Marketing on Twitter: #2 in Low Cost Marketing Series

In this series on low cost marketing, I’m sharing how to use marketing assets, like social media, to build awareness and drive traffic (to your webpage, mobile app, etc.).  While social media is not free, used correctly, it can certainly help you efficiently find your posse online.  With this post, I focus on marketing on Twitter.

All social media is not created equal.  So, while there are tools that will allow you to create one post and send it to every social media account you have, this is not the optimal use of your resources.  What works on Facebook may not work on Instagram, even though Instagram is owned by Facebook and the company makes it easy to advertise one message on both platforms.  Similarly, what works on Instagram may not work on Pinterest or Twitter.

For years, many have wondered Will Twitter Live?  Yes, Twitter is still alive and getting a much needed boost from prominent personalities worldwide (with notable exceptions, like British royalty, who are not allowed to Twitter accounts).

Twitter, Not Just for Celebrities

Twitter has been a strong social media for actors, entertainers, politicians, athletes—basically for any “celebrity” who wants to bring their message to the masses.  Consider the following:

  • Katy Perry has 108 million Twitter followers
  • Barack Obama has 99 million
  • Ellen DeGeneres has 77 million
  • Jimmy Fallon has 40 million
  • Donald Trump has 47 million
  • Oprah Winfrey has 41 million
  • LeBron James has 40 million

You get the picture.  When these individuals tweet anything, their instant audience is informed.  But don’t be tempted to think that Twitter is just for celebrities and their followers.  There are many corporate brands that have been successful with marketing on Twitter as well.  Just look at MoonPie, a small dessert brand made by Chattanooga Bakery in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Their $35 million in revenue is paltry compared to Hostess Brands at $2.5 billion. That didn’t stop @MoonPie from going after a Hostess’ Twitter claim that is was the “official snack cake of the elipse”.  MoonPie’s response resulted in millions of impressions beyond Twitter as the tweet went viral with over 500,000 likes.

Find other examples of strong brand marketing on Twitter in my July 2014 post.

Engage in Trending Conversations

For many brands, getting marketing on Twitter right involves engaging with trending topics.  Like most social media sites, Twitter is about strategy and timing.  Timing is key and tweets live and die on trending topics.  When a hashtag trends on Twitter, it is hot, hot, hot…but only for a limited time.  Given that success on Twitter is linked to timeliness, the more time spent on the social media site, the more opportunities to get noticed.  Therefore, posting several times per day on Twitter is optimal.  (Warning: This is not a universal truth for all social media accounts.)   If you do not have the time or resources to login and post several times a day, use a scheduler like Hootsuite or Buffer as Twitter does not currently have a scheduling option on the platform.  It is absolutely essential to use the trending hashtag when posting on a trending topic.

Be Your Own Publicist

While Twitter is a good platform for getting into conversations about trending topics, it can also be an effective PR tool.  With all the celebrities on Twitter, you can be sure that the media is there as well.  Successful marketing on Twitter often includes engaging with media.  In fact, many TV news outlets will say “Join the conversation on Twitter at #XYZ” when they want to carry a discussion into the digital realm.  No other social media site bridges the digital-broadcast gap in quite the same fashion.

There are media publishers, national media personalities and many, many local reporters on the social site.  You can find, follow and engage with relevant media on Twitter.  Once you find them, don’t limit your engagement to the social media site, connect with relevant followers and contacts offline as well!

Follow Relevant Accounts

Not only should you follow the media, you should also follow accounts that are relevant to your business.  Gaining an audience is a key component to marketing on Twitter.  But if you follow and unfollow too much, Twitter will freeze your account—either temporarily or permanently. So be judicious about who to follow.  You can start by following accounts that are engaged in conversations that you want to be engaged in.  Don’t feel compelled to follow every account that follows you.  It’s very easy to set up a fake Twitter account and there are plenty of fakes on the site.  So take the time to investigate a user that follows you before you follow back.

Engage Through Lists

The Lists feature on Twitter allows you to create a group of users into a single social stream.  Lists are useful for organizing follower types on Twitter.  For instance, you can create a list of suppliers or a list of media contacts.  Lists may be public or private.  Private lists are great for researching competitor activity or tracking a client list that you do not want publicly disclosed.  Lists are a great tool to enhance marketing on Twitter.

It is important to not only post tweets but also to engage with other users on Twitter.  This is true for every social media platform.  If you use social sites as a broadcast platform but do not engage, your followers will not be engaged either.  Use Lists to initiate engagement.  For instance, if you want to retweet influencers, create an Influencer List and view that stream to find relevant content.

Indeed, Twitter is still alive.  Marketing on Twitter can be a low cost marketing strategy but will require man-hours.  Finding your way on the social site is a matter of strategy and timing.  As you engage with others on the platform, you will increase awareness of your brand and deliver more impressions to the market.