Written by Karl Young
Social media marketing on Twitter has long been recognised as a “must do” for brands and businesses that are serious about engaging with their audiences. Surprisingly to some, it’s not all about having the most followers; it’s about relationships and the maintenance of those relationships through brand engagement.
The low cost, immediacy and viral nature of social media has led to an abundance of daily self-promotional Tweets featuring on the Twitter feeds of every user in Australia through to the United Kingdom
Frank Media reported in April that Twitter-Aus had over two million active users, that’s just over one percent of worldwide usage. In context this might not seem like a large portion but it is enough for popular brands to spend time, resources and money targeting prospective customers.
There are some brands on Twitter that are a shining example of how you should engage with your audience and grow your followers through social online communities. For those that are looking to grow, follow, engage and promote themselves on the media here are some examples of how it should be done >>>
Search, Find and Follow
All users and businesses (Commercial or domestic) want an audience, an audience which shares a common interest in their products, ideas, likes, dislikes, hobbies, music taste, etc… The first thing any brand or business should do is make sure that their profile is physically and visually engaging to users.
To get your profile in order you need to make sure you get the basics in place before you start hitting that follow button >>>
Users trust accounts with professional photos, so it’s important that you not only provide an up-to-date image of your logo but also one that can be seen clearly. Don’t make the rookie mistake of shrinking your logo and messing up the resolution - this appears unprofessional and open to mockery.
You’ve got 160 characters to tell your audience your purpose, so don’t be boring! Be creative and don’t, for heaven’s sake, use the section for a sales pitch. It will only anger users and drive your audience away.
For those brands and businesses operating in foreign markets it’s vital that you differentiate your Twitter profiles to ensure your audience follows the right accounts. A good example of a brand that has done this well is Sony >>>
Multiple accounts can be hard to manage, however with the right strategy in place a business can flourish on Twitter even if they don’t physically live in that territory.
There are a few ways that you can quickly find users that might be interested in your brand; the first way is looking at the Twitter Directories that are freely accessible. These are usually divided up into categories such as fashion, technology, music, etc… Another effortless technique for picking up followers is the leveraging of other user’s twitter lists. Many users create lists to get noticed themselves or have a specific list of users to contact/communicate with should they have a direct message for their interests. These lists are free to use as long as they are made public and you subscribe to them.
Your competitor’s follower profile can be a gold mine for picking up like-minded followers. Your competitors cannot hide their follower list, allowing you to easily click on their followers and start following the ones you deem to be interested in your brand. If your competitor has a large following and they sell a similar product or service to you, you can be pretty certain that they will be interested in your offerings as well.
You can also search for those “influencers” using Twitter search functionality. A more intensive task, but it is an essential technique nonetheless. You can search for mentions of your brand through the Twittersphere, and if someone has mentioned your brand (positivity) then you should be adding them to your follow list!
Engage and Share
Ditch the sale pitch and start tweeting interesting stuff to your audience, it can often be easier said than done and many businesses fail to engage with their audience because they set to many boundaries – ‘don’t mention this’ or ‘don’t interact with this audience’ for example. You need to be commenting on the latest industry events, tweeting the latest products, taking part in throw back Friday, taking part in Q & A’s, using hashtags, running competitions, re-tweeting and favouriting your followers.
Boohoo.com is one of the best examples of a brand on Twitter that has strong engagement with their audience; here are a few examples from their Twitter feed >>>
#onsiewednesday is a competition where all users get the chance to re-tweet boohoo’s tweet to be in with a chance of winning a onsie.
Commenting on events
The brand talks about events directly related to their products, whilst maintaining engagement and drawing interest towards their latest ranges.
Interacting with bloggers, customers and followers
The brand encourages engagement by highlighting mentions of the brand in blogs, tweets and customer testimonials.
The hashtags have been so successful on Twitter that Facebook have incorporated them into their interface. When used on Twitter, a hashtag concerning a topic, idea, message or event can trend worldwide within minutes. The hashtags give all users a way of tracking a topic and enables users not “in the loop” to be brought into the story.
One of the greatest examples of cross marketing on Twitter at the moment is Coke’s #ShareaCoke. Printing bottles of coke with names of people in them with the idea that consumers buy one with their friend’s name on it is utterly genius! Users are logging on and sharing photos of themselves either with a friend’s and their name on a coke bottle or taking a photo of themselves next to a coke bottle with their name.
The success of the campaign can be seen across all social media outlets, but it is on Twitter that the hashtag has generated an immense following for the brand. For those looking for #hashtag ideas look no further than the biggest brands right now. #doingitwell
Social interaction is a contributing factor to how a search engine ranks a website. A website with a “greater” social profile the more likely it is to appear high in the SERP’s. Social integration is essential – not just in all marketing efforts of a brand or businesses. Having social sharing buttons on your blog, website and products is now standard. This enables the visitors to share their findings with the rest of the world instantly.
Leveraging cross promotional activities can contribute to a stronger and more comprehensive social profile. The more reasons you give for your customers to share, the more likely they will interact with you not only twitter but also on your website or blog. At the end of the day a social profile is there to attract attention towards your brand or business. The more you scream and shout about your activities the better.
I have included some extra resources for those interested in becoming a master of the media >>>