You already know that Twitter is one of the most vibrant and addictive social networks that no marketer can afford to ignore. But you might also know that an overwhelming number of marketers never manage to drive any meaningful business value from Twitter.
Twitter is a fast moving platform where getting people’s attention is difficult. You can’t expect to build a large following just by Tweeting random links from your blog. You need to have a smart strategy and make the best use of the different options Twitter offers.
Here are 9 highly actionable tips to help you become a Twitter power user.
Note: The stats I’ve used in this post are taken from Dan Zarella, a social media scientist at HubSpot and Neil Patel of Quick Sprout.
1. Understand the Platform First
Before doing anything on Twitter, you need to be clear about two thing.
- The nature of this platform
- What you want to achieve through it
Twitter is a social network where people interact with each other, build conversations and share experiences. It’s not a place where people are actively buying and selling products or services. To find success, you need to become a part of their conversations. There’s no other way forward.
Secondly, have practical expectations from Twitter. It won’t send you thousands of visitors every day. Neither will it boost your sales figures immediately. Just like real world relationships, you’ll need to invest time and earn trust before driving action.
2. Attract New Followers
Start following hundreds of people every day in the hope of getting follow backs, right?
Don’t do it!
Nothing could be more damaging to your brand image than mass following. Only spammers do it now. Instead, here are a few practical ways to attract followers.
- Engage your competitors’ followers: Identify your key competitors and analyze their profiles. Go through their timeline and see the engagement on their Tweets. Are there any responses? Any unanswered comments? Any questions you can answer? Any problem you can solve? This is your chance to get the attention of your competitors’ followers. Dedicate 5-10 minutes every day to this activity, and you’ll see a boost in your brand image and follower count within days.
- Invite your email contacts: When you start a new Twitter account, it’s always good to let everyone know about it. Most of your friends might already be there.
- Provide actionable tips: Content is king on Twitter as well. Identify the needs of your target users, see what they’re looking for. Keep your Tweets focused on actionable advice. People love such Twitter accounts.
- Cross network promotion: Add your Twitter handle to your Facebook page, Google+ profile, LinkedIn profile and everywhere else.
- Aggressive guest blogging: Identify the most frequently visited blogs in your niche, and offer them free guest posts. Add your Twitter handle in the author bio and ask people to follow. Jeff Bullas, a Twitter power user, gained thousands of followers with just a few guest posts on popular blogs.
- Create high quality blog content: When people know you create great blog content, they’ll follow you on Twitter to keep track of your posts. But I recommend doing this once you have a sizeable mailing list and at least a few hundred social media followers.
3. Create the Right Content Mix
The kind of content you share on Twitter matters a lot. If you’re too monotonous, people will start ignoring you. Here are the different content types you should mix up.
- Blog posts and links: Share links to your own blog posts and posts from other blogs. Tweets with links get almost 86% more Retweets.
- Inspirational Quotes: Search for different motivational quotes on Twitter, list them in a spreadsheet, use Canva to turn them into eye-catching images and Tweet them to your followers.
- Ask questions: Tweets with questions attract 26% more engagement. So add them to your content mix.
- Gifs and Vines: Occasionally Tweeting trending Gifs and Vines can get you a lot of Retweets and new followers.
- Memes: Twitter users love memes. There’s almost 200% more engagement on memes and image based Tweets.
4. Structure Your Tweets for Engagement
Tweets are only 140 characters long, but structuring them the right way can massively boost your engagement levels.
- Tweet Length: Twitter allows 140 character Tweets, but research shows that Tweets between 110 and 115 characters get the highest engagement.
- Link Placement: Most people place links at the end of the Tweet, but Dan Zarella’s research shows that links placed just before the middle get the highest RTs.
- Hashtags: Include up to 3 relevant and trending hashtags with every Tweet to attract 55% more Retweets.
- Quotes: Tweets with quotation marks get 30% more Retweets. Surprising but very effective.
- Tweet Timing: Tweets between 9AM – 6PM on weekdays and from 10AM – 4PM on weekends get the highest engagement.
- Tags and Replies: When tagging someone, never start your Tweet with their Twitter handle. It limits the Tweet to only your common followers.
5. Use Twitter Lists to Your Advantage
Twitter lists is a powerful feature that most Twitter users never use to its full potential. By creating lists, you can cut through the noise on Twitter and keep an eye on the most relevant Tweeps. You can also use them to segment your followers, or to study your competitors without alerting them.
It’s also a great way to monitor Twitter users without actually following them. This is how many Twitter power users keep their “following” count low and still keep an eye on everyone.
6. Proactively Engage Your Target Users
When you start a new Twitter account, it’s very hard to get engagement on your Tweets. So instead of waiting for people to engage with you, go out there and engage them yourself.
- Replies: Search for your niche on Twitter and respond to the Tweets by different people. Never leave your Tweets unanswered.
- RT Acknowledgement: When you get an RT, reply with a quick thank you and favorite.
- Twitter Chats: Many users hold Twitter chats. Search for them and join the conversation. It’s a great way to make new relationships, example search: blog chat, (niche keyword + chat).
- Influencer Outreach: Identify the top influencers in your niche, follow them and add them to a separate list. Reply to their Tweets and give them RT’s regularly. Occasionally tag them in your Tweets. Focus on building a relationship.
7. Keep an Eye on Twitter Analytics
Twitter recently enabled account analytics for all Twitter users. There’s a lot you can learn by studying your Twitter statistics. It shows your best performing Tweets, the top users engaging with you, hours of the day with the highest engagement and many other insights. It’s a great tool for marketers to fine tune their Twitter strategy.
You can access Twitter analytics from your profile menu.
8. Automate Your Tweets
Your followers live in all time zones, but you can’t stay awake all the time. Automation is the solution to this.
- Buffer: Buffer lets you schedule your Tweets at predefined hours. The free version allows up to 10 scheduled Tweets.
- Twitter Feed: TwitterFeed lets you Tweet links and blog posts from your favorite websites automatically. You can set up different blog feeds and link them with your account. As soon as one of your selected blogs publishes a new post, it will be automatically Tweeted to your followers.
9. Make Your Blog Twitter Friendly
To encourage activity on your Twitter account, make your blog Twitter friendly. Here are a few ways to do it.
- Sharing Widgets: Add social media sharing widgets by AddThis or DiggDigg and add them under the title of every blog post.
- Follow Button: Instead of just linking to your Twitter account from your blog, add a direct follow button. It results in more follows.
- Tweetable Quotes: Tweetable quotes are small one liners from within your blog content that users can Tweet. They can significantly increase your engagement levels. You can use Easy Tweet Embed or any other WordPress plugin to add this functionality.
Mastering the art of Twitter marketing requires adequate knowledge of this platform and how you can use it most effectively. All the tips I’ve shared in this post work really well. The only requirement is consistency. You need to be patient and follow these tips regularly to see the benefits.
If you manage to do this successfully, Twitter can easily become one of your most valuable and cost effective traffic and lead generation channel.