How to Get Your Twitter Strategy to Work

10 Steps to Improve Your Twitter Engagement

Does your Twitter strategy work? I’ve had marketers tell me that their Twitter strategy doesn’t work. They spend six months acquiring 1,000 followers to whom they craft three messages a day and wonder why nothing’s happening. They don’t understand that Twitter is a cocktail party conversation that occurs on a one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many basis.  In essence, these marketers have found a good size gathering, made a few sparkling comments, and left without waiting to hear anyone’s response.  Therefore it’s no surprise that their Twitter activity’s not yielding any measureable results.

To get your Twitter strategy on track, here are ten suggestions to create a more engaged approach. Like any other marketing strategy, these tactics must be integrated into your overall marketing plan and receive the appropriate resources, both human and budgetary.

  1. Determine goals for Twitter. How do these Twitter goals relate to your overall marketing strategy and business objectives? For example, are you looking to broaden your reach, answer questions and support your product offering, extend customer service, and/or disseminate your message?
  2. Define your Twitter usage. What are you going to use this communication channel for?  Is it a customer service venue, a daily deal or a broadcast mechanism to distribute time sensitive information. This sets expectations for followers who may try to use any customer-facing outlet for engagement. Further, customers’ response expectations on social media forums are a lot shorter than email.
  3. Identify your audience on Twitter. As with any marketing program, consider who your target market is. This can be important for more complex businesses with diverse audiences. Do you need multiple accounts to help keep your content and conversations separate?
  4. Dress up your Twitter presence. As part of your planning process, determine how you’re going to brand your Twitter handle and what’ll appear on your background. From a corporate perspective, this can have an impact on who should “own” the Twitter interactions. Among the options are marketing, PR, communications, product and/or customer service.
  5. Decide who to follow. Since prospective followers may look at who you’re tracking, this can be important. If you’re using Twitter for interactions, it’s a good idea to follow the people who are following you. For example, media entities tend to use Twitter to distribute news, especially breaking events. Typically, they don’t follow many people or organizations. At a minimum, follow the thought leaders and media outlets in your niche.
  6. Plan your content strategy. What are you going to tweet? To this end, assess who you’re trying to reach and influence. Also consider how you’ll incorporate your brand voice into these exchanges. While three well-crafted messages are important, they need to be integrated with other content that shows you’re part of the Twitter community. Here are some options:
    • Thought leadership. Create original content (this can be published on your blog, YouTube or other entity). Further engage in the conversation by retweeting and commenting on what’s said by your peers. From a brand perspective, be aware that your competitors will follow what you’re doing.
    • Customer service. Answer customer questions in real time and provide useful information about your firm’s offering.
    • Engage customers. Provide fun, useful tidbits of information. Retweet interesting information and comments.
    • Announcements. For businesses like airlines, distribute gate changes, delays and other time critical information.
    • Promotion. Distribute promotions with a call-to-action and tracking code. Set expectations for this channel and don’t overwhelm followers. Remember, as a rule of thumb on social media platforms, promotions should comprise one message out of every ten messages sent.
  7. Be real. Show your firm or brand’s personality. Retweet your peers and customers. Participate in Twitter conventions like #FollowFriday. Recognize people’s birthdays and thank them.
  8. Manage your time. As with any form of social media, participation can consume your whole day. While if Twitter’s an extension of your customer service function, then someone from your organization must be present 24/7. Otherwise, set up tweets on an application like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite first thing every day for delayed delivery. Then dip into the conversation around lunchtime and close of business to monitor what’s being said and to check if your keywords and name are mentioned.
  9. Support Twitter efforts with other marketing. Announce your Twitter presence across your internal media. This includes your website, blog, Facebook page, email and offline communications. Your goal is to let customers know that you’re on Twitter.
  10. Track your results. Monitoring the number of followers, retweets and mentions is a good start. Assess the influence of your tweets and the sentiment of the conversation. To measure lead generation and sales, tweets must include unique promotional codes that are linked to tailored landing pages on your website. For more sophisticated metrics, more robust analytics tracking are required.

A successful Twitter marketing strategy takes time to ramp up. Accept that your firm will need to get adjusted to the medium and that, if you want to drive bottom line results, three tweets a day will probably not be sufficient.

If you have additional suggestions, please add them in the comments section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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