Have you ever been disappointed by a particular Tweet you thought would do well? Have you recently struggled to get more Followers for your business?
In this post I’ll give you the 5 most important questions you need to ask yourself before hitting Tweet. I’ll break down the importance of these questions and give you examples of where they’ve been remembered (or forgotten entirely).
Tweetable Twitter Takeaways:
(Click to Tweet)
- Check your engagement rates to see when your Followers are active
- Make sure your Retweets reflect your brand and your Tweeting habits
- Find those Twitter Influencers who could help your brand and cozy up
- Don’t use the same Tweets for the same product. Mix it up
Pay attention, because I’ll also be dropping five top tips that could change how you market your business on Twitter.
1. What’s my goal for this Tweet?
We’re not fooling ourselves. Every post we make in social media is to help our business. In Twitter, your goal could be:
To hype a blog post that’s coming up
To promote a recently published ebook or product
Increase participation in a Q&A or a webinar
Spread the word about a campaign you’re running
Knowing your goal affects what links you’ll include, where they go, and what material you quote. If you’re promoting a Q&A, you’ll be including the name and your qualifications of the subject. If it’s about an ebook, you’ll include a top tip from the book. For a blog or webinar, you might ask a question answered in the subject.
Walmart’s example below does a great job of keeping its goal (promoting football party supplies) in the forefront of the Tweet. It also refrains from directly promoting its products by keeping product names out of it (nothing causes an Unfollow faster than spam-Tweets).
Example Tweets that are perfectly focused on their goal:
Looking for work? Learn the best interview strategies from the boss this Friday: bitly.F7Xrs #Q&Atheboss
Did you know that in August, 143,199 Tweets were sent in a single second? bitly.83Gx7 #TwitterforBusiness #Infographic
Winter is almost here. Is your car ready for the rain? Get everything you need to keep your family safe: bitly.8h9kv @AcmeAuto
Finally! New eBook is released. Everything you need to know about A/B testing for non-profits: bitly.9Ksr8
Remember that you can still promote your products without spamming your Followers. Mix up your Tweets with variations of the same content. Here are three examples:
Make sure your questions are seen by getting them in early for our upcoming Q&A with Mr Expert #ExpertQ&A
Want to know the secret to a great interview? Find out Friday: bit.ly72k8 #ExpertQ&A
Body posture can be more important than what you say in an interview. Learn more great tips in two days #ExpertQ&A @MrExpert
Top Tip #1: In the example above Walmart also does a great job of tapping into a popular subject – football season. Don’t just pay attention to what’s trending on Twitter, also note what’s trending in people’s minds: think holidays, the weekend, mondays, weather, major news stories, sporting events, etc.
2. Is my Tweet the Right Length?
It’s been established for a while now (but is always worth remembering) that the optimal length for a Tweet is 70-100 characters. This is short enough to read in a few seconds and long enough to get your point across. It’s also the right length for anyone who wants to Retweet and add on a couple words of their own.
It’s not hard to do. Just keep an eye on the ‘character counter’ at the bottom right of your ‘Compose New Tweet’ box. Pretend 40 is 0 and you’re good to go.
ELLE Magazine’s Tweet below uses 87 characters (and a celebrity’s profile, to be fair) to quickly and easily encourage their Follower’s participation below.
How you can do it:
Use bitly generator to shrink your url’s
Cut out the unnecessary: Turn “AcmeAccounting is gearing up for tax season. Are you up to date with your paperwork?” into “We’re ready for tax season. Are you?”
Send people off-Twitter for more information: “New design concept for our chairs. See it on Pinterest: bit.ly13fn9 @Innovativedesign”
Use Hashtags to put your Tweets into context : “Ouch! Did you see that sprained ankle? Should’ve been wearing our AcmeOrthotics! #SuperBowlXLVIII”
Top Tip #2: Yes, the current rule-of-thumb for businesses is 3-5 Tweets per day. But by no means is that the be-all and end-all of Twitter for business. Test what your Followers respond to.
3. Does my Tweet have a CLEAR Call to Action (CTA)?
Checking for a clear CTA is the best way to make sure you’re getting something out of each Tweet you make. I’ll include 5 of my own top Twitter CTA examples below the example.
There are many great CTAs on Twitter. Remember, it’s not just about getting people to buy from you.
Twitter CTA’s include:
Getting people to Retweet, comment on, or Favorite your post
Getting people to click a link
Moving your Followers to another platform like Facebook, Pinterest, or a Landing Page
There is no hard and fast rule for what a CTA looks like. The big lesson here is to make sure it’s super obvious what your CTA is.
