Today, most successful companies have a social media strategy, often including a Twitter presence. This micro-blogging platform is effective, powerful and an efficient tool to use.
Whether your business is struggling to achieve success or is fading into obscurity, you can use Twitter to reach your customers and enhance brand awareness.
Here are six tips to help you get started.
1. Choose a catchy name
Choosing a catchy name or persona for your Twitter account is important. Although they may describe your business, names like @TheProfessionalPlumberCompany or @DowntownFinancialServices won't do the job. For one thing, these names are long, boring and stuffy. They are also too difficult to remember.
Instead, pick a professional name that your potential customers and followers will be able to remember and relate to, a name that is so irresistible that Twitter people (or "tweeps") can't help but click the "Follow" button! Keep it relevant and include at least a part of your business name - or an abbreviated version - but above all, keep it short.
Names like @QuickTech for an IT company, and @123Finance for a finance start-up are catchy, simple to remember, professional and tell stories about what they do.
2. Find your keywords
To successfully promote your brand on Twitter, you must master the art of finding and using the right keywords. Keywords are absolutely critical to marketing, as they help increase the popularity of your tweets by making your posts easier to find and categorize. The good news is that you can find appropriate keywords (and key phrases) by conducting a simple search from your Twitter account. When you search for freelance writing, for example, you will find the following keywords:
Make sure you keep a list of the best keywords for your business, and use them to create buzz around your brand.
3. Harness hashtags
Preceding a keyword with the pound sign (#) - also known as the "hash" symbol - turns it into what is known on Twitter (and other social networks) as a hashtag. Hashtags are used, according to Twitter, "to mark keywords or topics in a tweet".
When you create a hashtag, you help categorize your tweet so that it can be easily found, which not only makes it simpler for people to find your tweets, but can also improve follower engagement. You can use existing, popular hashtags, create your own, or jump on someone else's bandwagon and use a trending tag to attract people to your posts. Be careful, though - overuse of hashtags can make tweets hard to read!
4. High-quality, relevant content
Sharing quality content is the backbone of a successful social media marketing campaign. However, it is important to differentiate between quality content that your followers want, and repetitive marketing or promotional material that you think is important. The worst thing you can do on Twitter is spam people with the same boring message all the time.
Tweet about your current offer, but mix it up a little with industry news, useful tips, and customer responses. Remember to limit personal opinions and humor, as they can get you into a lot of trouble if your readership misunderstands or disagrees strongly!
The more useful your content is, the more likely you are to get retweets, where your followers pass on your message to their followers. If you're very good, or very lucky, you may even go viral and generate massive site traffic from a single tweet.
5. Master writing headlines
Twitter is all about simplicity. The 140-character limit means you have to be sharp, and to the point. It also means that most people don't stop to read every tweet - they scan down their timeline and only stop to read or click on items that sound interesting.
Why did you stop to read this article? Because the headline is interesting: it offers to solve something that is important to you; it promises useful information; it is clear, concise and relevant to your needs.
More than 400 million tweets are posted every day. If your content's headline is not captivating, it will rush past in the flood of tweets and no one will see it. It is critical that you hone your headline-writing skills to grab attention and draw readers to your posts. You can also consider posting the same tweet two or three times, at different times of the day and night, to ensure it stands out on more timelines.
6. Be Consistent
You may have a professional Twitter account, great content to share with your followers and a quality product to pitch, but if you are not consistent with your campaign, you won't succeed.
Don't tweet every two days, or every two weeks. Tweet every day.
The goal of using Twitter is to engage your audience with quality content that is relevant to your brand, that adds value to your followers' lives, and that helps your audience know, like and trust you. You can only do this by being present in their online lives regularly.
Once you establish rapport and stay patiently committed, your fans will be the ones that will give you the feedback you need to grow, thrive and promote your brand to an ever-wider audience.