Twitter Marketing: Step-by-Step Guide + Case Studies [2019]

Used by the US president to communicate with the whole country, Twitter is definitely one of the greatest social networks to connect with an audience. Learn how to create, in 2019, a strategy that turns this audience into customers for your business.

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Twitter. That little blue bird. What exactly is it? Some say it is a “micro-blog;” some say it is just a way to post short, concise comments (280 characters maximum); some say it is really just a chat room; some say it is so popular because it is so easy to use on mobile devices. And it has been made much more popular since the current U.S. President chooses to use it as a means to communicate with an entire nation. 

But for marketing? How can this social platform ever be used for marketing? Doesn’t marketing involve a compelling website? A great blog? Digital advertising? Posting on Facebook and Instagram? And certainly, a presence on LinkedIn in order to connect and network? What could 280 characters possibly do?

Actually, those 280 characters can do a lot.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

It takes about 20 minutes or so to set up a Twitter page. Get a “handle,” complete your bio and upload a photo if you wish. Then, just start sending Tweets.

This is the easy part, of course. Growing a Twitter account into one that becomes an effective marketing tool, building your brand, gaining and growing a following, and accumulating lots of leads? That’s a different story and will take some work. But many brands have done just this. And given the fact that there are well over 3 million users of Twitter, you would be wise to establish a presence for your startup.

Growing your following and making a brand impact involves a lot more than just “sporting” your products or services in those short spurts. It means engaging your target audience and getting it to interact with you. It can be powerful in spreading your brand, if you do it right and have patience. 

If you’re up to it, here is a guide that will give you the basics. Do not be overwhelmed. Just have patience and understand that you will learn as you go (and you will keep on learning). 

Why is Twitter Important for Your Brand?

About 500 million Tweets are sent out a day. That’s a huge ocean of users and interactions. You want to become part of that ocean, but you also want to narrow that ocean down to an audience that sees your value and wants to engage with you, and especially your products or services. 

Take a look at this infographic and learn why Twitter is so powerful for your company.

The

Here are some other stats that should further convince you that Twitter can be powerful:

  • There are well over one billion accounts on Twitter
  • More than 80% of businesses have Twitter accounts
  • Twitter commands over 500 million visitors in a given month

With this kind of popularity, and given the fact that so many businesses use Twitter as a marketing tool, you should be ready to do the same.

If you’re up to it, here is a guide that will give you the basics. Do not be overwhelmed. Just have patience and understand that you will learn as you go (and you will keep on learning).

What You Can Use Twitter For

Here are just some of the uses of Twitter:

  • Twitter is used by businesses to introduce products and services, to promote special savings and discounts, to ask for feedback, and to encourage followers to re-tweet their posts
  • You can use it to engage in conversations and discussions with both leads and current customers.
  • Marketing on Twitter costs a lot less than traditional digital advertising media.
  • You can reach people who may otherwise never hear of you – through your website, your blog, or even on other social media channels. Yes, there are many Twitter users who do not access Facebook or even Instagram as much as they do Twitter. 
  • Many companies use Twitter to announce job openings. Even if those who see the Tweet are not in the market for a new job, they may know someone who is – they will re-tweet to those individuals.


Your Step-By-Step Guide

1) Choose a Good Handle

You will notice that a lot of individuals choose creative handles that say something about themselves. A business is no different. You want your brand in that handle of course, but you can also use a creative variation too. The point is you want your brand name to be recognizable.

Toms Shoes has a very active Twitter account and uses a simple handle – TOMS @Toms. Currently, it is sponsoring a campaign to “end gun violence together.” Founder Blake Mycoskie launched this business in 2006 and has numerous charitable giving campaigns tied to purchases. His one-for-one giving concept has been copied by thousands of other businesses. 

Twitter Handle

Note the arrow, indicating a video – more on that later. This Tweet received over 23K views, an indication of the popularity of this brand on Twitter.

The first word of your “handle” does not have to be your brand name. If Toms was not as well known, it could use a handle like “Great Shoes @ Toms.” This tells a viewer what the brand is all about.

2) Craft a Profile

Your profile will include a bio, some cover images, and an avatar. The purpose of this profile is to craft the story of your brand. 

Let’s talk about avatars first. This is a photo, a cartoon image, a symbol, or unique typography that represents you or your brand. Some businesses obviously use their logos, as they want to spread brand awareness everywhere they are, not just on Twitter. If you want to get some ideas, Hongkiat has put together some cool avatars it has found.

Twitter Avatars

In creating your avatar, here are a few tips:

  • Just using a logo, although that is fine, can sometimes appear “cold.” And it can send a negative message - that you are only interested in making sales. That really isn’t the purpose of a social media platform.
  • Users often like to see real photos, because they do like to see a face behind a business. Even a cartoon depiction of you will engage.
  • Consider a human image along with your logo. It serves the purpose of personalizing your brand and still keeps your logo “out there.”

