Twitter offers a chance for brands to actively engage and interact with audiences in 140 characters or less. To say that it’s an effective method of reaching out to people would be an understatement – which is exactly why every business should be constantly looking at ways to boost their reach.
To substantiate this further, there is no other platform in the world offering such active engagement, where consumer feedback can be measured so instantly and with such accuracy. A newspaper ad does not get favourited, a billboard cannot be re-tweeted; TV commercials, even with large viewing figures, do not indicate genuine engagement. You cannot directly and rapidly reply to any of these forms of advertising.
We recently revised our Twitter strategy and have since seen our monthly impressions grow fivefold, from 20,000 per month to well over 100,000. Engagement levels and audience numbers are growing as a result, and we’re confident that we’ve learnt a thing or two about social media optimisation.
Here’s a few best practice tips to get you started:
Learn the lingo
Whoever is behind the tweets should have a personal account themselves; being aware of the intricate subtleties of creating content that stirs a reaction is part of what makes Twitter so successful for businesspeople.
If you are not actively doing this in your own life on a daily basis, you are unlikely to have a clue how to engage correctly in the business arena.
At best, it will come across forced. At worst, your followers will vanish in droves.
Discover your audience
To engage with an audience you have to understand what it is to be that audience.
Do you know who’s following you? To know what you should be posting depends on who you are trying to appeal to, but going through each of your followers’ profiles and learning their interests would take forever.
Followerwonk could be the answer; it’s a great tool that creates a word map that summarises the interests of your followers based on their personal information.
The Analytics tool on Twitter also summarises information based on individual tweets, providing helpful graphs to define your demographic.
Once you have this information you will be able to get an idea of the most suitable content for your tweets.
The aim of the game
So what’s the point of all this engagement and following stuff if it’s all going round in a mad circle, leading nowhere?
More than anything, you want to take your followers off Twitter and onto your blog or website. Don’t you? So make your profile your best CTA. We regularly post relevant content on the e3 blog, but focus on quality over quantity.
Just like in the advertising world, it makes sense to base your tweets and corresponding content on the interests of the audience. It’s no different, but it is where people go so badly wrong.
A good Twitter feed doesn’t just focus on the publisher’s own work. You will need to source content from across the web and post it directly to your followers. Good content, not just anything you can find that roughly fits.
Establish yourself as an authority on your subject, displaying a wider awareness of industry trends.
You can only do this by not relying alone on the creation of your own content. This also means you are able to tweet more. You gain more impressions and responses and you don’t have to do very much.
If you are currently tweeting five times a day, then double it by using third party material and see if you receive more interaction.
Scouring the web for interesting articles and features can be nearly as time consuming as writing them yourself.
To help you: Feedly is a content aggregator that will base its searches on your specifications. By using the information gained from Twitter and other analytical tools you will be able to find items that genuinely interest your followers.
Buzzsumo’s trending function gives insight into trending stories and articles from across social media. Whilst functioning as a good way of discovering quality content, it also means that you can be up to date and relevant when it comes to writing your own blog posts or general opinion tweets. The ‘Most Shared’ section allows users to find content based on specific terms, Buzzsumo will organise content based on the relevance and overall popularity.
A picture paints a thousand words
Images are an essential accompaniment to any tweet; they draw attention and make a great visual summary of posted content. Tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more re-tweets.
Tweetdeck is a free app courtesy of Twitter. It is a scheduling tool, the main function of which is the dual management and monitoring of multiple accounts; this is a superb way of keeping up to date with follower activity. Sprout Social is a paid social media tool which handles reports, scheduling, monitoring and feed plug-ins, excellent if you don’t feel the need to constantly monitor your account.
The most useful feature is its ability to plug-in with a bitly account to keep links tidy and short; having an automated function saves time.
Social media presents a brand and its consumers on an equal footing; it gives an audience a method of communicating with brands in the public sphere, making their opinions heard with the potential to bring about real change.
By following these steps and more, we increased our engagement by 80,000 monthly impressions. Read our full case study on boosting Twitter followers to find out how we achieved it in more detail.
Guest Author: Neil Collard is the Managing Director of digital marketing agency, e3. With studios in London and Bristol, his award-winning team produce campaigns for clients including Unicef, Clarks, the Royal Navy and the National Trust. You can connect with e3 on LinkedIn and follow @e3_media on Twitter.