The first decision you will have to make is how many Twitter accounts you want to manage; this will depend on your budget or staff time available, of course. If you already have a social account, you need to operate a separate Twitter account for business, but your personal account can act as a support to your business profile on Twitter too. The important thing is to keep the two separate. If you are wanting to speak to different client or customer groups with different campaigns, then consider setting up specific accounts to target those groups. If you are squirming by now at what seems like mushrooming workload, fear not, we will deal with automation and outsourcing elsewhere to ease the burden.
Watch and learn. Find out what’s going on in your industry and what your customers are interested in. Use Twitter search to see to significant conversations going on and Tweet quality input where you can ‘add value’ and demonstrate your own expertise or brand personality.
Understanding the features of Twitter is key to making an impact in the ‘Twittersphere’ and getting maximum benefit from your staff time and financial input. Getting to know the language and terms used means you are equipped to interact with your audience and get involved in conversations seamlessly. So let’s go over the basics of Twitter management.
A Tweet is a message posted on Twitter to your followers, confined to 140 characters (including spaces) or less, like the one above. It can contain text, photos, hyperlinks to other webpages and videos. Each of the links you insert automatically take up to 22 characters, leaving you only 118, meaning you have to learn the art of being concise.
To ‘reply’ to tweets, used the curved arrow (‘1’ in the image above). Click ‘reply’ to respond to a Tweet, either from one of your own followers to you directly, or to reply to someone else’s generally broadcasted tweet if appropriate to the brand you are building. (We talk more about branding later in our ‘Profile’ section. Replying to a Tweet is one of the most important ways to build relationships with your followers, who you want to convert to customers or ‘evangelists’. It is also a way for your to join in conversations and boost your twitter followers. When you reply to someone, their followers get to see your post, meaning you become visible to a brand new audience, who share interests with the people you tweet to. You will be demonstrating shared interests, which builds rapport and stimulates interest in your company.
A Retweet (‘2’ in the above image) is where you choose to share a Tweet posted by someone else with your own followers. You can either Retweet without adding any commentary of your own, or you have the option to add your own message to the original Tweet.
Using the second option is very powerful, because you can choose to use put your own twist on what is being said, which can attract further comments and you can choose to use a ‘Hashtag’ with a key word pertinent to messages; we talk more about hashtags in a few moments.
So, the take-away here, is that by inputting your own comment to what you are retweeting, you are getting double the impact, because you will be seen by the followers of the person who posted the tweet you are sharing and potentially reaching even more people who may be searching on the hash-tagged key word you use.
Another trick to use with the Retweet is if you want your followers to share what you are saying, put the letters ‘RT’ in your Tweet, which is a shorthand request for others to Retweet.
Favoriting (3 ‘starring’, as above) has a few benefits. Of course, it is primarily a great way of acknowledging or showing your appreciation for a Tweet someone has made. However, it is also a very useful bookmarking tool to easily find a Tweet again and either potentially use elsewhere.
A lesser known benefit of the Favourite function is when your own Tweets are favourite by someone else, this offers an opportunity to do a little market research, by checking out why they took an interest in what you have tweeted. This can offer insights you’re your audience that might not have occurred to you. Of course, the obvious draw back here, is that it can be a sure fire way to disappear down a rabbit hole, unless you are outsourcing your social media management to an agency who take time to analyse the significance of when someone favourites you.
A hashtag is a word or phrase with no spaces that is preceded by the # symbol. The Twitterati use hashtags to find conversations on particular themes e.g. ‘Creative’, ‘Competition’, ‘Cars’. Using the search function and the # helps people looking for what you do to find your content more easily. So, if you want to launch a “#new #beer”, then take a look at some of the existing hashtags used by people when talking about it and include these in your posts.
If planning a social media marketing campaign, spend some time researching hashtags on topics you can piggy back onto in order to have your posts found more easily. If you are linking the message to a particular page of your website, be sure to use a key word on the page you are linking your post to in order to boost your SEO, by showing the search engines how relevant your social media content is to the subjects people click through to on your website.
