140. Is that a large number or a small one? When you have to confine a marketing message to that many characters, it seems miniscule! Despite this, Twitter has taken off as an excellent way for B2B companies to get the word out.
The Content Marketing Institute reports that social media is the most popular medium for B2B content marketing. Social media topped the surveys with an adoption rate of 87 percent, while Twitter ranked neck-and-neck with LinkedIn as the most used tools.
In the spirit of Twitter, here are some rapid fire tips to building your own campaign, so your company can spread its message and build community in 140 characters or less:
When getting started with Twitter, you’ve got to create a bio for your company. People will look at this for information about you. Link to your website and your blog by posting the URLs within the bio section.
Your Bio Photo
Your photo represents your company. Twitter shows this uploaded picture next to every single one of your Tweets. Many companies use their logo, but whatever you use, ensure that it’s a high-quality and professional image.
Twitter is a distribution tool. If you want to increase brand awareness and build trust in your company, then distribute relevant, compelling content. Tweeting insightful knowledge about your field presents yourself as a thought leader. And engaging in conversation with influencers may lead to them retweeting and sharing your own content.
Keep Your Eye on the Ball
Twitter, like most social media, can be a huge time sink. If you want to avoid wasting your time, always ask yourself if what you’re tweeting is relevant to your business interests and brand presence. Remember that sharing content has the ultimate goal of driving people back to your own website!
Because this isn’t your personal Twitter account, it’s best to craft a mature, professional (yet casual) tone. Stay consistent with this tone throughout your tweets.
Using social media is not the same as texting with buddies. Highly contentious topics like politics or religion alienate followers, while netspeak or poor grammar come off as unprofessional.
When quoting someone, make sure that the quote is verbatim. It’s not good for your brand to start philosophical arguments about the intent of a quote versus how it was written. Similarly, provide attribution when quoting or citing an article.
Have you ever been at a party where someone only talks about themselves? The natural reaction is to tune that person out. When you keep in mind that you are talking to people (rather than at people), then you’re more likely to consider what that person wants to hear.
The 4-1-1 or 80/20 Strategies
In order to avoid too much self-promotion, many marketers follow rules. One rule is the 4-1-1 strategy. This means that you grant yourself one tweet that links to a piece of your own content and one tweet that promotes your company or products. For balance, you then tweet four pieces of content from other people (either retweets or shared links) throughout the day.
Similarly, the 80/20 strategy means that 80% of your content is shared and 20% is about your company and products.
Use URL Shorteners
Speaking of linking content, here’s a fun tip: Because Twitter only allows 140 characters, this makes posting full links difficult when you want to include other content in your tweet. But you can buy yourself some more space (for free!) by using URL shorteners like bit.ly.
Participation means more than just posting other people’s content. Back-and-forth communication with prospective or existing customers as well as other businesses and thought leaders is the goal of a Twitter campaign. To be part of the Twitterverse, use the @ symbol to begin conversation or reply to people that have tweeted @ you. Join groups and make tweets about popular and relevant hashtag (#) topics.
Industry Events and Hashtags
Many business events have hashtag streams that begin conversation about the topics and speakers at a given event. To make your brand a part of that conversation, tweet about the event, retweet other relevant comments, and keep updating about the different booths or conferences.
When it comes to sharing content from events, why not snap a picture and share it on Twitter? Images bring your followers closer to you, making the experience even more personal. Other photo ideas include your products, employees, or clients.
But How Often Should You Tweet?
Tweet frequency is a tricky subject. If you tweet too much, you’ll inundate people’s feeds and lose followers. If you tweet too little, you risk irrelevance. For a strict rubric, go ahead and use the 4-1-1 strategy once per day. This gives you six tweets each day with two of them relating directly to your company and/or products.
When Do You Tweet?
Getting your tweets in front of the most eyeballs during the course of the day maximizes their effectiveness. The exact time that you tweet has a large impact on how many people see your content.
Research by Bitly has come to the conclusion that between 1PM and 3PM (Eastern Standard Time) is the best time to tweet.
There are tools to do your own research as well. Programs like Hootsuite offer social analytics, and your own website tells you if you’re experiencing an uptick in visitors at any part of the day.
As mentioned, Hootsuite can be a big help for your Twitter campaign analysis. Hootsuite also tracks mentions of your brand and allows you to set your tweets and messages to a schedule. But that’s not the only app.
Twitterfeed feeds your blog to Twitter. Tweetdeck allows you to schedule your tweets, rearrange your feed, and manage lists. Contaxio tracks your followers and manages real-time relationship data. Twitpic provides an easy way to share pictures to your Twitter feed. So if you want help in managing the different options available to you with Twitter, these apps and websites are just the beginning.
Enlist Other Employees
When you begin your Twitter campaign, your company gets its own Twitter handle to represent the brand. But it doesn’t have to stop there. If you enlist employees to get involved with Twitter, you multiply the exposure you get on the network.
Employees may require B2B social media training, covering Twitter etiquette and company policies. Also, there have been lawsuits concerning who owns the rights to content posted on Twitter. To avoid such hassles, ask employees to create a work account and establish ownership of it.
Planning for Content Distribution
At the end of the day, Twitter is a content distribution platform. The success of a Twitter campaign relies on thoughtful, well-planned distribution of relevant content. In 140 characters, of course.