With 200 million members, Twitter is one of the most popular social networks out there. But are you taking advantage of everything it has to offer for marketing ? Used effectively, Twitter can help you promote your content, provide helpful customer service, generate leads and customers, and much more. In fact, companies that use Twitter generate 2x more leads than those that don't, and 42% of companies that use Twitter for marketing have acquired a customer through it .
To help ensure you're not missing out on any of Twitter's great marketing benefits , we've pulled together this ultimate cheat sheet to help turn you into a Twitter marketing expert.
35 Tips & Tricks for Getting the Most From Twitter
1. Choose a simple username. Whether you're creating a company account or a personal account, make sure your username is professional, and do your best to avoid numbers and underscores in your username. Also, try to keep it brief. Users only have 140 characters to use per Twitter update, and long usernames will only use up extra characters in their tweet if they're including you in an @reply. For personal accounts, try a variation of your real name, and for company accounts, stick with your company name (e.g. @HubSpot ).
2. Optimize your Twitter profile. Besides what you say in your tweets, you don't have much space to tell potential followers who you are and why they should follow you. Make sure your Twitter profile is optimized with an enticing description (use keywords to help people find you), a professional-looking photo (for company accounts, use your logo!, and a URL (use your company website, blog, or link to a unique landing page you create specifically for people who find you through Twitter).
3. Create a custom Twitter background. Make yourself stand out by creating a custom Twitter background, which also gives you the opportunity to expand upon the information you can provide in your profile. Profile backgrounds are the largest piece of visual real estate you have to share with other users on Twitter. Consider creating custom templates for your company that your employees can use for their personal Twitter accounts as well. Themeleon offers custom themes, or you can have a designer create your own from scratch.
4. Promote your Twitter presence on your website/blog. Once you have a Twitter presence, promote it! Install the official Twitter Follow Button on your website and/or blog to enable site visitors to follow you on Twitter with just one click.
5. Avoid creating multiple company Twitter accounts. Don't make more work for yourself by creating more than one company Twitter account to manage. Instead, consolidate your presence into one account, and allow multiple contributors to manage the account if you want representatives from multiple departments involved. Doing this will eliminate the social media time-suck of maintaining multiple accounts, help you attract more followers, and centralize your web presence.
6. Use third-party services to monitor, manage, and collaborate. If you do have multiple contributors for one account, it'll be helpful to use a third-party application like CoTweet or HootSuite to help you manage everything. The last thing you want is multiple people tweeting the same content or duplicating efforts. These tools are also great for monitoring Twitter and responding to tweets.
7. Add Twitter sharing buttons to your content. Encourage others to easily share your content on Twitter by adding Tweet Buttons to your blog, individual blog articles, landing pages, and any other content you create. This is such a simple piece of low-hanging fruit, and it will incrementally affect the reach of your content. ( Research shows that companies that added a Twitter sharing button increased Twitter mentions sevenfold.)
8. Connect your blog to Twitter. If you maintain a business blog, save yourself a step in promoting your content by using HubSpot's integration or Twitterfeed to link your blog to your Twitter account. Whenever you publish a post, it will automatically get tweeted to your followers.
9. Schedule tweets in advance. Have an ongoing promotion in progress? Those same third-party Twitter applications you're using for collaboration and Twitter management (e.g. CoTweet and HootSuite) can also be used to schedule tweets ahead of time. If you have a month-long promotion, save yourself from remembering to tweet about it daily by scheduling tweets in advance. Just be sure you're monitoring and engaging with responses you get from the tweets you've scheduled. (Warning: Don't go overboard with automation in social media. Some automation is okay, but it's important to interact and provide a human voice as well. Don't be a Twitter robot.)
10. Optimize your tweets with keywords. Because tweets are publicly available, anyone can search for them. Use the opportunity to optimize your tweets with relevant keywords for your business to increase your chances of getting found via your tweets!
11. Motivate your employees to tweet on your company's behalf. If your employees are on Twitter, empower them to expand your company's Twitter reach. Each employee likely has his or her own reach beyond your company's, so use it to their advantage by encouraging them to share your company's content and messages.
12. Arm employees with "lazy tweets" for big promo pushes. Furthermore, if you're doing a big push for a marketing campaign or promotion, send your employees "lazy tweets," or pre-created tweets about the promotion, and ask them to tweet. This makes it easy for them to tweet, increasing the chances they'll actually help out with your promotion.
13. Build your following and expand your reach. If you're spending time tweeting but have few followers, your efforts aren't going to make much of an impact. Spend time building your following and expanding your reach to get the most out of Twitter. Start following people, thought leaders, and bloggers in your industry, and provide valuable tweets along the way to entice them to follow you back.
14. Engage with followers. Once you start generating followers, engage with them! It's not enough to use your Twitter account as a way to blast out content and information. Twitter is social, meaning it needs to be used as a form of two-way communication. Send @replies and direct messages to respond to your followers' tweets, be interactive, and retweet others' tweets that your followers might find valuable, too.
15. Provide good customer service/support. Twitter is a great tool for providing customer service. If you're using a third-party Twitter app to manage multiple contributors, make sure someone on your support team is one of them, and assign customer support-related tweets to them. This will show your customers you care about helping them and making them successful.