If experiencing mind boggle at this point, consider getting systematised with your marketing by setting up a spreadsheet of your keywords and relevant hashtags to refer to when creating posts, or of course consider outsourcing – see later in this ebook.
(4 above) We talk more about the importance of followers in a future post.
Using ‘@username’ in a tweet will mean that that person will be notified that you are bringing something to their attention. You can use it to ask that person a question, to thank them or simply to highlight a piece of content. If you use more than one ‘@personsname’, it is effectively copying them in. It is a great way to put a message out to a group of people who may have been responding to one of your tweets. To get even more visibility amongst your followers, precede the ‘@’ symbol with a full-stop; this broadcasts generally, whilst ensuring a named person will see your message on their Timeline. E.g. if chatting with a colleague about a topic, .@businesspartner increases exposure.
Other Useful Features
There are further options to respond to tweets under the ‘More’ menu (5 above).
If you do not want followers of yours, or the person you are messaging to be seen by others, you can message them directly by clicking this ‘DM’ option, or simply use ‘@user’.
Twitter messages from people you follow will show up in a ‘stream’ on your homepage, called your “Timeline”, for easy reading when you log in.
Last but not least is understanding how your Twitter profile needs to be set up to project the best image of your brand and maximise visits to your website. Your Twitter profile needs to reflect who you are, including any quirky elements, if that is the image you want to project. This is your Twitter window to your world, so it’s really important that you invest time in getting this key piece of marketing infrastructure right.
You have two choices for setting up your Twitter profile: you can learn how to set up Twitter for business to attract potential customers to your profile and funnel them to your sales system, or you can can have an outsourced freelancer or agency create a Twitter account for you, for a very reasonable price via platforms such as PeoplePerHour.com, FreelanceUK.com, Crew.com, Contently.com. This can be worth your while for avoiding the frustrating steps involved, such as making your ‘wallpaper’ (backdrop to your Twitter homepage) work well.
Your Twitter username needs to be short, memorable and consistent with your branding. Often, brand names may be already taken on Twitter, due to its global reach. You may have to come up with a ‘handle’ related to your tagline. Ideally, you want your Twitter brand voice to be consistent and recognisable across all of your social media platforms, so you may have to set up appropriate Facebook pages, landing page on your website, or other related social media accounts, so as clients or customers move between your ‘shop windows’, they know instantly that they are in the right place. Your username has a character limit of 15, however, ideally it should be around a dozen characters, so that it is not truncated in any Retweet.
Your whole bio cannot exceed 160 characters. Be very smart with what you put in here. Be concise, but powerful. Do away with unnecessary words and fillers. This is your opportunity to sell your account as a follow-worthy one to potential followers – make sure you do it justice.
Every aspect of your Twitter profile, including your thumbnail photo, header image, bio and pinned Tweet, should reflect your business identity and personality. Describe what you do and offer a link to your website, to drive sales to your website and generate custom as part of your integrated ‘sales funnel’. Consistency across platforms makes sense in terms of building a sense of familiarity, trust and reliability in your audience. For instance, instantly recognisable logo as your Twitter icon and consistent brand colours will reassure those who know you that they have arrived at the right place and demonstrate professionalism.
The final step in your Twitter set up process is ensuring you can manage your Twitter marketing on the move. One of real benefits of Twitter is that it’s portable across devices and Twitter for mobile makes Twitter management really easy. Connect your Twitter account to your mobile device or smartphone following Twitter’s simple instructions, or download a popular Twitter ‘application’ (app for short) so you can post and respond to Tweets quickly during gaps in your schedule. If you are about to attend an industry event, you can be ahead of the game by checking in on what others are tweeting about it on your mobile to get more from a business conference or networking event.
If you want to control how much feed you get to your mobile, Twitter via SMS allows you to pick and choose which updates you want from those you follow, so you can get mobile updates from the accounts and followers who matter most to you on-the-go between busy schedules.