Learning Hub | Digital Marketing Basics

Marketing Master: The Twitter Essentials

November 4, 2016 | Jon Teodoro

Tweet. Tweet.

140 measly characters pack one big marketing punch.

Twitter has, without a doubt, become one of the most important social media networks for content marketing. With 313 million active monthly users, the ever-expanding Twitterverse is a place of constant contact, networking and updates.

Tweets are short but informational, making the site something like a continuously-updating message board…of the international persuasion.

Here are some stats that help explain why Twitter should be a vital piece of your marketing plan. From Business 2 Community:

  • An average user follows at least 5 business Twitter accounts.
  • Somewhere around 79% of Twitter users recommend brands they follow.
  • Over 40% of users learn about new products and services from Twitter.
  • 85% of users report feeling more connected to a business after following them.

Not convinced? Consider, then, that 83% of world leaders have a Twitter account.

Now, that’s power.

The folks at Twitter have done a good job ensuring that they stay in the running for top marketing platform. Though most users do follow friends and family, the site is all about connecting with those you don’t know.

Maintaining a successful Twitter marketing campaign will open your company up to a better target audience, encourage constant consumer engagement and keep your followers updated on any new happenings you wish to share.

“1 billion unique visits monthly to sites with embedded tweets.” – Twitter.com

Let’s start at the beginning and take a look at a series of steps that will help you successfully integrate a Twitter campaign into your current marketing strategy.

How to Make the Most of Twitter Marketing

Step 1: Set Some End Goals For Your Twitter Presence

What do you want the success point of your Twitter campaign to look like? Though you may never “end” your Twitter presence, you should set up some general goals that you would like your online activity to achieve. Make sure to be specific and use quantifiable goals that you will be able to measure for evidence of your success. It is also a good idea to include some time parameters.

Some examples would be:

  • Increase site traffic by 10% in three months
  • Double lead generation in six months
  • Increase repeat customers by 2% in two months

Pick goals that work specifically for your company and where you are at in your business model. Keeping these goals in mind will help you focus all of your posted content for optimal return, making the most out of your campaign.

Step 2: Focus Your Posts On Driving Site Traffic, Lead Generation And Sales

One of the most important aspects of any Twitter campaign should be to drive traffic to your site. Most, if not all, of your posts should link a consumer back to one of your webpages.

However, your job is not done after you type in the URL and hit tweet. Make sure the posted link works and that the page you are driving your followers to includes the promised information corresponding to your tweet and some sort of action for them to take (i.e. sign-up for a blog or newsletter, buy this product, download our pamphlet).

The idea here is to move your leads further into the buying process and show them why your business is beneficial, what problem of theirs can you solve and why should they choose you. In order to do this, they need to be able to see the link so make sure it fits in the 140 provided characters.

Link to anything share-worthy. For example:

  • Landing pages
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Product reviews
  • Industry resources like downloads and white papers
  • New service or item announcements
  • Coupons/special offers

Step 3: Zero In On And Connect With Your Target Audience (Don’t Waste Tweets)

You may think you need to use Twitter to expand your target audience, which is true. But, the key word here is target.

Though you want to grow your audience to generate more leads and increase sales, you don’t want to add members that simply aren’t interested and will never interact with you. A blatant example of this would be if you sell feminine products and you start retweeting and following a bunch of 50-years-or-older men. It just wouldn’t make any sense for your bottom line.

When building your followers, and following people, keep in mind your target audience demographics or your “buyer personas.” You may have several depending on how many products or services you offer.

A buyer persona is a made-up, broad definition of your “perfect customer.” If you haven’t defined some buyer personas for your target audience members, you need to do this before moving any further along your marketing journey.

Some things to consider when defining your personas:

  • Age
  • Gender (if applicable)
  • Education level
  • Career
  • Annual income
  • Disposable income
  • Location
  • Online activities
  • How they are connected to your business
  • Problems they may encounter that your company could solve

The list could go on and on. If you need help getting started, check out HubSpot’s free buyer persona template. Once you have these demographics nailed down, you will gain a better view of your audience and how your business plays a role in their lives.

You can then segment your Twitter lists and focus specific tweets to specific groups of consumers and see how different followers are interacting with your account or industry.

Step 4: Consider Peak Posting Times

There are tons of online reports claiming to know which time is best for optimal post views. Here at Verde, we use Hootsuite’s findings and tweet at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

However, specific industries may have different peak times. Get to know your followers’ habits and take into account when they are most active. This involves a bit of recon. You can test, analyze and retest different days and times to tweet to see what works best for you.

