Put your phone down or the bird gets hurt!
Seriously, now that I have your attention: Chances are if you’re using Twitter as a business tool, you’re using it incorrectly.
Read on for my tips and tricks for using Twitter to build relationships, get your tweets read, and draw visitors to your website by increasing clickthrough rates.
1. Build Relationships
You wouldn’t stand on a street corner yelling “BUY MY PRODUCT” at the top of your lungs, would you? If you’re tweeting nothing but product ads (whether you’re selling books or dream vacations to Iceland), that is in effect what you’re doing. And you’ll scare people away in droves.
Instead, you want to build relationships with your followers by offering them something of value. In fact, that’s what content marketing is all about.
Tweet things that are relevant to your followers’ interests without asking them to buy anything. It’s as simple as that. Every once in a while it’s okay to throw in a product offer, especially if it’s on sale, but don’t do it too frequently. I would say no more than 5 to 10% of your overall tweets.
By offering valuable, authoritative content in your tweets and only occasionally mentioning your products, you’ll gradually gain your followers’ trust. And isn’t trust the basis of relationships, if you get right down to it?
2. Get Your Content Read
So how do you get your content read—and read widely?
Write a catchy tweet.
First think in terms of writing catchy tweets. Just as the journalist must write a catchy headline to get the first line of her article read, you need to write a catchy tweet in order to get your reader to click through for more. If you want to think of your tweets as headlines, here’s a great tool from Co-Schedule to help you write stronger headlines that will get more attention.
Write a proper tweet.
While there is no set formula for composing a tweet, it’s best to avoid certain practices that will put off readers, like including multiple links and too many hashtags. What follows is a rough guideline for tweeting. Like I said, there’s no set formula. You may want to experiment a little until you find something that works for you and gets clicks, then stick with it.
Include some of the most essential elements. For starters, you should write some text. Not too short, not too long. Then ideally you’ll add a shortened link (Use bit.ly or another link shortening app. Social media management tools like Hootsuite and Buffer will also shorten links for you.). After that, use a couple of hashtags that pertain to your tweet. Also, statistics say that tweets that include an image get more engagement, so don’t be afraid to use images if you have them.
Use relevant hashtags.
You may be asking yourself, “How am I supposed to do that?” Well, a quick and easy way to figure out the best hashtags to use for your business is to look at the leaders in your field—the influencers—and see what are the most frequent hashtags they’re using. Here are two helpful posts from Twitter Counter and Convince & Convert with some other great ideas for hashtag research.
Tweet at the right time.
It’s important to tweet when a good number of your followers are on Twitter so your tweets get maximum visibility. I use the Twitter analysis tool, Tweriod, to determine exactly when that will be. It’s easy as pie.
Head on over there, click on “sign up with Twitter”, let it log into your account to get the data, and, voilà! The free analysis will show you when the peak times are for your followers on weekends or Sundays only, weekdays or Mondays only, and every day of the week, combined. It will also show you hourly graphs and graphs of when you get the most @replies. All in all, Tweriod is a Twitter tool I can’t do without.
3. Increase Your Clickthroughs
So you’ve done all of that, now how do you get more clickthroughs to your website?
Well, to start off with, if you’ve written a catchy headline-style tweet with a link and hashtags, and posted it at the right time of day, you have a much better chance of follower engagement than if you’ve just scheduled ten posts saying “buy my product” at random times of the day.
Tweet a short headline.
According to this study done for Content Marketing Institute by Outbrain, titles (or headlines) with exactly eight words performed 21% better than the average tweet in clickthroughs.
Ask a question.
According to the same study, titles ending with a question mark had a higher clickthrough rate than those ending with exclamation points or periods.
Use a call to action (CTA).
If you ask your followers to do something, chances are, they’ll do it. Historically speaking, calls to action have been some of the best marketing tools ever. Not sure what kind of calls to action to use in tweets? Here’s a great post from Twitter that gives you several examples of what they say are the “most effective calls to action on twitter.”
Use a conversational tone.
This goes back to the trust issue, see above. If you come across as stiff and stilted, your followers are going to think you’re trying to sell them something. Use language that’s easy to relate to. Use short words. Use words that appeal to emotion.
Spread your tweets out.
Remember Tweriod? Go check those graphs again and find the peaks during the day where most of your followers are active. Use a Twitter scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Buffer to send your carefully crafted tweets out at those peak times.
Please don’t just schedule all your tweets to go out at the same time. Your followers will think you’re spamming them.
Place your link correctly.
And finally, here’s one you can try that surprised even me.
Put your link about 25% of the way into your tweet. I know, it sounds really weird, but this guy says it works.
Remember, you’re not just marketing to your customers, you’re developing relationships with your followers. It takes time and effort, good relationships don’t just happen overnight.
I want to hear from you!
Have any great tips for using Twitter for business? Leave a comment below.
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