Twitter provides the ideal platform for marketers from all industries to further promote their goods and services to current and potential customers. As is the case with all social media platforms, Twitter allows businesses to interact directly with their customers and show the human side of their brand. However, successful Twitter marketing in much more than simply having an account and sharing a few Tweets on the odd occasion.
This guide will take an in-depth look at everything Twitter has to offer and highlight how you can use the social platform to boost your business’ marketing strategy.
What is a Twitter marketing strategy?
A Twitter marketing strategy is a form of social media marketing that is focused specifically on using Twitter as the primary platform. The main focuses are around the creation and distribution of content aimed directly at your customers or followers, in order to achieve a number of business goals. These goals typically include increasing brand awareness, attracting new followers, improving brand recognition, and ultimately increasing conversion and sales.
Why should you use Twitter?
As is the case with most social media platforms Twitter has seen significant growth in users since its inception and it is now one of the biggest platforms around. With 330 million monthly active users as of Q1 2019, Twitter provides the perfect opportunity for businesses to get in front of current and potential customers. In addition to this Twitter has over 126 million users who log into the platform on a daily basis.
The below graph shows how the number of monthly active users on Twitter has continued to grow significantly since 2010 and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down any time soon.
If the usage figures alone aren’t enough to convince you to make Twitter a part of your overall marketing strategy, then let’s take a closer look. According to a piece of research conducted by Twitter, 66% of respondents said they have discovered a new SMB on Twitter. While 93% of users who follow an SMB plan to make a purchase. This shows that not only do people want to interact with your brand on Twitter but, once they have, they are highly likely to become a customer.
It is important to remember that Twitter is not as big a platform as Facebook or Instagram, however it is still a fantastic channel that all companies should consider as part of their marketing plan.
So, now you’re all ready to get cracking with your Twitter marketing, let’s get started.
Setting up a Twitter account – what you need to know
The logical place to start when embarking on a Twitter marketing journey is to set up your account. A well optimised page does much more than simply act as a face for your Twitter account, it will help to build trust with potential customers and ultimately improve your chances of appearing in the search results, so it’s important to get it right.
Signing up for Twitter is a really simple and straightforward process. Either go to twitter.com and use the sign-up box or go directly to twitter.com/signup. From here you just need to follow the steps and provide some basic information such as your name and email address, and you’re almost good to go.
Potentially, the toughest part of creating a Twitter account is choosing a unique username. With over 330 million monthly users there’s a high chance that the original username you want may already be taken. When deciding upon your username it’s important to try and keep as close to your actual name, or your brand name, as possible to make it easier for users to find you. However, don’t stress too much initially as your username can be changed at a later date if required.
Once you have chosen your username you need to make your account recognisable by adding a profile image and header. This is how most users will recognise your profile, so design your header in accordance with your brand guidelines and include your company logo to ensure you are instantly recognisable, making it easier for potential followers to find you.
It’s important that the images you use are the correct size and dimensions to ensure your brand appears professional. The recommended sizes for images on Twitter are:
- Profile photo – 400 x 400 pixels (bear in mind that Twitter profile photos are circular so you may need to alter your images to fit)
- Header images – 1500 x 500 pixels (this image is quite large so try to use as high resolution image as possible)
Below is a screenshot of how your profile will look once it is set up to help give you an idea of how the images are displayed.
Don’t panic if you’re not a qualified designer, or if you haven’t the funds to hire the skills of a professional graphic designer. Venngage, for example, offers a free ‘Twitter header maker’ tool containing a rich library of high-quality header templates and colour schemes, enabling users to easily create an impressive header that’s completely on-brand.
Once your profile is all set and ready to go, you will be taken to a screen where you can start following other users. A top tip here is to skip this section, and make sure your account is fully set up with all of the relevant information first. If users see you’ve got a half-finished profile or you’ve shown poor attention to detail, they’re unlikely to engage with you and it’ll be even harder to win back their trust if their initial impression of you was a negative one. It’s also a good idea to post a few Tweets before you start following users, so when they come across your account, there is some activity to encourage them to follow you back.
Now that your account is all up and running you’re almost ready to get going, but hold your horses, there are a few things you should know first.
Important Twitter terminology
As is the case with all social media platforms, Twitter is full of different terms and acronyms that can be confusing for those who are new to the site.
Well have no fear, we’ve covered some of the key terms you need to know when using Twitter.
