SMEs & local businesses, listen up. Here's how to get the most out of your Twitter
I audit social media profiles for a living. I’ve seen some crackin’ strategies and I've seen some strategies quite literally cracking.
There are endless ways of approaching social media when it comes to digital marketing and there is no denying the importance of a brands social presence in today's tech driven society. Getting it right can be hard, and often time consuming, especially for a small business that often doesn’t have a dedicated social media manager or team. I’ve pulled together the following tips for SMEs that want to leverage the resources they have to hand, to get the most out of Twitter.
Unlink your Facebook and Twitter Account
It’s tempting, to link your Facebook posts to your Twitter, I get it. It saves you time after all but, it’s doing you more harm than good.
Twitter has a 140 character limit which will have its way with your shared 3 paragraph long Facebook post and believe me, it’s not pretty. A Facebook post is not optimized for a Twitter post, the character count will cut your sentence in half, leave you imagery-less and with a rather untelling link back to your Facebook page.
In order to connect with your audience it’s vital to get your whole message across. Not just the first 4 words. Imagery is significant in ensuring your content stands out on a busy time line and needs to be displayed to really capture the attention of your following.
Learn the difference between cross promotion and cross posting. Cross promoting will save you time, cross posting will only save you engagement (and I don’t mean rescue). By cross posting, you cut your tweets short and miss out on sharing important messages. By cross promoting, you can get the same message across on several social media channels by ensuring you optimize that content for each and every channel. Think about how your post will be displayed, what kind of following you have on each channel and what they are there to see and do. Facebook is better for insightful and slightly longer content where as people are on Twitter are ready for snappy, digestible information; cater to this and start posting directly to Twitter.
Change your display picture to your company logo
Familiarity is a key player in social media marketing. With socal channels flooded with brands, companies and bloggers alike, standing out requires a separate strategy in itself. It is important to remember that many users will rely on your display picture to identify you as a brand. Showcasing your logo as your display picture will mean users will automatically accredit the quality information and content you post with your brand. It’s all about online reputation management. Give yourself credit where it’s due.
Whether you’re tweeting once a day or once an hour, every time you send a micro blog out in the form of a 140 character sentence or two it is a chance for you to show off your brand. Ensuring your logo is present next to your tweets will do you a whole world of good when it comes to brand awareness.
Don’t miss out on trending hashtags
Each year social media explodes with people and brands engaging in annual awareness days. Some of them, questionable, I’ll give you that. How or who came up with the idea for National Milk Day seems like a title for another blog in itself, but there are plenty of other interesting and relevant celebrations that you can get involved with (unless you’re a farmer, as in that case National Milk Day is perfect for you!).
The link below is a great source for upcoming national days and even lets you know which hashtag to use when the days come around.
Make a calendar, note down all the annual days that might be relevant to your brand, stick it up in the office and start thinking of creative ways you might be able to get involved.
Getting involved with trending hashtags on social media is great for increasing your visibility. My go-to saying is ‘social media is about being social’, so by getting involved with trending conversations you are putting yourself out there, a great place to be to achieve higher engagement rates.
Stop signing off at 5:30
This is not just a mistake often made by SMEs but some big companies too. Social does not conform to office hours, social runs always, it never turns off, we never log out. Even if you go home at 5:30 it is important to still always have one eye on the ball. Your followers don’t log out after 5:30 and neither should you. Whether it’s questions they need answerings or in the moment situations you should be responding to, social media is an around the clock job. It’s important to be present on social, the most popular times on Twitter are in the evenings, once everyone is home from work, so it is vital to be active here.
Planning what to post is one thing, but remembering is a whole other. There are some great tools out there that allow you to upload and schedule your tweets in advance. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer mean your content will go out reliably at times when you may not be able to manually send it out. But, be sure not to use scheduling tools as a replacement for consistent management, you still need to be aware of what’s happening on Twitter at all times!
Explore www.hootsuite.com and www.buffer.com, I particularly like these two scheduling and onsite ‘How To’ videos will demonstrate exactly how to get started.
So, make Twitter an around the clock thing, and certainly don’t tweet your over and out at at the end of your shift, even if Harrods do (they’re not always the best!)
Steer away from repetitive content
Forcing users to see the same thing over and over won’t make then buy into your brand, in fact it will do the complete opposite. We all have a message we want to get across, and very likely a product or service we want to sell, but direct repetitive content is not always the answer.
Just like watching the same TV ad over and over makes you want to gouge your eyeballs out with spoons, repetitive Twitter content will do just the same. There are better ways to build relationships with your audience all whilst selling your product at the same time. The key is to ensure your content is varied, never intrusive, or forced, but always informative and entertaining.
It might be tempting to tweet the same things day after day, there’s no doubt it saves you time, but it certainly won't do your online reputation any good.
So, mix it up a little, even if it does mean dedicating an hour or two to a weekly content plan on a Monday morning.
Make use of your analytics
Twitter, Instagram and Facebook all offer in house analytics if you have a business account set up. Making use of the data these analytics features have to offer can help to improve your social media strategy. Pay close attention to the engagement rates on certain posts, make note of what kind of posts get the most attention and categorize these. Once you have a good understanding of what kind of content your audience enjoy, start posting more of the same sort. Instagram now even gives you notifications on which posts perform best; you might find your following particularly likes behind the scene content.
Overall, analytics are a great way to see you your social media marketing progress in the form of helpful data as it develops over time.
So, ensure all your accounts are set up as business accounts and get analysing.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to be you
As an SME or local business you have uniqueness on your side. You’ve got personality, and authenticity, make the most of this. The passion and values that drive your business should really come across on your social channels. Audiences buy into authenticity; being ‘human’ and showing character on social will help to build a genuine relationship with your audience. A lot of big brands loose this personal touch when they hide behind colourful slogans and poster boards, but smaller businesses really get the opportunity to show what stands behind their logo. Social media allows you to market your product or service in a sociable, human way, and this approach is great for building trust with your following.
Think about how you can make your brand three dimensional on social, think about how you might introduce your staff-force and their passions - users love a behind the scenes sneak peak. Some brands also like to sign of tweets and replies personally, leaving their initials at the end of a post, this gives a real personal touch to your Twitter profile and can really help with customer relationship management.
So, harness your values and beliefs and take pride in being you.