Apr 25, 2018

Snapchat, Quora, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Yelp, Foresquare…

When it comes to social media –it can be difficult to know where to focus your efforts.

After all, it seems almost every day there’s a new platform starting up, promising to be the next big thing.

But despite the hype, we all know that social media platforms don’t exactly have staying power; especially when it comes to niche networks. With different platforms coming and go at a rapid pace, there’s plenty of reason to steer clear of putting all of your eggs in one basket. This isn’t to say that you should ignore the smaller networks –far from it, but it does mean that you should make sure you diversify your efforts, to avoid a catastrophic loss should the latest, greatest –but very niche platform that you’ve been focusing on for the last two years, suddenly go under.

For businesses that are strapped for time, or new to the social media scene, looking to get started with one of the main platforms –like Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, is generally a good idea. Not only are these platforms easy to use, and a good way to learn the ropes, but they also include a wealth of sophisticated tools and advertising options, that’ll help you to grow your following much more quickly. And since they boast a wide user base, there’s a good chance that your target audience will be on there too.

Twitter is one such platform that businesses should be focusing on today.

It may not be the cool new kid on the block, but it’s still very much a relevant social platform, and one that offers a world of benefits for small –and large organizations alike. It can be a great platform for raising brand awareness, getting your message out, and forming valuable connections. When used correctly, Twitter can even send valuable traffic to your site. In fact, it drives the third most referral traffic of any social network. Additionally, some 93 percent of people who follow small and medium-sized businesses on Twitter are more likely to visit their company website. That means if your goal is to get visitors to your website, then you’ll want to be there.

No wonder some 65.8 percent of U.S. companies are now using Twitter for marketing purposes.

And the experts agree.

In his recent book Known, marketing expert Mark Schaefer said that if you had to choose one distribution channel for your content, he’d recommend Twitter.

As Meghan Monaghan, CEO/Co-founder of Smart Bird Social explains, the content that you share on Twitter has a better chance of reaching your audience. “When you tweet, it’s content that has a fairly decent chance of getting seen if you have targeted followers,” she writes. “Facebook, on the other hand, messes with your content’s ability to reach people.” Additionally, “Facebook users can see when your content is “sponsored,”’ she adds, “So the experience is more promotional.”

If you’re on the fence about Twitter –or, like many businesses today, have opened an account and left it to dwindle, uncertain of how to grow your following, this article’s for you.

Let’s explore a few benefits of using Twitter –and see why you’ll want to get fired up about your Twitter account once again.

Why YOU Should Be on Twitter

With 100 million users logging onto Twitter daily, there are plenty of reasons to take advantage of this social network. Here’s a look at a few now:

  1. Drive Website TrafficAs we’ve seen, Twitter can be an ideal platform for driving traffic to your website. With it driving the third most referral traffic of any social network, it’s one platform that’s worth investing in if you’d like to get more visitors to your site. To send traffic back to your website, make sure you share engaging posts and articles, or offer the occasional promotional coupon.
  2. It’s a Great Way to Get Your Message Out ThereAnytime you have news to share, from a company announcement to a new sale or promotion or an upcoming event, Twitter’s a great way to get the word out. Your target audience and followers on Twitter are likely to be interested in these types of updates –or else they wouldn’t have followed you in the first place! It’s a great, unobtrusive way to keep your audience up-to-date.
  3. It Lets You Stay On Top of Your Target AudienceTwitter’s a great way to keep up with your target audience; allowing you to gain valuable insight into your industry or market segment. With Twitter Search, you can see what people are saying about a specific topic. You can learn more about what your audience likes and dislikes about your industry, or even your company, as well as discover what their favorite products are. All valuable insider information that you can use to improve your business –and make it more successful.
  4. You Can Keep Up With Trends In Your IndustryIf you’d like to keep up with industry trends and cutting-edge happenings in your sector, Twitter’s an ideal way to do so. Follow relevant companies, news sources, and influences in your niche. Then when you scroll through your feed you’ll be able to see at a glance what’s new and happening in your sector.
  5. It Can Influence Purchasing DecisionsAccording to a Nielson study commissioned by Twitter, a quarter of new vehicle purchasers in the U.S. said that they used Twitter as part of their decision-making process when buying a new car. Twitter’s in-house data shows that 41 percent of people on Twitter purchased products after exposure to an ad in during the previous 30 days. Twitter seems to influence purchasing decisions, and when used effectively can even help to increase conversions.
  6. It’s a Great Networking ToolBeing active on Twitter also presents a great opportunity to meet and talk to different people. It’s an ideal opportunity to network and make new connections –including business contacts, colleagues, and even people that you’d like to hire.
  7. It’s a Great Opportunity to Engage With Your CustomersFinally, the most important reason to use Twitter –it’s a great opportunity to engage directly with your customers. The beauty of social media is that it allows you to interact with your customers, on a platform where they don’t mind being interacted with. Market to them, survey them, and learn more about what their interests are, and how to reach them. All far more efficiently than you ever could do with old-fashioned direct mail surveys.

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Getting the Most Out of Twitter

When it comes to Twitter, there’s a lot that you can do to get the most out of your account. Here are some tips to help you use your account –and those 140, sorry –now 280-character posts, successfully!