Your bio is a short description (max 160 characters) that appears on your profile and helps users find out a bit more about you and your account.
Direct Message (DM)
Direct messages are a place where users can have private conversations away from public viewing, they are often shortened to DMs. Direct messages can be either one-to-one or group conversations.
Engagement includes any form of interaction with other users posts or profiles. It’s key to engage with other profiles to help retain and boost your following by showing you are an active Twitter user and not just broadcasting your opinion.
Your Twitter handle is another word for your username, it always comes after an @ sign.
Hashtags are used to highlight key topics within your Tweet and further help you join in with the global conversation on Twitter. By putting the # symbol before a word or phrase, you are creating a hashtag. Hashtags can be clicked on to view other Tweets containing the same hashtag.
The heart icon that appears before a Tweet is the like button, by clicking on this you are indicating that you like this Tweet and are showing your appreciation to the author.
On your profile, there is a Likes tab that shows all of the Tweets you have previously liked.
Lists are used on Twitter to pull together various accounts by either topic or interest, for example, you can create a list of influencers within a certain niche. The list then produces a timeline of Tweets from these accounts which makes it easier to stay up to date with a specific topic or account away from your timeline.
You can mention another account in a Tweet by including an @ sign followed by their username. On the other hand, if you’ve received a mention, this means that your @username was included in someone else’s Tweet.
Twitter moments is a collection of curated Tweets on the same subject that are stored in an easy to share format. The Moments tab on your Twitter feed shares content on popular topics, events, or news.
Your Notifications timeline shows any interactions other users have had with your tweets including mentions, likes, follows, or Retweets.
Promoted Tweets are a form of advertising that have been paid for by users. These will appear in your timeline, at the top of the search results, and in various other areas on the platform. All promoted Tweets can be easily identified as such, as they will contain a ‘Promoted ’ label, as pictured below.
By responding to someone else’s Tweet you are replying to them. Simply click on the icon on the Tweet you to want to reply to, to respond directly to it. On all users’ profiles, you are able to view all of their Tweets including any replies.
A Retweet is a way of sharing another user’s Tweet with all of your followers. Simply click the Retweet button on their Tweet and it will give you the option to reshare that tweet, or add your own comments to it.
A timeline includes a real-time feed of Tweets. For example, your Home timeline is where you will see all Tweets that have been shared by people you follow.
Trends include any topics or hashtags that have been determined as one of the most popular at any current time by Twitter’s algorithm. You can tailor Trends based on your location and the accounts you follow. Trending topics appear on the left-hand side of your Home timeline.
This should be the most obvious term in our list, a Tweet is any post or update that you share on Twitter. Tweets can include text, photos, videos, or GIFs.
How to use Twitter for business
Social media, and more specifically Twitter, is all about being… well, social. It provides the perfect platform to interact with existing and prospective customers while increasing brand awareness. However it’s not just as simple as creating an account and starting to post, you need to have a plan and goals that you can work towards. You need to be able to answer the question, “why are we using Twitter?” and the best way to do this is by setting goals to work towards. Below are just a few examples of Twitter goals:
- Increase brand awareness
- Build relationships with existing customers
- Aid customer care enquiries
- Boost leads and sales
- Drive more traffic to your content
Once you have set out clear goals and defined what success looks like, then you can start to pull together a plan that will help you achieve these goals.
Our top tips for Twitter Marketing
Create a social media schedule
Creating a schedule is one of the best ways to stay on top of your social media strategy and ensure that everything is working as required. Drafting and scheduling tweets in advance is far more efficient and makes the job far easier for whoever is managing the account. Dedicating a few hours at the end of the week to schedule your tweets for the week ahead takes much less time than posting each tweet when it needs to go out. It also helps to avoid missing any posts.
There are a number of tools available to schedule Tweets, however, I personally find Tweetdeck to be the best. I will explain more about some of my favourite Twitter tools in the next section.
Carry out competitor research
If you’re new to Twitter it is quite natural to feel overwhelmed at the start. There is a wide range of different functions to use and finding the best place to start can be difficult. One thing that we find useful is to have a look at what your competitors are doing to find what works well, what doesn’t, and where any gaps are. Being able to differentiate yourself is key to standing out on Twitter, therefore, finding areas that your competitors aren’t utilising is crucial.
Additionally, by seeing what is and isn’t working for them you are allowing your competitors to do some of the research, and make mistakes so you don’t have to. Ultimately, you will have to tailor your activity to suit your brand and goals but this often provides a good platform to start off.
