If you want to extend your online reach and build brand awareness, Twitter is one of the best content marketing tools around.
In 2018, 24 percent of online US adults used the platform, up from 18 percent in 2013.
One of the reasons Twitter works as a marketing channel is that it helps brands engage with consumers in real time. According to Statista, 73 percent of B2C marketers and 77 percent of B2B marketers in North America use the platform.
Twitter’s own stats show great content marketing ROI for their platform:
- 66 percent of people have found a new business on Twitter.
- 69 percent of people bought something because of a tweet.
- 94 percent of users plan to purchase a business they follow.
While it’s easy to set up a business Twitter page, many marketers still struggle to use Twitter effectively. How often should you post? What should you post? We’ll answer all these questions and more to ensure you get the most out of the platform.
Understanding the Jargon
First, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with Twitter terminology. Here’s a quick glossary:
Bio: A short description of 160 characters or fewer to define who you are on Twitter.
DM (Direct Message): A private message sent from one Twitter user to another.
Feed: The tweets of the people you follow all appear in chronological order on your homepage. This is your feed.
Follow: To subscribe to someone’s updates on Twitter. To do this, click the “Follow” button on their Twitter page.
Hashtag (#): A useful tagging system. Any word or phrase with the # symbol in front of it then becomes a link that users can find and follow.
Mention: Referring to someone else in your tweet by writing their username preceded by the @ sign.
MT (Modified Tweet): Similar to RT, this is placed before the retweeted text if you manually retweet a message with modifications, for example, if you shorten a tweet.
RT (Retweet): Used when you manually repeat another person’s tweet. Alternatively, use the retweet button. It’s similar to forwarding an email.
Trending Topics: Displayed on the right-hand side of your Twitter homepage. These are words, phrases, or hashtags that are popular on Twitter at a given time.
Tweet: A post with a maximum of 140 characters, similar to a Facebook status update.
Unfollow: To stop following another Twitter user and stop their tweets from appearing in your feed.
Username: Used to identify you on Twitter, it’s also known as your Twitter handle. It must be unique and contain fewer than 15 characters.
How Often Should You Post on Twitter?
Many brands are not as active as they should be. Marketers should link to new content more than once or twice, and tweets should be spaced out to improve visibility.
How often should you tweet? According to one study by Statista, brands tweeted an average of 122 times a month in 2017, which is around four tweets per day. In a study by Social Bakers, brands get most engagement when tweeting three times per day, with engagement dropping off after three tweets.
To find your optimum posting frequency, start with around five posts per day and then monitor the results. You can use scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and CoSchedule to post tweets automatically.
When Are the Best Times to Post on Twitter?
According to Sprout Social research, Sunday sees the least amount of engagement. The safest times to tweet are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, with Friday seeing the most engagement.
However, engagement peak times vary depending on the industry:
- For the healthcare industry, it’s on a Wednesday.
- For tech brands, it’s on a Friday.
- For consumer goods brands, Saturdays are best.
A Hootsuite study found that for B2B brands, engagement on Twitter peaks at around 3 p.m. on weekdays. For B2C brands, scheduling around working hours can also boost engagement results.
These stats are useful, but you should track your own analytics. When you post, and how often, is related to your unique audience. Try out different posting schedules. Use Twitter Audience Insights – accessed from your Twitter Analytics page – to find out when engagement levels are higher. You can then schedule posts for when your audience is most likely to engage.
Alternatively, tools like SocialBro, Hootsuite, and Tweriod will help you see when your engagement levels peak.
If you’re looking for template to use as a starting point, CoSchedule put together this handy graphic:
How Long Should Twitter Posts Be?
Although Twitter increased the character limit to 280, you should probably keep posts shorter. According to Sprout Social, the ideal length is 71 to 100 characters. Tweets with 100 characters get 17 percent higher engagement rates than longer tweets. So to get more attention, be succinct. If you’re linking to long-form content – which you should – include a quote or stat from the content.
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Ideas for Twitter Content
Use a Variety of Content
- Text. For updates, links, news, stats, and audience questions.
- Graphics. For stats, trends, and shareable information.
- Photos. For highlighting your brand’s image and to make your posts stand out.
- Videos. For information, brand messages, and entertainment. According to Twitter, tweets with video attract 10 times more engagement.
- GIFs. For entertainment and brand messages. In a Twitter study of 3.7 million accounts, tweets with a GIF get 55 percent more engagement.
