Tips for Excelling at Twitter’s Bird-of-Mouth Marketing
What can you or your business achieve by talking to the Twittersphere in bursts of 140 characters or less? Quite a bit, actually. Fortunately, Gaming & Leisure Magazine gives us a few more characters than that to share some best practices for Twitter. #LearnMoreHere
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey (@jack) took one small step for man, and one giant step for microblogging by sending his first tweet over 6 years ago. Since then, tweeting has reshaped the social media landscape and transformed the way celebrities, journalists and yes, even businesses, engage with fans, followers, and customers. Here are a few tips that will help you make the most of this high-flying social medium, with a primer on Twitter’s quirky lingo sprinkled in for newbies.
Think about what your organization is trying to achieve on Twitter before committing a lot of time and resources to it. Some companies use Twitter to enhance customer service and solicit feedback.
A lot of event planners use hashtag (#) tweets to promote conferences and conventions. Others use it to promote job postings, solicit bids, share news, generate PR, or support their local community. Restaurants tweet daily specials around lunchtime each day. Lots of articles exist on how companies are using Twitter to win friends and influence people – let Google be your guide.
OPTIMIZE YOUR TWITTER ID
You might need to get creative in creating a new Twitter ID (@yourname), but keep it simple and short. Remember, Twitter limits you to 140 characters per post, so longer names limit your interactions. Also, spend some time updating your Twitter bio in a way that is fun, engaging, and optimized to attract targeted followers.
BUILD YOUR FOLLOWER BASE
Twitter isn’t permission-based (like Facebook or Google+). You can follow anyone’s tweets and anyone can follow yours. Below are a few ideas for attracting followers – the holy grail of social media. Helpful hint: Use a service like TwitterCounter.com to monitor how many followers you gain each day and which of your actions deliver the best results.
Share Your Twitter Account On Other Social Networks. Include a “Follow me on Twitter” signature on your website, blogs, Facebook/LinkedIn profiles, email signatures, and everywhere else you leave cyber footprints.
Use Twitter Directories. Use Twitter’s search tool and directories like WeFollow.com and Twellow.com to find and follow Twitter peeps (tweeps) in your areas of interest. If you follow and interact with quality people and influencers on Twitter, many of them will follow you back. You’ll discover more interesting content for retweeting to your own followers. Retweets are designated by putting “RT” in front of the text you are sharing from another tweet.
Use Hashtags. Hashtags like #socialmedia are a way of “labeling” your tweet and a great way to expose your message to people outside of your circle. By using appropriate hashtags (signified by #), you’ll be doing two important things: organizing tweets around main topics that are easy to query, and including your tweet in the search results for that particular topic.
Promoted Tweets. You can also find eyeballs for your tweets using good old-fashioned capitalism – i.e., paying for “promoted tweets” that are displayed at the top of related search results for the targeted user group(s) you specify.
Twitter has a higher karma quotient than any other social media. If you engage with your network by actively replying (signified by putting “@” in front of someone’s Twitter ID in the text of your tweet), retweeting (RT), and sending out links to quality content, people will reciprocate and new followers will find you.
Tweet Often. Interacting on a regular basis is one of the most critical factors in attracting followers and staying relevant. How often you tweet depends on your purpose and business objectives, but a basic rule of thumb is to tweet at least a couple of times each day. Since the timing of your daily tweets can also be important, consider using an app that lets you create tweets ahead of time and release them to the Twittersphere automatically at whatever time you choose.
Stay Trendy. Twitter features a display of the keywords and phrases that are “trending” in real time. Engaging in these conversations (you can usually add to conversation streams using #hashtags) connects you to the tweeple who are most actively engaging in Twitter.
Be Compelling. Tweet interesting videos, pictures, and links with an inviting, fun, or unique tone to emotionally connect with your audience. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many companies routinely tweet yawners. Be Human. People aren’t on twitter to be advertised to. Twitter is all about engaging in a personal way with tweets that offer a window into the soul of your company – the company behind the marketing. Communicating this way actually makes your marketing efforts stronger.
Short ‘n Tweet. A 140-character limit per tweet necessitates simplicity. A recent study by Buddy Media suggests that tweets with less than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate. Compressing long URLs using a program like bitly.com is a big help here.
Build Tweet Cred. This isn’t a numbers game about having the most followers, tweets, or retweets (although those are important). It’s more about building your reputation as a trusted source of ideas and information. You want to be seen as an expert – but you don’t do that by constantly pushing one-way marketing messages. A good rule-of-thumb is to make 80 percent of your tweets conversational and 20 percent about your company.
USE TWITTER TOOLS
Life is short. And the Twitterverse is massive. Here are a couple of useful tools that will help you streamline the management of your Twitter account.
TweetDeck is an app Twitter hatched to help you filter Twitter feeds, schedule tweets in batch, monitor multiple accounts, and more. It’s also a great tool for letting you know who “@” replies to your tweets so you can stay on top of the conversations people engage you in.
Buffer is another great tool that lets you post tweets to your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts all at once. It also offers detailed analytics on all of your posts to every social network so you can see at-a-glance how many retweets, shares, and likes your content is generating. (Hint: These are nice stats to share when your CMO brings up the topic of ROI).
Ann Nygren is President of Key Consulting Software. KCS is an IT consulting company focused on gaming and hospitality applications ranging from Agilysys (LMS/Stratton Warren/Infogenesis), Infinium (AM, AR, FA, GL, GT, HR, IR, PA, PL, PY, TR), Bally’s (CMS, CMP, ACSC & SDS), and interfaces with Aristocrat, IGT, Micros, and HRLogix to transitioning properties during purchase, sales, or merging of properties. KCS provides IT Departments with assistance in installation & upgrades, customization, interfacing and creation of unique client-specific software.