Success on Twitter takes time as well as a deep knowledge of the best practices that only comes with experience through trial and error. Keeping an eye on what others are doing on the channel is an excellent way to learn the latest strategies and tactics.
With more than 241 million active users on Twitter, more and more brands are realizing that establishing a presence there is no longer an option. It's a must.
The good news is that it's relatively easy to get up and running on this social media channel. But building a substantial audience that hangs on everything you're saying in 140 characters or less? Not so much.
Success on Twitter takes time as well as a deep knowledge of the best practices that only comes with experience through trial and error. Keeping an eye on what others are doing on the channel is an excellent way to learn the latest strategies and tactics as well.
To monitor how brands are using Twitter to capture the attention of their constituents, I've compiled a list of more than 500 businesses and brands on the channel, which I regularly scan for ideas and inspiration. What I've learned from this list and from my own work with clients is what I'd like to share with you now.
1. Newsjack What's Hot. Taking advantage of trending news by writing about it as it is breaking can be a very effective way to inject your brand into the conversation if it is done in a clever, timely, and tasteful manner. The Grammys. The Academy Awards. The Olympics. Special events like these are ripe for the picking. For instance, during this year's Super Bowl, many brands were playing the newsjacking game, sharing their quips in real time.
Example: DiGiorno Pizza
2. Ask Questions. Any networker worth his or her salt knows the best way to win over an audience is to show an interest in what others have to say rather than to talk about yourself. Ask them anything. The more you ask them questions, the more likely they'll be to trust that you're genuinely interested in their needs, interests, and opinions and the more likely they'll be to do business with you when the time comes.
3. Engage With Other Brands. Back in the day, it would have been highly unusual - and nearly impossible - for one brand to talk to another. What would be the point? And without the Internet, there wasn't really a good forum for such conversation, anyway. Social media changes everything. And today, now that most brands have the basics of Twitter down, they're going where no brands have gone before, reaching out to one another for not just casual banter, but for strategically timed engagement.
4. Embrace Your Fans. People follow brands on Twitter for a number of reasons, one of which is for a digital autograph, a chance to connect with someone or something they adore. One-on-one interaction is ideal. A retweet or a reply goes a long way with your fans. But if you're too big or too busy to reach out to others individually, you can still at least acknowledge those who follow you in one fell swoop and thank them every once in a while.
Example: New England Patriots
Bob Cargill, who was named "Direct Marketer of the Year" for 2009 by the New England Direct Marketing Association (NEDMA), is director of social media at Overdrive Interactive. During the course of his career, his work has been recognized with more than 40 awards from NEDMA, including Gold for his blog, Gold for Best Tweets, and Silver for Best Copywriting. Bob likes to keep his fingers on the pulse of the industry in which he earns his livelihood. Not only has he presented many times about social media, copywriting, and direct marketing, he has been published or quoted on his areas of expertise in numerous media outlets. He is a past president of NEDMA and a graduate of Leadership MetroWest's Leadership Academy.
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