When I hear someone say Twitter was just a fad that seems to be going away or isn’t as popular as it used to be, I’m thinking to myself: “Yeah, I bet people told Bill Gates the same thing about Microsoft too, and wow, were they ever wrong.”
Here’s why these folks are wrong about Twitter…
It was the fastest growing social media site in 2012, over Facebook and Google+. According to Media Bistro, more than 1/5 (21%) of the global Internet population now actively use Twitter on a monthly basis, good enough for a third-place tie with YouTube as one of the most used social networking sites.
This is good news for companies using Twitter as a part of their Internet marketing mix. Listed below are several public relations best practices for using Twitter to grow your business.
However, before we get started, let me introduce some Twitter slang:
Tweet: 140-words of content allowed in a single message to your audience.
Tweep: A corny but really cute name for someone who has a Twitter profile.
Handle: This is the profile name of a Twitter user. Put an @ sign in front of someone’s handle when you use it in a Tweet if you want the person who owns that handle to see your Tweet.
Hashtag: A word or phrase preceded by a # symbol. Hashtags are used to trend or create a searchable conversation around a topic.
Trending: Simply refers to a top-10 leaderboard of the most talked about topics or phrases being discussed on the Twittersphere.
Twitter Best Practice #1
If you’re just getting started on Twitter, the first step is to create a killer profile that coordinates the same brand, feel and look of your other social media sites or website.
- Select a catchy background, perhaps your company logo or tiled photos of your event, and a profile photo that will fit nicely into the 81×81 pixel profile square. FYI, profile and background photos must be under 2MB and header images must be under 5MB.
- Provide a thorough description of your company in 140 words or less with searchable #hashtags when appropriate. For example, the Bradford Group’s Twitter profile is: the Bradford Group is a PR/marketing firm that integrates #PR, inbound marketing, outbound marketing and #SocialMedia.
- Within your profile, use your website or Facebook page address to drive site/page traffic.
Twitter Best Practice #2
Start using Twitter to grow your business by selecting the right Tweeps to follow. For beginners, it can be tempting to start following anyone and everyone. However, it’s important to be methodical in who you follow because your audience profile says a lot about your brand.
Think of your follow list as your very own club. Be selective. Find industry influencers and media members that matter to your company.
You can find a good follow list with a word search by typing key terms related to your business in the box located in the top right corner of your profile.
FYI, instead of following competitors make a list and add them to it. This is an easy way to fly under the radar and keep up with competitors.
Twitter Best Practice #3
There are a few ways you can start chatting on Twitter.
- Start interacting with those you follow by commenting about, retweeting and sharing their posts and interesting posts by others.
- Do a search for a specific topic and respond to Tweeps who are talking about it.
- Share company news, specials or discounts with your audience. Warning: this type of tweeting should be kept to a minimum. Make it a goal to only talk about your own company only 25% of the time. If you’re not bringing a two-way conversation to Twitter, consumers might get tired of following you.
- Hold a contest, take a poll, start a #hashtag discussion or organize a survey asking for feedback. Consumers love winning things and telling you what they think, so ask them and get them involved.
Twitter Best Practice #4
Promote your Twitter profile. Make sure you have a linkable Twitter icon on your homepage (preferably in the header or footer), business cards, marketing materials, advertisements, other social media sites, in your email signature and anywhere that might draw attention to potential followers. By the way, shameless self-Twitter promotion: follow me @ntownse2.
Twitter Best Practice #5
Make plans to commit at least four hours a week to your Twitter profile. Getting started is easy. Keeping up with conversations gets tricky. Your Twitter profile should be a live conversation with your audience and monitored daily.
These public relations best practices for using Twitter coupled with a well-rounded Internet marketing mix are a sure bet for getting growing your business. Keep in mind that we’ve just scratched the surface and if you have more questions about Twitter or using social media to grow your business, give us a call.