Twitter is about answering the question "€˜what are you doing"€™ in less than 140 characters. That"€™s about 12 words. In this article I suggest 10 quick wins to get you started in Twitter or to review your current approach. I hope these wins work for you whether you're a business or personal tweeter or both.
Before we get to my 10 quick wins, here's a quick refresher of some of the Twitter commands since I find that many small and medium businesses are still picking up on Twitter.
Twitter jargon buster
- Tweet "€“ a post, message or update on Twitter
- @username + message "€“ an open tweet that can be seen by your followers and by @username"€™s followers
- DM username "€“ a private tweet that can only be seen by username
- #hashtag - a Twitter keyword. Adding # makes the word searchable.
- RT "€“ repeating a Tweet, known as a ReTweet
Ten Quick Wins to create a Twitter strategy
1 "€“ Decide your objectives
Twitter can become time consuming and many people initially didn"€™t get the point. There are many companies now using Twitter successfully and their common denominator is that they have clear objectives.
Starting your Twitter journey or if you are already using Twitter but don"€™t feel it"€™s working, decide what you want out of it. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Promote key messages
- Build brand awareness
- Drive traffic to your website
- Promote special offers
- Respond to customer queries
- Provide advice and tips
- Share news
- Build community
- Raise funds
- Generate sponsorship
- Customer services
- Product demos
- Recruit new staff
- Research your market
Once you have decided your objectives, you can then plan how this will be achieved.
2 "€“ Agree your identity
Business or personal? If your objective is to generate business, it"€™s better to adopt a business identity. If you have several people inside your company who will tweet, a common format needs to be agreed, such as Evonomie_Jo or Evonomie_Am. This enables followers to know that this is a company tweet, but the individual is identifiable. Alternatively, adopt the company name and in the biography (see below) identify the tweeters.
One of the challenges with Twitter is that user names are limited to 15 characters. If your company name is longer, you may need to think carefully about how to present your brand. Once you have agreed your Twitter identity, don"€™t change it as you could lose and confuse followers.
3 "€“ Protect your brand
Twitter and other social media requires a square logo. If you have a rectangular logo and upload this to Twitter, it will crop the sides, damaging your visual identity.
Get your designer to prepare "€˜social media ready"€™ logos that are sized for Twitter at 700k.
Once your brand is established, don"€™t change the visual identity or your photo without good reason!
If you don"€™t add a photo you will retain the default Twitter bird as your visual identity which will not distinguish any of your tweets from other users of Twitter.
If someone else is using your brand name you can apply to Twitter to get the account suspended and eventually transferred. This does take a long time, so register new brands early.
4 "€“ Prepare your bio
Your bio or biography is 160 characters about you or your company. A short sentence about what you do. It is searchable and important to focus on a few essential keywords as a bio is the first place potential followers review. Bizarrely, many people don"€™t complete their bio at all!
Your bio can be read by followers and non followers alike so ensure that it reflects your Twitter objectives. If the identity is for a company make sure this follows your normal brand rules. If it"€™s a personal bio, check that it doesn"€™t infringe any company brand guidelines.
5 "€“ Agree update responsibility
There are 90 million Twitter accounts but only 18 million are active. If you are going to register a Twitter profile, make sure that the account is updated, in line with your objectives. This may be once a day or twice a week, or every hour, but to retain a Twitter account, build followers and achieve your objectives it needs some activity.
Twitter considers an account as inactive if it hasn't been logged into or updated in over 6 months. These accounts may be automatically removed from Twitter.
6 "€“ Decide Twitter management
Updating Twitter is best done in house. If you need external help, Twitter may not be right for your company. Twitter is often given to junior staff, which is fine, as long as they are given clear guidelines on the company"€™s brand values and "€˜tone of voice"€™. For example in November an airline was tweeting about a "€˜scary competition"€™ they meant Halloween, but airlines should never use the word "€˜scary"€™ in their marketing communications!
If you are a professional or business user and use LinkedIn, you can simply add Twitter to your LinkedIn account and when adding a "€˜status update"€™ in LinkedIn, you can check the box to automatically tweet at the same time.
7 "€“ Organise landing pages
Your bio includes a web page link. Instead of sending all traffic to your home page, organise a separate page for your Twitter followers. This will enable
- Easier analysis of how visitors found your site and the actions they took [Editor's note: Like this - hadn't thought of it = DFA, Design for Analytics]
- Your twitter followers to get all the information they need about you, in more than 160 characters, in one place.
8 "€“ Use free software
Twitter.com is the most basic way to use Twitter. It doesn"€™t spell-check, allow you to schedule posts or to group your favourites.
There are many great free software tools including:
||What it does
||Schedule Tweets over a period of time.
||Makes recommendations on who to follow.
||Track who is mentioning you.
||URL shortening service for Twitter.
||Makes Twitter easy to use.
||Finds stories from Twitter for you to retweet.
||See how you rank on Twitter.
We use Tweetdeck and Hootsuite for the PC and iPhone. We also have Echofon on the iPhone which is a cut down version of Twittter online.
9 "€“ Share the news
Once you have started tweeting, make sure your existing customers are aware. This helps to grow your follower base and to keep you "€˜front of mind"€™. Make sure the Twitter logo and your @username are on your
- Business cards
- LinkedIn profile
10 "€“ Get Interactive
To make Twitter work and to achieve your objectives you need to invest some time to tweet.
- Re-purpose (re-use) existing content
- ReTweet interesting Tweets
- Recommend interesting Tweeters "€“ "€˜Follow Friday"€™ #FF is set up to do this
- Tweet about useful and interesting information, sharing your breakfast menu is not that fascinating "€“ unless you own a Bed & Breakfast establishment!
- Tweet on a regular basis "€“ this could be daily or weekly, but a Twitter account with few tweets won"€™t attract many followers.
And finally, set up alerts via www.google.com/alerts and tweetbeep.com to monitor your brand online and measure the impact of Twitter.
I've adapted this post from my book Quick Win Digital Marketing. For answers to digital marketing questions see Quick Win Digital Marketing by Annmarie Hanlon and Joanna Akins (Book available from Oak Tree Press and App available from iTunes store).