If you’re looking to run a strong social media marketing campaign, keeping an active profile on Twitter is absolutely necessary. With 330 million monthly active users according to company analytics, and a strong professional and business community, Twitter provides unique opportunities. The site is perfect for engaging with customers, spreading company awareness, and building your brand. But to get the most out of those opportunities you first need to understand the unique nuances of the platform and understand how to best allocate resources.
Here are top 8 points you need to keep in mind when starting your Twitter marketing campaign:
Use a Professional Twitter Profile Photo
This tip is especially important for independent contractors and freelancers, but it applies equally to SMBs as well. Your profile picture is the image that your followers are going to associate with you, so make sure it’s a good association. If you run a small business, have a polished and correctly sized logo so your followers can easily identify your brand. Putting in the time and money for a clean, professional headshot or logo will lend you legitimacy and ensure you’re taken seriously as a business or as an entrepreneur.Putting in the time and money for a clean, professional headshot or logo will lend you legitimacy and ensure you’re taken seriously as a business or as an entrepreneur. #TwitterMarketing Click To Tweet
Also important is making sure the header on your profile is as polished as your photo. You’ll want the branding to match with the rest of your online presence, as well as not having a color that makes your bio difficult to read. The same goes for your background. A good background follows the aesthetic and branding of your company without being distractingly busy. A great example of a solid profile is the online store ThinkGeek, pictured above.
Pick Your Username and Handle Carefully
Equally or more important than your profile picture is your username and handle. Businesses are less likely to have difficulty with having a name that’s already been taken, but for contractors and freelancers, this can be a problem. Obviously, if your full name is available as a username and handle take it, but if you can’t use your full name there are a few options.
An easy way to get around username copying is to put an underscore between your first and last name. For example, if your name was John Smith, but @JohnSmith was taken, you might be able to snag the handle @John_Smith. It’s important to note that as a professional you should avoid numbers in your handle. Something like @JohnSmith1985 will seem amateurish to potential clients and should be avoided. If you can’t get your exact name (or even something reasonably close,) try and find something short and easy to remember.
Create a Branded Hashtag
A branded hashtag can be a great way to boost engagement with your page, especially if you get some momentum behind it online. Branded hashtags are extremely versatile, and can be used for anything from special events to contests to product launches. A strong and memorable hashtag raises awareness of your business and can provide retweets, likes and follows. Especially for SMBs, the followers gained from a branded hashtag can lead directly to conversions, as report from Twitter and Research Now found that 93% of people following SMBs plan to buy from them.A branded hashtag can be a great way to boost engagement with your page, especially if you get some momentum behind it online. #GWDigital Click To Tweet
One great example of a branded hashtag campaign was urban apparel company Ryu’s #Whatsinyourbag campaign. The campaign asked users to post pictures of the contents of their bag, using the hashtag for the chance to win a prize. This created a huge buzz with users, and created a fun, trendy personality for Ryu’s brand, winning them thousands of followers. And though that specific campaign was on Instagram, the same principles apply on Twitter. Promoting user engagement with a unique, memorable hashtag can yield great returns, and put your brand into the minds of potential customers.
Write a Compelling Bio and Include a Link
A good bio is important for many reasons. Not only does it give Twitter users a sense of who you are and what you do, it’s also important to search engines to direct user your way. Make sure that your bio uses descriptive keywords, summarizes your work, and depending on your business, includes some achievements or notable work. Adding a URL is also important as it acts as another way to direct hits to your website, driving search engine rankings and conversions.
Adding a link is done by entering your URL in the “website” field in your profile settings, which places it in a special line on your profile.
Here’s a great example of a real Twitter bio from entrepreneur Michael Hyatt:
Public speaker. Author of the New York Times bestseller, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. I share links on leadership, productivity, and social media.
This is an excellent template for any rising freelancer looking to build their brand on Twitter. The bio hits keywords, describes his work and flaunts achievements in a concise and easily readable way. It also never hurts to put a little personality into your bio as long as you remain professional. Your bio is an extension of your brand, so the copy should reflect that.
Tweet When Your Audience is Online
A common mistake for businesses in the urge to post constantly on their twitter account. While it is par for the course to post far more on Twitter than on a social media site such as Facebook, you don’t need to post 20 times a day. Over-posting can result in you using up your best content too quickly, relying on excessive reposting, or simply overwhelming your followers with a barrage of tweets.
The fix for this problem is posting strategically. Services like Tweriod track when your follower base is active to optimize your schedule and send your content live right when the people you want to see it are active. This allows you to prevent your tweets from being buried deep in your followers’ feeds without constant, potentially annoying posts.
Take Part in Twitter Chats
A Twitter chat is a great way to build a community around your brand and to become a thought leader in your industry. Chats are public conversations around a specific hashtag, essentially the Twitter version of a live stream or panel discussion. Most chats are recurring, and each meeting centers around a specific topic in the industry’s niche.
To start your own, here are a few tips you should follow:
- Make the hashtag short, easy to type, and easy to remember.
- Research the times of popular Twitter chats in your niche, and schedule around them.
- Use moderators to promote the chat, welcome new members, and keep the conversation on track.
- Use questions from the chat to inform blog content and improve your value to readers
There’s no one way to run a Twitter chat, and different circumstances will call for different approaches to running an event. However, for a comprehensive list of best practices the site Social Media Examiner made an awesome page on the subject. Either way, the main purpose of hosting a Twitter chat is to build a community around your brand and keep your business in people’s minds when they’re looking to buy.
Create Twitter Lists
Twitter lists are curated collections of accounts chosen by the list maker, which can be viewed or edited at any time. This allows you to follows hundreds and thousands of users without getting overwhelmed or missing important content from your favorite accounts. There are many reasons to use lists: keeping updated on industry news, keeping an eye on competitors, or keeping up with influencers could all be topics for separate lists.
Twitter Lists can also be public or private depending on its purpose, so if you want to look at what your competition is doing without others seeing, you can put those usernames in a private list. Other good candidates for lists could be your coworkers, people who retweet you frequently, and people from Twitter chats.
Finally, it’s important to include yourself in public lists so subscribers see your tweets. Creating a valuable resource for others without expanding your own brand is a big waste, so make sure to take the opportunity to expand your brand.
Search for and Engage with Influencers in Your Industry
Lastly, connecting with influencers is an important way to spread your brand and get noticed. People trust what their favorite online personalities say, so getting your name and content onto their account can be a huge plus.
If you run a retail business, many influencers will advertise for you in exchange for free product. If you’re a freelancer or contractor, retweet your favorite influencers and tag them in your posts. The attention could result in the influencer reciprocating retweets and mentions, which could vastly expand your followers list.
If you don’t know who the influencers in your niche are, services like Klear keep huge databases of influencers in every industry, giving you a shortcut when deciding who to follow.
And even if you don’t build a direct relationship with influencers, following them can still be helpful and informative. By keeping a Twitter list of influencers in your niche, you can stay on top of trends your base cares about, and create content that speaks to that. Remaining an active voice in big conversations is a powerful way to get noticed, and can provide opportunities to connect with thought leaders in your industry.
When used correctly, Twitter can be far more than a simple social media site. It can be used to build a network, host events, track industry trends, and build a name for your business. Using the 8 tips above you can transform the way you engage on Twitter, and revolutionize your social media marketing strategy. Build a strong community around your profile and your content, and your business is sure to see an impressive jump in conversions.
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