characters at a time. While this can sometimes make for colorful language and interactions, it can also be exhilarating for your brand to be part of the conversation. Even negative comments and feedback can prove valuable since hearing directly from customers can lead to implementing change. People appreciate authenticity on social media, and that includes Twitter. So: be human, be original, and be you!
Create a Uniform Feed
Once you have your company’s Twitter voice and style locked in, another way to ensure a smooth feed is by keeping tweets, replies, and threads uniform. This means that in addition to posting clear and consistent content, you’ll need to work on the nitty-gritty details, like formatting links in the same way, figuring out if and when to use emojis, and how many hashtags to add per tweet.
Employ the Rule of Thirds
When figuring out your social media strategy, make sure you’re posting a balanced mix of tweets and incorporating the social media rule of thirds. This tactic means that one-third of your tweets should be to promote your business, convert readers, and generate profits. Another third of your tweets should be sharing and amplifying informative posts of others in your industry, including influences, advocates, and industry experts. The final third of what to post on Twitter is personal anecdotes. Sharing stories will endear your followers to you, make your business approachable, and ultimately build your brand.
Monitor Your Account
Regardless of whether you’re looking into other brands’ feeds or responding to questions or comments on your own, it’s critical to have someone monitoring your Twitter feed regularly. Twitter moves fast. Knowing there is at least one person dedicated to staying on top of your company’s Twitter feed helps your brand stay connected. Responding to all comments and mentions in a timely way shows you are engaged with your audience and value what they have to say. It also gives you a chance to promptly take care of any issues or problems that may arise.
When Twitter Goes Sideways
Speaking of complaints, we’ve all seen reports (or screenshots!) of unfortunate viral Twitter threads. Before you post, be aware that, unlike other social media platforms, Twitter has no edit button. So choose your words carefully, and don’t forget to spell-check before publishing that tweet. Plus, make a plan for when someone trolls you or you need to pivot quickly to avoid a PR fiasco.
How to Deal with Twitter Trolls
Unfortunately, trolls (those who deliberately offend, provoke, cause trouble, or attack others online) are part of the Twitter landscape. Interacting in a public social media forum opens up you and your business to attack by trolls. It’s almost inevitable, so get prepared ahead of time. If you find yourself in a troll’s crosshairs, there are several ways to deal with them.
The first way to stand up to trolls is by creating a policy about what is and isn’t acceptable behavior when it comes to your Twitter feed. If parameters are set up in advance, your response when a troll reveals itself is just part of your policy. Setting up guidelines from the get-go that your little corner of the internet is going to be a safe, respectful place will cultivate that energy. And if someone comes in with a different perspective, you can choose what to do next.
One way to deal with trolls on Twitter is to simply ignore them. You can also mute whole accounts as well as certain words and phrases to get a break from their content, though you’ll still get notifications if they message or DM you. Another way to stop a troll is to unfollow them. But as with muting, even if you unfollow them, they can still follow you and/or send you a direct message.
Another tool to use against trolls is tapping that block button. It’s there for a reason! Blocking someone on Twitter stops them from showing up in your feed, messaging or following you, or even seeing your feed. Plus, you won’t be able to see their content either. If cutting off all communication is what you want to do, blocking is the way to go.
If you do decide to engage, don’t stoop to a troll’s level. Instead, respond in a measured, calm way, armed with facts—or even a joke. Unfortunately, most Twitter trolls don’t respond to either, but it’s worth a try if you’re up for the challenge.
Finally, though it’s a last resort, if the trolls are starting to get to you, you can always delete your Twitter account and sign off for good.
Manage a PR Nightmare
It happened. Whether it’s a disgruntled customer, a defective product, employee gossip, or executive misconduct, or there’s a chance if you’re a company in the public eye there is going to be some kind of crisis at some point. According to Twitter itself, the best way to deal with these situations is to expect them and have a plan in place to manage them. You know the cliche phrase “the best defense is a good offense?” Well, that applies here as well. Being proactive when social media situations go wrong will lessen the blow and hopefully keep your business, product, or brand afloat.
Have a plan in place for who takes charge in a public relations crisis. Know where to direct followers for information, such as a FAQ page or even a special landing page for unexpected situations. Be prompt and transparent in your responses.
Additional Tools for Engagement
Hubspot found that “60% of a brand’s followers are more likely to purchase or recommend products after following a brand on Twitter.” Thinking about Twitter as a place to connect with your followers as well as build your brand (and even get free advertising!) should be enough to draw you to the platform or keep you tweeting regularly. Along with interacting with your customers and followers by responding to comments and mentions, consider using some other important tools on Twitter to boost engagement and reach more members of your target audience.
