This is our third installment of our Social Media 101 blog series, and we are continuing right along today by highlighting Twitter. From feedback I've received from other small business owners and clients, the purpose behind Twitter can be a little confusing and misunderstood, so hopefully today we'll be able to explain what Twitter is and does, why you should be using it for your business, and how to use it successfully.
-Twitter has over 330 million active monthly users
-69 million active monthly users are in the US
-36% of Americans aged 18-29 are on Twitter, more than any age group
-Twitter sees itself more as a news site than a social network/social media platform. It boasts that it's the best place to find out what is happening right now.
-74% of Twitter users say they use the network to get news, which is up 15% over last year
-Of all American adults, 11% get their news from Twitter (almost 27 million people!)
-Among those who get their news from Twitter, 45% have a college degree.
-30% of Americans who earn over $75k a year use Twitter
-21% of American Men and 21% of American Women use Twitter
-80% users access Twitter on the mobile platform
-Over 500 million tweets are published every day
-Twitter serves over 2 billion search inquiries every day
-42% Twitter users access the app every day
-Top reason people use Twitter is to "discover something new and different"
-66% of US Companies use Twitter for marketing purposes
WHY YOUR SMALL BUSINESS SHOULD BE ON TWITTER:
There is one statistic alone that I believe is reason enough for you to create a Twitter account, or get more active on the one you already have. 93% of people who follow small and medium sized businesses on Twitter plan to purchase from the businesses they follow. And if that's not enough for you, 69% have already purchased from a small business because of something they saw on Twitter.
Over 75% of Twitter users follow small and medium sized businesses on Twitter. And they follow them for product updates! And 47% of people who follow a brand on Twitter are more likely to visit the company's website. Twitter followers are engaged and loyal brand followers, who follow your small business for news, information, product details and updates, and quality content. One-third of users who follow a small business have retweeted a business tweet. And 85% of users feel it's important for businesses to provide customer service using the network. Then 83% who tweeted a small business and got a response came away feeling better about the business. Direct communication with a customer through Twitter can make a customer feel valued and appreciated.
Using Twitter Search, you can find out what people are saying about your business, a topic, a hashtag, and/or your competitors! By utilizing Twitter, you can present the kind of image that attracts potential customers and refine your brand. You can use it as a networking tool! Twitter provides opportunities to meet and talk to people that could be potential business contacts- people to collaborate with, customers, project partners, and even people to hire!
Twitter also allows you to engage with your customers on a more personal level. You can find out about your customers and what they like or don't like, how they feel about your brand, improvements, suggestions, favorite products, etc. It can be great not only for market research, but as a channel for communication with the customers with answers to their questions, solutions to their problems, or even just gratitude for their support, in response to that research.
Twitter can't be lumped in with Facebook and Instagram anymore of just another social network for sharing information. It's it's own animal, and if used correctly, can be a great value to both your business and to your customers.
HOW TO USE TWITTER SUCCESSFULLY FOR YOUR BUSINESS:
Since Twitter is more of a news source than it is a social network, you have to treat it as such, and have to adjust your content slightly for a quicker and more condensed newsfeed. Here are some suggestions on how to use Twitter successfully:
Build and Post Quality Content
Unless you're a personal account or you're more interested in building a personal brand than your business, stick to what the customers want. Keep their expectations in mind, and make sure you're meeting them. And when they're on Twitter, they want news, updates, quick information, images, videos, event updates, and links to interesting articles. If you're a clothing boutique, it's likely that your followers are going to want to see your merchandise! Share photos of your products (link to your website!), sale promotions, giveaways, contests, maybe blog posts about the top trends for the season or outfit ideas or inspiration based on the merchandise you carry. Share information on the lines you carry (line reps often have tons of marketing materials!), ask your followers what they'd like to see in your store in the upcoming seasons. If you're an artist, you can share photos of your work, time lapsed videos of you while you're working, upcoming art shows that look interesting, artists you follow that inspire you, articles you may be featured in, and so much more. If you manage a non-profit service based organization, you can share updates on service projects in your area, volunteer opportunities, articles about the services you provide and why it's valuable in your community, a spotlight on valuable volunteers or leaders, photos and videos of your group in action. Other organizations that are making a difference in your community (collaboration opportunities!). The bottom line, is you want to share content that is valuable to you and also to your followers. You want to share content and information that your followers want. And if you're having issues coming up with ideas, ask them!
Twitter is quick and conversational. It moves fast, and if you're pushing SELL SELL SELL, you will push those potential customers away! The right people will get interested in your business without you having to wave it right in their face. If you're posting well-rounded content, you'll reel them in. You don't want to sell them straight away. You want to converse with them.
