How to Use Twitter to Promote Your Business

Published on March 3, 2017

Twitter – the home of the 140-character social dispatch – boasts about 313 million monthly active users, and it’s the preferred social network of many movers and shakers, including journalists, comedians, and even the current President of the United States.

Are you putting Twitter’s many powerful tools and unique advantages to work for your brand? If not, it’s time to start!

Here’s our definitive “how to” guide for Twitter marketing – everything you need to get started, everything you’ll want to try for yourself, and all of the amazing results you can expect to come back:

Produce and Share Your Own Content

The best way to use Twitter for your brand is to… well, start using it! In our experience, a holistic approach to content marketing is the most effective way to put social networks to work for your brand. What this means is that you must create unique, compelling content of your own, and then share it on Twitter strategically.

This approach works for a variety of reasons. One, social users like substance and depth; a short tweet promising a longer dive into an interesting topic is a surefire way to promote clickthrough – much more so than just tweeting out a link to a default landing page. The other big thing? The clicks you get from Twitter and other social platforms – known as “referral traffic” – actually in turn helps generate “organic traffic” from search engines, helping the same piece of content capture two huge potential audiences at the same time.

Want to start sharing your content but don’t feel like keeping a Twitter tab open 24/7? You can set up a social media sharing schedule using a third-party platform; our team has had great success with Buffer, but there are plenty of similar platforms available, including Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.

Engage With Your Users

With that said, Twitter as a platform is about much more than driving clickthrough; its power to increase conversions comes not just from putting up links, but from the amazing opportunities it gives your brand for connecting with real people. Twitter is an amazing branding tool, perfect for promoting your brand narrative and keeping your organization top of mind.

So, with that in mind, don’t be afraid to produce content that doesn’t link outward, but is instead standalone on Twitter. Not only will the social network’s algorithms like you (since you keep users on their feeds instead of diverting off to new sites), but your audience will, too, as they see that your brand is engaging on the service like a human, rather than a marketing robot.

One big element of engagement? Respond to user feedback – positive or negative – quickly and gracefully. For many people, Twitter has become the first place to turn for customer service, and the impression that you leave when you @-reply or DM a customer could make or break your reputation – particularly when you remember that 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others, and that 78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour. For some tips on how to handle social media feedback, check out our primer here.

Share and Retweet Other Content

Remember what we said about not seeming robotic earlier? A big part of that comes down to what you share and how you share it. Plenty of users stop following social media accounts that they see as “spammy” – that is, accounts that post repetitive or boring content.

One easy way to combat the tedium of oversharing is to promote and share relevant content from sources other than yourself. Posting links to news sites or industry insiders, retweeting other Twitter users, and sharing your favorite content as it pops up in your timeline is a great way to put a human voice to your Twitter marketing efforts; it breaks up the distribution of your own content, and highlights that you’re a plugged-in, engaged member of your online community. And who knows? The accounts you highlight or amplify might just return the favor and start spreading some of your great content around!

Looking for things to share? We recommend making use of Feedly, one of the web’s most powerful content curation tools. You can also peruse hashtags or trending topics on Twitter, which compile relevant tweets together using a hashtag, or a keyword indexed by a pound sign (we’re willing to bet even the biggest Luddite has seen a hashtag out in the wild by now). Third-party tweet aggregators like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are a great way to keep an eye on multiple channels, hashtags, and feeds at once; you may consider giving one of them a try if you’re looking to discover some fresh new accounts!

Use Images, GIFs, and Videos

Twitter has come a long way from the little microblogging site that could. It’s about so much more than short strings of 140 characters these days; in fact, Twitter is one of our most visually rich social networks, bursting at the seams with images, videos, and GIFs.

It’s surprisingly easy to work these multimedia elements in with your content, and incredibly important that you know how to do so: Per Buffer, tweets that feature images boast 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets than those without. Video, similarly, is an unbelievably important part of today’s social media marketing landscape; in 2017, video consumption is expected to comprise 74% of all internet traffic, and viewers watch the equivalent of 110 years’ worth of live video on Periscope, Twitter’s live-streaming video partner, every single day.

Fortunately, putting these powerful visual tools to work is fairly straightforward. To attach an image, infographic, or video to your tweets, just click the “Add Media” button in your tweet editor and upload a custom image from your computer or phone; most third-party Twitter platforms, like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Buffer, also allow you to upload images as you schedule and post tweets.

To get started with live streaming on Twitter, you can download Periscope here; for some guidance on how to best employ live streaming for your brand’s needs, be sure to check out our guide on best practices, “5 Ways to Start Using Streaming Video for Your Marketing.”

Adding GIFs to your tweets is also easier than ever before, thanks to Twitter’s searchable GIF library; when you post a tweet, simply look for the “Add a GIF” button and find the perfect one! If you’re looking for other sources, Giphy boasts a vast repository of GIFs that you can download and attach to your posts, particularly helpful if you use a third-party tool like Hootsuite or Buffer. To make sure that you’re safely on the right side of copyright law, or to present something truly unique and brand-specific, you can also always create your own GIFS; Hubspot offers a handy primer on animation here.

Create Engagement with Polls and Contests

As we mentioned earlier, actually talking and interacting with your followers is a great way to get engagement – and traffic, and leads, and conversions – coming back to you. There are two incredible ways that we’ve found that you can put social media to work actually being social: polls and contests.

You can natively create a poll on Twitter by clicking the “Add Poll” icon in your tweet editor; add up to four choices, set the length of time you want the poll to be open (anywhere from a few minutes to a week), and watch the responses pour in. Polls are a great way to engage in social listening – they allow you to gather market research and solicit useful feedback on your brand messaging or content, all in an unobtrusive and fun way that won’t turn off users.

Contests take a bit more work (there is not yet a simple “Run Contest” feature available on the Twitter platform – for now, anyway), but they can pay huge dividends in terms of spiking engagement and increasing brand recognition and loyalty. We have a pretty in-depth guide to Twitter contests available here; a few of our favorite methods include running a “Retweet and Follow” sweepstakes (i.e., encourage Twitter audiences to retweet and follow your account for a chance to win a special prize) or a “Hashtag War” (wherein you offer a unique hashtag and give a prize to your favorite entry).

Promote Posts and Make Use of Twitter Ads

Have a specific goal you’re trying to accomplish on Twitter? Secure new followers, increase sign-ups to a mailing list, improve your brand recognition? Besides organic social marketing – a loose term that encompasses a lot of what we describe above – you can also use Twitter’s built-in advertising features, an assortment of tools known collectively as Twitter for Business.

Like Facebook, Twitter can be very useful as a traditional marketing channel, and boasts sophisticated targeting and native analytics tools to help you get as much as possible out of your ad budget.

There are various types of advertising campaigns you can run using Twitter; many businesses have found great success with Promoted Tweets (individual tweets that get blasted out to a wide group of targeted users’ feeds, helping expand your reach and secure fresh audiences) and a Promoted Account (which encourages new audiences to follow you on the platform by displaying your information on various parts of the website). Marketers can also promote entire trends, fostering conversation around a central topic, typically based on a hashtag that you create.

Ready to get started with Twitter marketing? Our team is here and ready to help every step of the way; from creating shareable content and images to monitoring analytics to running paid social marketing campaigns, our group of Geeks has done it all! Drop us a line today to get the conversation started. And hey – why not follow us on Twitter while you’re at it?

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