Now that you understand how your target audience is using Twitter, we can begin to formulate a set of objectives for your Twitter marketing campaign.
Twitter Marketing 101: The Basic Objectives
You've probably heard that social media is the new crème de la crème of marketing; this is going to be where you learn what you, as a business, can expect from establishing a presence on this particular social network.
1. The Most Important Goal – Start Tweeting
Before we dive into the objectives, I do want to take a quick moment to talk to you about the most important part of Twitter marketing – actually getting out there and posting tweets. Through all of this remember that your end goal is to grow your brand and connect with new customers, neither of which you can do without using those mitts of yours to write something and then put it on the Internet.
If you're anything like me, it is far too easy to get caught up in the “learning phase” and take too long to get to the “doing phase”. Don't let that happen to you. Your first tweet isn't going to garner 1,000s of followers… In fact, you'll be lucky if you manage 5. But consistent action WILL yield results.
Let's talk about what you can expect those results to be:
2. Cementing a Brand Impression
Ultimately, a successful Twitter marketing campaign establishes something that many companies pay thousands, if not millions, to establish – a brand. And when I say “brand”, I don't mean a trademark or a logo, I mean a preset attitude towards your business.
In other words, your goal is for every single one of your followers to perceive you as a resourceful authority in your niche, someone they would recommend to a friend (since that is literally how you grow a following on Twitter). You want to be perceived as a reference, a source of entertainment, or both.
Twitter is such an extremely potent medium because if done right you can create a fan base that will do all of your marketing for you. Your primary goal is not to create buying customers, but to create telling customers. Then the telling customers will send the buying customers your way without you lifting a finger.
3. Fitting Your Direction to Your Customer
While having control over how your potential customers perceive your brand is very powerful, that's not all you get from your followers. You also get a more accurate down-and-dirty perception of what your followers want from you. This means that Twitter is the ultimate testing ground for your new ideas because you can hone in on which aspects of your brand strike the strongest chord with your audience.
For example, if you share an article from your blog about blue widgets that gets retweeted 2 times, and then the next week you share an article about red widgets that gets retweeted 10 times, which subject do you think you'd do well to focus on? Red widgets, right? Obviously this is a very, very simplistic example, but hopefully you get the point. Twitter gives you the ability to literally get one-on-one time with your customers, even the ones that don't like you… This is invaluable.
4. Building a Brand Takes Time. Destroying One Does Not.
As you may be beginning to realize, Twitter marketing cannot be hands-off. It's not like paid advertising where you can set up a campaign, throw some money at it, and be done with it. But what it lacks in speed it makes up for in loyalty. The prospects you gain through Twitter, whether they end up buying from you or not, are much more valuable than even the best leads you could find from paid advertising. You're not just creating brand awareness, you're creating brand loyalty.
However, as with any trusting relationship, building one takes time. You need to get involved in the Twitter community, and you need to be consistent about it. Don't get discouraged when the only followers you have after 2 – 4 weeks of tweeting are your friends and family; keep plugging away and you will eventually hit your stride. Just like any other marketing medium there is a learning curve to Twitter, and even when you've got it down perfectly results still take time.
This is why it is extra, extra important that you be very careful about how you present yourself to your followers. Building up a following takes time, but it only takes one sales pitch to turn someone off of your brand forever. That doesn't mean you can't ever talk about your brand, but it does mean you need to focus more on sharing and less on selling. Let your sharing do the selling for you.
Before we move on to the next section, let's go back over what we just learned. Here are your Twitter marketing goals:
- Consistently take action and communicate with your audience regularly.
- Create a recognizable brand that your audience enjoys interacting with, and remembers well enough to pass along to their friends.
- Learn which parts of your business customers respond to, and more importantly, which they don't.
- Separate yourself from your marketing savvy competition by coming down to your customers' level; you want to be perceived as a real person, not a a faceless company.
Twitter Marketing 102: Growing Your Brand and Gaining Followers
By now you know just about everything there is to know about Twitter and how you, as a business marketer, can use it profitably. You know what Twitter is and isn't, how to set up your profile, how normal folks who you'd like to be your customers are using Twitter, and you know how you can approach those folks so that they DO turn into your customers.
In the last section we talked about your goals for effective Twitter marketing, and if you'll remember, for the most part they revolved around establishing a brand that resonates with your audience. Now we're going to talk about how you actually build that brand and create that audience.
