Are you getting the most from your Twitter marketing efforts? While some companies shine when it comes to Twitter, many marketers find that their tweets never reach their intended audience. As best practices continue to evolve, it's time to get serious about your Twitter participation. Instead of complaining that social media doesn't work, make Twitter work in coordination with the rest of your marketing plan.
6 Marketing Strategies to Boost Twitter Effectiveness
Twitter is a social media platform, not another one-way broadcast channel to fill with your marketing messages. Here are six strategies to boost your Twitter return.
Be real in real time. Actively participate on Twitter with a human voice and emotions to show you're interested and care, not just waiting to pounce with your marketing message. Hint: Have social media guidelines and a social media contingency plan in place so employees understand how to identify themselves and represent your business.
Make participants an offer they can't refuse. An automated feed of the same content you're delivering elsewhere isn't going to cut it. Develop your Twitter following by creating a unique, targeted stream of timely must-have information such as special insider knowledge and offers only distributed on Twitter. The objective is to make your tweets stand out and be worth paying attention to by providing value to your perspective audience. Hint: Determine who you're going to follow. For most non-media businesses, it makes sense to follow anyone who follows you so you can communicate with them.
Provide targeted tweets via separate accounts. Twitter users value keeping their Twitter stream free of extraneous messages. To this end, create multiple accounts to serve different purposes so followers know what type of information they're going to receive. For example, you can have a dedicated deal of the day account and a special customer service account. Hint: Keep branding consistent.
Show you're part of the Twitter community. Leverage unique Twitter conventions to expand your reach, specifically hashtags and Twitter chats. Use and promote relevant and unique hashtags to expand your message reach to a broader audience. Join Twitter chats covering your area of expertise to interact with others in real time and share your knowledge. This is a great way to build your Twitter following since people get to know you. Hint: Be a guest speaker on a Twitter chat. To this end, it's useful to participate before and after the conversation using the chat hashtag. Alternatively, if there aren't any relevant chats in your category, consider starting one to build an engaged following on Twitter.
Cross-promote on your Twitter presence. Like other marketing initiatives, you must continually publicize your Twitter presence. Use your internal media and other social media channels to encourage people to follow you. Include the breadth of your options such as your website, email newsletters, offline marketing, packaging, billing, correspondence (like customer service emails), autoresponders, and blog. Hint: Incorporate a tailored call-to-action related to Twitter and your offering with a targeted promotional code for tracking. Also, wherever, you have social sharing buttons, add a Follow Us on Twitter button since these readers are Twitter-savvy.
Give followers and customers their 15 seconds of Twitter fame. As a social media conduit, Twitter isn't about you; it's about the community. Twitter's an interaction platform. Take advantage of this by participating in the conversation where appropriate and talk to followers. Recognize others with retweets and shout-outs. Hint: Spotlight customers in your tweets through Twitter memes like #FollowFriday. Alternatively, develop unique communication (such as customer of the day) that's integrated with your brand to acknowledge customers on Twitter.
How to Track Your Twitter Return
When it comes to measuring your return on your Twitter initiatives, it's easier and more effective to track success indicators in the early phases while you're building your base and your investment is relatively low. Starting with the following indicators enables your metrics to evolve with your Twitter strategy.
Track followers. People are a top-level indicator of the number of participants receiving your message. Understand followers may not see your message if they're not on Twitter or a related application or specifically tracking your messages when your tweet is sent.
Monitor tweets and retweets. Are other participants re-broadcasting your message? Are they interacting with you on Twitter? If you're tweeting content on your website or blog, are page views increasing? Are you getting earned media (additional page views attributable to social media involvement)?
Measure special Twitter-oriented call-to-action response. Are these tweets driving interaction, engagement, and/or sales?
Monitor social media ecosystem for brand and relevant keywords. Use brand monitoring to track social media involvement and issues. Can you use your Twitter presence to mitigate issues before they turn into problems? Is your Twitter participation helping to increase positive brand awareness? What's happening with your competitors?
Check your social media influence. Has actively participating on Twitter improved your influence on social media? How are your customers receiving your participation?
As you extend your marketing efforts on Twitter, use a combination of strategies to engage your target audience while laying the foundation to deepen your customer relationships. Also, integrate these efforts into your overall marketing.
Do you have any other recommendations to help make your Twitter initiatives more effective? If so, please include them in the comment section below.
Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen
Heidi is off today. This column was originally published on May 16, 2011 on ClickZ.
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Heidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies, an interactive marketing consultancy. She has over 20 years' experience helping clients increase profitability by developing innovative marketing programs to acquire and retain customers based on solid analytics. Clients include New York Times Digital, AccuWeather.com, CheapTickets, and the UJA. Additionally, Riverside Marketing Strategies has worked with numerous other online content/media companies and e-tailers.
Prior to starting Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi held a number of senior-level marketing positions at The Economist, the Bookspan/Doubleday Direct division of Bertelsmann, and Citibank.