You don't want your content to be perceived as ads. Posts need to offer your followers something, whether it be information, entertainment, tips, inspiration, etc. And not only can you post your own content, but you can share others' content, and reply to other people's tweets as well! Answer questions or comment on ideas. Helpful people are people that others want to converse with on Twitter! If you post helpful content, others will be encouraged to converse with you and will be more responsive to your ideas.
Since Twitter content moves much faster than other platforms, it's important to post on Twitter more often than other platforms. Several times a day is best, and using a scheduling tool makes this much easier. You can also tweet the same content (though not exactly the same tweets!) multiple times a week or month to get more eyes on the tweets. And keep them short and sweet! The limit per tweet is 280 characters, but tweets under 110 characters get 17% more engagement than those longer. Shorter tweets leave room for followers to retweet and add their own comments.
Use Images, Videos, Hashtags, and Calls to Action
Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets, 18% more clicks, and 89% more favorites. I simply do not post to my Twitter business account without at least an image in the tweet. 82% of Twitter users watch videos. Tweets with videos are 6 times more likely to be retweeted than those without videos, and tweets with gifs are 3 times more likely to be retweeted than those without. The fact is that people love and are attracted to images! Providing images and/or video content will keep followers on Twitter longer and provide more engagement within your tweets.
Hashtags on Twitter, just like on Instagram, speak to your audience and spark conversation. Hashtags double your engagement rate, but unlike on Instagram, there's a limit to hashtag effectiveness. You can over-hashtag on Twitter! To create maximum visibility, but still keeping your tweets and information easy to read, limit yourself to a maximum of three hashtags per tweet. In addition to making it easier for people to find you and terms related to your business, hashtags can be great to track promotions, sales, events, and more. Hashtags will also strengthen your SEO, especially if you use them consistently across social media campaigns and your website. Hashtags allow for search engines to find you and make connections easier.
Do you want your tweets to be retweeted? Then tell them! Give your followers a call to action (especially with really high-quality content), and literally tell them to "retweet this!" or "Follow us!" Include links to your website or to articles and direct followers exactly where you want them to go. Calls to action make it very clear to your followers where they can go for more information or to share the information you have posted. Retweeting content not only creates more value for your business, but it encourages the sharing of information and changes the focus from the tweeter to the reader. And benefits both!
ENGAGE ENGAGE ENGAGE
It is absolutely imperative to interact and engage with your followers on Twitter. Gone are the days when you could just connect your RSS feed and allow your website to autopost 100% of the time for you- you have to get in there and do the work. But the more you put into Twitter, the more rewarding you'll find it! You have to get in there, participate in the conversation, read, respond, and tweet. Create contests! Ask questions! When followers see open conversation, they'll feel more open to asking questions and commenting too. And good gracious, if people comment, RESPOND to them!! Responding makes the follower feel valued and demonstrates a high level of customer care. Answering questions also helps prevent you from looking automated and spammy, which is exactly what Twitter is trying to clear off the network. Commenting and being engaged and interactive on the network gives your brand a human voice. If users mention you, retweet them. Even a quick "thank you for following" makes followers feel acknowledged and valued. The network is meant for conversation, not just a mass marketing channel. Engaging in conversations, while still relaying quick and valuable information, is exactly what will build your brand successfully on Twitter.
Consider Twitter Ads
Twitter ad prices are decreasing, and the cost per engagement is down 54% year over year 2017. This is good for folks interested in testing out Twitter advertising. And in fact, ad engagement on Twitter is up 99%, much due to the fact that video usage is up and video ad impressions are up as well. 1/4 of US marketers run video ads on Twitter- same as video ads on Instagram. But, slightly more marketers plan to increase their ad spend on Twitter in the next twelve months than on Instagram. And it seems that Twitter ads are paying off for businesses. 85% of users that follow small businesses say that Promoted Accounts help them find businesses easier and discover new businesses to follow. 68% have followed a small business after seeing them in their Promoted Accounts. 41% of Twitter users have also purchased products after being exposed to them in a Twitter in the past 30 days. If you have a few extra dollars in your ad spend, it may be worth testing out Twitter ads and track the results to see if the ads drive more traffic to your site, increase your followers, or convert clicks to sales, depending what your advertising goals are.
Twitter is not nearly as scary or confusing as it seems, but with some effort and attention, it can be a wonderful promotional tool in sharing information, content, and updates about and for your business. Please feel free to follow Magnolia Marketing Group on Twitter, and join our closed Facebook group, Bloom with Magnolia Marketing for more tips, best practices, and support and inspiration in your small business journey.