5. It Starts With Building Connections
As I have already said, the first step for any Twitter marketer is to take action. However, taking action doesn't do you any good if you have no audience to take action for. So, the first action you'll need to take is not creating a tweet or planning out your campaign, but simply finding people you already know on Twitter and connecting with them.
Now, I know that some of you won't know anyone on Twitter. In that case, you're going to have to spend some time getting a little bit chummy with people that you don't already know. After all, the best way to get your own back rubbed is by rubbing someone else's. Start by finding other people that already have a solid following and follow them. If you want to get noticed by them and their audience, re-tweet their messages, respond to their messages, agree/disagree with their statements and comment on the content that they share… These are all things that people notice and appreciate.
If you're struggling to find people that you can engage with, remember that Twitter has a very powerful search function. Simply start typing in keywords related to your niche and see who's talking about them. This is a great way to find new Twitter users to build a relationship with.
Helpful Hint – You can use this same search function to monitor your brand… Simply type in your brand name or profile name and you will see real-time results of everyone who's talking about you.
6. Share Helpful Content, Not Profitable Content
Now that you have a few followers (hopefully), it's time to create your first tweet. You're going to grow your followers by being helpful or interesting, and by being someone that other people WANT to share, not by being persuasive or sales-y. This is the most important thing to keep in mind.
So, instead of making your first tweet a mini sales pitch, try something more down-to-earth like, “[Brand] is on Twitter; the stone age is finally over”. Or, you can skip the semantics and dive right into the meaty, resourceful content that I know you're itching to share.
Remember, the best way to grow your brand's presence on Twitter is by being helpful, not by being profitable. So, if nothing else you can share an article that you personally enjoyed reading and that some of your audience would enjoy too. Maybe include a comment about that article. And no, that article should not be “10 Reasons Why My Brand is the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread”
Helpful Hint – Instead of tweeting full URLs, you can conserve characters by using a URL shortening service such as bit.ly or TinyURL. This not only allows you to create more aesthetically appealing tweets, but also gives you the ability to track link click-throughs.
Make sure that you take time with each and every tweet to create a unique message you have never shared before. Everybody on Twitter – and indeed on the entire Internet – wants to be entertained. If you repeatedly broadcast the same message or similar messages over and over again, you will find very little traction in this community.
7. Your Profile Page is Your Sales Page… Sort of
Boring though it may seem, your profile page is the most effective place for you to present information about your brand without coming off as a spammer. You can include a link to your website, some information about your brand, as well as links to your other social network profiles.
The reason this is the best place for you to blatantly pitch your brand or business is because this is where Twitter users come when they are actively looking for this information. When you've been extraordinarily helpful and interesting, folks will say, “Wow! Where can I learn more about this person and get more of their awesome content?!” That's when they will find your profile page.
In other words, make your brand available, but don't push it in front of people's faces… This way you still have a chance to pitch your product, but you only do it in a way and place that your audience expects you to.
8. Engage With Your Audience
They say the devil is in the details. I don't know about all that, but I do know one of the best ways you can really take your Twitter marketing campaign to the next level is to actively engage with each and every member of your audience. When you post an interesting tweet and your followers respond to it, continue the train of communication and respond back to them. Start a conversation. Ask more questions. Don't be afraid to start a debate… People remember controversy.
You're losing out on a lot of audience-traction if you never actually converse with your audience. On the flip side, when your audience knows you're available for real conversation and that you're not just a tweeting machine, they are much more likely to remember you, share you, and praise you.
To recap, there are 4 core steps to effective Twitter marketing:
- Build connections. Get involved with the various communities already established within your niche. Help your competitors and they will help you.
- Share interesting content that you enjoy and that your audience will enjoy too. Don't focus on making money, focus on being helpful.
- Use your profile page for your sales pitch, and let your customers come to you when they're ready.
- Don't be afraid to privately engage with your followers… Search for what people are saying and respond to them. Every relationship you build is worth its character count in gold.
Twitter marketing is really not difficult at all. It is a very organic process that requires very little sales savvy to succeed with. In fact, if you're a bad salesman that will probably help you on Twitter because it will be easier to resist the urge to pitch your product.
In the end, the most important thing to remember is that Twitter is a community, not a marketplace. If you go into it looking to sell your product, you will be rejected and your efforts wasted. If you go into it looking to make friends and help people, you will come out of it with a loyal following that will spread the word about your brand and your products for you.
What are you waiting for?
Your future followers are waiting for you… Get out there and start tweeting.