Your Twitter strategy is really important, you need a clear plan in place before you begin any marketing campaign and it's the same with Twitter.
Set SMART objectives
SMART objectives are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound. Make sure that you set some SMART objectives before you begin with your Twitter campaign, otherwise you will never be working towards something, this may affect your motivation and result in a Twitter strategy with no real direction.
Followers are important, they are the people that will see your tweets and hopefully retweet your messages to their followers. But DO NOT get hung up on the number! It's great if you have loads of followers, as long as they are relevant! What's the point in having followers that are not your target audience, don't get hung up on the numbers. It's quality, not quantity, focus on getting the right people to follow you, not Bob from America who's interested in Fishing (unless of course you're a fishing ecommerce website). Follow people or organisations you think could be potential clients or customers, the likelihood is that they will reciprocate the follow. But don't be that company that follow a tonne of people or customers and then unfollow the ones that aren't following you, again it's not a numbers game. By all means follow competitors, you will not only gain some insight into their Twitter strategy but you might well be suggested to other people who have liked the competitor also, Twitter frequently suggests people or companies to follow based on similar follows. One major piece of advice I would give is NEVER, ever pay for Followers, the likelihood is that they are bot followers!
Not a sales platform
The idea behind using Twitter for marketing is not to use it as a platform for sales talk and offers. Yes it's great when you get an offer exclusively from Twitter and some people may follow companies on Twitter to receive offers. However most follow a company to get to know the company, a lot of the time purchase decisions are based on trust and credibility, especially with high value orders. People are more likely to trust a company if that company is regularly publishing content that will help the consumer. Allow them to get to know you, your company ethos, what your about etc. Highlight your employees, show people having fun, it's SOCIAL media for a reason, make it social!
Incorporate visual content
Speaking from a users perspective, there is nothing worse than a twitter feed that is full of just text! It's so boring and not engaging, a picture really does say a thousand words! Incorporate pictures, videos, giffs (as Twitter now allows them) etc. Research shows that tweets with pictures receive double the engagement!
Incorporate Twitter with your content marketing
If you don't blog, you should. If you don't have a blogging capability on your website you should get one. I won't go into the long list of why you should blog as it can be found here, but let's say for the benefit of the doubt that it is very advantageous for you to have regularly updated content on your website. Twitter is a great way to get your original content out there and get people linking back to your website, it's called inbound marketing and it should be part of your marketing mix!
Calls to action
Calls to action are a great way of getting your consumers or clients to engage with you. Especially if you are regularly sharing blog content, a little call to action at the end of the tweet can make the difference between someone clicking on the link and someone ignoring it. Asking people to retweet works surprisingly well on Twitter, tweets that use "RT" or "Retweet" receive 12x higher retweet shares, compared to those that don't use a call to action.
The great advantage of Twitter is that it offers a way of being able to communicate with a company or brand. What does this mean for your company. Well, it means, that you need to be on the ball with your replies. Communication on Twitter is essential an exercise in PR. If a customer asks a question, or has a problem and posts it on Twitter, you need to be quick and helpful with your response. This makes you look like a brand that consumers can trust. Failure to do this or bad customer service can result in your company looking like one that doesn't care.
Scheduling is something that I would advise, if you sit down at the end of a quarter or a month (a month is probably easiest) and write through a month (or quarters) worth of tweets and set them running, you can be regularly engaging your consumers and you won't keep forgetting to tweet. Scheduling 1 or 2 tweets a day is normally common practice, the best software I would advise for scheduling is Hootsuite as you can set up a template in Excel and upload it as a CSV file. I would add advisory caution however, as posting consistently at the same time every day may look like spam. The idea of scheduling is to regularly get you posting, so it looks like you're actively involved in Tweeting, if you are scheduling content that has no links, no images, videos etc you will lose followers quickly. Get in the habit of logging in throughout the day and posting content that engages, this is so easily done when virtually everyone has a Smartphone, you could snap a pic, add a catchy tagline and upload it in a minute.
So you want to link something really interesting from your website to your followers on Twitter, but the URL is too long and eating into your characters. Not to worry, there is an easy way around this, by using a URL shortener. This is a free service offered by many websites, Bitly.com is the best website that offers this service though! All you do is copy and paste your URL into the shortener and it gives you a new URL which, as you may have guessed, is much shorter! You can then use this in your tweets and the good thing about bitly is that the new URL's are tracked! You can see how many times they've been clicked on and from where, so if you're posting on multiple social media platforms, you can track where the clicks are coming from.
As with all marketing campaigns you should be analysing your efforts. There is no point running a Twitter campaign without understanding what you are getting from it, what's working and what's not working. There are a number of different software's you can use to analyse the hard work you're putting into Twitter! Here are a few examples:
- Sprout social
- Social Bro
- Google Analytics
A lot of these you do have to pay a monthly or annual fee, however they do offer free trials that you can use to figure out which is best for you.