Did you know hashtags were essentially born on Twitter? Originally established for organization, groupings, and categorization online, hashtags have grown into a tool that can help businesses and campaigns with discoverability and connection.
You can use hashtags to stay on top of trends, see what your competitors are up to, share a topic or a theme, and even find valuable user-generated content to share. These simple additions to your tweets can help current and potential followers find and keep tabs on you and your company, and keep you connected with your followers as well.
Take your hashtag use one step farther and start a branded hashtag. A branded hashtag is a unique hashtag you create especially for your product or business, and it’s an inspired way to connect with your target audience. It can be the name of your company, a tagline, a specific product—basically anything that defines you and your brand. Once you’ve determined what it will be, use it on every Twitter post (and on your other social media channels as well). Using your branded hashtag will help generate conversation and buzz around your product or brand, and once others latch onto it, the hashtag will help create user-generated content.
Twitter polls provide a lighthearted way to engage with your audience. Polls also offer a chance for businesses to receive more serious feedback. They are completely anonymous, allowing folks to feel free to let their opinions known.
In each Twitter poll, you can ask questions and offer up to four answers for responders to choose from. They can last anywhere from five minutes to a week. Whether you’re using a poll to gather information for future content, promote a special offer or product, or just want to get to know your followers a little bit better, a Twitter poll can be a great way to do it.
Images and Multimedia tweets
Even though Twitter is a less visually forward social network, images are still a critical part of the platform. Pictures, infographics, and videos that accompany tweets can help with engagement. According to Twitter’s data, tweets with images get up to three times as much engagement, and tweets with videos can nab up to ten times as much engagement as a text-only tweet. Even better, images and videos don’t count toward Twitter’s 280 character limit. Try varying your types of posts and see what the response is from your friends, followers, and fans.
A Twitter Business study of 3.7 million users showed that tweets with a GIF gained 55% more engagement than those without. So why not have a little fun and add a GIF to your next tweet? GIFs can be an entertaining way to grab the attention of your target audience. And more than just being fun, GIFs can inform your followers, teach them something new, and sprinkle in a goofy element. Just like videos and images, GIFs don’t count toward your tweet’s character count, helping get your message across in an economical way.
Advertising on Twitter
According to the Digital Statshot 2020 report, which extrapolated data from Hootsuite and We Are Social based on Twitter’s self-serve advertising tools, in the last quarter of 2020, Twitter had an advertising audience of 353 million people. That’s not a number to sleep on. Using Twitter to boost business organically is a great place to start. And with so many potential “monetizable daily active users,” it might be time to create a Twitter Ads account.
The Digital Statshot report also revealed that Twitter ads can reach 5.8% of the world population over age 13. While those numbers may be lower than other social media networks, considering the number of people using Twitter every day, it’s nothing to sneeze at, especially since Twitter’s Q3 2020 report noted that ad engagement on the platform is up 27%.
Once your Twitter Ads account is up and running, it’s up to you to decide how you want to use it.
Promote Individual Tweets
Promoted tweets are one way to advertise on Twitter. How it works: your company pays for a specific tweet to appear in the feed or search results of someone who is not already following you. Promoted tweets will also be included in a daily campaign aimed at your target audience. Since a promoted tweet looks just like a regular tweet (except for the “Promoted” text in the lower left-hand corner), users can quote it, like it, and retweet it.
Promote an Account
Ready to take your advertising one step farther? Think about promoting your company’s entire Twitter account rather than just one tweet. These types of ads are ideal for growing your Twitter followers because they target users who don’t follow your account already. These ads include a Follow button to encourage users to do just that. They will appear in potential followers’ search results, timelines, as well as in the Who to Follow suggestions. Just like promoted tweets, promoted accounts will be clearly labeled as such.
Learn Twitter Marketing
Ready to use Twitter to grow your business, product, or brand? Noble Desktop offers a variety of social media marketing classes. These courses are available in-person at Noble’s NYC location, or students can attend live online social media marketing classes from anywhere in the world. Noble’s Social Media Content Marketing: Blogs & Twitter class teaches fundamentals of content marketing including how to set goals and metrics, create and share blog posts, and establish a brand through written content. This class will also dive into marketing strategies for Twitter. You can also find other social media marketing classes in your area using Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me tool.