The point is this: people do not specifically access social media to buy products. If they know what they want to buy and what company sells it, they will either go straight to the website or to the store. They go to social media for entertainment and inspiration, and sometimes for education. They go to make connections with others, even if those others are businesses. Focusing only on what you have to sell will just not cut it. Consumers are tired of the bombardment they often feel from “hard sells.” In fact, they are suspicious and turned off by them. Keep this in mind with everything you do on Twitter.

Now, About That Bio

Your bio should be short and clear. You need to write a description of your business in 160 characters. This obviously does not give you much time, but your focus should be on your value proposition – what is the value that your product or service brings to your target audience? Are you offering a subscription service to a monthly delivery of diapers or pet food/supplies? Focus on both quality of product and the convenience of having these items delivered to the door. Be sure to include a link to your website. 

Getting to this type of brevity is tough and may require the hand of a professional copywriter. Don’t hesitate to use any of several out there, including Hot Essay Service or Pick the Writer. Other than that, there are freelance copywriters on sites such as Upwork or Freelancer.com. Your bio can be a visitor’s first impression – it must be compelling and engaging. Don’t scrimp on getting this right.

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3) You’re Not Quite Ready Yet

When your startup begins its presence on Twitter, you certainly can begin to tweet right away. But far more important will be to identify the topics for those tweets. Here are some tips for doing just that.

  • Use tools like Buzzsumo and Hootsuite to find “hot” topics in your business niche. You can type in keywords, such as “diapers” or “pet supplies” and pull up the most trending topics for blogs and, yes, posts.
  • Keep abreast of any news items in your niche that may be worthy of posting. During the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, for example, many bottled water companies made huge donations of water to that community. They posted their support on Twitter.
  • Get a social cause – support a charity, participate in an event, post that participation. Consumers today love companies that are socially responsible. What is your company doing that helps protect the environment? Can you urge your audience to recycle any part of your product? Can you participate in “Earth Day” in some way?
  • Check out your competition. What topics are trending with them and how many “likes” (now heart symbols) are they getting on those topics? Pick the most popular ones for topics you can use.
  • Consider a theme: Whether it is a joke of the day or an inspirational quote of the day, if you get such a theme, followers will return for the next one. And if they like the tweet, they may very well re-tweet it to their tribes. This is a great way to spread your brand.


Now You are Ready to Tweet in Earnest

As you begin your Twitter Marketing, remember, you may feel uncomfortable at first. But dive in and get started. You’ll learn as you go. And as you continue to read the Tweets of others, as well as get your own experience, you’ll get much better. But here are some basics that will ultimately turn into a Twitter marketing pro.

1) Make Certain Your Posts are Interactive

Solicit comments and feedback. You want to hear from your audience and your customers, and you will want to respond to any tweets asap. Thank those who give you positive feedback, and respond respectfully to any tweet that is critical. 

In our Twitter account, we're constantly soliciting feedback and comments from followers.

Twitter Interactions


2) Be Regular in Your Tweeting

While there is no ideal number, whatever number you choose must be consistent. Keep this in mind, however. At least, at the beginning, you may want to tweet several times a day. You are not sure which types of tweets are going to generate the most action, so take a variety of topics and alternate them. 

There are also tools you can use to identify the best times of day to tweet. And you can use Twitalyzer to test your best frequency of posting.

3) Be Brief 

You have 280 characters for each tweet. You know you have to be brief but still impactful. Again, studying the tweets of others, especially your competition, will help you. Neightan White, a content marketer for the company Supreme Dissertations, put it this way: “We were newbies to Twitter when we decided to enter that platform. And there was definitely a learning curve, especially trying to creatively engage an audience in just 280 characters.”

4) Set Up a Content Calendar

One of the things that your followers will like is consistency. If you set up a calendar of the types of posts you will generate each day of the week, they will know what to expect. 

A good general rule for social media marketing is to make 80% of your posts about things other than promoting your product or service and only 20% on those promotions. So. You might set up something like this:

  • Monday: Joke for the Week
  • Tuesday: Special Promotion/Discount/new product introduction
  • Wednesday: Shout out to team member or customer – with photo
  • Thursday: How-To Tips or any Trends/news of your niche
  • Friday: Inspirational Quote for the Weekend
  • Sat/Sun: Prompts to look for special sale/promotion/etc.

Note: This does not mean that you only tweet once a day or that you do not cover an important topic in addition to your topic for the day. If you come across something you want to retweet, for example, do it.

5) Locate Influencers in Yours and Related Niches

What is an influencer? Anyone who has a large following among your target customers who could prove helpful to you. You want to find these influencers and develop relationships. For this, you need to understand how to search on Twitter. Here are a few tips for that:

  • Search by Hashtags: Basically, hashtags are used to add a Twitter post to a discussion related to a specific topic. You should be using them, and that will be discussed later. Suppose you are the business offering a diaper delivery subscription. You can search for something like #infant care or #infant supplies or #infant clothing. You’ll get these tweets in your feed. So, among those, who have a large number of follows, re-tweets, etc. You want to start following those businesses.
  • Search by keywords: Yes, you can actually search for tweets by words and phrases. This will pull into your feed tweets that have them, and again, you can see who influencers may be according to their following. 
  • Once you have identified influencers, you can create a Twitter List of them. Then you can get a steady feed of their tweets. It’s a great way to see what influencers are posting. 
  • Start following top influencers, develop relationships with them, and, eventually you may be able to establish some collaborations for promoting one another’s business.
  • Get the attention of influencers by mentioning them in your own tweets.