  1. Think SmallInstead of viewing Twitter as a megaphone, it may be more effective to think of it as an opportunity to take a more individualized approach –especially when you’re first starting up and have a relatively small following. While many companies shy away from this approach, thinking that it’d be difficult to scale, the truth is that it’s better than sending out Tweets that’ll just get overlooked. Focus on creating conversations, and engaging with your followers.You could also use a tool like SproutSocial to manage your conversations. Track conversation history to create context around your relationships and keep up with people that you’ve communicated with in the past.
  1. Optimize Your Business ProfileOf course, this should go without saying, but it’s important to ensure that you optimize your Twitter business profile. In fact, if you optimize your profile, your Twitter URL is far more likely to show up in Google search results! That’s great for SEO! Make sure your bio is succinct and compelling, and use extremely relevant keywords. Post your logo as your profile image, and make sure your header image is relevant and up-to-date. Treat it like a magazine cover! You’ll also want to consider adjusting your privacy settings so that you can receive direct messages.
  1. Take Full Advantage of HashtagsBy now everyone knows that hashtags and Twitter are inseparable. Up your hashtag strategy by using them strategically. Studies show that Tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement, but generally speaking, one or two hashtags tend to get better results than three or more so think quality over quantity and make those hashtags count. Use a tool like Hashtagify.me to find the best hashtags for your content. In most cases, you’ll want to use both branded hashtags and hashtags that are trending, but in some way relevant to your content. Try “newsjacking,” and find a way to tie current events in with your brand.
  1. Work With Twitter’s AlgorithmTwitter’s constantly updating its algorithm, but it generally rewards posts that are popular by extending their reach even farther. As Twitter itself puts it, “Tweets you are likely to care about most will show up first in your timeline.” At first glance, this might sound frustrating to a small business owner who’s trying to expand their reach –but it makes sense when you think about it. If you share content that your audience is interested in, you’ll be rewarded with farther reach. Further incentive to create compelling content!
  1. Find Your CustomersDon’t wait for your customers to come to you! Instead, go out and find them. Start by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes, and think about the type of problems that they’re facing –that your product or service could help them solve. Then, seek out conversations that mention those problems. It’s easy to find these conversations, just use Twitter’s advanced search option to quickly see the latest Tweets for your search phrases.
  1. Share Quality Content That’s Relevant to Your AudienceIn order to get the most out of Twitter, you’re going to want to make sure you’re sharing quality content that’s relevant to your target audience. It’s also a good idea to provide content of value; blog posts, eBooks, presentations, videos, and more –all of which can be used to drive relevant traffic back to your site. Twitter supports different types of media; making it the perfect platform for sharing your content.
  1. Use Twitter VideoVideo content continues to grow in popularity across all social media platforms, and Twitter’s no exception. According to Twitter’s in-house data, Tweets with videos are six times more likely to be retweeted than posts with photos. Some 82 percent of Twitter users watch video on the Twitter app, so make sure you’re sharing video content.
  1. Tweet MoreI can’t say it enough; if you want to get noticed on Twitter, you’re going to want to Tweet more. How often should you be Tweeting? While sending out the same old Tweets every 10 minutes is probably a bad idea, the truth is it depends on what you’re sharing. If your audience is interested in what you have to say then relevant Tweets every 15-30 minutes or so is probably fine. While back in the day it was easier to overwhelm your followers with content, today people are often following hundreds if not thousands of accounts; making it harder for your content to stand out. Think quality, and go ahead and share things if you have something to add. Be sure to keep an eye on your Twitter analytics to see what’s working, and what isn’t.
  1. Try Twitter AdsIf you’ve got some extra money in your ad budget, consider going ahead and advertising on Twitter. It’s been around for a while now, but many small businesses have yet to experiment with it because they assume that ads are only for largescale organizations. Don’t make this mistake! Twitter ads have a lot of benefits that they can offer small businesses as well. Plus, Twitter now allows you to create custom audiences with their Tailored Audiences feature; allowing you to create extremely targeted campaigns. You can target people who have visited your website, or even those who have not used your app recently. There’s no shortage of ways that you can segment your lists; further increasing your ad campaign’s effectiveness.
  1. Provide Prompt Customer ServiceTwitter is still considered to be one of the best places for customers to reach out to complain. In fact, according to one survey, some 78 percent of people who complain to a brand on Twitter say that they expect a response within an hour. Being able to address customer concerns quickly and efficiently can go a long way towards helping customers to feel more positively toward your company. And brands that provide speedy customers service are rewarded –47 percent of respondents claim that they would recommend a brand who responded promptly on social media.
  1. Collect Email AddressesWhile there are lots of different goals that you can have for your Twitter campaigns, obtaining your followers’ email addresses should be one of your top priorities. Why does this matter? Simple. Social media platforms are notoriously fickle –and temporary. They don’t last forever. And the platforms as we know them are constantly changing as well. If Facebook were to suddenly change its algorithm one day, blocking all business pages’ content from their audience unless they opted for paid ads, then small businesses that have worked hard to grow their social following, would largely be out of luck. For this reason, working to collect as many email addresses as possible –so that you can market outside of social media should be the end goal for most social strategies; Twitter included.
  1. Measure Your ResultsFinally, be sure to track your changes with Twitter Analytics, Google Analytics, and even third-party platforms like Buffer or SproutSocial. By split testing any changes or tracking the success of your campaigns, you’ll be able to see what’s working, and what isn’t –allowing you know which direction you should go with your efforts.

 

Twitter offers businesses a chance to reach out to their target customers directly, and any company today would be foolish to pass up this opportunity! With the above tips, you’ll be able to get the most out of your account –using it to expand your reach, increase brand awareness, grow your following, and drive relevant traffic to your site.

 

Is your business on Twitter? What Twitter tips and tactics do you recommend?

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