With over 300 million active users monthly, Twitter is a great resource to build a following and influence in your niche, drive traffic to your website, and simply to reach a wider audience. However, to play this game you must first know the rules!
Make your profile recognizable
You want everyone who visits your profile to understand it’s your brand’s official home on Twitter. That means every detail that can be customizable must be tweaked to serve this first impression. Header and profile pictures, colors, bio, pinned tweet – everything.
Including your brand name is a no-brainer. Use capitalization for clarity, so that your followers, customers, and fans could search and recognize you immediately.
You can use your logo, create a unique branded image or a photo of your product, put your slogan there or a photo of your team – there is no limitation on getting creative with your Twitter cover image. However, make sure you are consistent – use the same style and colors as in profile picture, so they won’t clash and stay true to your brand’s overall esthetics. Alternatively, use a solid block of your brand color and be minimalistic.
Also, it shouldn’t be carved in the stone – you can change your Twitter banner to announce new products, promote upcoming events or highlight a hashtag.
The best thing would be to use your company’s logo. If logo is too complicated, you can use your brand’s initials on a backdrop of the brand’s color. This picture will not only sit on your profile above your feed – it will accompany your account’s every move and appear on the feeds of your subscribers. Therefore, it should be clear, not cluttered, and distinctive even as the smallest icon.
Unlike header, it’s better to keep your profile photo consistent – this is your face that must stay recognizable.
Bio is the tricky bit because in 160 characters or less you must tell your visitors what your company does, what kind of tweets to expect should they follow you, and, by the way, why they should follow you. On top of that, it must be consistent with your brand’s tone of voice. Here are some examples of how you can do it. Keep in mind that Twitter is probably the least uptight of all social networks, so don’t be too serious. Many brands pun their slogans, use tongue-in-cheek quotes and humor to appear a bit more human and personal.
You can link to your own profile in bio (as a CEO) or a profile of a sister brand. A smart move will also be to include a hashtag you promote, but don’t overdo it. Also, no need to put a link to your website in the bio, since there is a separate field in your profile for that (website URL).
If your bio is too small to introduce yourself, there is always an option of getting some valuable info into the pinned tweet.
Location and date of birth
Filling those out with your company’s head office location and foundation date is another way of humanizing your brand.
Verify your account
To make your brand look more trustworthy and legitimate, you can apply for verification of your Twitter account. If Twitter accepts your application, this will prevent your customers from following an impersonator or confusing you with a parody account, for example. Verified accounts have blue badges with a checkmark inside next to their handle.
Fine-tune Twitter lists
Twitter Lists are curated lists of Twitter accounts. You can create your own lists or follow the ones created by other users. Consider creating the following Lists: current customers, prospective customers, competitors, influencers, newsmakers, partners, affiliates, local community, and employees.
Twitter Lists are a great way to find business inspiration, make sure you regularly engage your target audience, keep an eye on your competitors and to follow the trends, which is a key to success on Twitter. Some Lists are there be just monitored (such as competitors), some are there to be actively engaged (prospects). The result is your increased superhuman productivity and the illusion of omnipresence.
Moreover, since people can follow the Lists you’ve created, it makes sense to put people who retweet you on a dedicated List strategically naming it “Great news resources” or “Hilarious stuff”. Also, don’t neglect to add yourself on the relevant Lists – this way you increase your chances of getting followers.
Choose ad strategy
When setting up to advertise on Twitter, you must first choose between two available options: Promoted Tweets vs. Twitter Ads. Which one is best for you depends on your goals. If you want to expand your reach and get more visitors for your website or its specific page, Promoted Tweets option does exactly that. Promoted Tweets will be shown in search results or the feeds of the targeted users and you will pay a flat monthly fee as long as the tweets are promoted.
Twitter Ads, on the other hand, is a more complex and versatile tool for a holistic advertising campaign that uses different types of tweets to achieve one major goal. This can be raising awareness, gaining followers, increasing the number of app installs, video views, and website conversions. Twitter Ads menu allows you to choose this goal and provides different tools to leverage – the price varies accordingly.
Next step is to create specific groups within your ad campaign. They are absolutely independent, can have different objectives, different target audiences, different timeframes, and budgets. Budget for each group is selected independently in the “Details” tab and is called “bid” (Automatic, Maximum, and Target).
Finally, you can start targeting your audience, which is the crucial step because you don’t want to spend money showing your ads to people who aren’t interested and aren’t likely to be. In Twitter Ads, you can choose your viewers according to the following categories: gender, age, location, language, and device. These are pretty straightforward.
However, there is one last category – audience features. This is the most interesting one because that’s where fine-tuning comes into play. Audience features include interests, topics, events, movies, and keywords.
