Starting a Twitter page for your business is simple enough. Anyone can open an account, upload a photo, fill out their business information and start sending out tweets. What’s not so simple is growing your Twitter account and transforming it into a brand-building tool.
Why Is Twitter Branding Essential for Business?
One of the biggest reasons that Twitter branding is vital for your business is that many of your customers are already there. With over 330 million monthly active users, Twitter continues to be one of the world’s largest and most active social networks. And Pew Research reports that 40% of Americans ages 18-29 use the site. This makes it a great platform for most marketers.
Beyond the reach potential, branding your business on Twitter is essential for several reasons:
- Excellent for special offers and promotions. Twitter is an excellent platform to get immediate traction for a special offer or promotion. For example, a single tweet from Virgin America went viral after it announced that selected flights would be equipped with Netflix.
- Effective source of customer support. If you’re not using Twitter to promote your business, you should be using it to support your customers. This is a growing trend that you don’t want to ignore. J.D. Power and Associates reports that over 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media page to request customer support. Gartner reports that the failure of a company to respond to support requests on social channels can lead a 15% increase in churn. If you respond quickly and appropriately when a customer posts a concern on Twitter, you can boost consumer sentiment about your brand.
- Helps build relationships with influencers. What business wouldn’t love to be acknowledged by an industry expert? Twitter can be an excellent platform to build relationships with thought leaders in your space. Engage them appropriately, and some will eventually become advocates for your brand.
- Can expand your customer base. As a business, one of your goals is likely to expand by growing your customer base. You can do this organically by building a formidable brand on social media sites such as Twitter. Potential customers that are impressive with your social media engagement will be more likely to give you their business when it’s time to buy.
Best Practices for Creating or Improving a Branded Twitter Account
Your approach to each social media site should vary. For example, your social media marketing strategy for Twitter will be much different than the one for Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Understanding how Twitter works best will help your company shape the way it uses it to create or improve its brand.
Unfortunately, too many companies fail miserably at Twitter marketing and branding. Why is this? There is the mistaken belief that this platform was meant to be a means to “blast” information out to the masses. This simply isn’t the case.
Twitter is an active social network that is based on relationships and ongoing conversations. Once you understand and embrace this as a business, you’ll be ready to take full advantage of what the platform can offer. Here’s how to do it right:
- Build an engaging Twitter profile. The first thing your audience will see when they hit your Twitter profile is your bio and profile image. Make it count. Give readers a relevant, interesting breakdown of what you’re about in just 160 characters, plus an eye-catching photo and background image. Once you’ve created your profile, make sure that you ask to get it verified and then connect it to your main website, blog and email accounts.
- Find some useful tools. Twitter tends to move fast, and it doesn’t work the same as other social media sites such as Facebook. Users see a scrolling timeline in chronological order, so this can be challenging to manage if you’re also running a business. If you want to get the most out of Twitter, use some strategic tools such as a Social Suite that will allow you strategically monitor, manage and optimize your brand on this platform.
- Spend more time listening than talking. Before you start posting about your latest product, service or sale, spend some time “listening” on Twitter. Social listening involves collecting intelligence about what others in your industry are thinking, as well as what people are saying about your company online. You can use Twitter Advanced Search to create searches relative to your brand name, product names, competitor names, manager names and industry buzzwords. The right Social Suite is a powerful tool that can deliver this data as well.
- Post useful content. Most of what you post on Twitter should be helpful and engaging. This means that you aren’t there to sell. Instead, your goal should be to answer questions, respond to reviews (positive and negative) and give consumers useful information. (Download our guide on How Better Customer Reviews Drive Revenue.) You have just 280 characters for a post, and the best branding strategy is to be an industry resource instead of an advertiser. The occasional special offer is fine and appreciated by your followers, but more people will put their trust in you if you’re producing and sharing valuable content.
