Twitter – what is it good for?
The site, which reported 255 million monthly active users in March, has gone way beyond its original roots to become a place that breaks news, provides customer service and has a goodly dose of snark and humor.
It’s a site where people can pack a powerful punch into a puny 140 characters and flesh out tweets with images and video. But if you’re a marketer, only one thing matters: how can you use Twitter to meet your conversion optimization goals? Some recent research provides some clues.
1. Use Images
Hubspot provides marketing software for business and is a heavy Twitter user, yet even this company found a way to get more from Twitter. When Twitter started allowing automatic inline image display (a huge plus for many publishers and brand marketers), Hubspot experimented with publishing more image-rich tweets and immediately saw an impact.
We know that images get attention and Hubspot’s experiment proved it. They tested two versions of tweets that were virtually identical, except that one had an image—they immediately saw an increase in retweets, clicks and favorites and had a 55% rise in leads.
More leads equals more business, which is good news for any company. Hubspot’s not the only one to find this works. Research published by Buffer found that tweets with images got 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets.
2. Get the Timing Right
Half the battle in winning the click is getting Twitter content in front of people at the right time. So it’s no wonder that there’s so much research around on the best time to tweet to get maximum impact.
For example, Kissmetrics’ Science of Social Timing tells you when to tweet and how often for maximum conversions. It says that if you tweet when people in the Eastern and Central time zones will see your update, you will be in front of 80% of the tweeting public (or those who follow you, at least). Clickthrough rate spikes at 6 and 12PM and midweek and at weekends.
Meanwhile Sysomos’ research suggests you avoid the dead zone between 3 and 7AM Eastern and tweet on Friday evenings instead. Dan Zarella’s prior research also favors evenings and weekends.
3. Promote Your Tweets
For a while now, Twitter has offered users the option to pay a fee so their tweets appear at the top of the stream. These promoted tweets can really pay off, according to a case study on the Shift blog.
Shift tried the tactic with a client using several sub-brand Twitter handles, sending content targeted to particular users. The company saw engagement rise by 34% while the cost per engagement fell by 38%.
Another example comes from AirBnB, which used a Promoted Tweets campaign in conjunction with a special discount offer to get a 4% increase in engagement for one of their tweets. Promoted Tweets also worked well for Dallas Tanning Spa LUX, which saw a fivefold return on ad spend from its campaign.
4. Use the Power of Recommendations (and Social Proof)
As we’ve seen before, social proof and word of mouth marketing can help with conversions. People are always looking for information to help them to buy and they trust information from their friends and connections the most. One place where they look for that information is on Twitter.
A study by Sysomos looked at the phrases most used in a six-month period to get product recommendations. The top three were:
- Who makes the best…?
- Does anyone know…?
- I’m looking for…
With 75% of consumers making the decision to buy before they reach your website or store, there’s a strong argument for tailoring at least some of your marketing to answering questions about your products and services. It could be a good time for an influencer or advocate marketing campaign.
5. Follow Twitter’s Advice
If you’re tackling the business market, then Twitter’s own research is a good starting point. The site recently published an infographic capturing the results of its survey of 1100 SMB owners, 72% of whom felt that being on Twitter was important. A few conversion tactics coming out of the survey included:
- using Twitter to send people to other resources such as a wbesite, blog or newsletter
- increasing engagement by using Twitter as a customer response tool
- using advertising to increase reach
6. Work Out Why People Follow You
If you know why people follow your Twitter account and what they are looking for, you can provide it, increasing their satisfaction and the likelihood that they’ll interact with you beyond that first tweet. Research from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Center for Marketing Research highlights some of the main reasons millennials follow brands. The top five for Twitter are:
- to support the brand
- to get updates from the brand
- to get discounts
- to research brands
- to follow the people their friends are following
They are also clear about one thing: offering a discount or coupon is likely to lead to an increase in sales.
The research also shows that 66% of Twitter users buy both online and in-store and a significant percentage of millennials use mobile devices for research and shopping. Clearly, getting the mobile social experience right is a must for better conversions. See more insight into millennials on Twitter’s blog.
7. Play Your (Twitter) Cards Right
About a year ago, Twitter introduced Lead Generation Cards, which marketers could use to get email addresses and other details from Twitter users wanting to take up their offer. There are also Product Cards and, recently introduced, Website Cards.
Do they work? According to Twitter’s own research, they reduce cost-per-click while increasing the number of URL clicks. A Webtrends case study of the Lead Generation Cards showed a 500% improvement in cost per lead, with a 996% jump in lead acquisition.
The research is clear: Twitter still has a role to play in acquiring leads and making sales. Use the studies above to improve conversions, then track them with Kristi Hines’ quick and easy guide.
Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sharon Hurley Hall.