Here you can choose to target (or exclude from targeting) people who Tweet with, search for or otherwise engage with the specified keywords. The helpful feature of this field is that every keyword you type in comes with a number of users who are currently using this keyword. This metric makes choosing between similar keywords much easier. For example, you are hesitating between “essay helper online” and “essay help online”. Despite being very similar, the former phrase has drastically lower frequency.
This way you can not only choose the keywords you deem relevant for your ad but also select the most popular among them, increasing your chances of success.
This is the next level of precision targeting. Here you can enter handles of the users whose audience you deem perfect recipients of your ads (think of them as of embodiment of your buyer personas). Next, an algorithm will target users that have similar interests to the followers of the users specified.
Another way to use this tool is to target top influencers in your niche (a tip of the iceberg), to benefit from their huge following with the same interests.
Using the hashtags
Hashtags are a must, otherwise, why be on Twitter at all? It’s not just a platform’s gimmick, it’s a vital part of your success. Tweets with hashtags get twice as much engagement as tweets without them.
Yet don’t get too crazy with hashtags – more than two in one tweet already may look spammy to your readers. Just as everything, those guys are good in moderation. To reap their full potential, you should follow the guidelines.
First of all, create unique hashtags for your business to let people search and find you. Your primary one is a no-brainer, just like your username. It must hit the sweet spot between being simple and recognizable. You can later add to the pool by creating relevant hashtags for events, campaigns, and products you launch. Just make sure they all are:
- Memorable and straightforward
- Not too long (as tempting as it may be to make it informative, All in One Project Management Software isn’t going to work as a hashtag, better settle on something that is easier to recreate)
- Clear and readable
To meet the latter requirement, make sure to:
- Use capitalization to avoid unintended puns (cue #nowthatcherisdead when Thatcher, not Cher died, #susanalbumparty when it was about Susan’s album, and #CLitFest for Cheltenham Literary Festival)
- Double-check your acronyms (because most of them are already in use on the internet and not in the meaning you’d like to associate with your brand)
In Twitter Analytics, track the performance of your hashtags and make sure to use the most popular ones in your future tweets.
Engage your followers
As your followers count will become heftier, it will be more and more difficult to stay personal and warm. Sometimes, it’s not humanly possible to like back every retweet, to respond to each comment and mention, and give your fans all the love and attention they deserve and wait for. Still, it is crucial to be present, to interact with them and to do it regularly. Yet, however difficult that might be, you sure want the following to grow, don’t you?
Twitter Lists described above are a great help at the stage when your following is getting too big to handle. Also, never forget to monitor your direct messages. People are getting in touch personally less and less. In 2019, if someone took the time to write a direct message, it’s probably important enough to deserve your attention.
Don’t forget to do ongoing research to know the interests of your target audience. Again, Twitter Lists are a great help here, since you can segment your followers and prospects and create a List for every buyer persona you come up with.
Social media are volatile, so keeping the followers is as challenging as winning them. Monitor trends, post polls and questions – this will help to learn more about your followers and create engagement. People like to share their opinion, especially if it’s valued and sought for.
Share mentions of your brand
If your brand is mentioned somewhere in the media you should share it on Twitter. First of all, that adds trustworthiness. It shows that you are legitimate, active, successful and interesting enough to be a focus of media attention.
It’s also a great chance of getting a promotion without tooting your own horn – after all, it’s them who talk about you. You also show that you are present and current – too many accounts schedule their tweets for a week ahead and forget about it (spoiler: not a good strategy for the platform).
Another benefit is that you direct your followers to the platform that mentioned you, which gives them a traffic boost. It’s good for you too since you probably got a backlink from the material where you mentioned. Even if not – such positive response will surely increase your chances of getting more mentions, backlinks and other featuring in the future.
Watch competitor strategies
Twitter is one of the simplest and most transparent places to get information about your competitors. The basic information is there on the profile – followers, retweets, comments. You can also see the type of content they create and how it performs, how their audience responds to their tone of voice, etc.
The easiest way is to have them on the separate List, yet if you don’t want to you don’t have to follow them. Instead, you can search them and do a little lurking (it’s 2019, everyone is doing it).
However, not everyone chooses to be discreet. Some brands build their entire Twitter presence on poking fun at their major competitors. Just look at Wendy’s roasting McDonalds, for example. This is an extreme example that you can hardly replicate, yet it illustriously shows that Twitter is a place where you can do almost anything – just #DontBeDull.
Linda Cartwright is a freelance writer, educator, aspiring author, proud mom, Facebook lurker, and a cat lover among the more important things. She is also a digital nomad that feels more at home on the web than at a party.