This may seem relatively straightforward, however, hashtags are absolutely crucial to help further the reach of your posts. As previously explained, hashtags will help you join in with the global conversation around a certain topic and ensure that your posts can be seen by other talking about the same topic. It’s important to carry out hashtag research to make sure that all the hashtags you use are relevant, and are actually be used by others. It’s also important to consider that while most popular hashtags may get the most views they will also be the ‘busiest’ making it easier for your posts to get lost. Try finding a balance between niche hashtags that are relevant and overly popular hashtags that will make it harder for others to find your Tweets.
Engage with influencers
An influencer is an individual who has the ability to impact someone’s decision to make a purchase based on their knowledge, authority, or relationship with the individual. Social media, and more specifically Twitter, has led to a rise in influencers as it provides a platform for them to communicate with their followers. Many brands have decided to take advantage of the relationship between influencers and their audience as a way to promote their goods and services; this is known as influencer marketing.
Engaging and working with key influencers within your brand’s industry or niche is an effective way to help boost your reach and increase awareness. More often than not influencers will require payment, or sample products, in return for promoting a product, however, this is often much cheaper than traditional advertising. Influencer marketing can be an extremely powerful tool if used correctly and is something that everyone who uses Twitter for marketing should consider.
Useful Twitter tools
Twitter is an extremely powerful tool with a wide variety of features that can be utilised for a range of different marketing needs. Trying to make the most of all of the available features on your own can be quite a difficult task. Thankfully there are a number of internal and external tools that can help you make the most out of Twitter as a marketing tool. Below are some of the tools that we use on a regular basis at Browser Media:
In my opinion, Tweetdeck is an absolute must for anyone managing multiple Twitter accounts. Tweetdeck allows you to manage multiple Twitter accounts all in one place. From the main dashboard, you are able to post and schedule tweets, track notifications, send and receive direct messages, view your main feed, and much more.
Additionally, due to the fact it is a Twitter owned product, all you have to do is log into your account and you’re good to go. There’s no need to sign up or create a new account – and it’s free!
Similarly to Tweetdeck, Hootsuite allows you to manage all aspects of multiple Twitter accounts from one centralised location. However, what makes Hootsuite a more powerful platform in comparison to Tweetdeck is the fact that you can also manage accounts from other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn from the same dashboard.
Additionally, Hootsuite displays a wide range of analytics for all social profiles which can be used to help track the success of your social media marketing campaign. All of the main features are available via a free account, however, there is also a premium option that provides additional features.
Buffer is another example of a social media management tool that allows you to manage all aspects of various social media accounts from one place. As is the case with both Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, Buffer also you to schedule posts and manage all aspects of various different social media account from one dashboard.
Once again similarly to Hootsuite, Buffer allows you to track the analytics of your different social accounts from within your account allowing you to further track the success of your activity.
Buffer has a range of various pricing options available to help meet your specific marketing needs.
Followerwonk is a fantastic tool that provides a deeper insight into your followers allowing you to tailor your Twitter activity around your followers. The tool provides data on who your followers are, where they are located, what time they post on Twitter, other accounts they follow, and much more. By using this tool you are able to ensure that you are posting your tweets when your followers are most active and further alter your plan around them.
Followerwonk can also be used to help identify potential influencers within your industry or niche that could be useful as part of an influencer marketing campaign.
There are various different pricing tiers available, all with differing levels of analytics allowing you to get a greater level of insight into your followers.
Hashtagify is a tool that helps you to identify the perfect hashtags to accompany your Twitter marketing strategy. As previously mentioned, hashtags are vital in boosting the reach of your posts, therefore ensuring you are using the best ones for your brand is crucial.
The tool pulls together information on the popularity of a hashtag, top influencers who use that hashtag, related hashtags, and other useful information.
As is the case with the majority of social media marketing tools, free accounts are available, as well as various pricing options providing access to a wider number of features, depending on your budget.
Time to get started
So that’s it, that’s everything you need to know about Twitter marketing. Well, not quite everything but it’s certainly enough to help you get started.
Twitter is a fantastic platform full of countless tools, tips, and tricks that will help you boost any wider marketing campaign. Ultimately, there’s a certain level of trial and error required to work out what techniques are best for your brand and how your followers/customers will respond, however with these tips as a starting point, the whole process should be much easier.