6) About Those Hashtags

Twitter was actually the first social media platform to incorporate hashtags. They are pretty critical when users are searching for information or products/services. You need to develop a list of 3-4 hashtags that most describe your niche and use them in all of your tweets. Well, not all of them in a single tweet, perhaps two. This will allow Twitter users to search by hashtag and find you. And they will be the people who will have an interest in your product or service. 

Going back to the diaper subscription service, you will want hashtags such as #diapers delivered, or #diapers to your door, or “#diapering baby.” This is the perfect way for other users to search and find you – great leads without much work on your part.

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7) Focus on Audience Needs, Interests, and Problems

If you have done the right research, you know the trending topics in your niche and what your audience finds interesting or wants more information about. If you can solve a problem through a how-to video or a link to your website that houses a great article on that how-to, then you will ingratiate yourself to potential customers. 

Other needs/desires of your audience may relate to understanding how you are promoting sustainability or taking social responsibility; who you are behind the scenes; and, of course, what you might offer in the way of discounts or special pricing.

Starbucks seems to have mastered this variety of Twitter content that engages its audience, given its popularity on the platform. In fact, a recent study of the success of the company on Twitter found this: brands that want to emulate its success should vary content among information-sharing, evoking emotion, and inducing action. Anyone who follows Starbucks on Twitter will see this variety.

Twitter Virality


8) Share Relevant Content You Find Elsewhere

If you are searching correctly, have found influencers, and are using lists, you will be receiving a lot of content into your feed. Re-tweeting relevant tweets to your audience is a way to provide important content without any work on your part. And it will gain you the reputation of being someone who is “on top” of what is trending in your niche.

9) Provide Exclusive Offers

You can tweet special offers that are only available to your followers. This puts them into a special community, an exclusive club, and that is a great psychological “hook.” 

10) Use Twitter’s “flock to unlock” campaign

Here is a way to motivate your followers to perform a conversion you want. They have to complete an action to get a special deal on your product or service. Here’s a sample from Alternative Earth, a non-profit organization that also offers lots of products for its followers.

Twitter Offers


11) Promote Events You Sponsor or Participate In

If you are involved in a community and/or charitable events, announce them on your Twitter feed and then live-tweet them while they are going on. For followers who find social responsibility important, you will gain loyalty and re-tweets.


12) Take Advantage of Media Variety

Though Twitter began as a platform for textual tweets, it has evolved. Photos, drawings, gifs, and even videos can be posted. This actually makes it a bit more like Instagram but allows you to communicate in a variety of ways with your audience. 

Understand that visuals are the most compelling type of content today – people prefer to learn, to be entertained, to be inspired by visuals rather than text. Fortunately, Twitter has recognized this and has evolved accordingly. Businesses are now using this opportunity to connect with their audiences in great ways. Here's an example:

Twitter Media

13) Take Advantage of Twitter Advertising

Businesses have two options for advertising that fit nicely into small business budgets – Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets.


Promoted Tweets

Using this option, you can promote a current tweet or write a new one for promotion. What it does is this: it engages an audience beyond your following, compiled by Twitter. You can even choose the medium of the promotion – on Twitter itself and even on mobile devices.

In a promoted tweet, you can include a call to action, a link to your website or landing page, or even an invitation to an event. 


Promoted Accounts

On your own Twitter homepage, you will find a “who to follow” link. When you click that link, the accounts you see are of two types – organic, based upon your following history, and paid (identified by the word “promoted”). Here is an example provided by KimGarst.

Twitter Promoted Accounts

To get started with either of these options, go to business.twitter.com, complete all of the information and follow the instructions. It’s easy and budget-friendly.

14) Measure, Measure, Measure

If you don’t measure your success, you will not know what is working and what is not. You will need to measure the following:

  • Growth of Following: how many new followers are you getting each day or week, etc.?
  • Follower engagement: What is the percentage of followers who are actually engaging through comments
  • Number of Re-Tweets: What percentage of viewers are re-tweeting which types of posts?
  • Actual Traffic: How many visits are you getting each day, week, etc.
  • Conversions: what is your increase in purchases?

Twitter provides the tools for this analytics, so use them. You will discover which of your tweets are the most popular, get the most responses, are retweeted, and actually result in the conversions you want. You can even separate out popularity by the time of a day and days of a week.

This is Just the Beginning…

As you get into using Twitter for your business goals and needs, you will begin to learn about new and innovative ways to use this platform. It can become quite powerful for your growth. Begin with this guide and then expand from there as you develop your expertise.

Go forth, learn, and have some fun.

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