It’s not new news that social media marketing cannot be ignored any longer. Twitter marketing is no exception.
Twitter is one of the most popular, most active platforms out there. However, with the shortened character limit* and fast-paced feed, this social network can seem a little daunting at first, but it’s a place where you and your business need to be present.
This guide gives you the 7 essential steps you must take when getting started on Twitter. You need to follow each one to reap the most rewards from your marketing efforts.
*Quick note: Twitter’s CEO hinted that the 140 character limit for tweets may soon be extended drastically. For better or for worse, you may be seeing and creating long-form tweets in the near future…
Read more in this Forbes article:
Step 1: Establishing Your Strategy
To be clear, your social media strategy should be ready-to-go before you start on any platforms. It should be the rock or foundation that holds your work together.
It should be designed to lead you to achieving your goals in the most efficient manner possible.
With Twitter, your strategy should include every approach you’ll take, when you’ll take it, and how you’ll measure the results.
I schedule 3 tweets Monday-Friday using a social media scheduling tool, participate in live Twitter Chats 2-3 times a week (#CMWorld with the Content Marketing Institute, #SEMrushchat with SEMrush, and #CoChat with CoSchedule are my favorites), and respond to all mentions with a simple thank you. I also use a custom marketing Twitter list to monitor influencer activity and to create custom retweets.
My goal with Twitter is to build influence and drive traffic to my blog. So far, I’ve developed a strong following of real users (I block the fake ones), and my web referral traffic has often come from Twitter.
You, too, can see a positive outcome from your Twitter presence, but you need to know how you’ll get there. Have an established strategy documented.
Step 2: Setting Up Your Account
Once you have a strategy, it’s time to set up your account. It may seem simple enough, but there are a few things you need to remember and consider:
Comparing your name vs. your handle
Your Twitter name should be your full, legal name or your business name.
Your handle, the text after the @ symbol, should be unique and relevant to your industry, if not your name itself.
Optimizing your bio for search
Make your Twitter bio catchy and personal while still being accurate. Use these tips from Buffer’s article on this subject:
Your bio should include as many of these elements as possible:
Hashtags you want to be found for
A personal touch, such as a hobby or fun company fact
Your current employer / job title or your business’ industry
A company description
Your purpose on Twitter
Keep in mind that your bio can be no more than 160 characters, so use that valuable real estate wisely.
Creating an effective profile pic and cover image
Your profile picture should be your company logo or a professional portrait of you. It should be consistent with any other social media platforms you’re on.
Your cover image needs to be catchy and of high-quality. Make it work with your profile picture, and add your website URL and a Call-to-Action. Be ready to change it occasionally to fit with your offerings and / or the seasons.
Deciding on a profile URL
Your profile URL can either link directly to your homepage or a custom landing page.
I recommend making a landing page specifically for Twitter and using that as your URL. It’ll give visitors a more relevant, personalized experience.
When creating your Twitter landing page, make sure it includes an offer for something free and relevant to your target visitors. Don’t forget to have a goal for what your visitors will do when coming to your page.
Choosing a color scheme
On Twitter, you have the option to choose a color scheme for your profile and tweets. Choose a color that works well with your other profile elements and aligns with your company’s branding when applicable. Be sure to choose a color that is dark enough to be readable. Yellow isn’t readable against a white background, for example.
Examples of great Twitter profiles
And of course, there’s mine:
Step 3: Starting Your Activity
Now that you have your strategy created and account set up, it’s time to start tweeting and interacting.
You may ask:
What should be my first tweet?
Follow this formula as best you can in 140 characters:
Company introductory offer + link to landing page + relevant hashtag + image
Your first tweet must have a link to a specific landing page relevant to the offer you mentioned. The offer must be something of value to your target audience, such as an educational ebook.
Don’t be afraid of using all the characters in your tweet. If you need to use all 140 to get all your information in it, this is one of those times when it’ll work for you. However, make sure you leave room for a catchy, relevant image, which requires a good amount of characters itself.
A high-quality, relevant image is essential for your first tweet because people will notice it more than if you went without one.
After you send out your introductory tweet, be sure to “pin” it to the top of your profile so that it’s the first tweet people see when they view your account, even after you continue to tweet.
When you’re first starting to tweet, I recommend doing so often enough to fill your profile with high-quality content.
However, don’t just tweet with the sole purpose of filling your profile. Share content of value from the beginning to start off on the right foot.
My suggestion: save the self-promotion for later. Don’t be sales-y with pushing your products or services. Be helpful instead.
Step 4: Getting Your Name Out There
As soon as you start tweeting, you need to aim for getting noticed. I know of several ways you can do this:
- Use hashtags in your tweets. Make sure they’re relevant and used for the same purpose you intend. Avoid using more than 2-3 hashtags per tweet because you can lose engagement.
- Retweet other users’ content. The best way to do this is to add an extra comment to the retweet that explains why you’re sharing it.
- Share curated tweets. These are tweets that share other people’s content, including a link to their article and a formal mention of the source via the “@” symbol. The mention is most important because the user will be notified of it. Learn more about how to do this in Sprout Social’s article:
- Participate in Twitter chats. This is a very effective way to get attention from a targeted audience. Choose the chats that you know how best to contribute to and even offer to host one as a guest. You’ll see more and more users paying attention to you.
