Optimizing your business Twitter 101
Joining Twitter is probably going to be a good move for your business in 2020, regardless of what you do or who you serve. There are around 500,000,000 tweets sent per day, roughly 6,000 per second. If you can't see value in that level of interaction across the globe, then social media marketing is not going to go great for you. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to do Twitter for business. You can be personable or professional, you can be civic minded or stay out of issues completely. There are unlimited opportunities for a business to increase their reach, brand awareness and collect potential customers every single day. If you are confused about where to start or how to continue your growth, this post is for you. Follow these simple steps and keep crafting tweets that are relevant to your industry and you will eventually strike gold.
1. Review Your Twitter Profile
The goal is thousands of new potential customers/clients looking at your Twitter account, so your Twitter account must look as professional as possible. Review the overall design so that it delivers optimal visual impact to the first time visitor.
Profile Photo: In most cases, the company logo should be the profile image. Make sure it’s clear, accurate, and easily recognizable because it will appear beside every tweet you post. The image must be square, and exactly 400×400 pixels. If you don’t set the dimensions properly, Twitter will do it for you–but their cropping may not be perfect, and it could make your profile image look awkward. Not a good first impression.
Header Photo: In the header, you want to create something eye-catching and interesting. Don’t use generic “clouds” or landscapes; make sure that it’s relevant to your business in some way. You can also place some concise text here such as a hashtag or a call to action. Go to Twitter Covers or this Hubspot post for some ideas. Twitter says that the ideal size is 1500 x 500 pixels.
Bio: The bio is limited to 160 characters, so use them wisely. Putting hashtags in the bio can help your profile find its way into relevant searches. This is especially critical now in the turmoil around us, using relevant hashtags for the issues you support is a great way to passively gain traction with those who also support these issues. You don't have to make a grand statement, especially if the issues are not affecting you directly, but a small gesture of solidarity goes a long way. Do NOT do this if you are not actually supportive though, this will backfire on your immediately.
Links: You’re allowed to put just one active link on your profile. Often, this would be the homepage of your company’s website. There are many opportunities for this link, it can be for a specific product or sale you are running or a link to another social profile you are trying to build. This real estate is some of the most valuable in all social media, so think long and hard about the link that is in the bio. There is nothing stating you can't change that link on an hourly basis, but that would be confusing and hard to track. If you want to change it, we would recommend letting the link sit there at least a day, but more like a week to see the analytics of click through. If you have 100,000,000 followers, this time will be significantly less to get data though.
2. Tweet and Engage
If you’ve already been tweeting for a while, Twitter Analytics (official) can help you understand a lot about your tweets, with nice graphs. You can see how well your tweets perform, how many people actually saw them and how many people engaged with them. You can use this info to A/B test: see what works and what doesn't, what times your tweets get more impressions/engagements, and so much more. You can use your stats along with the rest of this guide to improve your tweeting habits.
What to Tweet: Twitter is considered a micro-blogging platform, so a tweet is actually a short post; a 280 character broadcast to the world. Not all your tweets should be directly business related – some should just be “chat.” Just remember that if you’re using a corporate identity, the tweets should be in the first person plural, not singular (“we” instead of “I”).
In general, here are some suggested types of interaction appropriate for a company:
- Give your company a personality
- Provide useful and relevant information for customers
- Quickly respond to comments, requests, and complaints (though not every one deserves a response)
- Announce news and updates
- Host promotional contests
- Gain business leads
HOW to Tweet: Now that you’ve defined your goals, how should you go about connecting to your followers and potential customers in such a way that will encourage engagement and increase your authority? Some typical features of effective tweets:
- You are given 140 characters for each tweet, but the most effective tweets are shorter. According to a recent article on Buffer, the ideal length is between 71-100 characters, and tweets less than 100 get 17% higher engagement.
- Include one or two relevant #hashtags but no more than that. This will help your tweet find its way into conversations on your topic (but overloading on them can be annoying to your followers, so watch it).
- Embed some multimedia into most of your tweets. Statistics show that tweets with images gain a 35% increase in retweets, while videos give you a 28% boost.
- Ask questions to encourage feedback. Not only does this look good, but you might also gain some valuable insights from your followers/customers.
- Not all tweets need to have an outbound link, but most should.
WHEN to Tweet: The issue of timing is something that is not often given proper attention, but it’s especially important on Twitter when the “lifespan” of a Tweet is particularly short, compared to a Facebook update or a Pin. If your followers aren’t on Twitter when your Tweets are posted, the chances are they won’t find them in their stream.
Therefore, you want to space your Tweets out over the course of a day. Ten Tweets posted at the same time do not have the same reach as ten Tweets spaced out once an hour. Consistency is key.
There are some free apps that can help you schedule tweets more effectively. First, get comfortable with one of the popular Twitter management tools such as Hootsuite or TweetDeck. They will enable you to schedule Tweets throughout the day (or even the entire week), and will allow you to manage multiple Twitter profiles from one page. For bigger businesses, you might want to upgrade to the professional version to unlock the full power of these apps.
