I like to think of Twitter as a live networking event where you can jump into a conversation at any time. It's a great tool for communicating information to followers but also for engaging with them. However, I've learned that many people, even those who are on Twitter frequently, use it only for sharing information -- not for starting a two-way dialogue. That's a lot like walking into an event and shouting at people but not listening to their responses. It just doesn't work.
Over the last few years using Twitter, I've uncovered a few features that help businesses make better connections and build brand exposure. Here are five things I've learned about Twitter that could help improve your marketing strategy:
1. Use advanced search options to locate opportunities. The advanced search opportunities at search.twitter.com allow you to insert keywords that people would use in conversations to find you or your product or service. For example, I search for people who are tweeting the phrase "looking for speaker." It turns up a ton of tweets related to event or meeting planners. Once I find these keywords in posts, I reach out to the person who tweeted them to say hello, ask to connect and start building a relationship.
Additionally, the search function allows you to target tweets from a certain area so that you can stay within a community. This helps allow local businesses to reach out to tweeters in their area.
2. Tweet often to boost search-engine optimization. Tweeting often not only helps you to stay active on newsfeeds but improves your ranking in online searches. Be sure to use keyword-rich phrases in your tweets as often as possible. If you can't get your company name or personal name as your Twitter handle then make sure to include it in your bio. Because your bio on Twitter is public and open to search, using keywords in it such as your company name can help Google index content that's relevant to your business.
Then you can use Google Alerts to monitor your name and company. Check these alerts to stay informed about what people are saying about your company, as well as what your competition is up to.
3. Connect with media. Using tools such as Cision's Journalist Tweets and Muckrack can help you locate journalists, editors and producers, and to find out how active they are on Twitter. These tools can help you decide which media outlets you would like your business to be featured in and enable you to connect with the journalists who work there.
4. Reach people on mobile phones. With mobile messaging becoming one of the best ways to connect with your prospects, an option on Twitter will allow you to have your tweets directly sent as a text to your followers. You don't have to sign up. Whenever you post a tweet, if someone has subscribed to your tweets from his or her mobile device, they will automatically receive your tweets on that device.
Choosing Twitter over a text marketing company can save you money and time. You can send a tweet that translates into a text directly from Twitter or from a social media dashboard such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.
If you are going to do this, make sure you create a separate Twitter account and only tweet a few times per week so that you don't overwhelm your followers. You might consider setting up a separate twitter account using your brand name followed by the word mobile or SMS (short message service) in your Twitter handle. An example might be: @starrSMS or @starrmobile.
5. Change link headlines each time you tweet them to boost traffic. Increase traffic to new blog posts or other content you share on Twitter by tweeting them 10 to 20 times using slightly different headlines each time. Twitter is excellent for ongoing live traffic around the clock so posting more than once gives you a better chance to get more exposure. Changing headlines can attract different people and, if you post at different times, you can reach people in more time zones.
Twitter is a tool than can help you discover what your target market is talking about and searching for. And when used correctly, it can boost your connections and website traffic.