This post originally appeared on neilpatel.com
At one point or another, you’ve probably asked yourself if Twitter is actually helpful for growing your business or if it’s a total waste of time.
The truth is, it’s only helpful for promoting your brand if you know how to use it in the right ways.
When I first started on Twitter, I didn’t know much about growing my name on the platform.
After some work, I now have over 380,000 followers. It didn’t happen overnight, though. Like my header image says, you’ve got to make your own luck.
Here’s how you can harness the social power of Twitter to gain followers, fans, and customers who love your products and services (and what you have to say online).
But first, you’re going to want to set measurable goals before diving in. You need to outline exactly what you want to get out of using Twitter.
Set Twitter Goals
Without set milestones, you’re more likely to make mistakes.
According to Sprout Social, the number one challenge for social media is ROI.
Why? Because a lot of businesses are posting content to Twitter and hoping people interact with it.
Posting without a plan doesn’t work. You need to set goals and milestones you want to achieve so you can customize your posts accordingly.
According to HubSpot data, 65% of businesses say generating leads is their biggest challenge when it comes to marketing. Why not try using Twitter to overcome this difficulty?
Here are some examples of goals you might want to achieve:
- get more traffic
- generate better-qualified leads
- provide faster customer service
- build a following
Once you’ve identified your goals, choose specific accomplishments for each one.
These could be things like keeping your response rate above a certain percentage, generating a certain number of leads from Twitter, etc.
Be sure to pick a deadline for each goal, whether it be quarterly, monthly, or weekly.
If you follow these tips and establish meaningful goals, you’ll have more than a random Twitter account with high hopes and low results.
Once you set your goals, you’ll need to start interacting with the right people.
Gain Exposure with Twitter Chats
Your main question when it comes to Twitter is probably, “How can I get more followers?”
But the thing you really should be focusing on is how to get more active Twitter followers. The numbers don’t mean anything if your followers aren’t engaging with you.
The answer to gaining active followers is Twitter chats.
That’s how you can grow your following and gain the attention of users who have more popularity than you.
Plus, they’re conversational. People use Twitter to talk to one another and have a dialog about the topics they’re interested in.
They don’t just use it to view content. People use it to talk about and share ideas.
Users engaging in chats are the ones who will retweet your posts, reply to your tweets, and get your account out to their audiences.
That’s why it’s important to look for existing Twitter chats in your industry and jump into the conversation.
Reply to people and be sure to @ them in your response, so they’ll see that you’re talking to them.
Or, look for influencers in your industry to connect with using a tool like Buzzsumo.
If you can’t find any Twitter chats relating to your line of work, just start your own.
You can go a step further and use a tool like Canva to make a graphic so your post will stand out.
Once you’ve established connections from several chats, be sure to follow them, favorite and retweet their content, and engage in what they have to say.
The key here is to build relationships so people will remember you and your brand.
People will engage with your content if it’s conversational, friendly, interesting, unique, or even humorous.
Once you’re posting conversational content, you’ll also need to create a schedule for your tweets.
Create a Tweeting Strategy and Schedule
You’ve got to have a posting schedule for your Twitter account so you know what you’re going to tweet and when you are going to Tweet.
Keep your Twitter post schedule in mind when you’re adding to your editorial content calendar.
And remember to tweet links to your content more than just once. Posting a single time is a big mistake that tons of brands make on Twitter. Reposting content will bring in huge results.
Reposting is important because not everyone will see your content if you only post it once. It’s important to space out tweets so you’re on people’s timelines at a constant rate.
But how do you know exactly when you should tweet?
There are tons of tools out there that can tell you the optimal time for you to share content online, including Twitter’s Insights Tool which will tell you when to tweet by finding out when your followers are most active. (We’ll talk more about helpful Twitter tools later.)
In addition to planning content for each day of the week and resharing it, you should plan seasonal content, too.
For example, you should start thinking about special tweets and content for Christmas by late November and early December.
The same goes for Thanksgiving- and Halloween-themed posts, too. Come up with some unique seasonal content you can share when hashtags like #Christmas are trending.
Don’t forget to promote your tweets, too. Here’s how.
Use Twitter Ads
There are three different types of Twitter ads:
These are regular tweets you can display to users who aren’t already following you. Users can like and retweet them just like they would with non-promoted tweets.
With promoted tweets, you can reach users who don’t know about your brand and share content that’s already doing well online.
These tweets will show up in search results and in the timelines of the users you target.
Promoted accounts put you in the spotlight so you can gain followers.
Your account will show up in targeted users’ timelines, search results, and suggestions.
Trending topics appear on the Discover tab, Twitter app, and on the left-hand side of your dashboard.
With Twitter Amplify, you can align your video content with the most relevant publishers on Twitter.
There are two different ad formats, either pre-roll or sponsorships, which are a 1:1 pairing with another Twitter publishers.
This is a premium, mass reach ad that takes over users Timeline and the Explore feature with an ad at the top of most users’ feed. You can choose a timeline take over for maximum reach or a trend takeover, which places an ad on the Explore tab.
These are pricey, but have a massive reach.
Twitter Live Ads
Twitter Live allows you to share real-time videos on Twitter. Twitter Live ads do exactly what you’d expect — they allow you to promote live videos on the platform to increase engagement (and gain followers!)
Choose the Right Types of Ad Campaigns
You can choose Twitter ad campaigns based on your objective, and you can select which results you want to pay for within each campaign.
