Small business on a tight budget looking to promote their business in 2013 might want to consider making this the year they start tweeting.
eMarketer projects Twitter to expand to 36.3 million monthly U.S. users in 2013, up from 31.8 million in 2012.
Twitter can be a great way to drive traffic to your website. Twitter is free to use and if done properly, tweeting can be a powerful tool in helping your site get found while raising your rankings on search engine results pages.
One of the quickest and easiest viral campaigns you can start right away that can increase your SEO rankings is to start a Twitter petition.
Related Resource from B2CWebcast: PR Hacking: How Ideas Spread And What Marketers Need to Know
Setting Up A Page On Your Website
Most small businesses already have a cause that they support but are you making the most of this association? Petitions can be created to support local small business causes that affect the community where the business is located. You can also search causes.org and idealist.org to see what petitions people are supporting locally.
Once you know which cause you want to support, here are some instructions for how to get started.
If you don’t have the internal assets to setup the petition directly on your site, setup the petition with a company experienced in creating an online petition form. Whatever site you use to host your petition, make sure you understand how their petitions work and the site’s terms of service and privacy policies. Take time to check out each site and look at the different types of petitions that are hosted. What approach most appeals to you?
Some of the more popular petition hosting sites include:
The Petition Site, hosted by Care2. This is an online community for healthy and green living. Every petition created on Care2 is automatically available on Facebook – so your Facebook friends or fans can sign the petition on the social networking site. They also offer an embedded petition widget that lets people sign your petition on any website or blog. Additional petition sites which make setup easy include Petition Spot, ePetitions.net, and Change.org.
Setup a “Sign the Petition Now” page on your website. Make sure you include background on your organization and include information on why you support the petition and why this is important to the organization. Include statements from staff and images that support the cause/ message you want to promote. Here is a great example page of a Twitter petition campaign which went viral in 2013 and clearly represents the people behind it: http://fixoutlook.org/
Also include a note with an e-mail address for people to reach you if they want to partner with your organization or further contact you regarding the cause. Also include an address or P.O. Box for them to contact the recipient of the petition directly.
Tailoring the Message to Go Viral
What are you asking supporters to agree with and sign their name in support of? What does your petition hope to achieve? Who is the target recipient of your petition? State your objective in clear, concise language. Follow with your proposed solution. Also, describe who the petition will be delivered to and the date of delivery (if applicable).
Re-read your statement and ask yourself: Will this statement convince someone to sign? Use persuasive language to highlight the urgency of your issue.
Here are some sample messages which are clear, concise and demand action:
Posting the Tweet to Twitter
To post a Tweet via the web:
1. Sign in to your Twitter account.
2. Type your Tweet into the box on the left side of your screen, or click the blue compose new Tweet button in the top navigation bar. It looks like this:
3. Make sure your update is fewer than 140 characters. We’ll count the characters for you! Remaining characters show up as a number below the box.
4. Make sure you include the link back to your website page you created the support the cause.
5. Include an emotional picture that is hopeful, and not depressing.
6. Click the Tweet button to post the Tweet to your profile.
7. You will immediately see your Tweet in the timeline on your homepage.
Posting the Message to Facebook
You can go the extra mile by also posting your message to Facebook, send out to bloggers and through your traditional advertising streams. The more people who see your message, the more successful your campaign will be.
Increase your visibility with a viral message
Petitions can bring tens of thousands of visitors directly to your website and that traffic can boost your overall search rankings. Re-tweeted messages are known to directly increase your search results in a short period of time. Content shared on Twitter can be indexed by the search engines and actually rank in the search results. The more time a piece of content is Tweeted and re-Tweeted, the more important it becomes in the eyes of the search engines. Just like your site thrives off of quality links, so do social signals.
Craft the message of your petition in a smart way. Try to also include important keywords in the first 42 characters of your tweets that you want to rank for, or tie the petition to your industry to make this more easily accomplished in a subtle manner. These initial characters, along with your account name, are factored into each tweet’s title tag that appears on a Google search result. If you can’t get a keyword in the initial 42 characters, make sure the rest of your tweet is keyword-rich so it’ll be picked up by the search engines.
Tweet out and change the message of your post staying on topic as much as possible so you remain relevant to your target audience. It’s okay to have some fun and go off-topic occasionally, but make sure you tweet out a new call out message to support your petition and include keyword-rich content, which encourages Google to rank your Twitter page higher than others.
If your message is tailored to go viral and supports a good cause people will re-tweet your message and help you reach new audiences. But, you need to make it easy for them to do so by using only around 120 characters and leaving room for others to add to the end of your tweets.
Use URL shorteners
Since you can only use 140 characters in any tweet, keep your web address or url short. If this is not possible, use a good URL shortener such as TinyURL or Bit.ly. These tools will shorten your address but still direct people to your pages.
The hashtag symbol “#” follows a keyword and allows users who aren’t connected to have their tweets appear in the same feed. This can help you get found by other users and lead to re-tweets. Make sure you add this to the end of your post to increase the visibility of your message.
Want to learn more about how to use Twitter to increase search rankings? Contact Stream Companies or leave a comment below and one of our search engine optimization specialists will review your site and send you a proposal tailored to promote your local business.