Social media can provide you with a great opportunity to engage with your business's target market. However, it takes time, investment and a strong strategy to make sure it works as hard as possible for you.
Several people usually have access to a company’s Twitter account, from the managing director to the marketing manager and even external agencies. It’s therefore vital to have a strategy document to help ensure consistency is maintained by all parties involved.
In this blog, I will run through the components of a successful Twitter strategy. There’s no single correct strategy and a lot of the following can also be applied to other social platforms. It’s also worth noting that the goals and objectives are likely to vary from one business to the next.
So, whether your Twitter account is new or not, your strategy should have the following components.
The foundations of your strategy
To begin with, you should outline how Twitter can play an essential role in your larger marketing strategy.
You can justify using social media in a number of ways. For example, because customers are on social media, engaging with them on it can help build familiarity and trust.
You should also start by setting a few parameters and ensure everyone knows success won’t come overnight.
Determine goals and objectives
Setting goals is a fundamental component of long-term success. How can you realise your aims, if you haven’t defined what they are?
Goals allow you to track and measure success and provide you with insights that can guide your strategy as it evolves.
Some common objectives to aim for include:
- Increasing your number of followers
- Increasing traffic to your website
- Enhancing your customer service
- Promoting your brand
- Generating new business
- Becoming an information source
There are many aspects that can be tracked and analysed, but you need to decide which metrics will truly show the difference social media is making to your business.
Once you’ve determined your metrics, it’s important to produce a report, using the analytics section of Twitter. I recommend reviewing this monthly but if quarterly works better for you, then you can do that instead.
This way you can track success over time and identify which tweets, or pieces of content, are having the greatest impact.
The report should detail the activity undertaken that month on your social media accounts, how many times your pieces of content were shared, liked and read, how many people were driven to your site as a result, and how many new likes and followers you received.
Without doing this, how else will you show a return on investment?
Define target audience
Defining your target audience is the foundation of any business’s marketing plan and strategy.
It’s also important to monitor how your audience changes over time, once you push more content through Twitter.
You should have an overview of the profiles of people who interact with you in your monthly report. You can access audience insights in Twitter analytics, which shows what your followers are interested in. You also need to ensure the accounts you’re engaging with are aligned with your audience.
Tone of voice
Platforms like Twitter are hotbeds of industry chat and you need to be participating in the conversion in order to keep up online. You should aim to be informative but not intrusive. Being overly promotional is never well-received either.
Usually, accounts remain anonymous (i.e. no named person runs it) so it’s helpful to define a ‘voice’ so that tweets from multiple sources are presented in a consistent tone.
Your tone-of-voice should help reinforce your brand values and personality. Appearing human and approachable is vital to the success of a Twitter strategy because users can be hostile to the over-use of automation and the constant regurgitation of your blogs.
Decide how you will approach promoting products and using calls to action to ensure you gain trust from your followers.
This section is arguably the most important. A Twitter account can’t survive or compete unless it is producing quality content. Make sure you stay relevant and current, and cover a broad base of content types and sources to retain interest levels.
My top tips
- Keep it varied and retweetable.
- Encourage engagement through questions.
- Link to your company blog or news section.
- Don’t engage in politics.
- Always keep in mind your audience.
- Use hashtags.
You should have a plan in place, and a designated person accountable for any negative tweets you receive.
Here you should outline who is responsible for sourcing and publishing tweets, coordinating replies to incoming messages and monitoring the account.
The resource impact of running a Twitter account is low relative to other channels.
There are a few different platforms that can monitor and schedule tweets for you, I would recommend Hootsuite. It’s easy to use, does the job, and it’s free! You can create different streams to help monitor your account, such as:
- Home feed.
- Any mentions.
- All outgoing tweets.
- All scheduled tweets in the pipeline.
It’s useful to have this all in one place. You can also post tweets directly from their dashboard.
Followerwonk is another social media tool which can help you find, compare and analyse relevant Twitter accounts. You can choose to search Twitter profiles or bios and identify relevant companies for you to connect with.
Once you identify some social media influencer accounts, it’s not enough just to follow them and hope for the best. Engage with them and build a relationship.
My top tips
You should try to:
- Interact with content they post – retweet, share, like, comment.
- Address them directly – where appropriate.
- If they have a blog, comment on their posts – show that you are actually reading their content.
- Make sure your engagement is authentic – don’t just retweet every single thing they post, make it meaningful.
- Be realistic. Establishing relationships with social media influencers takes time and will not yield instant results, unfortunately.
How will you draft and get approval for tweets? Outline and advise on the process here. I would suggest drafting a month’s worth of Tweets and getting them approved the month before, then scheduling them via Hootsuite.
Decide when to tweet and why. I’d vary the times you tweet and determine what works best for you. In my experience, I’ve gained the most engagement at lunchtime in the UK, between 12pm and 2pm.
Images improve engagement, it’s a fact.
Include images in as many tweets as possible. Do you have an image library you can dip into? Do you have the right permissions to use the images? We’ve done a blog post that outlines The 14 Best Sites For Free Stock Photos.
How long will you spend managing the account? And when will you respond? Usually, Twitter accounts are looked after during office hours, Monday to Friday.
Following and followers
You should have a follower strategy. Here you should outline all the key influencers and media contacts within the industry.
Also, decide what your following strategy will be. Will you follow back any relevant accounts that follow you? I would, it’s good Twitter etiquette to follow people back when they follow you.
Also worth mentioning is that having an imbalance between ‘following’ and ‘follower’ figures can result in poor Twitter reputation. You should try your best to keep it as even as possible and if anything, have more followers than you follow.
Are you verified? Can you realistically get verified? Getting verified adds authenticity and trust.
There is no harm in requesting verification even if you’re rejected at first, which is likely to happen unless your account is well established. You can always make another request once your account becomes more established and you have more followers.