Twitter allows companies to build a reputation for subject matter expertise, and this is accomplished by being informative as well as personable. When sharing a mix of tweets with links to content as well as a few personal observations, companies can drive traffic to their website, boost search results, and build relationships with what could become partners and customers.
Despite the lack of pure data about Twitter best-practices, there’s a consensus around certain tactics that combine common sense with observable results.
Here are some guidelines to help you make the most of Twitter:
Tweet with consistency
Tweet several times a day, but not all at once. Schedule tweets with a time interval in between. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite allow you to do this. One tweet an hour for a few hours a day makes for a good presence. But make sure you also sign in daily and interact with other accounts by liking, retweeting and commenting on their posts.
Go easy on self-promotion
If you’re in business and tweeting for business, everyone knows you’re tweeting to get customers. Tweeting about yourself, your business or your expertise is fine in moderation. The most important thing to remember about followers or potential followers is that they are just like you are: they want something that helps them out in some way.
Dinner is not a topic
This should be obvious, but too many companies that do not work with a professional social media marketer destroy the goodwill they’ve been trying to create by mixing personal posts with their business posts. If you sell garden hoses, tweet about gardens. Don’t take a picture of your T-Bone steak and tweet it to your followers.
Everyone is a curator
“Curation” is the latest synonym for “serial content linking”. It used to describe the job museum directors do: they decide what gets in the museum and what does not. Think of your Twitter output as a museum of your own expertise and taste. Find content you didn’t create and link to it from time to time. This is especially good if you tweet content of companies that align with your business but are not competitors. If they reciprocate, it’s a fantastic way to grow your network.
Listen and respond
Your brand may come in for a bashing now and then, especially if you serve the public at large. The worst way to respond is with excuses and even worse, to ignore or delete the comment. Try to be conciliatory or informative. If something needs to be rectified, do it and if an apology is in order—do that as well. A reasonable amount of humility and goodwill goes over big in any public forum and Twitter is no exception.
Images and videos evoke an emotional response and people are more likely to engage with your tweets if you use them. Not only that but in the noisy world of Twitter where there’s so much content being pushed out, content that’s been aided by visuals is more likely to stand out. Pro tip: don’t link your Twitter account to Instagram or Facebook and have those tools automatically tweet what you share there. The posts will only have a link to an image and that’s not effective. Instead, use a tool like Buffer to schedule for each platform.
Nothing is more ephemeral than a tweet, except Snapchat. Since Twitter is instant, use it to tweet about new, interesting, humorous, or top-of-mind subjects. If there’s a way to link a hot topic to your business in some way not too tenuous or annoying, feel free to do that. Twitter is an in-the-moment medium. Tweets should come across as fresh, and they don’t have much of a shelf-life.
Hashtags should be relevant to the content you’re sharing and commonly used. Using hashtags that don’t exist means only you and your followers are seeing that post. Make a list of hashtags that are popular in your line of business. Think of hashtags as magnets for potential followers. Also, mix them up, use hashtags that are less specific and more targetted. For instance: #marketing will get more views than #petstoremarketing but both are good to use. Also, go to those hashtag channels and engage with other accounts.
Share and mention @otheraccounts
Twitter is a Social Media tool so don’t leave the social out of it! Sharing interesting content by others that align with what your business does, or is simply very interesting, is a great way to build relationships. That means, share the content by other companies or bloggers and be sure to use their @handle so they’re aware of the mention and perhaps retweet your message which means it’ll reach their followers.
Don’t forget to link
While sometimes you may just want to share an image or video, for example during the holidays, most of the time, you’ll want each post to drive traffic to your site. Don’t forget to add a link to a landing page that further explains the topic your tweet is about. If that landing page has a form to capture leads, even better!
This list may be helpful but it isn’t comprehensive. As you will have noticed, common sense plays a big role here as elsewhere. Twitter is about building relationships, establishing yourself as a leader in your industry, building trust and attracting visitors to your site.
Working with an experienced social media manager will help build your company’s online reputation, drive engagement and trust in your brand.