How to Grow Your Twitter Following and Post Better TweetsTurn up your social media power to 11, one tweet at a time.
“If Paul Revere were alive today, he wouldn’t have taken a midnight ride from Boston to Lexington, he would have just used #Twitter,” tweeted Alec Ross (@AlecJRoss), author of the New York Times bestseller “The Industries of the Future,” back in 2009.
Twitter, even with its 313 million active users each month, may not be right for every business — it’s more important to be where you customers are on social media than to be everywhere. But if you decide to use it (according to SEO expert Danny Sullivan, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are the most important social platforms for most small businesses to be on for search reasons), you’ll want to follow some best practices to stand out in this sea of voices and begin to gain followers.
NCR Silver asked social media experts for their top tips.
Make it valuable
“Demonstrate value in every single tweet,” said Eric Zaworski at hashtag analytics company Keyhole. “You want to become known as a good source for information that is relevant, engaging, poignant and ultimately contributes to the bigger picture.”
Keep it visual
Mandy McEwen, CEO and founder of Mod Girl Marketing, said to always use an image or video in your tweets. “Infographics, images, quotes and statistics tend to do well. If you can apply branded graphics to the image, even better. Images are simply more attractive than plain text and have been shown to lead to higher engagement.”
Test and analyze
As with most marketing tactics, finding the right formula that resonates with your audience requires testing, noted Julie Graff of Pole Position Marketing. Her suggestion? Test different wording options for tweets leading to the same content, like a blog post, and use Twitter Analytics or Buffer to determine which tweet worked best. Also play with different types of imagery and different timing of tweets.
Strategic use of hashtags, which are searchable, can broaden your reach. McEwen recommends including two hashtags in most of your tweets. “Studies have shown this to be optimal,” she said. “Look at trending hashtags on Twitter and use tools like Hashtagify.me for ideas.”
Tagging others using their Twitter handle is another great engagement tactic, said social marketing maven Mindi Rosser. “Most of us enjoy being mentioned and feel popular when we’re tagged. This means we are more likely to retweet, like or share the tweet.”
For instance, if you interviewed a customer for your blog, tag them when you tweet the article. Shout out to other small businesses you partner with, or tag an online influencer who may be interested in your post. Just make sure the post would genuinely be interesting to them so your tweet doesn’t come across “spammy.” If they like your tweet enough to give you a retweet, it can help grow your audience.
Show some personality
Bear Icebox Communications co-founder Bob Spoerl said, “If you want to get attention on Twitter, write punchy (non-controversial) tweets that show your brand’s style and carry a unique voice.” He shared the example of Wendy’s playfully sassy interactions with critiques of the chain’s “fresh, never frozen” motto.
Reference current events
“Start newsjacking,” advised Lindsay Kent, social media specialist for business automation software company Ontraport. “Actively follow the news and be ready to jump on an opportunity to incorporate your brand into the narrative.”
Ask a question
“One of the best types of posts I’ve seen that drives engagement are questions,” said Melissa Mannozzi, CEO of Underground Creative Group. “For one of our hospitality clients, in the middle of winter we asked ‘Where do you want to be right now?’ with an image of a beach. We actually saw a larger than normal engagement rate and got them thinking about vacations.”
Include a CTA
Luke Rees, Head of Digital at AccuraCast, recommended encouraging readers to take action. “Either give a clear call to action — like ‘Read it here’ — or else be sure to express a direct message/question.” Use a URL shortener, such as bitly.com, to give you more room and keep the tweet from looking too cluttered.
Keep it short and punchy
Even though you have 140 characters to work with, McEwen suggested keeping tweets under 100 characters. “Shorter tweets tend to get the best response rate.”
Rees agreed. “On Twitter, we typically find the shorter and punchier the copy, the better. With so few characters to make an impact, we try to make our tweets as simple and as rhythmical as we can to stand out from the crowd.”