Twitter is a great resource for promoting your business online. It provides in the moment updates and access to your audience in a more direct way than other channels. It is most useful when it you use it frequently and consistently. This is done in many ways.
Twitter provides you with many options for engaging with your audience online. Each one of these options is a tool in your twitter toolbox. You can post your own content. You can reply to other’s content, follow, retweet, like, direct message and place ads. These are a lot of options and each one has it’s own unique advantages. Using all the options in combination with each other is incredibly effective.
Let’s look at some ways you can use each of the options on twitter (including a few you may not have considered).
The Twitter Toolbox
Post frequently and consistently over time and you will see results. The more valuable your content, the better results you will have.
One thing that you can use posts for that is often disregarded is testing a market. Twitter is great because of the fleeting, in the moment nature of it. You can leverage this to test ideas out on niche markets.
For example, let’s say you have an e-commerce store that sells handmade backpacks. Your typical audience might be attendees of a local university. But, perhaps your bags might work well for the local outdoors lovers. They can use your product for hiking or biking. You can find and follow local outdoor groups on twitter and introduce them to your product. You can test the market and see if there is interest at not cost.
People like interaction and they like to know you are reading their posts. I’m amazed at how much non-interaction goes on with twitter these days. You can get likes and retweets, but rarely do users reply with something meaningful.
People will tell you that followers and retweets and all those stats count. But they mean nothing if you are not engaging with anyone. The end goal is to get customers and to educate your audience about your brand. A good, meaningful reply can get you much more mileage than 20 new followers who never engage with your feed.
“Follow and be followed”. A great way to increase your own followers is to follow other people. I take time every day to find at least 5 new people to follow that are relevant to our customers. This does two things. First, it gives me content I can retweet and provide to my own feed. Second, it also sends a notification to the twitter account of that user. For at least a few brief seconds, you get your business in front of others. If the content you have share is relevant and valuable to them then you may convert them into a customer as well. It’s a great indirect way to “speak” to your audience.
The like button is something that I use the least. It says to others “I enjoyed your post, but not enough to retweet it”. However the like button is useful to see what others have liked. Viewing user’s likes gives me insight into their own network and online engagement. This can show me other relevant users to follow. I can also direct message the user and point them towards my own relevant content.
For example, “Hey, I saw that you liked this post, check out my post on the issue”. It also provides me with insight into current trends in my own industry and others.
The Twitter like button an also be used as a way of saying “Thank You for the mention” to those that are sharing your content. When I get mentioned in a post I let them know that I have seen it and appreciate their response.
The retweet is the best way to show that you love what content a user is sharing. It allows you to share content for your own feed and to provide value to your own customers. It also gets you noticed by those sharing the content. This works best for content that isn’t often retweeted. The major content providers on twitter are frequently getting retweeted. They will have over 100 retweets. So, your own retweet is going to get thrown into the pack of other notifications they receive. But, if you can find valuable content online in smaller markets then you may get more traction.
A direct message is the most intimate of engagements on twitter. It is used to reach out to a business in a more personal way. You can use a DM to discuss an opportunity with them, ask for more information or refer them to another user.
One of the best uses of the DM is the “Thank you for following” message. This works best if you include a link to online content, or ask them to subscribe to your newsletter. However the direct message should not be overused. Those who automate their DM’s after a follow can come across as too salesman-like. I find that we get more response out of personalized DM’s.
There are creative ways to use the tools that Twitter provides. The methods I have pointed out in this article are the tip of the iceberg. I encourage you to come up with your own Twitter strategy for each of the tools in the toolbox.
Test out your strategy and make adjustments to get the results you are looking for. A Twitter strategy is like most online content strategies. There are short term results as well as results that come from long-term consistency.
The key to a good Twitter strategy is to aim for developing meaningful relationships with your followers. I find this much more effective than only looking at stats. Your stats can inform you about whether what you are doing is working. But, it’s easy to get caught up in posting meaningless content in large quantities. Share your experience and influence others, and let others influence you as well.