Social media guru Rebecca Wardlow is running a one day workshop and uses Twitter to promote it. She uses a great question hook and then a clear CTA: “Join me for…”
5 Examples of Great CTAs for Twitter:
A/B test a trust symbol for your next entry form. See more top tips: bit.lyChl45
Get involved in the competition on Pinterest
Are you making any of these 10 Facebook posting mistakes? Find out: bit.lyChl45 @AcmeBlog
Q&A has started! Submit your questions in a direct message and MrExpert will Tweet your answer.
Love #festivals? We want to see it! Submit your best music fest photo to win! Details and entry: bit.lyChl45
Top Tip #3: Check your engagement rates for Retweets and @mentions to gauge the most effective timing for your updates. Engagement rates tell you when your Followers are online, active, and interested.
4. Have I mentioned an Influencer?
Twitter isn’t necessarily about talking to a lot of people, but talking to the right people.
Influencers are characterized by a large Following, yes. But more importantly they’re those people your target audience Follows, engages with, and responds to. These are the people you want to know and stay on the good side of. Influencers can make or break a Twitter profile.
Identifying your business’ Influencers:
Take a look at a possible Influencer’s Followers (and not just the numbers). Are your competitors following them? How many shared Followers do you have?
Look at their recent Tweets. Are they engaging in a conversation with their audience or just Tweeting? How much of their content is Retweets or Shares? If it’s all about them you may want to look further for someone more inclined to share your content.
Take a look at their Klout score. Klout gives a rating of 1-100 on a Twitter (or Facebook) user’s social influence. This number (importantly for you) is also based on how much interaction they have with their Followers.
Marifer Rodrigues offers her own informed comment on a Retweet by Mari Smith’s (one of the main social media influencers on Twitter). The @-mention Ms Rodriguez receives in return will absolutely boost her Followers.
Here are a few examples of how to engage with an Influencer (and get something out of it for yourself):
Include them in your content: “10 analytic stats that changed our business’ social media strategy: bit.lyCh17x @SocialMediaGuru might be interested in these!”
Ask their opinion about something: “ @SocialMediaGuru Trying to save my company on unnecessary A/B Testing: Have you tested the ‘Submit’ button on your landing pages?”
Start a reciprocal relationship by Retweeting : “Great article by @SocialMediaGuru on small business lead conversion: bit.lyCh1x8”
Comment/compliment if their content is relevant to your own : “Great questions in this post @SocialMediaGuru! I’ve also found great results from a Trust Symbol on our entry forms.”
Top Tip #4 : When you Retweet, make sure it’s in line with your overall marketing strategies. Make sure the RTs reflect your brand and your Tweeting habits. Don’t use Retweets as a way to replace writing your own content.
5. Have I used appropriate hashtags?
Appropriate is the key word here. Notice I didn’t say, ‘Have I used enough hashtags?’
There is no optimal hashtag number, as long as we remember that using at least one doubles Retweets. We also know that two is better than one (21% increased engagement), but beyond that it gets sketchy. Personally I don’t use more than two because you start looking unprofessional, and I’d rather use available characters for tapping into my Influencer base with an @mention.
Below is a bad use of hashtags. Not only are there eight, but they actually make the message of the Tweet harder to understand by including both #Wholesale and #Boutique. Keep your Hashtags close to your Tweet’s chest to avoid confusion.
Wishpond uses hashtags below to direct traffic to their page and the blog post they’ve linked. Due to the hashtags even those organizations who do not currently Follow us will see this post, and, if they like the tip we’ve given and the blog we’ve linked, we may have picked up a Follower!
How do I make sure my hashtags are appropriate?
Test them: Before you hit Tweet click on your hashtag and see where it leads you. Check what other type of content shows up. If the pool is specific and you see how searching for that particular hashtag would benefit your Followers then go with it. Otherwise keep testing.
Check what’s trending in your business community: I’m not talking top 10. Check what your competitors or sources of information (this is where a great Listis useful) have been recently using. This will give you a sense of useful hashtags
Don’t (necessarily) use what’s trending: #JustinBeibersBreakUp does nothing for your business. Forcing a Tweet simply to tap into the popular trending wave will come across as desperate. Or, in the case of AT&T on 9/11, outright offensive.
Top Tip #5: The ‘@’ and ‘#’ functions on Twitter allow you to not only speak to one subject matter or individual at a time, but can also provide context and direction for a text. They help people know your Tweet’s focus. For instance, sending a message to @ELLEMagazine, or including #FebruaryFashionWeek informs your target audience about the subject matter.
Asking yourself these questions (and answering them) will improve the engagement level of your Tweets as well as increase your Following. Remember to use hashtags when you interact with Influencers to increase the number of Followers who associate your brands.
Have you had success keeping these questions in mind? Start the conversation below.
By James Scherer