So far in our blog series about inbound marketing we’ve discussed Pinterest and Facebook, two highly popular forms of social media that you can use to reach your audience and build your online presence along with your SEO. We’ll continue to discuss the differences between social media channels and how to use each effectively to promote your business; this week’s topic is Twitter, the 140-character wonder.
Twitter’s Unique Format
While the key concept with Pinterest is visual, the key concept for Twitter is brevity. Posts to Twitter, known as tweets, cannot be longer than 140 characters. How much space does that give you?
This text is exactly 140 characters. As you can see, that gives you enough space to write a sentence or two, but don’t try to get too wordy!
Because of this forced brevity, Twitter is a fast-paced environment; regular Twitter users tend to tweet often and about just about anything that captures their attention or crosses their mind at any given moment. While Facebook posts can certainly be frequent and random, overall Twitter takes frequency and randomness to a whole new level.
So how can you make use of the rapid fire pace of Twitter? If you’ve ever worried that you might aggravate your Facebook followers with too many posts, you are likely a good candidate for Twitter! A higher level of frequency is the norm on Twitter, and you certainly don’t have to worry about coming up with anything lengthy to say!
Getting Started on Twitter
When getting started on Twitter, as with most social media channels, you want to make sure to do a good job of setting up your account, starting with setting up your account as a Twitter for Business and picking a username that is recognizable and ideally consistent with your business name as well as your usernames across other social media platforms. Once you’ve signed up, make your profile as detailed and descriptive as possible, and make sure to choose a user image that effectively brands your business or organization – your logo is usually a good bet! If you want to customize as much as possible you can also use a custom header and background image, as well as select link colors for your profile page.
If you’re not sure how to start, try looking at other successful Twitter accounts – Twitter keeps a list of success stories by industry; use these to gather ideas and inspiration for the direction of your new Twitter account. Once you’ve got some ideas, start following people! Start out by following people you know and businesses you work with. The disjointed nature of Twitter conversations may take some getting used to and you may want to spend some time reading your feed and getting a feel for it before you jump in. You’ll get the hang of it, though, and when you do, start interacting! Comment on tweets, respond to tweets directed at you or that mention you, join in on conversations.
Don’t Just Tweet – Interact!
All social media is interactive, but Twitter in particular thrives on interaction and conversation. Post pictures, questions, or observations that might encourage comment, and make sure to respond to the comments that you get, and respond to other people’s tweets too! This will show your audience that you’re actively participating in the Twitter community, not just blasting out information without joining in. You can also mention users in tweets by typing in their username – for example, typing “@slamdot” into your tweet would mention us! Mentioning someone will create a link to their account and notify them of the post, which will frequently result in that person responding to your tweet. It’s a good way to start a conversation and initiate direct interaction.
You can also re-tweet other user’s posts, which re-posts them to your Twitter for your followers to see. If something that you post is particularly interesting, funny or insightful, it might get re-tweeted, making it visible to someone else’s list of followers and expanding your audience. You can also use Twitter to direct attention to new content on your website; if you’ve got a new blog post make sure to post a link to it – if it gets re-tweeted then you could gain brand new visitors to your site!
Twitter also offers the ability to link to your Facebook account and automatically post your tweets to your Facebook wall. While this option can be useful, give it some thought – how often are you going to be posting to Twitter? If you’re going to be tweeting regularly, your Facebook followers may not be interested in seeing all of your tweets show up on their Facebook feed. Also, many people use both platforms, and if your posts on both are identical then they may choose to unfollow you on one or the other. If you keep some difference between the two then people will have a reason to follow both.
As with any popular social media, you can find a lot of good research and articles that go more in-depth about how to optimize Twitter for marketing purposes. Read and learn as much as interests you, but if you choose to use Twitter for business purposes keep in mind that the most important thing is just to get involved! Interact genuinely and consistently and your followers will respond in kind.