Twitter Marketing: How to Do it Right: Part 1

[Tweet “Facebook is for people you knew. LinkedIn is for you know. Twitter is for you want to know.”]

The above quote effectively summarizes why you as an entrepreneur should care about Twitter. Twitter helps you connect with your present and future customers directly in real time. This makes Twitter an amazing marketing platform for your start-up. Before we get into why you should care about Twitter, let’s have a brief look at the journey of Twitter.

Twitter went live in 2006. Today it is one of the largest growing social media platforms. There are various reasons behind Twitter’s rise. One was the media attention gained when Barack Obama joined Twitter in April 2007.

Then in 2008, Comcast- the mammoth provider of cable TV, Internet, and phone services, completely turned around their customer service and customer satisfaction levels using Twitter. Dell, another big user of Twitter with more than 40 official Twitter accounts, reported in 2008 that they had generated 1 million dollar revenue from Twitter. This figure was quite huge in 2008.

In India, one of the major inflection points for social media, particularly Twitter, was the Mumbai blasts. People in the vicinity actively tweeted, some for as long as 64 hours at a stretch, to help people affected by the blasts. Since then celebrities and citizens alike started paying attention to Twitter.

Now that we have an idea of how powerful a tool Twitter is, let’s understand a few Twitter basics.

Mention: This is a fundamental feature of Twitter. You can bring a Tweet to a user’s attention by including their @username in a Tweet. This will then appear to the @username you mentioned as well as to all of your followers.

Since the real value of social media is engagement, a good benchmark of doing it right is looking at the percentage of the tweets where you are talking to someone versus just promotional tweets. Bottom-line being, you need to engage with your audience to build relationships deep enough to gain value out of Twitter.

Direct Message: A direct message (DM) is a private message that only you and the recipient can see. To DM someone, start your Tweet with DM or D, eg: “DM @nenindia When is the next Webinar?” The pre-requisite to sending a direct message is that the other person should be following you.

Hashtag: The hashtag symbol (#) is used before words or phrases in tweets to categorize them for others or to organize conversations around a theme. You can click on hashtags to see similarly-themed tweets.

The hashtag is particularly useful during product launches, conferences, etc. If a hashtag is tweeted enough number of times in a short period it starts trending. This means that many more people will get to see that, many more people will engage and the conversation will grow.

Twitter has more tools than any other social media channel. One of them is ‘TweetReach’. This tool helps you search for a URL, Twitter name or hashtag; helps you to then analyze the tweets that match your search and also reports the reach and exposure data for those tweets.

A popular keyword on Twitter means that enough number of people are searching for it and using it. So including this in your tweet will then make your tweet visible to an audience much larger than just your followers.

Then there are tools like ‘TweetDeck’ which is a social media dashboard application for management of Twitter accounts. TweetDeck’s interface consists of a series of customisable columns, which can be set up to display your Twitter timeline, mentions, direct messages, lists, trends, favourites, search results, hashtags, or all tweets by or to a single user.

It automates your stuff, saves lots of time and makes you more productive in using Twitter.

Another tool called ‘Klout’ lets you know how influential or active someone is on Twitter by providing ‘Klout Score’ which is a numerical value between 1 and 100. In determining the user score, Klout measures the size of a user’s social media network and correlates the content created to measure how other users interact with that content.

There have been lots of campaigns around KLOUT. One such was that anyone with a Klout score above 70 on tweeting something with a particular hashtag was given a gift.

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Following is a quick look at some do’s, don’ts while using Twitter for marketing:

Be a Great Listener (vs Speaker)
Be Relevant (vs Promotional)
Be Creative & Interesting (vs Boring)
Be Friendly (vs Selfish)
Be Consistent (vs Moody)
Be Responsive- converse (vs Indifferent)
Be Credible (vs Generic)

When tweeting as an organization, adhere to the 70:20:10 mantra. This means that around 70% of your tweets should be about your core area, 20% could be about related area and the remaining 10% can be casual and completely fun.

A common refrain from new entrants to Twitter is- why should we tweet when we do not have followers. But the point here is that unless you tweet, you will never gain followers. In the beginning, do not worry about getting followers. Just tweet, tweet and then some more and be relevant. The followers will automatically follow.

Click here to read the concluding part of this post to know, how various brands like Zaapos, TED, and Hippo are using Twitter to generate sales and to build memorable brands.

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This post is based on a Webinar by Mr. Pradeep Chopra, CEO of Digital Vidya. You can find a recording of the session here.