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Twitter's highly engaged audience is a huge opportunity for your business.
Twitter might not have the biggest audience of any social media platform, but it has one of the most active and engaged. Of Twitter's 326 million active users, nearly 46% are on the platform daily.
If you want to tap into this highly engaged audience, you need to learn how effectively market your brand on Twitter. These tips will help you harness your 280 characters for maximum effect.
1. Pick a recognizable handle
Users will find you by searching your Twitter handle. Make sure it's as close to your brand name as possible. To cut down on confusion, it's best to use the same handle across all your social media accounts.
Keep your Twitter handle short and easy to spell. This will make it much easier for people to remember. Stay away from numbers or underscores (they're the only special characters allowed in a Twitter username). The goal is to make your account as easy as possible to find and remember.
2. Build trust with your bio
You've only got 160 characters to write your bio. Use them wisely. Describe what your company does and what it stands for. Inject a bit of personality to humanize your brand. Also, include relevant keywords for your brand. Twitter bios are searchable.
You can also include a link in your bio if there's a page you want to direct followers to. To keep your link from eating up your character allotment, use a link shortening tool like Bit.ly.
3. Don't overdo it with the hashtags
Hashtags help link you into relevant topics and keywords. They help make your content organically discoverable. By all means, use hashtags. Just don't overuse them.
Research from Buffer shows that tweets with hashtags get twice the engagement of tweets without hashtags. But the same research shows that tweets that use more than two hashtags show a 17% decline in engagement. Keep your hashtags to two per post. Don't bombard people.
4. Use images (especially GIFs)
The same Buffer research shows that tweets with images receive twice the engagement of those without. Images grab users' attention. GIFs are a great imagery source, and Twitter even features an integrated GIF search function.
You should also make use of video in your Twitter marketing. Video posts get 10 times the amount of engagement of posts without video. Just remember that Twitter is primarily a mobile medium, so make sure your videos are mobile friendly.
Use your Twitter to drive people to relevant content on your blog. Twitter is a great forum for reusing old evergreen content. Just look for trending topics and jump on board the trend with a relevant piece of content.
Just keep in mind that your content needs to add value. If it's just a sales pitch, you'll turn users off. You might even consider linking to content that's not yours if it provides valuable information to your followers. Building a Twitter audience is about building trust and credibility.
6. Search to find your audience
Twitter offers some pretty robust search features that you can use to find the right audience for your brand. You can search using keywords to find people mentioning terms relevant to your brand. You can search by hashtag to find trending topics. You can narrow down your search to users tweeting to or mentioning certain accounts. You can even search by location, and choose to include or exclude positive or negative mentions.
7. Leverage influencers
Find the top influencers in your industry and engage with them on Twitter to help build your brand credibility and springboard off their audience. BuzzSumo is a great tool for finding influencers in specific topic areas.
If the influencers you identify aren't direct competitors, you can reach out to them and ask them to promote your brand. Or you can follow them and interact with them more organically by liking their tweets, commenting on them and retweeting them. Just remember to choose "Retweet With Comment" so you can add your own perspective to retweets.
8. Have a personality
Twitter is not a platform that will reward you for being dry and boring (but then again, what platform does reward that?). Give your brand a voice and a human feel by keeping your tweets conversational. Inject humor wherever you can. SproutSocial research shows that "not having a personality" is one of Twitter users' most common annoyances with brands using the platform.
Just keep in mind that there's a fine line between funny/approachable and corny/disingenuous. The same SproutSocial research shows that "using slang and jargon" and "trying to be funny when they're not" are two of the other most common annoyances.
9. Engage early and often
Twitter is a great tool for customer service, but you have to stay on top of customer queries and answer them quickly. Research shows most social media users who contact a brand expect a response within 0–4 hours.
Customer service isn't the only reason to engage, though. Be active with your followers. Like their tweets that mention you or topics related to your industry. Reply to their comments on your tweets. Retweet them when they mention something relevant to your brand. Once you have a following, engaging with your audience is one of the secrets to actually keeping them.
Staying relevant on Twitter means keeping yourself across the trending conversations. A great way to keep yourself informed is Hashtracking, a tool that monitors hashtag trends across social media platforms. Keep an eye out for hashtag trends relevant to your industry and jump on board.
11. Get verified
This one can be a bit tricky as you're at the mercy of Twitter, but verification helps you build trust. It also puts your content in front of more people. Many Twitter users (especially verified users) filter out content that doesn't come from a verified account.
It's Twitter's decision whether or not to verify your account. According to Twitter, they verify accounts that are "of public interest," and this usually includes celebrities, government officials, journalists and brands. You can request verification, but make sure you've followed these other tips before you do. Having a great profile and great content, along with connections to other verified influencers, will significantly increase your shot at earning that coveted blue checkmark.
12. Don't hard sell
Twitter is a platform to engage in conversation, inform, entertain and listen to your audience. It's not a place to shamelessly plug your product or service. This doesn't mean you can't do the occasional sales tweet. But the majority of your activity on Twitter should be focused around building and engaging with the community.
13. Know when and how often to tweet
Like other social media platforms, Twitter sees its peak engagement at specific times. Weekday afternoons are best, with 3PM on Fridays being the absolute peak. In terms of frequency, a study from CoSchedule recommended 15 tweets per day and 7 retweets per day as the optimum number. If this sounds like a lot, you can consider using a scheduling tool to schedule your content in advance.
14. Don't be an idiot
This is particularly important for Twitter. Many companies and individuals have been undone by a misguided, tone-deaf tweet. Keep your engagement cordial, keep it positive and don't say anything stupid. Yes, there are the occasional statistical outliers who can ascend to the most powerful office in the world while being ding dongs on Twitter, but for most of us, a bad tweet can undo years of goodwill.
15. Measure your results
If you're going to spend time and effort on any social media platform, you need to track your success. There are some great analytics tools out there for measuring your brand's engagement, but Twitter itself provides some handy tools. Twitter Analytics lets you measure the engagement your tweets are getting, your audience demographics and interests, your follower trends and even conversions from your Twitter marketing efforts.
Bonus Tip: Hire a professional
Twitter marketing is a lot of work. It requires a high time commitment and frequent content creation. If you're worried you don't have the time or know-how to properly harness Twitter's audience, consider hiring a social media marketing expert to help you.