Did you know that there are over 300 million active Twitter users? That’s a HUGE market for your business. So it goes without saying that I am a (vocal) advocate of all companies (B2B and consumer-geared alike) using Twitter as a marketing channel.
I myself have had some pretty compelling results with Twitter. For example, I recently tweeted a link to a faux movie trailer that was used to advertise a product that was retreated 198 times (impressive, I know), netting me dozens of new followers (which I immediately think: potential leads?). With the median Twitter account having about 100 followers, this particular piece of content had the potential of being retreated nearly 20,000 times!
Over time, I have learned through careful, and not so careful, trial & error how to be relevant to my particular audience, and I am achieving better results because of it. Cultivating a strong presence on Twitter has many benefits: you support your organization’s marketing efforts, you can use it to sell socially, you can build your personal brand, or any combination of these things. With all these benefits, I have wondered, why do some of my fellow marketing and sales professionals still struggle to gain traction on such a promising channel?
Based on my first-hand observations, marketers and sales-people don’t treat their personal brand enough like a real brand. Here are four common mistakes they make when using Twitter and how to correct them:
1. They don’t pick a specific target audience
This often overlooked task is actually pretty easy—just pick one or more of the top target audiences from your other channels and start from there. If you fail to properly identify your audience, your messages will not resonate with the majority of people who see it. The right message may be very different for a business audience and a consumer audience, executives and practitioners, and so on. Selecting an audience is important, because once you have identified a target audience you can address what exactly they’re looking for. Some audiences will be interested in product discounts, others in entertainment, and others in exclusive content. Having a clear idea of the audience and their wants and needs is crucial for capturing their attention.
2. They don’t create a compelling account
In order to harness the true power of Twitter, you need to have the right people listening to your messages. This means that you have to be strategic about creating a highly networked account—one where you are following the right people and the right people are following you.
With that in mind, I recommend you start by simply searching on Twitter for people to follow for 5-10 minutes a day, every day. Set yourself up for success by finding interesting content and contacts. Pinpoint people your target audience would be interested in, such as industry thought leaders, cultural icons, contemporary movers & shakers, and brands themselves. Next, start listening to those people by reading and engaging in their conversations for at least a few minutes per day. Begin by sharing some witty comments or valuable links and see what happens! Here you’ll learn what type of content is captivating to your core audience. It’s important to remember that Twitter is a social network, but often marketers and salespeople forget to be social on it—so, make sure you participate and listen.
3. They don’t create a logical posting plan
A posting plan should be based on your overall Twitter strategy with the goal of engaging your target audience. First, you need to have business outcomes in mind for why you are using the channel to begin with. It could be for personal branding, lead generation, or customer service, to name a few. Make sure you know what the goal is! Then, determine when the target audience is listening and schedule posts accordingly. This is very important, because, according to Quora, retweets peak between the hours of 2pm to 5pm EST. If the target audience is listening during the afternoon, then why post first thing in the morning? Lastly, you should aim to create a detailed editorial calendar for your Twitter messages. This will allow you to create a series of related messages that work together in a coherent, branded pattern which makes sense to your audience. You might think “That’s just for brands”, but really an editorial calendar is for anyone who wants to be successful; often brands are. One more tip—when you post, ask for a retweet.
4. They aren’t using promoted tweets
Promoted tweets are ordinary tweets that get a boost by an advertiser who wants to reach a wider group of users or to spark engagement from their existing followers. Anyone can be an advertiser and most platforms (including Twitter) offer tutorials on how to get started. It is important to use promoted tweets regularly to ensure that messages are seen by the largest audience possible, especially your most important messages. While a regular tweet is only seen by a fraction of the target audience, promoted tweets stay at the top of the Twitter feed for an extended period of time, guaranteeing that more of your target audience (follower and non-follower) see them when they log in. This is vital for growing a Twitter account and finding new followers. Promoted tweets are also great for testing your content types, time of day, and target audience, because the advertising platform gives you data on the success of your tweets. Lastly, explore the different ad options. Once you’re familiar with the Twitter advertising platform, try out other products like promoted Twitter Cards. These types of posts allow you to embed graphics into the tweet for an eye-catching effect.
So, by correcting these four mistakes, you can harness Twitter to grow your audience, reinforce your personal brand, and support your organization’s marketing efforts. And remember, always observe the activities that brands do to be successful on social media and apply them to yourself—you’ll be surprised by how often they translate. Happy tweeting!