What is Twitter?
Twitter—You may have heard of it. For those who still live in the age of MySpace or even way-back to the first recorded social media Six Degrees, Twitter is a social media platform that originally began as a way for users to share their thoughts in less than 140 characters as a micro-blog.
The early beginnings
Since its release in Twitter has morphed into something much larger and found its own niche. The Twitter framework was laid in a brainstorming session in which its co-founder and now CEO, Jack Dorsey, imagined a social media that would be similar to an SMS text message (Wow! What a throwback). The messages on the social media would be concise and under 140 characters—just like a text message would be. The social network was originally called ‘Twttr’—to keep up with trend of removing vowels like Flickr had done recently– then later changed to ‘Twitter’ for simplicity. After going back and forth on different names, the inspiration for the social media network’s name comes from the dictionary definition of the word twitter. Twitter’s definition is “a short burst of inconsequential information” which is exactly what Jack Dorsey envisioned the social network to be.
If you open your Twitter application now on your smartphone, you will not see the original 140-character limit, SMS-style messages. You will see the doubled character limit, now 280 characters, and an overflow of pictures, videos, and news from friends and news sources alike. The old way of Twttr is dead and has been replaced with the new-and-improved Twitter-sphere. Twitter is a hub for information, news about world events and provides a worldwide connection. It has become a smartphone essential application and there’s no going back now. One thing that I found shocking is that nearly 80% of Americans under the age of 50 get the majority of their news from social media, making social media one of the most powerful tools in influencing the latest generation. Which is exactly why you should be using it to promote your business.
Why you should be using Twitter
If not anything else, if you are tactical, Twitter can provide free market research into your key demographic. One of the first things you can do would be to start tracking your mentions. You can start doing this by not only checking your notifications but using Twitter’s advanced search feature to search your products, your name and any other key word that could be useful to you. Twitter also has a free poll feature that allows you to ask a question to your followers the questions that you want to know. You can then go look and see the analytics on the people who have answered your poll and adjust your market strategy to what you see.
Using a third-party service like FollowerWonk to analyze your reach and the demographics of your followers will also be super beneficial to your market research (it’s also free!). The site provides you with information regarding your followers’ geographical location, social authority (or influence in the social world), genders, and ages. It really give you a full glimpse into who you are reaching through your Twitter account and based on that information you can cater your content to the specific demographic.
Increasing and building brand awareness
As we discussed before, one of the essential parts of Twitter is building your own distinct voice. This voice should mirror your values as a company. While right now your company may just be a company, Twitter can help you build a brand. A brand is what distinguishes a business from its competitors. Branding can include logos, trademarked phrases and slogans, and even your social media voice. One fun way you can start effectively building your brand is through a hashtag that is unique to your company or a campaign you are running. Take your existing marketing strategy, come up with a hashtag and start tweeting! The more you get people talking about your business, the stronger your brand will grow to be more recognizable.
Managing public relations efforts
The all-encompassing function of public relations in a business or company is one of, if not the most important and influential in the growth of the company. Public relations include marketing, branding, social media and all inner and outer communications, including customer relations. Moving into the age of social media, it is important to remember to start making a conscious move into the digital world and that includes your marketing and public relations efforts. More often than you think, your target consumers will seek out information via your social media channels. Make your social media a one-stop-shop for your followers to see what your company is all about and essential information regarding the happenings of your brand.
An example of a company that has stellar customer relations through Twitter would be Zappos. Zappos is attentive to their consumers, responsive and helpful. Below you can see how a consumers reached out via social media and they were able to respond in a quick and personal way. Zappos has a great demeanor of quick wit, distinctive voice (which we will get into later), and always bringing the customer back to the brand by proving product suggestions when appropriate.
Building a following on Twitter
Whether you do not have a Twitter for your business and would like to embark on the journey, or your company’s profile needs a major facelift, to get the most out of your Twitter you must build a Twitter following. You will be #trending in no time with these tips!
It goes without saying, but obviously the first thing you have to build in order to gain a strong Twitter following is a strong profile. Like many other social networks, Twitter has a distinction between personal and business profiles. Setting up your business profile in a way that is attractive to the consumer and will target your key demographic is essential. Twitter has a great guide at business.twitter.com you can use to use when setting up your profile.
Do your research
One of the crucial steps in growing and maintaining a following on Twitter is definitely doing your homework. Try grabbing inspiration from some of your competitors. Take a look at what your competitors are tweeting about and see who they are interacting. Then think about what is working for your competition and what isn’t. You can use FollowerWonk to compare your Twitter account’s following, followers and interactions with a competitor’s profile. Take that comparison and the knowledge of your demographic and cater your content to be effective.
Pump out great content
Keeping up with social media is hard! In order to stay relevant, or even build your relevance in the beginning of your account, content is key. The content has to be good and it has to be consistent. Take some time and brainstorm what you would like your voice on Twitter to be. This voice could have a professional tone, more conversational tone or even just goofy. Whatever you decide you want your voice to be, a consistent voice will help you connect with your audience. Consider using a social media scheduling service in order to keep on top of content and use design sites like Canva to create graphics!
Engage with your followers
The best thing about Twitter is the chance to engage with your followers. Successful companies like Wendy’s and JetBlue have really made the most out of their Twitter usage. Wendy’s posts engaging content and keeps up with trendy GIFs (moving pictures) and memes while also “retweeting” (reposting) relevant content. JetBlue’s account is often very responsive to the company’s customers, acting as a second-source of customer service. Engaging with your followers will encourage them to engage with you in return! It’s also important to make sure you are using your newly-established consistent voice when tweeting and responding to other accounts!
Use and understand trending hashtags
Using ‘trendy’ hashtags is very important because it brings traffic to your page. When Tweeters click on a trending hashtag they see elsewhere, it will bring them to one of your tweets. Check out the trending hashtags and see how they could be applicable to your business. As long as using the hashtag feels natural and makes sense in your post, you are good to go! One big DON’T is using hashtags that don’t apply to your post, just to get traffic to your page. This can appear misleading (and sometimes desperate) to your followers. You can check out the trending topics on the explore page in the Twitter application or the website.
Spread the word about your Twitter page
How are people supposed to find your Twitter page if your username isn’t posted everywhere? Try having a direct link to your Twitter on your website, on any other social media you may have. This can include Facebook and Instagram, and also putting your handle on your company’s promotional materials. The more you get your Twitter out there, the better!
Now, I know this seems like a lot but Twitter can actually be a fun and useful social media platform for you to play around with. Do not be scared to take risks and to also test what works. Be sure to check out Hyperchat Social‘s different social media automation services to see how we can help you Turn Social Into Sales.