For engagement campaigns, for example, you could simply promote tweets like I just mentioned. You only pay for each initial engagement per user, so you’re only paying when someone interacts with the tweet.
For impressions on promoted tweets that don’t end in engagement, you won’t pay anything.
Here are the different ad campaign types.
- Followers: Promote your account and pay for each user that follows you.
- Awareness: Promote tweets to a large audience. You pay for impressions with this type of ad.
- Video views: Promote a video and pay for the number of users who view it.
- Website clicks/conversions: Promote tweets to people you want to visit your site. Here, you pay per click, but you can track conversions and include buttons, videos, or carousel ads.
- Re-engagements/App installs: Promote tweets to users who haven’t used your app in awhile, or to users who haven’t downloaded your app in the first place.
- Lead generation: Promote tweets to gather leads.
You’ll pay for each lead collected and you can allow users to share their email, Twitter handle, and name right in the app. You can download the list later.
Out of all these options, one of the most important is harnessing the power of Twitter video.
Use Twitter Video
Video has become hugely popular in the content world with 94 percent of marketers who use video planning to continue. Currently, 60 percent of businesses use video in their marketing plans.
Twitter probably isn’t the first thing you think of when contemplating video marketing, but there are several options for using videos on the platform.
One is native videos. This feature lets you record videos (as long as 140 seconds) and upload them to Twitter.
You can also go live on Twitter, which I mentioned previously. This is ideal for live events, like conferences, podcast recordings, and webinars.
Users can still watch the recorded video after the live stream ends.
Adding videos to your Twitter marketing efforts is definitely not a waste of time.
Run Contests on Twitter
Twitter contests will allow you to convert your followers to email leads and turn them into paying customers.
Plus, there’s almost no limit to how many types of contests you could potentially run.
You could hold a random drawing, sweepstakes, contest, and so much more.
It’s wise to pick a contest type based on the marketing goals you want to achieve with it, though.
Here’s how you can run a Twitter contest from start to finish.
1. Decide Which Type of Contest to Run
You’ll want to begin by selecting which kind of contest meets your goals.
If you want to grow your email list, for example, a sweepstakes might be the way to go. If you’re seeking engagement, a contest might work better.
2. Select a Prize
The prize will be what motivates users to engage with your contest.
Make sure you choose a prize that relates to your industry in one way or another. This will keep the end goal focused on you, your business, and those interested in it.
For example, you could give away one or more of your products.
Giving away something that isn’t related to your company, like a laptop, might encourage more people to enter, but they probably won’t be very good leads.
3. Create the Contest
Build a contest entry page that’s interesting and easy to navigate. If it’s too difficult to enter, people will click away.
4. Promote the Contest
Now that you’ve created the contest, you’ve got to share it.
Promote it through a series of paid posts to get people interested and to widen the reach of the contest.
Here are some other easy ways you can promote your contest to get the most out of it:
- Share the contest on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and where ever your audience is active on social media.
- Email your customers about the contest. They’re likely to enter and share with friends.
- Make a Twitter ad to reach users who aren’t following you. Target the ad to people in your demographic.
- Consider creating a press release explaining your content and business, then send it to larger media organizations.
- Add a banner about the contest to your site. Link to your contest page on your site so visitors will see it when they are on your page.
5. Monitor the Contest
You want to see how your contest is doing as it’s running so you know if you’re meeting your goals.
That way, you can tweak details and adjust the contest in real time.
You can use Google Alerts to do this. Just set up an alert to monitor any mentions of your contest across the internet.
6. Follow up After Choosing a Winner
Once your contest is over and you’ve picked a winner, you want to keep the buzz going.
Take advantage of the contest coming to a close to promote your Twitter account.
You can do this by sharing who the winner was on your Twitter account or website, sending out a follow-up email to thank those who entered, sharing details about future contests, and more.
This will generate attention toward your brand long after your contest has come to a close.
Automate Your Efforts with Twitter Tools
Now you know exactly how to use Twitter in all the right ways to grow your business.
Next, you might want some additional tools, besides the ones already mentioned above, to make the process a bit easier.
And perhaps more importantly, they’ll make it less time-consuming.
Here’s a shortlist of tools that are perfect for automating several processes on Twitter and making your experience with Twitter marketing a bit more seamless.
This tool is perfect for scheduling Twitter posts, monitoring mentions, and more.
This service is very similar to TweetDeck, as it lets you schedule tweets in advance — plus you can track keywords.
This tool lets you monitor all your social media profiles from one location.
This service lets you grow your social reach and explore your Twitter analytics.
You can find out who your followers are, determine their location, and more. You can also share your reports and compare your social graph to other users.
No matter which tool you choose, you’ll shave time and effort off your daily Twitter marketing agenda.
If you’re wondering whether Twitter is actually helpful for growing your customer base, the answer is yes– but you have to use it in the right way. Even I had to work at it.
Once you set measurable marketing goals, you’ll have an outline of why you’re using Twitter in the first place. Your goals will keep you on track during all your Twitter campaigns.
Gain Twitter followers by engaging in conversational Twitter chats and use Twitter ads to your advantage. Promote your tweets, account, or industry-related trend.
Run a Twitter ad, and don’t forget to devote special attention to video.
Hold contests to generate a buzz around your products and services, and follow up with customers after the contest has closed.
Finally, remember to automate your efforts with Twitter tools that will save you time and energy.
How have you gone about using Twitter to grow your business?