With more than 200 million active users, Twitter provides a great way to engage with customers and prospects in real-time, at any time. With a 140-character limit for each post, however, it’s also one of the most challenging social media platforms to use effectively. How can business organizations make the most of Twitter’s fast-and-furious network to engage prospects and increase ROI?
Here are a few tips:
Know your audience. Before you post any Tweets, it’s essential to determine the types of prospects you want to engage. Do some research to create a persona – that is, an in-depth profile of the ideal followers you’d like to attract. This will help you craft more effectively targeted Tweets, and boost your chance of successful conversion. Your persona should answer the following questions:
- Who are your ideal prospects (demographics, industries, community roles)?
- Where are they geographically?
- How do they search for online information?
- What are their motivations, interests, and attitudes?
- What are their greatest challenges (what do they want, need, or hope to change in their lives)?
- What objections might they have to your product or service?
Once you’ve painted a clear, in-depth picture of who you’re targeting, you can determine how to best engage them on Twitter. Do some research to see who they’re following, and the sort of Tweets they typically respond to. Remember: personas may take a little time and effort, but the more specifically you can define your Twitter audience, the more personalized, relevant, and compelling your own Tweets can be.
Make the most of your allotted space. Twitter thrives on fast-pacing and hot topics, and users decide in a split second whether or not they want to engage with the countless posts they see every day. Your Tweets need to be powerful as well as succinct. Here are some tips to help get you started:
- Be brief. It goes without saying that every word counts when your posts are limited to 140 characters. Using fewer than 100 characters, however, boosts engagement by 17% – and leaves room for people to comment when they retweet your posts.
- Use calls to action. According to PR Daily, Twitter posts are 12 times more likely to be shared when they ask followers to retweet (using either the word “retweet” or “RT”). Don’t be afraid to suggest that next step to followers once they do read what you’ve shared.
- Optimize for search. People do hunt for Twitter topics by keyword, so plan each post accordingly. Remember that your keywords should be relevant to your target audience, not to your business. Try to think of questions or problems your audience may have in mind when they enter search terms.
- Use hashtags – keywords beginning with # – to join conversations outside your Twitter group. Use the search function to see which topics are trending in your field. Limit the number of hashtags per post, though. More than 2 hashtags can make your tweets look like spam and actually decrease engagement.
Don’t make every Tweet an advertisement. This seems counterintuitive when you’re trying to increase conversion rates, but remember – social media is about sharing, not sales. Twitter offers a great context for prospects and customers to forge a productive relationship with your brand. Instead of pushing a product, provide solutions, information, or resources that demonstrate your expertise and address your prospects’ challenges. Post the latest news in your industry – or, give older news a fresh perspective that’s unique to you. Make sure your posts are relevant, interesting, and useful. If your Twitter feed becomes a non-stop pitch for your product or service, your followers will get bored or annoyed, and quickly decide you don’t have anything valuable to offer.
To get social, be social. Your fellow Twitter users will put more value on what you have to say if they know who you are – so reach out! Follow thought-leaders in your industry and members of your target audience. Do a keyword search to see what’s trending about your product or industry, and join the conversation. Leave comments, answer questions or ask your own, and share – the more you retweet others’ content, the more likely they’ll share and retweet yours. For great networking opportunities, you can even organize Twitter chats or tweetups (face-to-face gatherings) in your area. Whatever your method, if you can engage on Twitter, do it! You’ll build stronger business relationships and ensure that more people notice your brand – in fact, it’s not a bad idea to follow other users for a while before even posting your first Tweet!
Test, retest, and test again. It takes trial and error to find that perfect level of engagement for your brand. Twitter guidelines abound, but the best way to find the “sweet spot” that yields the best ROI for your business is to experiment. For a measurable comparison, try sending the same tweet at different times of day, with or without hashtags, with fewer or more characters, or with the link posted at different points in the message. The options are vast, so play around. Just remember to check your analytics regularly to track click-throughs, traffic sources, and conversion rates.
Fueling strong Twitter engagement can pose a real challenge for business marketers. With a little planning and careful content development, however, Twitter can be a valuable marketing tool.