In Why Twitter, Part 1, we made the case for using Twitter in your marketing, and outlined some basic strategies for increasing your Twitter influence, finding potential customers and learning more about your target audience and competition. We also shared some links to some excellent PDFs that describe in more depth how to get started using Twitter.
In this blog post, we’re going to dig just a little deeper into how to make using Twitter easier and more productive. In addition, we’ll highlight a few of the great online tools that can simplify and automate your Twitter work. Best of all, they’re free.
Getting started with your Twitter Profile Page
When you create your company’s Twitter Profile Page, you’ll get options for tailoring it to reflect your corporate brand, including a page name, picture, bio, your company’s location, your corporate website address, and page styling options.
- Picture – Twitter is all about minimalism. So, you get roughly 128 x 128 pixels to represent your company with a graphic such as your logo. Unless your logo is compact, you may not be able to fit it all there without having to unduly shrink it. So, you’ll have to modify your graphic to fit and still represent your company well. For example, at ZUZA’s page, we simply show the “Z” from our logo.
- Bio – While tweets can only be 140 characters long, Twitter gives you a full 160 characters to present your corporate bio. In other words, Twitter forces you to be concise with your bio too. You’ll need to trim it down to present only the most important part of your value proposition to your visitors. Think of it as having to recite your elevator pitch while travelling only from the second floor to the ground floor.
- Link to Facebook – You can elect to link Twitter to your corporate Facebook page. This allows your tweets to automatically get posted on your company’s Facebook page, saving you from an extra manual step.
- Page styling – Twitter lets you choose from a woefully small selection of Twitter themes, none of which will reflect well on your corporate brand. Twitter’s link to a tool called Themeleon lets you create a slightly more custom background for your Twitter page using a variety of colors and patterns, but is still quite constrained. Our recommendation is to create your own corporate-themed background and color scheme. Your web designer or graphic designer can easily help you accomplish this. Here’s what ZUZA’s looks like » . Another example is Coca Cola’s » .
- Other setup options – The Notifications page lets you opt to receive notifications about specific activity relevant to your Twitter account. And the Mobile page lets you have similar notifications come to your mobile phone so you’re always in the know.
So, now you’re wondering, “what the heck have I got to Tweet about?” Actually, lots of things:
- Did you just publish a blog post? Tweet that.
- Offering a promotional discount? Tweet that. More than once.
- Running a contest that’s open to your entire prospect universe? You know what to do.
- New product introduction? Let the world know with a tweet.
- Going to be at an event? Or hosting an event? Tweet away.
- Presenting a webinar? Ditto.
- Got some interesting company news? The Twitterverse wants to know about it.
- Supporting a good cause? Let the community know.
- Just came across a great tweet from someone else? Retweet it.
- Found an excellent website your followers will want to see? Forward the link with Twitter.
And the list goes on. Think of Twitter as your own personal wire service to both discover interesting information from others and broadcast your news to the world. Keep in mind that your followers aren’t the only ones that can see your tweets. Anyone doing a search on a topic that you’ve tweeted about can find your tweets in his/her search results. And if that person likes what you have to say, you might just win a new follower.
Get topical with the hashtag: #
Perhaps you’ve seen tweets that look something like this:
“#LondonOlympics our company will be there. Look for us.”
The part we’re highlighting here is the phrase “#LondonOlympics.” What this does is link your tweet to every other tweet pertaining to the London Olympics. If enough people tweet in relation to this topic, it becomes a trending topic (as indeed, the London Olympics is!). In other words, the “#” or “hashtag” is a way to instantly categorize your tweets to make them easier to find by an interested audience. Here’s another example. Say you manufacture lawnmowers. Try tweeting with the hashtag, starting your tweets with “#lawnmowers “. This lets the world know that your tweet is associated with this topic. (Incidentally, when we looked up the phrase “#lawnmowers” in the Twitter search bar, we came across a woman who had tweeted the following, “Looking for a good lawn mower. Any recommendations?” What this means to you, the lawnmower manufacturer, is that you’ve just found a prospect! And vice versa; if this lady does a search on this term, your tweets and twitter profile can come up in her search.
Some great tools to make it easier.
We did some extensive research and found scores of web-based and offline tools at your disposal, some of which charge a fee, and others that are completely free. Here are just a few great free ones to help expedite your Twitter effort:
- TweetDeck – this is your all-in-one Twitter monitoring tool. TweetDeck presents you with a series of columns for all of your Twitter accounts, including tweets of those you follow, your own tweets, retweets of your tweets, and direct messages to your Twitter account from other Twitter users. You can see everything at a glance. The tool is available as an online tool or as software on your computer. Another great feature: TweetDeck lets you create tweets and schedule them for future release. Say you want a tweet to go out at 2 pm and you know you’ll be travelling then; this feature lets you set it and forget it in advance. Oh, and TweetDeck also lets you monitor a Facebook account. GO »
- Twitonomy – currently in beta, this impressive tool give you a full dashboard of analytics about your Twitter activity. GO »
- Twilert – get daily email reports of tweets about certain topics, such as industry terms or names of your competitors. GO »
- Twitterfeed – this tool can automatically tweet links to your latest blog post as soon as you publish it. This saves you the effort of manually tweeting about your blog as well as adding posts in Facebook and LinkedIn. GO »
As we mentioned in our Why Twitter, Part 1, to be successful with Twitter, you have to be diligent about tweeting and monitoring Twitter. Consider it an essential part of your Content Marketing strategy. The more you use it, the more you’ll reap these benefits:
- Grow SEO
- Gain brand exposure
- Build a following
- Broadcast your marketing messages for free
- Discover new prospects
- Learn about your competitors
- Stay on top of developments in your industry
What more incentive do you need to start actively using Twitter today?
Here’s to the Marketing Champion in all of us. See you in the next post.