Beginner’s Guide to Twitter

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Here is the first in the series of Beginners Guides to Social Media – Twitter.  If you are an expert already there may be some tools and tips to take away, but I am aiming this at the new user.

Next week will be Facebook, and then LinkedIn.  There may be more afterwards, so we will see what response we get from these first – you can comment below.

Social Strategy
The first thing to think about is a Social Strategy.  You should consider this before doing anything, so I will assume you have already worked out what strategy is and how you want to engage with your customers.  This is a big enough subject on its own, so I will write a separate post on this, but in the mean time, if you would like help, please contact me.

Why Twitter?
So, should you be on Twitter?  Is this the right platform for you?
Sometimes the best decision is what not to do, rather than rushing into something because everyone else is doing it.

Have a look first
Set up a trial account, just to get used to it.  See what conversations are occurring in your sector.  Follow your customers to see what they are saying – use the search tool to find them.  Also follow your competitors.  See what approaches they have adopted, and how they are using it – promote content, customer services and sales, or build customer relationships.

Personal or Business?
I would not recommend two accounts, unless you are super-human.  After your trial, set your own account up for your business and concentrate on that.

Some decisions are best done after much research and deliberation; not Social Media.  Get stuck in, and experiment.  Some people take ages on a strategy before doing anything, when that time could have been better spent learning as you go.

Goals and measurements
Like anything in business and in life, be intentional; what do you want to get out of this activity?  The story I like to tell, is about archery – if you aim at the target and try hard you should get most of your arrows on, but if you aim at the bull’s-eye, you will always get them onto the target…

Outcome goals
The best type of goals should be ‘outcome goals’, rather than ‘Twitter goals’.
Many people try to get to say, 1000 followers or to get 30% of referring traffic from Twitter – these are not great goals.
The sort of outcome goals you should think about are, how to get less customer service enquiries, or more sales, or higher % of larger sales, or to increase sales from current customers.

This survey is worth a read.  If you are at all sceptical you should take note of the statistics.

Of Twitter users, this is what the companies use it for:-

  • 72% to publish new content.
  • 68% as a Marketing Channel to generate sales/leads
  • 55% for Brand Monitoring to see what others are saying about you.
  • 37% to gather customer feedback
  • 35% on Customer Service issues.

This is interesting. If you are monitoring your competition and they are not engaging with complaints, this might be an opportunity for you, as 33% of complaints via Twitter are not answered at all.

…and for the consumer:-

  • 52% to follow brands
  • 47% to stay aware of discounts
  • 32% to keep up with company news

This tells us that they are less interested in news, and happy to receive sales messages about discounts.

Watch out for mobiles
Also be aware that a growing number of Twitter users login via a smaller device, so make sure the link back to your website sends them to a page without Flash.  Even better, if your website has Responsive Web Design to work on devices with different screen resolutions – I will be writing a post on this subject soon, or contact me now.

Tools you may want to check out:-
Twitter, HootSuite, TweetDeck.

When to Tweet?
50% of users will update at least daily, so when is the best time to Tweet?  What you really want is a high Click Through Rate (CTR).
Incredibly, the highest days for CTR are Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and the highest time is 2-3pm.  Most people use Twitter on weekdays, but are more likely to click on weekends, and of course your message will have a longer life at the weekend.  Also, more people ‘re-tweet’ on a Friday afternoon and a Monday morning.

So, to conclude…

  • Stop waiting and get on with it
  • Set up a trial account to monitor others, but not for too long
  • Get HootSuite
  • Set up your goals
  • Choose when you are going to Tweet
  • Think about mobile devices
  • Discounts rather than news

If you have any questions or issues on Twitter, please send a message below, I would love to hear from you.