Foundation of a Brilliant Brand on Twitter

By: Jenifer Weterau

Twitter and brands should go together like girls and purses or tuxes and ties. It just might be the best way ever for a brand to listen to and react to its customers. But some brands’ may find that their social media strategy isn’t generating the results they expected and they are missing opportunities. With over 255 million monthly active Twitter users, simply posting the same content about what your company does is not going to cut it. An effective Twitter strategy should be made up of a few key essentials:

Be Interactive
The majority of your feed should be interaction with your audience- whether it is answering questions, sending a thank you to brand advocates or supporting a media partner. Showing that you’re an engaged social brand will grow your audience and inspire more interaction. According to Twitter, 85% of followers feel more connected with a small business after following them. (via Twitter) Don’t just start tweeting assuming that the Twitter community is going to accept you with open arms. It’s important that you spend some time just listening and observing the behavior of those who are talking about you or your company. Understand how your customers behave and adjust accordingly.

Share Relevant Content
Providing your audience with smart, tailored content will establish you as a resource. Make sure to retweet and share articles that are aligned with your brand’s industry and personality, making use of @mentions. Tweets containing the words “right now” or “today” average higher engagement than the brand average. Remember to keep your Tweets prompt and timely—a crucial element for Twitter success.

Offer Value
Remember that every follower you have is following you for a reason: to know more about your products and services. In fact, 42% of Twitter users say they use Twitter to learn about products and services. (via Edison) Be generous with sharing tutorials, guides and new product updates.
To be a successful brand on Twitter, you have to build credibility and equity. That doesn’t necessarily refer to the number of followers, tweets, or retweets you may have, although these are important factors. Rather, it’s more about developing a reputation as a trusted source of information or being seen as an expert in a particular subject.

Promote Your Brand
Avoid going overboard with promotional messages, which will result in disengaged and annoyed followers. Brands that are too self-promotional risk losing touch with their audience. Follow the 80/20 rule: Tweet 80% helpful or entertaining content and only 20% self-promotional. Mediabistro found that over 90% say they follow businesses on Twitter to get discounts and promos. (via MediaBistro) Put your money where your mouth is and back up your promotional tweets with special offers for your loyal followers.

Show Personality
Showcase the human side of your brand. Even in our high tech world, people want to know and be able to identify with the people behind the machine. Your Twitter use can appear disingenuous and inhuman if you’re too structured with your approach, to the point where your community may be turned off. Treat your Twitter relationships the same way you would any other relationship.

Although there’s no magical length for a Tweet, a recent report by Buddy Media revealed that Tweets shorter than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate. Similar research by Track Social also found that the perfect Tweet length was right around 100 characters. Their analysis saw a spike in retweets among those in the 71-100 character range—so-called “medium” length tweets. These medium tweets have enough characters for the original poster to say something of value and for the person retweeting to add commentary as well.

Authenticity is the golden rule in social media. We’ve known this for years, but there is another, related rule that is just as important: you and your brand need to be believable. This means spending time listening to your community, observing it, and learning about the dynamics of that community.

How healthy is your brand’s Twitter feed? Are you actively testing your content to find the magic sweet spot for maximum effectiveness?

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read please be social and share.

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