How valuable is Twitter to you? Many companies use it as their primary social media outlet for marketing, customer service and various other business tasks. Other companies use it only because they feel they have to since it’s one of the largest social networks. Still, there are some who think that it’s simply a lot of useless information being distributed to closed ears.
Regardless of your opinion of Twitter, you likely fit into one of these categories. SugarSpun Marketing is a firm believer in understanding the fact that not every social network is for everyone. In other words, after you devise your marketing plan and research where your audience is, whatever social networks fit is where you need to be.
If this is true for you and Twitter, but you are still struggling to find the true value, we may have some helpful tips for reaching and engaging with your audience.
1. Understand who you’re trying to reach
Though the exact number of Twitter users is unknown to the general public, it is safe to say that there are over 600 million users. However, understand that this doesn’t mean you will reach all these users. In an ideal world, yes you would, but even if you had that many followers, it is impossible to think that all 600 million people are on Twitter at the exact moment you send your tweet.
As you get to know your audience, practice the concept of listening. You don’t always need to be heard. Sometimes you can be more effective by simply listening since it will make what you have to say more meaningful.
2. Engage your audience
Now, this step could take up a whole book and more, but users, especially brands, must understand that true engagement takes a lot of time and effort. To engage your audience, you need to have compelling content. This is another topic we could talk about all day, but the main point in regards to Twitter is that it has to be short and driven. You’re dealing with 140 characters or less. In fact, recent research from Buddy Media shows that tweets with 71-100 characters produce the most retweets.
In addition to being compelling and short, engaging content is also personal. In order to make a connection, you have to speak the same language as your audience. This means that you shouldn’t only post links or only retweet. Add some commentary and show some personality. You want to give them a reason to communicate with you and keep the dialogue flowing.
Once you do this, the retweeting, favoriting, Follow Fridaying, and other common Twitter activities become natural and meaningful.
3. Utilize third-party tools
You will quickly find that, in order to do Twitter effectively, it takes a lot of time. It’s a challenge, no doubt, but fortunately there are a ton of tools to make your job easier. This is another area in which we really could use a day to two to delve into all the tools, but here are several that will likely come in handy:
– Hootsuite – tool allows users to manage multiple accounts, schedule, filter content and more
– Twitonomy – browse and monitor insights on people you know, competitors, etc.; also useful for finding influencers
– Cybranding – analyze hashtags with this tool to make sure you’re using the most searchable and impactful hashtags
– Commun.it – manage your current relationships and build new ones with this tool
– Qwitter – see who unfollows you on Twitter and also what tweet(s) may have caused them to leave
– Twellow – people search tool for Twitter that allows users to find others through interest, location, etc.
– SocialOomph – social media measurement tool tracks keywords and multiple other automation tasks, and more.
4. Keep up with changes
Similar to the other social networks, Twitter is always making tweaks to its service. Most recently, it announced a redesign for user pages. And, guess what, the new profiles look a lot like Facebook profile pages, a.k.a. Timelines. The new Twitter profiles include a stronger emphasis on imagery with much larger profile images and background images. As a brand, these changes are important as you want to have the best presentation possible to your audience.
To keep up, follow Twitter’s updates and keep up with social media blogs. Not every tweak will warrant your attention, but you want to be in the loop in order to react to the areas that could help or hurt your brand.
The new format is available to some users now but will be rolled out globally over the next several weeks.
Twitter has had a lot of changes over the couple of years including its IPO. Despite these changes, it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere but forward.