You can also consider using Tweriod, which will analyze your followers’ tweets and provide you with a report on when they are most active.

Step 5: Pay Attention To Competitor, Follower And Industry Hashtags (#)

The hashtag is a key connector on Twitter. If you are unfamiliar, a hashtag is the pound sign (#) followed by a word or word phrase. It acts as a link.

People use them to connect to a group. If your post contains a hashtag, it will come up as a result if someone’s Twitter search matches the word or word phrase. For example, if you searched “#cocacola,” every single post that hashtagged cocacola would come up to view.

This is how things “trend” online.

Trending hashtags can be shared on Twitter millions of times across the world. Some examples of 2015 trending hashtags are:

  • #TheWalkingDead
  • #PrayforParis
  • #LoveWins
  • #BlackLivesMatter
  • #OneDirection

By paying attention to your industry and competitor’s hashtags, you can use the same ones to include yourself or know what not to use to exclude yourself and maintain originality. A little of both is no doubt in order.

By paying attention to your followers hashtags, you can do the same thing. Know what they’re talking about and get your business, product or service into the conversation somehow.

Hashtags are like a roadmap pointing you to different destinations. Some you want to visit and some you don’t. You can also do research on trending topics or generate content ideas by paying attention to what people are tagging.

Step 6: Keep An Eye On Competition

Twitter makes it super easy to see what your competitors are up to. As we mentioned above, you can track their hashtags and trending topics, but you can also see what their followers are saying about them, how they are interacting with their audience, and what they are advertising and sharing.

Take what you like, tweak it to make it your own and use it. See what doesn’t work and avoid it. These are pretty simple business strategies, but all you have to do is login to have access.

It’s a good idea to make a Twitter list of your top competitors. This way, you can keep an eye on them without actually following their account.

Step 7: Connect With People Using @

Like the hashtag, the @ is another symbol commonly used on Twitter. It, too, works sort of like a link, but instead of connecting you to a group, it calls out a specific account holder.

You can use this to reply to a particular follower’s comment. You can also use it to connect yourself to company influencers. We have discussed influencers in previous blogs, but essentially they are influential people that interact with your business. They are someone with a large online presence, following and reputation.

Let’s say that a famous, albeit make-believe, chef (@PaulCooks) writes a guest blog on your food website. When you tweet the blog link, mention him in the post with @PaulCooks. Chances are, since it’s good PR for him, too, he’ll retweet and mention you. And, ¡Voilá! Hundreds of his loyal followers flock on over and start following you.

“@” can lead to terrific networking so use it well and use it often when building your following. Recognize and build sincere relationships with those influencers that can help grow your target audience. It will help if you genuinely appreciate them and what they stand for or do.

This is a long-term strategy. Don’t exploit people for their following. People are very protective of their reputations and identities (even on public online forums), and let’s not forget – @mentions are not always followed by positive PR.

A negative mention sticks. So network nice.

Step 8: Monitor, Analyze, Make Changes, Repeat.

There have been enough successes and failures to lay down some general ground rules for how you should (and should not) use social media. However, your company and your followers are unique.

There is no one-size-fits-all way to network. And that’s a great thing because it keeps creativity and innovation alive even in the most-used contexts of the Internet.

Throughout your Twitter campaign, like with any marketing endeavor, track your progress toward your goals. Monitor things like:

  • Which tweets get the most interaction (retweets, likes and comments)
  • What times your tweets get the most views
  • How many of your followers are clicking through to your links (open rate)
  • How many are clicking through the CTA on your linked web page (click-through rate)
  • How many followers you gain and who are they
  • How many @mentions you receive in a given period
  • How many of your followers are mentioning you to their followers

Be sure that you are monitoring these aspects by using numbers. When it comes to analyzing your performance, use stats over guts. Assumptions about why something is or isn’t working may be correct, but don’t take them board meeting because they may not be.

Put evidence behind your Twitter activities. Then, analyze it. Those activities that are contributing toward your end goal, you keep. Those that aren’t – hypothesize as to why, change them, test them and analyze them again.

You are a social media scientist now. You need to form testable hypotheses and keep experimenting with your posts until you find the optimal scenario – the posts that generate the most activity targeted toward your end goal.

When optimizing, test one change at a time. For example, if you think your posts aren’t getting enough views, keep all of the content, links, hashtags and @mentions the same, and experiment with different times to see when your views increase.

By selecting for one change per test, you can be sure that any different result you see is because of the controlled variable.

Do you have any good Twitter tips (#Twips – get it trending, people) for running a successful marketing campaign that we didn’t mention? Share them with us below.