Step 5: Building a Following
Once you have a plan in place for getting your name out there, you’ll want to see results. The first, easiest way to tell that your activity is effective is to check your follower count.
Without a strong following, you won’t be able to build that influence and see that social media ROI you aim for. The goals in your strategy may take even longer to reach, if reachable at all.
How do I build my following?
I have 5 tips:
- Share tweets that include content of value. It can be free offers, blog posts, or even helpful content others have written.
- Properly cite other Twitter users with the “@” symbol when sharing their content. The user will be notified and may express public gratitude.
- Stay alert to current, trending events, hashtags and topics. Use them in your own tweets to reach a broader audience.
- Let users know when they’ve been cited in your blog article. They may choose to share your post with their following for increased exposure.
- Use the advice from step 4 above
The more interactive you are in real-time, the more likely you’ll build your Twitter following with legit, targeted accounts.
When evaluating your Twitter following, keep in mind that you may have several fake or spammy followers. I always block those accounts, and I recommend you do the same. These followers can actually hurt your Twitter influence rather than help.
You want to have a high follower count, but don’t allow these bad accounts to be a part of it. It’s better to have a smaller following of real, engaged users than a larger number with a bunch of fake, spammy, robotic accounts.
Step 6: Getting People to Your Website
Although it greatly depends on your own professional or business needs / situation, a major goal of your Twitter marketing should be to bring more targeted traffic to your website, ideally to convert them into customers, donors, subscribers or otherwise.
Build a Twitter landing page, like I said in step 2. Include a relevant offer that’ll convince your visitors to fill a form with their contact information. They’ll then become leads, which you can nurture to the next stage of your sales process.
Focus your Twitter activity on getting people to your website, consistently giving them something of value in exchange for their information.
When tweeting the link to your landing page, be clear and specific as to what you’re offering to your audience. Give them a reason to click on your link by telling them what they’ll get out of it.
Your offer should always be something your audience will find helpful and/or educational. It should be relevant to your target audience’s needs.
It should also be quick and easy to receive:
- The sign-up form should be as simple as the offer is of value. The simpler, the better, but the higher the offer quality, the more information you can ask for in the form.
- The offer should be immediately available to the visitor after submitting the form, ideally without having to leave the website. A follow-up email requires an extra step from your lead and should be an approach to avoid whenever possible.
Step 7: Obeying Twitter Ethics
I’ve always been a huge, vocal advocate for proper social media etiquette. I especially agree with these Twitter etiquette tips from the HubSpot blog as well as Florence Poirel’s Twitter Etiquette: 5 Rules to Keep in Mind from Social Media Today.
You don’t want negative results from your social media activity, such as bad press and harsh, viral complaints from your audience.
It’s so much easier to lose your audience than it is to gain their trust and loyalty.
These are just a few key ethical guidelines I recommend you follow to keep a consistently positive outcome from your Twitter marketing:
- Don’t purchase followers. I repeat: do NOT purchase followers! Most of those so-called follower accounts are fake or spam, and you’ll hurt your reputation and ROI if you take that route.
- Instead, gradually build a strong, engaged following of legit, loyal users. Your patience will reward you in the end.
- Return the favor and follow back. You shouldn’t follow everyone back, but always check to see if your new follower shares something in common with you. Do they work in the same industry? Are they a current customer? Could they one day be a customer? Have they been interacting with you online?
- When you follow a user back, you show you appreciate their attention and interest in your brand / company.
- When you ignore the majority of your followers, you appear disinterested and distant to your audience, which can harm your follower count, engagement and reputation.
- Don’t be a robot. Marketing automation is handy, yes, but you don’t want to stick to scheduling everything you do 100% of the time. People don’t like talking to robots, so be sure to make room for real-time interaction.
- Say thank you for any content shares from others.
- Reach out to potential customers to build relationships.
- As mentioned before: participate in live discussions via Twitter chats.
- Show some personality, especially humor, when appropriate.
- Have your social media team add their name or initials to personalized response tweets.
- Always give credit where it’s due. Use proper mention procedure (@ + user’s handle). Don’t risk committing social media plagiarism, so make sure the credit is completed accurately where the user is notified.
- Check your hyperlinks. Always do this before you send out the tweet. You don’t want it leading to the wrong webpage or ending up as a broken link. My very first tweet had a link that went to the wrong website. It was quite an embarrassing start.
- Don’t be like I was. Check your links, especially if you’re using a shortened URL via Bit.ly or another service.
Learn more about social media publishing in my other article:
Are you ready? It’s time for you to get rolling with your Twitter marketing efforts. Take these tips and use them to guide you along the path to marketing success:
- Establish your strategy
- Set up your account
- Start your activity
- Get your name out there
- Build a following
- Get people to your website
- Obey Twitter ethics
BIG Disclaimer: I do not dive into Twitter marketing measurement in this article. It’s a very important, essential element to your activity, but I’ve left it out.
Here’s why: I’m in the process of creating an article exclusively about Twitter marketing measurement, which will dive into far more detail than if I discussed it here.
Stay tuned for that article, coming in the near future…
Have any questions or other input? Want to discus this topic further? Reach out to me anytime. I’d love to continue the conversation.