Do you have a company Twitter profile? Not sure what to Tweet or never the had chance to set one up? This article will help you understand the basics of how to use Twitter as a marketing tool and how to set up and manage your company profile.
In a nutshell what is Twitter?
Twitter is the leading ‘microblogging’ social media platform which allows its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as “Tweets”. Tweets can contain info about your company, for example a link to a page on your website, articles you may have written or useful links to other related content. It’s free to use, and if used effectively, can be a valuable part of any business’s marketing strategy, helping to promote your brand, interact and develop relationships with customers and engage with likeminded businesses.
The benefits of using Twitter
Twitter is the one social media platform that can often be very daunting for the uninitiated. An active and well used Twitter account can communicate a great deal about your business and act as a valuable marketing tool. It can assist with your companies SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy and generate additional inbound traffic to your company’s website.
Steps to success with Twitter
1) Create a profile that is consistent with your brand and with your other social media platforms
Your Twitter profile is effectively an extension of your brand. When setting up your profile you must ensure it’s consistent with your company branding and brand guidelines. Make sure that the branding across all social media platforms is consistent. Your branding should be instantly recognisable to new visitors.
a) Choosing a good username (also known as a Twitter handle)
Countless companies make grave errors choosing usernames that don’t reflect their company. Here are a couple of username tips:
- Do make sure your Twitter handle reflects your company name – e.g. @CaburnHope_mktg. We have two sides to our agency with different specialisms and have set up two accounts, the other being @CaburnHope_EC
- Don’t use numbers – unless this is part of your branding.
b) Choose a relevant and representative image
You have three areas that you can customise within your Twitter profile:
- Your Twitter profile image is a small square photo that appears next to each of your Tweets – use your company logo
- Your profile header is a larger rectangular image – choose an image that relates to your business
- Your background should again reflect your branding.
Remember: Your company profile must look professional. Caburn Hope design social media stationery suites for clients. Please get in touch for details.
c) Make your profile as informative as possible
If you click on ‘account settings’ there are several other opportunities to give users information about your business – where you are located, your website URL and something that humanises you as an organisation. Remember Twitter is a ‘social’ platform – users like to know that they are talking to humans not robots.
2) Start following
When following another Twitter user you effectively choose to read what they share on Twitter and vice versa. Choose wisely – Make sure you follow relevant people and businesses. Consider starting by following:
- Trade bodies/organisations – Relevant to your industry, there will be plenty! Start with a major organisation and look to see who they are following – this will lead you quickly to many other similar companies
- Business partners – Essential when building reciprocal relationships
- Businesses run by people you know (your professional network)
- Your own clients
- Future customers – Following companies and individuals that you think may be interested in your services is the first step to building future business
- Your direct competition – This allows you to see what they are up to and to keep abreast of changes in your industries world
- Your email address book – If you grant Twitter access to your email address book it will search for all your contacts who use Twitter and give you the opportunity to follow them
Remember: Quality over quantity – it’s tempting to follow hundreds of companies and individuals in one sitting but take it slowly and get a feel for your immediate Twitter audience. Build on relevant relationships rather than trying to harvest hundreds of followers who have little interest in your business.
That’s what Twitter is all about. Generally speaking you can break down Tweet content/Tweet types into the following:
Tweet – Something you write (in a 140 characters or less) and which you post to all your followers
URL Shortener – Remember if your Tweet contains a link you need to shorten the URL to avoid the link taking up the character limit of the Tweet. We recommend you use https://bitly.com/. (Unless you are using TweetDeck or Hootsuite which have their own URL shorteners). A shortened URL can also be tracked in Google Analytics enabling you to see where your traffic is coming from.
# Hashtag – Hashtags are searchable on Twitter (and now Facebook), if you use the #marketing within your Tweet somewhere, everyone who performs a search for #marketing on Twitter will likely come across your Tweet. Certain hashtags trend on Twitter daily; these are relevant to local events and have the highest usage on Twitter. Eg. #grandnational, #christmas.
ReTweet (RT) – Someone else’s Tweet that is of interest and you choose to share with your followers.
Reply – Start of a conversation – you reply to a specific Tweet and the string of the conversation is then visible on your timeline
Mention – A post containing the Twitter handle of another user: eg, @caburnhope_mktg great new website by the way!
Direct Message (DM) – A message you send to a specific user (they must follow you to receive the message) which is private and only seen by them.
So what should I communicate about?
This is often the hardest topic for new users especially when the purpose of the account is to generate interest in your company. A balance between raising the profile of your services without appearing as a hard sell is essential. Look at what and how your competition is communicating. Then experiment with Tweets that essentially do the same thing. Talk about industry news, what other people are doing, link back to your own website, other social media platforms and get involved in conversations. You will quickly learn what is hitting the mark. Be helpful, engaging, witty, and professional – make people feel valued and be valued.
How frequently should I Tweet?
As a starters guide we recommend you try and aim to Tweet at least 3 times a week
Managing my Tweets to save me time
You don’t always have to login to your Twitter account and post a Tweet one by one when you remember. There are several social media management dashboards available. We recommend you use Hootsuite. This platform allows you to manage your company Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google + all in one place. You can also schedule and analyse your posts to see how effective they are.
Social media is about sharing – whether it is thoughts, ideas, music, or services. As previously mentioned , sharing content on Twitter is a way of driving traffic to specific pages on your company website, creating appealing content is essential. Content can be in the form of news items, new product announcements, offers, blogs, brochures, opinion pieces, photos, videos etc.
Now that your Twitter profile is set up – you need to ensure you maximise the opportunities that other users have of finding your Twitter account.
- Use ‘Twitter follow’ badges on your website
- Include your live Twitter feed on your website
- Some other social media sites will offer the opportunity to include a link to your Twitter stream (Facebook for example)
- Link posts from other social media platforms to your Twitter account
- Use share buttons on your website making it easy for them to share your content
- Add social media icons to your company email signature
6) Find your customers
As I touched on earlier if you search for specific hashtags on Twitter eg; if you are an estate agent you might search for #property or #forsale. This will allow you to see what conversations are going on around a subject related to your business and potentially identify new customers.
You might find it useful to list other Twitter users under specific lists you can set up. Searching other user’s lists can often lead to finding other users/potential customers who may be useful to your business.
Who to follow
On your Twitter profile you will see a ‘who to follow’ section on the left hand side. Twitter determines these users by the connections your followers have and the relevance in the industry.
Most importantly every social media platform has an etiquette that you should follow. Be mindful that everything you post on Twitter is in the public domain; each Tweet needs to be professional.
Look out for our next blog in the coming weeks regarding LinkedIn best practise. If you missed our Pinterest article ‘What is Pinterest and why should it be part of your Social Media Strategy?‘ you can read it here.
I hope you have found this article useful, this scratches the surface on what you can do to maximise your company’s exposure on Twitter.
Want to outsource your social media or perhaps you need some help with your overall marketing strategy. You can ‘Tweet’ us @CaburnHope_Mktg, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can give us a call on 01273 480404.
Written by Caburn Hope’s Digital Account Manager Nikki Laker.