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Follow the Competition
What are your competitors tweeting about? What are their audience responding to? What articles are they sharing? Take inspiration but then do it your way.
What popular hashtags are your industry and followers using? These will tell you what people are talking about and what they want to know. Respond to topics with your unique insights and remember to include the hashtag.
React to Posts
Your followers’ posts are an endless source of content. Respond to comments and retweet positive messages. Keep conversations going by asking questions, sharing your thoughts, and offering insights.
My reaction when a Tweet has a typo.
Respond to National Holidays and Live Events
Twitter is a fluid stream of content focused around sports, politics, culture, and more. Tap into things that highlight your brand’s values. Share your thoughts.
Live-tweeting is key to boosting engagement, especially if your target audience is young. Sixty-seven percent of millennials will follow hashtags related to events, so join in. Look for hashtags related to news stories, political debates, popular television series, awards ceremonies, and sporting events.
Keep an eye out for positive press around your company, products, and services, and then share what you find. For example, Portland ice cream company Salt and Straw tweeted a link to a Forbes magazine article that featured an interview with one of its founders.
You can create numerous Twitter posts from just one piece of content, such as a blog post or video. Use quotes from the core content or create infographics from the data.
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Twitter Content Marketing: Best Practices
Knowing what you want to achieve from Twitter is a key part of long-term success. Your goals could include:
- Generating leads by promoting landing pages.
- Building awareness around new content or products.
- Promoting your brand’s values.
- Encouraging conversations among your followers.
- Providing customer support.
- Building your credibility.
Crucially, you should track the results to see if your strategies are achieving these goals. Use a social media management tool like Sprout Social and a website analytics tool like Google Analytics to measure successes.
Identify Your Target Audience
There are many ways to seek out your target audience so that your posts reach the right people. Tools like Followerwonk, BuzzSumo, and Hootsuite allow you to search by:
- Keywords in bios.
- User influence.
You can also use Twitter’s advanced search tool to search by categories in your industry. When you find accounts that fit your niche, create a private Twitter list and add them to it for future reference.
Start creating Twitter content weeks in advance of holidays and national events. Then, when the hashtags start trending around topics, you can jump right in with relevant content using real-time marketing.
Actively Seek Gaps in Conversations
Tweeting headlines with links is fine, but you need to go further and encourage conversation. Monitoring broad and specific hashtags will help you find gaps in topics that you can fill with your knowledge.
Offer tips, ask questions, and respond to comments. Being more conversational will ultimately increase engagement. For example, a lot of tweets from Adobe Illustrator’s Twitter stream are replies to customers.
Twitter users appreciate a more easy-going approach from brands, so try to be more approachable. Charmin is a great example of a brand that isn’t afraid to use humor in their tweets, like this relatable tweet they posted alongside their “tweetfromtheseat” hashtag.
Let a human manage your Twitter account and give them the freedom to be personable and “non-corporate.”
Participate in Twitter Chats
Twitter chats are a great way to grow your following and engage with your audience. Whether you take part in an existing chat or host your own, there’s plenty to gain.
Participate in Twitter chats related to your industry and make new connections with people. When you’re ready to launch your own Twitter chat, reach out to your new connections and invite them to participate. Promote your chat to your email subscribers and your followers on other social channels. To manage your Twitter chats, use a tool like TweetChat, Tweetdeck, or Twubs.
Optimize Your Pinned Tweets
Pinned tweets permanently appear at the top of your profile’s timeline, so take advantage of this higher visibility. Pin popular tweets or a promotional message. Add a compelling image or video for extra appeal, and include a call to action. Make it align with a key marketing goal, like attracting users to a specific landing page.
We currently have our blog newsletter sign up as our Pinned Tweet.
Use Analytics Tools
Twitter Analytics will give you plenty of data, including the demographics of your followers and their location. Third-party tools like Sprout Social will help you see engagement stats, conversation histories, and more. Buffer’s tool will tell you more about potential followers. Use a combination of these tools to analyze your audience and discover what is working and what isn’t.
Twitter is a great tool for strengthening audience relationships, building your credibility, and generating leads. Just remember to listen and engage with your followers alongside sending out content.
Like every other social media network, set goals that you can measure, plan what you need to share with your audience, and learn how to track your successes. Use these strategies alongside marketing tools and you’ll quickly boost your marketing reach, build a more loyal customer base, and ultimately gain more brand advocates.
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