Twitter is a relatively mature service now. Most people have heard of twitter, or tweeting, but many people still don’t understand how to leverage twitter to market their business. Twitter marketing isn’t difficult, and we’re going to cover it in this article.
For those who may not have heard of Twitter, it is a service that allows you to post your thoughts, and actions in the form of a 140 character message to everyone who is following you. If you want to know more, Twitter has an excellent Twitter 101 Article. Now, onto the Twitter marketing!
Twitter Marketing, Why?
If you have a business, you should employ Twitter marketing. It doesn’t matter if you are a worldwide technology company, or a crocheter in Red Wing, Minnesota, you should be marketing with Twitter. Twitter allows you to reach extremely wide audiences, or extremely narrow audiences with ease.
A simple Twitter search with the term “near:”Redwing Minnesota” within:15mi” will yield a list of the most recent tweets from people within 15 miles of Red Wing, Minnesota. Follow some of these fellow Tweeters, and you’re sure to get a couple of them to follow you back! Now, you have extremely targeted tweets for business in your small town!
Of course, not everyone makes their location known on Twitter, but you only need to find a couple of people to make it into that city’s cluster. Once the people who you find in that town start re-tweeting (we’ll get to that later) you to their followers, you’ll eventually receive more followers from that area. Twitter marketing applies to all businesses.
Now that you see Twitter marketing applies to you, let’s discuss it more in-depth.
Twitter Marketing Doesn’t Mean “Commercial”
People follow other tweeters for only a small handful of reasons:
Notice that I didn’t put commercials on that list. Some might argue that commercials provide information, but reality likes to separate commercials from information. The weather is information people want, your stream of tweets talking about your latest sales borders on spam.
Engage with your followers, don’t just bombard them with “buy from us now” messages “or read my latest post” messages. Some people might want this information, but many will get tired of your robotic tweets. Twitter marketing goes beyond advertising.
Spread the Word with Twitter Marketing
Remember when I mentioned retweets earlier? A retweet is when someone likes your message so much that they want to share it with their followers. It’s akin to word-of-mouth in the real world. An example of a retweet: you tell your friend a funny joke, and they tell their friends that funny joke. It’s really simple in philosophy, but retweets from the right followers can result in more followers from you.
Send out tweets that your followers will connect with, and they will naturally want to pass the information along. This is why it is important to have real followers and not just anybody. If you are a barbecue enthusiast, then you probably shouldn’t be tweeting to Vegan activists. Not only will they not want to retweet your messages, they’ll either unfollow you, or wage war with you. If controversy is your thing, then OK, but I prefer avoiding conflict when possible.
If you have a cause that you believe in (business or not) then find people who share that belief and they will pass your message on. There is nothing better than free advertisement, especially when people are promoting you to their friends and family. Twitter marketing requires that you target the proper audience for your message.
Have you ever seen tweets that look like this: “Had a #greatnight! Went to the #concert and got home late. #party #fun #goodtimes”. What’s up with all of those pound signs? Those are called “Hash Tags”. Twitter uses hash tags to specify what your tweet is about, and people can browse tweets based on those tags.
In addition to people browsing by those hash tags, websites will often crawl hash tags to find tweets and publish them on their directories. People may also follow you because you write about a certain subject or topic they are passionate about. I’ve gotten some followers because I write about Netflix under the #netflix hash tag often.
Adding Value To Your Tweets
Like I said earlier, one of the reasons that people follow you is because you provide information, entertain, or add value. There are few other reasons that people will follow you. One way to add value to your tweets is to offer exclusive Coupon Codes to your followers. This creates an incentive for people to follow you, and an incentive for them to retweet your message to their followers.
Another way to add value for your followers is to retweet their messages. People love being promoted, and the more you do it for others, the more they’ll do it for you! Twitter marketing is more effective when you add value to your tweets.
Automating Twitter Marketing
I’m a tech geek, and I love automation. I think automation is a great thing, but you can also over-automate. One time, I had my blackberry automated so well that if someone mentioned me in a tweet, I got 4 different types of alerts. Needless to say, that lasted for about 2 hours before I snapped and wanted to throw my phone out the nearest window.
The same thing will happen with your followers. I use a tool called Hootsuite to schedule some of my tweets, and I push all new posts to Twitter using Feedburner, but I try to do more than just automate my tweets. Obviously, when I get too busy, I can’t interact too much on Twitter, but you can’t flood your followers with automated messages. Try to interact by logging on, responding to messages, retweeting, and engaging in open conversations.
You have to bring the human element to twitter. On the other side, I believe that people should use automation at some level. Automating campaigns, relevant quotes, and funny jokes are some great ways to use automation for both good, and promotion. People won’t care that a great joke or quote you’ve posted was automated or scheduled, but they will care if you flood them with automated advertisements. Twitter marketing requires authentic interaction, not robotic automation.
Engaging Your Twitter Followers
As I mentioned in the last section, automation can be over done, and it’s important to engage your twitter followers. Comment on their tweets, retweet messages that you think your followers will be interested in, and post useful content that they will want to engage in with you.
Another way of engaging (which goes a bit more above-and-beyond) is to go to your followers websites, and tweeting their articles, products, and other information. An additional way to engage your followers is to send out a welcome message announcing your new followers to your current followers. You could even ask them how they are doing. This makes your followers feel welcome and engaged.
A great way to engage your followers and gain useful information is to take polls. Ask a question, and see what answers come in. Engage in conversation about the answers. This will give you more insight on who your followers are, and what they think. Twitter marketing is more effective when you engage directly with your followers, and don’t act like a spectator.
Tracking Twitter Conversions
Probably the most important reason for marketing on Twitter is to gain information on your customers, and to convert potential customers into sales. The hard part of this is figuring out what is working and what isn’t. I mentioned coupon codes earlier, and this is a perfect way to see what is working. If your shopping cart supports coupon codes, then use them! Make coupon codes for various activities such as morning tweets, afternoon tweets, and evening tweets.
You can also create special codes for tweets that contained jokes, or tweets that had more actionable language in it. If you see more sales coming in on coupon codes that were in tweets that say “buy our stuff now and save” versus coupon codes in tweets that contained jokes, then you know what is more effective, and what your customers are reading.
If you see afternoon coupon codes being used, but morning coupon codes aren’t, then you now know where to focus your tweeting energy. Twitter marketing is best used when you can track your conversions.
What If Coupon Codes Don’t Apply To Me?
If coupon codes aren’t applicable to you, then let me introduce you to URL shorteners. URL shorteners are handy ways to take a really long URL like (example.com/blah/blah?ref=blah_blah_blah&cd=652089823491239452) to something prettier like (bit.ly/L6tyu4E). This isn’t their only use though!
Bit.ly is an excellent URL shortener that I use and they provide metrics to show you how often it has been clicked. Essentially, you can see if the link was acted upon. If you make URLs for various situations like I mentioned with coupon codes, you can see when your Twitter followers are acting, and what types of tweets resonate with them.
With the ability to target your followers, track their actions, and confirm conversions, it’s a surprise why more people don’t try to use Twitter as a larger part of their marketing plan. Twitter is an extremely powerful marketing tool if you take the time to learn it, and pair it us with other tools out there.
Don’t miss your chance to see where your customers are coming from, what they are thinking, and convert them into sales. Start your Twitter Marketing now! Twitter marketing can be used on both product and informational sites, the method of tracking conversions may be different.
Tell Us What You Do!
How do you market on twitter? What works for you and what failed terribly? How do you track your conversions? Let us know in the comments!