How to Market your Business in 140 Characters

June 16th, 2014
Marketing, Social Media

We’ve all seen it – the 6 O’Clock news begins with the usual solemnity, but between the serious political battles and war footage one story stands out. A person of importance has written a misjudged tweet and the whole country is talking about it. The potential of social media misuse to undermine the reputation of whole business is now widely recognised, but that doesn’t mean platforms such as Twitter have to be threatening to businesses.

Can Twitter successfully market a business and improve its company image? The short answer is yes. However, knowledge of exactly how to use it is essential.

Why use social media marketing and Twitter?

According to recent research, 62% of marketers said that social media has become more important to marketing campaigns in the last 6 months. This is not surprising, considering that more and more potential customers are using social media every day, with Twitter currently boasting nearly 646 million users.

The high saturation of people on Twitter means that your advertising is exposed to many more people than is your website, blog, or physical advertisements are likely to be. Twitter is a quick, easy, and direct way to establish a following of informed customers who really feel like they can interact with your company, whilst subtly providing links to your website and services.

Business uses for Twitter

Company branding
Attracting new clients/customers
Engage with existing customers/clients
Providing quick and efficient customer service
Posting company news
Promoting the company blog
Sharing to company press releases
Running competitions
Offering coupons and discounts
Sharing area-related news to engage with their community

The ever-changing web

The internet is a constantly-evolving sphere. In a fast-paced, dynamic and growing space, getting your name out there can be a battle for prominence. However, the web also makes it quicker to directly engage with your audience. You don’t have to design a poster and send it off for printing every time you want to tell your customers about your business, a two-minute tweet can have just as much impact.

Twitter’s scrolling feed updates continuously, which means a company intending to use it to communicate with their customers (which could be every company!) needs to write tweets that are short, engaging and to-the-point. An average of 58 million tweets are written every day, so yours have to stand out.

Writing the perfect tweet

When writing any social media content, but particularly tweets, a good way to ensure your content won’t be lost to the bottomless pit of the feed is by using the WIN formula. ‘WIN’ stands for ‘What, Interest, Need’, and establishes a hierarchy by which information should be ordered in web content for effectiveness. First, explain what you are trying to discuss, then communicate the interest of this for the reader, ending with why they need to know it. Always write the most important information first, as many users skim through the feed and will only read a tweet the whole way through if their attention is captured by the first few words.

It’s always a good idea to vary the kinds of tweets you’re writing to appeal to a wide variety of individuals in your target audience. However, you should carefully consider who this audience is and always try to make your tweets appropriate for those reading them. Think about the level of formality your potential customers would respond to, what vocabulary they will be familiar with, along with the traditional age, gender, location formula. Within this decided framework, use a variety of formats, from questions, sharing relevant links, engaging and using leads. Experts suggest that businesses maintain a 1:10 promotional : personal content ratio, to avoid your tweets seeming overly sales-driven. Maintaining this balance is one of the most important aspects of using social media for business.

One of the best ways to get people to read your business’ tweets is to make them informative. Answer questions your followers might have, link to news articles or press releases, update on new products or services. If you can establish yourself as an approachable authority on your specialist area, followers will check back to your profile to find out the latest news, which gives you the opportunity to lead them to your site and hopefully encourage a subsequent conversion.

Commenting and responding is also key. Mention subjects that your followers will be thinking about, whether it be something as simple as the approaching weekend, a current famous viral video or an update related to your area. Retweet related tweets and share content generated by others, as well as replying to as many direct tweets you receive as possible. Many feel that the computer age is disintegrating the relationships between people – often criticising automated phone responses and emails. However, by facilitating the quick, direct responses available on Twitter, you can actually use technology to communicate with more of your customers than ever before. In doing so, you not only add to a cultural currency relating to numerous issues, but with the use of hashtags can increase your presence in search results, and most importantly, show a genuine care for the rest of the Twitter community.

Think of those who read your tweets as just this – your community. The best way to win over potential customers is to engage with this community, contribute to it, share thoughts on the common interest, celebrate others’ creations and really respond to your customers. After all, it’s called ‘social media’ for a reason.

Keywords

All online SEO content requires keywords to catch the attention of prospective customers that will be looking for a company’s services, as well as search engines in allowing them to display relevant content to internet users. However, on Twitter, it is a good idea to use keywords sparingly, but effectively. You only have 140 characters to work with, and it will be glaringly obvious to other Twitter users if you’re just trying to fit in as many buzz-words as possible. Write genuine, explanatory and interesting content, with one or two keywords. Use Google Keyword and Twitter trend websites planner to find out which phrases your company can compete for most successfully and built quality tweets around these when it makes sense to do so.

You may also want to use hashtags to flag up the keywords in search results, which will allow users that don’t follow your profile to find your tweets. Also consider occasionally using words that will stand out on the news feed to create shock or humour factor allowing you to catch the attention of the Twitter user who more often than not scrolls through the feed, only stopping if there is something captivating enough to halt them in their tracks.

Linking to content

A great way to use Twitter to provide content that is of real use to your followers is to link the tweet to written content. Ideally, this should be on your website – either a specific page answering a potential question, or a blog post. Doing this will increase inbound traffic to your site and create a sense of professional authority around your site in the eyes of your followers. Both your audience and Google will appreciate your website creating content that is valuable to internet users, and if you can increase both the amount of this your website produces, and the number of links directing people to it, you will see your rankings, and success, build.

Of course, you can link to products and services, but do this sparingly to avoid overt self-promotion, following the 1:10 ratio as mentioned above. A good time to link to sales-orientated content is around the time of a new release that your audience will be excited to hear about.

You could also link to related articles written by other non-competitors to increase your involvement in the community interested in your field, and encourage others to follow links back to your site by utilising comments.

Organising your tweets

If this all seems like a lot of work to be doing every day, don’t worry! There are a number of tools you can use to organise your tweeting schedule. Buffer allows corporate users to prepare tweets in one go to last a number of months, scheduling the platform, post date and time. This means that you can put aside a few hours to create a collection of great tweets, schedule them, and then you don’t have to worry. Perfect for busy business owners on the go.

It’s also very productive to time your tweets with with news and trends – for example, tweeting about a much-discussed current news story or press release is a great way to get users to notice what your company is saying. Many of us don’t have time to be constantly checking through pages of news websites, but luckily Google Alerts enables users to enter phrases that they want to be kept up to date on, then emailing you daily with fresh news and related web content. Google Trends also allows users to find out what other people have been searching for. With a large amount of functionality, this tool lets businesses analyse the internet use of their target audience so that they can produce the right tweets at the right time.

Twitter bridges the gap between company and consumer like no other platform. For your business to cross this gulf, interact with the billions of social media users, and market your products or services successfully, you must use it intelligently. By following these guidelines you will do so, and see your following grow noticeably every day.

For expert social media marketing advice, contact us for a no-obligation consultation now.

Written by Emma Thomas

About the Author

Emma Thomas

Emma is a writing-obsessed student from Cornwall, very excited to be interning as Content Curator at Media Street.

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