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10 Twitter Promotion Guidelines

Many businesses view Twitter as a one-to-many broadcast platform where about 9% of online consumers are active and about half of whom have followed a company according to Exact Target research. Despite this, tweets, as a form of social media communication, aren’t about you or your firm! While Twitter communications exchanges can be one-to-many, one-to-one and many-to-many, at their core, these discussions are about adding to the social media community, not pushing your latest marketing promotion.

10 Guidelines for Twitter Promotions

While Twitter is a great platform for distributing real-time messages and engaging in multi-directional conversations, marketers must understand that it’s a social media platform for the community, not a traditional push media entity. As such, Twitter has its own idiosyncrasies. Most importantly for marketers, Twitter has its own lingo and requires you build your own following or you’re talking to yourself. Here are ten guidelines to help you get your Twitter promotion on track.

  1. Build your social media tribe before you need it. Since it can take time, especially for business, to amass a following on Twitter, start now to develop a following. Include a variety of target audiences such as your prospects and customers, suppliers and distributors, thought leaders in your category and the public. Use other forms of marketing to support this effort. Bear in mind this group may include competitors acting as individuals and/or the media. Your goal is to have a group of people who are receptive to your message and will help spread it.
  2. Engage on Twitter regularly. Establish your social media presence so that if you suddenly have an issue, you’re not suddenly flooding followers’ Twitter streams with your messages. Also, you must build your credibility. This means building relationships on Twitter by showing interest in others and exchanging ideas.
  3. Sound like a real person. On Twitter, like other social media forms, communications have a human voice so lose the marketing-speak. Follow Twitter conventions for your conversations.
  4. Don’t push your marketing message. Most importantly, only one out every ten tweets should be about your firm or your promotion! Overlook this at the risk of being seen to spam your followers who’ll quickly unfollow you and you won’t be able to communicate with them. The one exception is a Deal of the Day account where you can promote one deal everyday. When sending a promotion, have a relevant call-to-action and a unique promotion code to track results.
  5. Create related non-promotional content. Since content provides food for social media, develop content in a variety of formats that relate to your promotion and don’t blatantly push products. (For example, information about how to use your products and/or patterns to help users.) Link this content to your promotion. This is a very soft sell that can be part of the ten tweets that aren’t your special message.
  6. Enlist the troops. Recruit others to help you get your message out and prevent your main account from looking like Twitter spam. Ask others to help you via other communications channels. Understand that they must find your message useful and relevant for their audience or it won’t work.
  7. Make the message yours. If more than one person is helping get your message out, ask them to modify it to make it their own. You don’t want to have everyone sending the same tweets across different accounts.
  8. Use hashtags to spread the message. There are two parts to using hashtags on Twitter. First, leverage existing hashtags to spread your message to a broader audience. Second, consider whether a special hashtag will help your promotion or message. If there’s a crisis, know what hashtags exist that you must incorporate into your messaging?
  9. Continue to keep your messages to promotion ratio. If you’re trying to get a message out, your instinct is to just push your communication. Take a deep breath, then add other information to your tweet stream such as news and other types of content.
  10. Monitor the conversation. Check what’s being said about your firm, the promotion or crisis by searching related hashtags. The goal is to engage in the conversation and be responsive. If your customer service department is active on Twitter, make sure that you’ve discussed your promotion with them so they know how handle it.

When using Twitter to get your message out, remember communication on social media platforms is about the community, not your firm! You should not push your promotion continuously. The last thing you want is to have your followers think that you’re spamming them. Therefore, to the extent possible, spread the responsibility for tweet across a group and integrate your message into non-promotional content.

Do you have any other suggestions for using Twitter to promote a company message? If so, what do you recommend?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Here are related articles on Twitter to help you with your marketing.

Photo credit: http://www.productivedreams.com/free-twitter-bird-icon-set/

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