16. Use Twitter for sales. Marketing isn't the only department that can use Twitter to its advantage. Encourage your sales team to leverage it, too. There are a number of ways Sales can use Twitter : to research companies, stay abreast of industry news, determine appropriate times to contact leads, gather feedback, and stay connected with customers if they change jobs.
17. Build relationships with journalists and reporters. Twitter can serve as a great tool for media relations . Use free tools like Tweet Grader , Muck Rack , and JournalistTweets to find journalists on Twitter who cover beats related to your industry, follow them, and start tweeting and building relationships with them. This will ensure you're top-of-mind when they're looking for a source for a story and you happen to be a good fit.
18. Discover who is tweeting your content. Use the free tool WhoTweetedMe to gather insight about how much your content is getting shared on Twitter, and by whom. Use the information you collect to understand what types of content spread on Twitter and to identify the influencers who are sharing your content. Consider thanking those influencers for sharing it, and use it as a way to build relationships with key people in your industry.
19. Find out when is the best time for you to tweet. Want to understand when your tweets have the most impact? Use the free tool TweetWhen for recommendations about the best times to tweet.
20. Search Twitter like a pro. Trying to find something on Twitter? Whether it be a specific tweet, another user, or a bunch of tweets on a particular topic, use Twitter search operators to become a Twitter search ninja .
21. Generate content ideas. Suffering from blogger's block? Use Twitter to generate ideas for blog posts and other content. Pay attention to the questions your followers ask, and see if you can answer them in a blog post or a string of blog posts. You can even ask your followers directly if there is a certain topic they want to learn more about.
22. Gather feedback about your products/service. In social media, people love to share their opinions. Use Twitter to ask for and collect feedback about your products or services. Then share it with your product team.
23. Conduct a mini focus group. Similarly, if you have an industry-related question for which you could use some quick responses, use Twitter to crowdsource. Then compile the feedback into a blog post.
24. Share others' content. Don't make it all about you. Sprinkle links to content from other industry thought leaders into your Twitter stream. As a bonus, doing so might even encourage them to reciprocate and retweet your content, too!
25. Try adding "Please ReTweet" to your tweets to maximize retweets. Sometimes people just need a reminder to share your content. Research shows that that users who add "Please ReTweet" generate 4x more retweets that those who don't. Experiment with it on your own account, and see if it works to expand the reach of your content.
26. Create and follow Twitter lists in your industry. Create a Twitter list for your industry or your company, share the lists you create with your followers, and follow other Twitter lists you find valuable. Creating a list can help solidify your thought leadership and emphasize your company's transparency.
27. Take advantage of hashtags, especially for event marketing. Create and promote hashtags for marketing campaigns or events you're hosting. Creating hashtags for events is a great way for people to interact during live conferences, enable those not in attendance to follow the conversation and participate in the discussion, and generate buzz for both online and offline events.
28. Join Twitter chats. Twitter chats are organized discussions about industry- and business-related topics with peers on Twitter. They're usually organized around a specific hashtag. Participate in Twitter chats as a way to interact and build relationships with other thought leaders in your industry. (Find some great B2B Twitter chats to follow here .)
29. Analyze your Twitter presence. Use the free tool Tweet Grader to analyze your Twitter influence. The tool allows you to check the power of your Twitter profile compared to millions of other users that have been graded, providing you with a grade and rank based on your tweet frequency, followers, and following.
30. Use Twitter for lead generation. Yes -- you can generate leads from Twitter. There are a number of ways you can generate Twitter leads , including tweeting links to landing pages with lead capture forms, and doing some of the things we already mentioned above like creating a dedicated Twitter landing page, participating in Twitter chats, connecting your blog to Twitter, and monitoring industry terms with Twitter search.
31. Stay up-to-speed on Twitter announcements. Stay on top of the latest and greatest announcements and new features from Twitter by subscribing to the official Twitter Blog .
32. Use Twitter Favorites to save customer testimonials or follower praise. Twitter's Favorites feature is a great way to bookmark others' tweets that you want to access later. A neat little trick is to also use it to bookmark customer testimonials or praise from your followers about your content, products, or services. Share your Favorites link with potential customers looking for references. (Bonus: add the testimonials from your Twitter Favorites to the testimonials page on your website.)
33. Experiment with Promoted Tweets. Promoted Tweets is Twitter's paid advertising platform. You can use Promoted Tweets to target certain keywords, target your followers at the right time, target people who are like your followers, leverage geo-targeting, promote offers, and test content and messaging. Experiment with it to see if it's helpful in complementing your organic Twitter marketing efforts.
34. Use Twitter Web Analytics. Twitter recently announced it will be rolling out its new Twitter Web Analytics tool to users. Although it's currently only being beta tested to specific Twitter partners, the tool will show you how much of your website content is being shared on Twitter, how much web traffic Twitter generates for your website, and how effective your Tweet Button integration is. Keep an eye out for its public launch, and use it to help you analyze how your Twitter presence is performing.
35. Track traffic, leads, and customers from Twitter. What's even more important than the data Twitter's new Web Analytics tool can provide is data on how well Twitter is generating leads and customers for you. After all, in the world of marketing, if your engagement on Twitter isn't translating into sales, how important is it to your overall marketing strategy? Find a platform or software that can track these metrics , and monitor how effective your Twitter presence is in delivering a return on investment. If you find that the time and effort you're putting into it isn't generating worthwhile results, it might be time to alter your strategy.