Harnessing the Power of Twitter: A Comprehensive Guide for Small Businesses

Twitter stands out as a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their audience, promote their brand, and stay ahead of the competition. With around one in five U.S. adults using Twitter, it remains an influential medium that can significantly impact your business’s growth and success.

The Power of Twitter

Twitter, with its character-limited ‘microblog’ tweets, offers a unique platform for businesses to share bite-sized content that is easily and quickly consumed. It’s the original quick scan platform, providing users with digestible content that can be consumed on the go. This feature has paved the way for modern social media use, influencing platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram.

Twitter’s influence extends beyond its user base. According to Pew Research, for U.S.-based journalists, Twitter is their most used social media channel for their jobs (69%), which means the reporting we see in media outlets is inspired by, influenced by, and affected by tweets. This shows us that active Twitter users often have a disproportionate impact on journalists and the news.

Moreover, Twitter allows for the real-time relaying of information in ways no other social network does—at a rate of about 6,000 tweets per minute. The data generated by all of this chatter can reveal important trends, making Twitter a valuable tool for businesses to stay ahead of the curve.

Creating an Effective Twitter Profile

The first thing users see on your Twitter profile is your picture (profile image), so it’s crucial to use an image that is easily recognizable. If you’re tweeting on behalf of a brand, the profile image should be your logo. Your header image should give an overview of what you do.

Your Twitter account includes a few fields that comprise a user’s profile. The bio portion is capped at 160 characters and should be engaging enough to make users want to read what you have to say and/or follow you. This is where you try to briefly explain who you are and what you do to strangers. Additional fields include a location, website, and birthdate—all of which are optional.

Crafting Effective Tweets

How you compose your tweets, both text and imagery, helps establish your personal brand and encourages interest and engagement. Use the social channel purposefully to showcase yourself as an industry thought leader in your niche. Something else to consider in addition to text and visual appearance is frequency. You can post on Twitter every hour if you want to because the lifespan of tweets is so short and the channel is designed for higher volume communication than other social platforms.

Engaging with replies to your tweets and mentions of your account increases your ability to appear in more users’ feeds. Being helpful by answering questions and providing information is a great way to build your network and increase your following and visibility in a sea of almost 300 million monthly active users.

Twitter Metrics

Twitter has self-contained, free metrics available via Twitter Analytics. Some of the more important key performance indicators (KPIs) to track month-over-month include:

– New followers.
– Link clicks.
– Top tweets (the tweets with the most impressions or engagement).
– Engagements (the number of interactions with a tweet including likes, video views, @ replies, retweets, and clicks).

Learning from Successful Brands

Several brands have effectively leveraged Twitter to promote themselves. Here are a few examples:

1. PlayStation: PlayStation is known for its responsiveness and engagement with its audience. They use their Twitter account to promote games, advertise sales, and tease new content, receiving hundreds of retweets and thousands of likes on nearly every post. They also have a dedicated support account to help users resolve hardware issues and bugs.

2. Wendy’s: Wendy’s has created a unique brand voice that is authentic and adds to conversations in a humorous manner that resonates with audiences. They have mastered the art of creating relevant and on-topic content with current events, generating a lot of follows and shares.

3. JetBlue: JetBlue has found a way to convey authenticity and personality while demonstrating an exceptional level of customer service on Twitter. They tackle complicated customer service issues and address negative feedback, providing unexpected responsiveness from a corporation of their size.

4. Major League Baseball (MLB): MLB does a wonderful job of creating and posting the type of content its fans want. They use infographics to give baseball fans appealing visuals and utilize the full power of GIFs with a Twitter account dedicated to them, MLBgifs.

5. Ben & Jerry’s: Ben & Jerry’s has demonstrated a willingness to risk social backlash in the name of its principles. They work with controversial figures and speak out against societal issues, placing their ability to influence the world above their corporate profits.

6. General Electric (GE): GE uses its Twitter account to establish the company as an expert in the tech industry. They effectively explain complex concepts within the character limit, showcasing their commitment to innovation while maintaining a commitment to accessibility and personality.

7. Forrester: Forrester, a research company, is known for its tweets packed with links to interesting and valuable information. They include tips, statistics, or infographics that interest their target audience in many of their tweets.

8. Starbucks: Starbucks embraces its role on the social media platform by creatively employing different types of media. They project confidence and joy, and people love interacting with them.

Twitter Advertising

In addition to organic tweets, Twitter also offers paid advertising options that can help you reach a larger audience. Here are some of the advertising options available:

  1. Promoted Tweets: These are regular tweets that you pay to display to people who are not already following you. They appear in users’ timelines, search results, and user profiles.
  2. Promoted Accounts: If you want to quickly grow your follower base, you can promote your entire Twitter account. Twitter will suggest your account to users who might be interested in your content.
  3. Promoted Trends: These are popular topics and hashtags that you can pay to promote. They appear at the top of the Trending Topics list and can give your brand massive exposure.
  4. Twitter Ads Campaigns: These are goal-oriented campaigns that allow you to promote tweets or accounts, generate leads, drive website traffic, and more. You can target specific audiences and set your budget.

Twitter is a powerful tool for businesses, but there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Each brand must determine what works best for them and their audience. However, the key to success on Twitter lies in authenticity, engagement, and providing value to your audience. By understanding your brand’s voice and values, you can develop a Twitter strategy that resonates with your audience and drives your business’s growth and success.

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