- Know the protocol. Twitter has its own set of unwritten rules that you’ll eventually learn, but we can shortcut this process with a few pointers. First, use #hashtags, but keep them short. These can help increase your followers and engagement by linking your posts to others using similar hashtags. Next, use the “@” symbol correctly. When you want to reference someone, you’ll need to put a period in front of the “@” symbol, or no one else will see your tweet. Also, use a URL shortener to save space and make it easier for others to retweet your messages. Finally, respond to any mentions your account receives, even if it’s just a “Thank You.”
- Post at the right time. Unfortunately, tweets don’t last. The average tweet loses a majority of its effectiveness in as little as three hours. This means that you’ll need to choose your posting times wisely to maximize effectiveness. The best posting times will depend on your audience. Overall, good times to tweet are from 8:00-10:00 AM and 6:00-9:00 PM. For B2C companies, better days to tweet are weekends, while weekdays are better for B2B companies.
- Take it to the next level with multimedia. Social media continues to become more visual, and Twitter is no exception. One survey conducted by Twitter revealed that 82% of users watch video on the platform and want to see more. Beyond videos, you can also share images, GIFs and infographics. Twitter recommends that in-stream images be at least 440 x220 pixels with a maximum file size of 5MB.
One of the most useful pieces of advice for companies that want to improve their online reputation on Twitter is to be as consistent as possible with their activity. In other words, your company should take the time to establish some social media guidelines and stick to them to avoid any embarrassments or shortfalls.
It’s also important that you be consistently available on a site like Twitter, which tends to stay active around the clock. When you have the right social media management tools in place, you’ll receive alerts about any mentions of your brand. You’ll also have the ability to create, curate and share targeted content from a centralized library.
Examples of Brands with Effective Twitter Presences
The brands that get the most out of Twitter are the ones that use it effectively. It helps to be funny, but it’s not a deal breaker if you aren’t. Being genuine and helpful comes in a close second to witty and snarky. (Some companies have hurt their brands trying to be “cute” and missing the mark completely.)
A few Twitter accounts to follow for inspiration include:
- Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster). Most of us never thought to put the words “cool” and “dictionary” together, but here we are. Whoever has taken over the Twitter account for this reference leader has done a fantastic job of hijacking trending news and using various terms to get new followers and attention.
- JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue). Long considered one of the top brands on Twitter, JetBlue responds to every single question posted by a user, and they do it fast. This is an account to study for any brand that wants to exceed on this platform.
- Seth Godin (@ThisIsSethsBlog). While not a company, Seth Godin is a brand and a marketing expert. He’s amassed a huge following of professionals and businesses that want to learn more about his unique perspective on branding and PR.
Metrics to Track to Ensure Brand Improvements Are Resonating with Twitter Users
One of the great things about Twitter is that the platform itself gives you some tools to track your activity and gauge your success. From your business page’s account home page, you’ll see the following information:
- Tweets: Number of tweets
- Tweet impressions: Number of times your tweets were viewed on Twitter
- Profile visits: Number of profile visits from other users
- New followers: Number of new followers
- Mentions: Number of times you were mentioned in tweets with @yourusername
- Tweets linking to you: Number of times your Twitter card was tweeted
- Top tweet: Your top tweet based on impressions
- Top mention: Tweet that received the most @yourusername impressions
- Top media tweet: Your top tweet with video, photo or Vine based on impressions
- Top follower: Your follower that has the highest follower count
- Top Card tweet: Your top tweet with a Twitter Card based on impressions
Twitter also gives you detailed information on individual tweets, such as how many users liked, retweeted and viewed the tweet. The platform has an audience insights dashboard that can provide you with more information about your follower growth and the demographics of your followers.
Twitter provides excellent raw data, but third-party analytics can be invaluable in making more sense of the data and giving you the information you need to maximize brand awareness. When you have a 360-view of what people are saying about your brand, on Twitter and across the web, you’ll have the powerful insights you need to take your online reputation to the next level.
Building and managing your company’s online reputation involves actively influencing the impression that your business leaves on the public. It’s your brand, so you should take the time to decide how you want your business to be perceived, and then develop a social media marketing and online reputation management strategy to achieve this goal.
As you prepare to use Twitter to brand your business, download our report: How to Improve Your Reputation with Effective Social Media Management for more information.