Twitter is a fantastic tool for online businesses, and around 80% of companies have an account on the platform. If you run a small business, you are probably one of them, but are you using it as effectively as possible?
Here are some do’s and don’ts that will help you craft a successful Twitter marketing strategy.
Don’t Focus Solely On Your Own Company
Twitter users can be turned off pretty quickly by businesses that constantly blow their own trumpet. The same applies to firms that simply tweet their new deals and product launches and nothing else.
Try to broaden the topics of your tweets. Talk about things that are related to what you do, but bring in wider ideas and interests. For example, how-to guides are a good format for offering useful content that can simultaneously promote your products.
Retweet content by other users, or write op-eds and have them published elsewhere—anything that shows that you are more than just a company looking for business.
Don’t Automatically Retweet References To Your Company
Another big turn-off for Twitter users is when their feeds are clogged up by unnecessary retweets, and retweeting everybody who mentions you is also a waste of your own time.
Instead, choose the right people to retweet. Influencers with thousands of followers are always worth retweeting, but so are witty tweets or those with great images of your products.
Do Make A Point of Replying to Tweets
Having said that you shouldn’t retweet every mention, it is a good idea to respond to a few tweets every week. Not only does this get you and your staff into the habit of interacting with customers on Twitter, it also shows that you are the kind of company that engages with people instead of ignoring them.
Replying to tweets by experts in your field is also a great idea. That way, you can join wider conversations and make your products part of the discourse while simultaneously enhancing your reputation for expertise.
Don’t Take Risks With Automated Responses
Although it might be tempting to use automated responses to deal with customer queries on Twitter, plenty of companies have learned the hard way that the human touch is always preferable.
It’s incredibly easy to offend users by offering them robotic auto-responses instead of actually engaging with them, and, in some cases, this can lead to PR disasters.
Do Use Automation Wisely to Schedule Your Tweets
On Twitter, automation can be a great way to schedule your tweets so that they are spread out across the day, saving you time and ensuring that they receive maximum exposure.
When you tweet in clusters, people will tend to ignore some or all of your messages. You need to let each tweet “breathe” and give it a chance to be seen. Try to research when your customers tend to log on to Twitter and target those times with your best content.
Don’t Use Twitter as a Political Forum
Twitter is a lot like real life in some respects. Nobody likes blowhards who always project their political opinions on friends and strangers, and the same applies to companies.
By all means, back campaigns for good causes that are associated with what you do, but try to stay out of the political fray. Instead of partisan propaganda, stick to content that informs or entertains users.
Do Be Open and Transparent
Some firms prefer to keep their followers and following lists private. However, this can often be a mistake. Twitter users tend to value transparency. If they can see who you follow and who follows you, it gives them the impression that you are honest and trustworthy rather than creating the perception that you have something to hide.
Don’t Participate in Online Arguments
Twitter can easily descend into online arguments, and businesses can often be drawn into such battles. This is almost always a very bad idea. Always try to tweet in a courteous way, treating every user with a welcoming attitude and ignoring anyone who is clearly trying to provoke. Never respond in kind, even if they seem to deserve it.
Do Cross-Link to Your Company Pages
This is part of the Twitter ABC, but a surprisingly large number of companies forget to include links to their home page on their Twitter profile. Try to cross-link as much as possible to your company blog and other social media channels, and include a clearly visible Twitter button on your homepage.
Do Use Images to Enhance Your Tweets
Twitter is as much about images and video as 140 character messages, so use both forms of content to your advantage. In fact, photos can increase your retweets by 35%, while videos can increase retweets by 28%, so they are really worthwhile. If you have an Instagram account full of great images, you can use an app like Zapier to send them directly to your Twitter account, which saves time and does the job well.
Few online businesses ignore Twitter, but many of them fail to use it to its full potential. By following this guide, you can create a Twitter presence that avoids the major pitfalls and features content that will attract users, instead of turning them off.
Originally published 12/08/16.