Jul 15

The Dos and Don’ts of Twitter Marketing for Business

Twitter has come a long way since its humble beginning in 2006. The social media giant today has more than 145 million active daily users, according to HootSuite1, and has famously fueled political movements like the Arab Spring and Black Lives Matter, and skyrocketed regular folk into Twitter Stardom seemingly overnight.

Today, Twitter has become a source for news, a battleground for political debate (See: The White House’s most famous Twitter user), and a place where the public can grab the latest health news related to COVID-19 in their city. Yes, Twitter has proven itself both useful and amusing, but has it lost its charm with marketers?

The answer depends ultimately on your business. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram, Twitter has a lot less creative wiggle room for marketers. Still, if used in the right way, brands can get a lot out of Twitter to connect with users, generate leads, and boost its bottom line.

Start at the beginning

Whether you’re new to Twitter or a seasoned Tweeter, it behooves every organization to evaluate how it plans to use Twitter for business. As a marketing strategy, its critical to know where your brand is starting from and where it plans to go. Many businesses still make the mistake of focusing on number of followers. This is an important factor if you’re an influencer that earns money working with other brands, but if you’re a wealth management company, engagement data (i.e. retweets, responses, likes, and DMs) are a lot more insightful data points than the number of followers.

From there, set or reset SMART goals for your marketing strategy on Twitter. What do you hope to achieve on the platform? What actions will you take? What types of content will you share on the platform and who will you engage with? Never underestimate the power of clarity when setting your marketing strategy on Twitter.

Curate your public image

Your twitter account should feel like there is someone behind it. No one likes engaging with a brand that looks and feels like, well, a corporate brand. Social media followers want to feel like they’re engaging with another human online, even if that human represents a Fortune 500 company.

Here are a few clever ways to showcase your brand’s personality:

    • A cheeky tagline – Twitter limits the characters in your profile bio. Make the most of it with a creative tagline that highlights who the company is and direct followers on how to engage with you. HubSpot put together a fantastic list of amusing Twitter bios from celebrities and companies that infuses humor and personality into their bios2.
    • Direct followers to engage – Big brands like Chase often have multiple Twitter profiles for different parts of the business. You can see how the company clearly delineates where customers can go to for support on Twitter.

    Chase Twitter screenshot

    • Brand your own hashtag – When running a social media marketing campaign, create a hashtag that will engage followers and include it in the company bio. Co-op company R.E.I has a famous branded hashtag #OptOutside used by thousands of followers who post about their outdoor adventures online. The social campaign is now in its sixth year.

    Tools of the Trade

  • While the Twitter toolbox are quite limited compared to other platforms, there are some tired-and-true tools every brand should use. They include:

    • Twitter Lists – The magic of Twitter lies in its lists. PR professionals often follow relevant media, companies, and industry experts, and then categorize them into tidy lists. If you’re a business with multiple target markets, lists help your Twitter feed stay well-organized.
    • Polling – Another effective way to engage consumers and get a clearer understanding of your target market is through polling. They are easy, fun and enable organizations to gather quick feedback from its followers. Nike is a nice example of how to use Twitter polls to connect with its customers.
      Nike NYC polling

      Evernote has also used the polling feature in a smart and fun way. This signals to Twitter’s algorithm that users like your content and will therefore showcase more from your brand to followers.
      Evernote Community screenshot
      Source: https://business.twitter.com/en/blog/6-ways-marketers-can-use-twitter-polls.html
      You can poll followers on what type of content to share or make them feel like a part of the process if you’re rebranding or creating a new product.

    Learn from the Twitter Flops

    Like all things, there’s a lot to learn from others’ mistakes. The Twitterverse has graciously provided us with a number of hilarious and cringeworthy ‘Twitter flops’ over the years, some of which are being repeated today.

    Case in point, always know the context of a trending hashtag before using it. Something Digiorno’s pizza learned the hard way in 20143.

    While you’re at it, ensure you have the right people managing the account. There have been countless ‘flops’ in this arena, everything from accidentally tweeting a personal – and explicit – comment on the wrong Twitter account, to using canned responses with customers that sound more like bots than real humans. Bank of America got into hot water a few years ago with this a few years ago:

    Bank of America screenshot

    Finally, there are the public figures that have received backlash from fans and followers for mishaps on Twitter (we’ll call them “mis-Tweets”). Everyone from Glee-star Lea Michelle, Chance the Rapper, Donald Trump, Drew Breas, to YouTube influence Jenna Marbles. And that’s all from 2020!

    If Twitter has taught us anything in recent years it’s that what you tweet will live on forever, and the public has no mercy when it comes to calling out brands or public figures for their mis-Tweets.

    The lesson here is: Humanize your brand, avoid controversy, and make sure you have the right staff members on board to help along the way.

    Compared to other social media platforms, Twitter might not appear to be the sophisticated, but it is quite powerful. It’s proven to be an excellent way to network, gain clients, or boost revenue through smart and engaging social media marketing campaigns. Now that more people are online than ever, thanks to the pandemic, use this time to elevate your brand on Twitter.

    (1) https://blog.hootsuite.com/twitter-marketing/
    (2) https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/twitter-bio
    (3) https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ryanhatesthis/digiorno-whyistayed-you-had-pizza

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