Social media gurus are quick to tell you what you should be doing on Twitter. But what does Twitter say about all this advice?
If you want to improve your success with Twitter, it helps to pay attention to what the platform itself is identifying and recommending.
Recently, Twitter and research firm DB5 conducted a survey of more than 1,000 small business owners and employees. The results, as revealed by Twitter, help to understand what kinds of things are effective (or not), and what you should do about it.
1. Be on Twitter.
This is an obvious one, but I include it on this list in order to make a reverse point. Hang on.
72% of the surveyed businesses — all of whom use Twitter — agreed that “it is important to have a Twitter presence.” Obviously, Twitter would agree. Twitter wants you to be on Twitter.
But what about the 28%? What are they saying? They are asserting that it is not important to have a Twitter presence.
Personally, I think that Twitter is important for me and my business. To date, CrazyEgg has published nearly 11,000 tweets and amassed 47,500 followers.
My personal Twitter account stays active, too. I have a lot of followers, and publish a ton of tweets.
But that’s because we’re a SaaS tech company, and I’m an Internet entrepreneur. What about a business that caters to a different market, in a different industry, with a different audience? They may not find Twitter to be as necessary or useful.
The point is, Twitter works really well as a marketing channel for some businesses, not every business.
Analyze the effectiveness of each social media platform for your unique situation. It would be helpful to know, for example, how many of your target audience is on Twitter. Every social platform attracts a different number and type of users.
You should also take into consideration the level of capability that the platform has. What do you want to use it for? Posting articles, photos, videos?
It’s essential to analyze the purpose of each platform, and what it does best.
Another crucial consideration is your audience demographic. Are you in the platform with the best age-range?
For most businesses, it makes sense to have a presence on Twitter.
2. Tweet daily.
The most commonly-heard complaint about Twitter is this: “I don’t understand it.” Twitter’s own research confirmed the confusion bias, even among small business Twitter users.
You can read a dozen articles on Twitter and still not understand it. The only thing that will help you to truly understand Twitter is using Twitter.
Once you get into it, Twitter starts to make sense. You’ve just got to stay active by tweeting daily.
Data shows that one tweet per day is only a starting point. It’s best if you can tweet at least three times a day.
Data from Track Social shows that 4-5 tweets per day is the right amount for gaining retweets.
If you want to understand Twitter, you need to use Twitter. Once you do, you’ll start to appreciate its value and get the return that you want.
3. Use Twitter as a customer service hotline.
One of Twitter’s best uses is as a customer service tool.
@mslocumb I am so sorry we don't have a wide selection for that size. We are constantly adding inventory there may be more sizes on the way
— Zappos.com (@Zappos_Service)July 11, 2014
Lots of people prefer not to call and get their problems solved. They would rather tweet about it.
Many brands have risen to the occasion, putting Twitter to use as their de facto customer service helpdesk.
According to research from Harvard, the number of people tweeting at businesses has grown dramatically over the past two years.
Data from Twitter suggests it’s a good idea. 73% of surveyed businesses “say it provides a quick way to reply to customer service issues.”
More than half of businesses consider Twitter to be a “very important customer service tool.”
Customer service on twitter is a double-edged sword. Although it’s important, you have to be quick to respond.
Convince and Convert reported that nearly a quarter of users who use social media to contact a brand expect to hear back from the brand in a half hour.
It’s the complainers who are most demanding of quick responses.
Here’s where the double-edged sword gets sharper. 60% of respondents in the above-cited study promised to inflict negative consequences on the brand that didn’t respond to them in a timely manner.
Here are those negative consequences, as reported by Hubspot:
- 29% of respondents would tell their friends and family about the experience.
- 26% would escalate their concern through other sources of communication.
- 24% would consider buying less from that company in the future.
- 21% wouldn’t recommend the company’s products/services.
- 15% would complain about (or shame) the company/brand in social media.
Is it smart to conduct customer service on Twitter? Yes, but only if you can respond quickly.
4. Engage with your Twitter followers.
If you’re going to be on Twitter, then you need to engage with your Twitter followers.
- 88% of businesses tweet directly at their customers.
- 90% of businesses view users who engage on Twitter to be valuable to their businesses.
- 67% of businesses consider it to be “extremely valuable.”
Engagement is a fuzzy issue, and it’s hard to measure. According to Twitter’s blog, there are five “hard features” that characterize high engagement tweets:
- Tweets containing a number or a digit — i.e. a sports score or an official stat
Here is how those features impact engagement:
Engagement is measured by mentions, favorites, follows, and retweets. The more proactive your brand becomes with outreach, the better your engagement.
We would do well to follow Twitter’s advice, based on the information that they have compiled from businesses who use the service.
But no matter how data-driven, tactical, or helpful this advice is, the greatest impact on your Twitter presence are the things that work for you.
A technique, tactic, strategy, or approach that works for one business may be totally ineffective with yours. You’ve got to know your audience, understand what is most effective, and carry it out.
What are some of your most powerful Twitter marketing tips?