It also helps if you understand your target audience and their Twitter habits. For example, it’s obvious that B2B tweets are most effective during business hours. However, B2C tweets have more reach in the evening and over the weekend. Schedule your tweets accordingly – this is where your Twitter Analytics can come in handy.
To further optimize (and automate) the timing of your Tweets, use Twitter Historical Data to define the exact times during the day when the greatest number of your followers are online. But remember, this can vary according to which time zone they’re in, so don’t assume that no one will see your Tweet at 2 o’clock in the morning. If you’re in London and your customers are in San Francisco, 2:00 a.m. might just be the best time to tweet important information.
3. Promote to Your Current Audience
Attracting more followers is obviously essential. You've already purchased followers to increase your social proof – so let's try to look at proven means of attracting new, targeted followers to your account from sources you already have access to. These methods are completely free.
- Cross-Promote Between Social Platforms – Promoting your Twitter to your followers, fans or subscribers on other social networks can work extremely well as attracting followers. Perhaps your Facebook Fans didn't know you had a Twitter, or your viewers on YouTube don't know about the awesome things your company tweets about. Of course, this works both ways.
- Promote Your Twitter On Your Website – It could be a simple link, icon or widget. Widgets are especially useful because they allow your company to showcase its impeccable social proof (you’re welcome). Not only will this make your company's Twitter account more credible, it will also pass on this authority to your website. Think of this as a mutually beneficial-relationship between your Twitter and website.
- Include Your Twitter @Handle in Support Tickets – If your company deals with online support (like most online businesses), you should consider including a link to your company's Twitter in your support agent's signature. Ideal to promote your account to your customers or clients seamlessly.
- Email It To Them – Most businesses have an active email list of leads, customers, clients or subscribers. Your company can mention or include a link to your Twitter account in your regular emails. It doesn't have to be over the top, unless you want it to be. Either way, email marketing is extremely effective and can help your Twitter attract a lot of familiar faces.
- Add Your Twitter Handle To Printed Material – This includes business cards, letterhead, and resume. In most cases, you’ll just want to display it as your handle (@ElmStreetDesign), and not the full URL.
4. Increase Your Reach Externally
While it’s important to stay connected to your current followers, obviously you’ll want to expand your network. There are several ways to do this, both for free and for a price.
Twitter Ads is obviously the first place most businesses would look to give their Twitter accounts more exposure outside their network. Twitter offers three different types of advertising: promoted tweets, promoted accounts and promoted trends. While these can all give your company “guaranteed” exposure on Twitter, they come with a hefty price tag. For example, their Promoted Accounts option allows you essentially pay-per-followers in a bidding style. The average price-per-followers is about $2, so you can expect to spend about $200 for 100 followers – and that's their low-end ads. Twitter's promoted trends will set you back $200,000 per day.
Twiends is a free and paid service that allows you to trade interactions on Twitter for currency. That currency can then be traded for other people's interactions on your content. You can choose to not interact with people and just buy the currency for interactions as well. This service starts at $9.95 per week and you can expect to gain between 1 and 10 followers per week this way. So you are averaging again between $1 and $2 per follower if you pay for it.
Twitter Chats are a great way to find followers.
5. Keep It Going – Don't Quit!
Abandoning your Twitter is one of the biggest mistakes businesses make and it hurts them in the long-run. These businesses either don't understand or forget that Twitter isn't all about conversion rates, sales and leads. It's more of a hybrid platform, combining conversation, micro-blogging, customer support, customer retention and just a hint of marketing. Here are a few ways your business can keep it going on Twitter:
- Conversations: It has been said that Twitter is a very “chatty” platform, sort of like an online cocktail party. You should join that party if you want to understand current trends and stay relevant with your followers. The best way to that? Just talk to the them directly!
- Give back: When someone retweets or responds to one of your tweets, or mentions you in one of their tweets in a positive manner, they are seeking a connection. Make sure that you answer back, or at least thank them. These small courtesies carry a lot of weight on Twitter and will pay dividends in the long run.
- Mention Influencers: If relevant, mention and try to connect with well-known influencers in your industry. Don’t be afraid to aim high, because you never know when your tweet will catch their attention. Sometimes all you need is one retweet from an influencer with 100,000+ followers to make your blog post or video go viral.
- Make Lists: Twitter allows you to group accounts into lists. Do this to “filter” your feed, and keep your eye on just the people you want to really follow without all the background noise.
- Customer Support: Your clients and customers are bound to contact you on Twitter for questions or even complaints. You can use Twitter as a customer support hub, answering their questions or directing them to the right place or page. Ignoring “support inquires” on Twitter doesn't help and can push away not only that customer, but other customers that see that. Note: You're encouraged to ignore Trolls.