It seems a lot of companies have a love-hate relationship with Twitter these days. They know it's a great tool for sharing and promoting their own content, yet many still seem uncertain how to use it effectively to attract followers and drive prospects to their website.
If you're at all serious about Inbound Marketing, you know that social media platforms - including Twitter - are an essential part of your strategy. Research from Social Media Examiner on the 2012 State of Social Media Marketing showed that just 6 hours a week can help drive sales.
In many ways, Twitter serves as a real time news feed that people follow throughout the day, looking for the latest conversations regarding their industry or content that might help solve a problem. By engaging in conversations and sharing quality content, you can use Twitter to strengthen brand awareness and drive prospects to your website for lead conversions and sales opportunities.
It can also be used to engage with existing customers and provide improved customer service.
Given its benefits, it's important that your company's Twitter account makes a positive impression in the social media universe. The following are 10 steps you can take to build a credible presence that your prospects will want to follow.
Look the part!
1. Use quality pictures and graphics for your avatar, header and background to dress up your profile. Nothing says spammer quite like the default egg that shows on Twitter profiles missing a picture. Simple backgrounds work best. Avoid clutter.
2. Complete your profile bio using complete language and specific keywords so that people will find you when conducting a search. Space is tight here, so really focus on the essentials.
3. Include your website and other contact information. If you show up in search, you want prospects to be able to jump directly to your site. Make sure you include your location to take advantage of local SEO.
Tweet clearly and consistently
4. Don’t stuff your tweets with #Hashtags. Depending on the platform people are using, hashtags can break up the tweet, making it hard to read. Use plain English. Avoid jargon unless you're looking to attract a particular market.
5. Avoid personal comments that don't have a connection to your business. Most of your followers don't care that you're at the coffee shop. They're looking for useful information that helps them solve a problem. Don't be afraid to ask your followers questions.
Tweet useful content
6. Share your links. Make sure your links have been shortened and are placed in the middle of the Tweet followed by any additional content. If using #hashtags place them at the end.
7. Share links to good content related to your industry that your followers would have an interest in. Be useful by providing help.
Followers and following
8. Connect with the people who have a connection to your business. Avoid the numbers game and look for connections that are relevant to your industry.
Listening and talking
9. Twitter is a two-way conversation, so respond to what others tweet about your company and the content you've shared. Join, or start, Twitter Chats that are relevant to your business.
10. Track your keywords and monitor what people say. Join conversations when it's relevant and make sure you're aware when people are talking about you so you can respond.
A final thought
Consider this the bonus and an obvious but important rule to follow: be generous and say thanks!
If someone takes the time to retweet your content, thank them. Every person they share it with is a potential prospect; forget to thank them and they might not do it again. The same for your own retweets: By retweeting relevant content from others, you encourage them to do the same with yours.
Need help getting started with social media for your business? Check out our free tip sheet for a quick start guide that will get you going.