Back to Basics: Using Twitter for Marketing

Back to Basics - Using Twitter for Marketing - #TwitterSmarter chat with Julia Jornsay-Silverberg on September 12, 2019

The foundation of anything means everything. Business and social media aren’t any different. That’s why it’s important to revisit the basics every now and then. Not only is it a refresher for the brain, but also an opportunity to learn new tricks and stay updated.

And so, we invited Julia Jornsay-Silverberg, social media strategist, YouTuber, and speaker, to share some of the good old lessons of using Twitter for marketing. Along the way, we also learnt a ton of new marketing ideas and tactics, courtesy of our enthusiastic community.

Here’s a summary of the chat:

Topic: Back to Basics: Using Twitter for Marketing
Guest: Julia Jornsay-Silverberg
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What makes Twitter different from other social media?

The spontaneity, of course.

If you’ve been on our #TwitterSmarter chat, you’ll know how quickly the hour goes. That’s the nature of Twitter. Spend a while observing your feed and you’ll notice hundreds of tweets every minute.

And what are these tweets about? Current events, hyper localized events, industry news, updates from celebrities, and everything that makes the world tick. That’s why Twitter is so special—as our guest pointed out, Twitter’s the go-to place for trends.

But that’s not all. No two people use Twitter the same way and it has something different for everyone. Here’re a few more ideas our community members shared:

  • Fast-paced, real-time, and real conversations with others in your industry. Chats are an amazing resource for learning and keeping up with business news as well.
  • It’s casual and light hearted—well, mostly anyway. Conversations are intended to help and learn from each other. It’s a great place to grow as a social media user.
  • Twitter’s good way to establish your brand and showcase your expertise.
  • Information is distributed concisely and is easy to digest. How many times have you started reading a lengthy LinkedIn article and given up half way, bored? Twitter’s not like that.

Most of all, as VishnuPriya, a #TwitterSmarter newbie mentioned, Twitter is a public repository of knowledge. And because every tweet is limited to 280 characters, you don’t have to leaf through hundreds of pages to get the single piece of information you’re looking for.

Q2: How do you keep up with conversations and people on Twitter?

Twitter’s native feature, Lists, is a great way to curate accounts that you’re interested in. That way, every time you open the list, you’ll see all the tweets from the profiles you’ve collected. It’s like personal treasure. You can also make public lists that other Twitter users can subscribe to.

Most of our community members use tools like Tweet Deck and Agorapulse to keep up with conversations. Most tools nowadays let you create columns for specific accounts, hashtags, trends, and search terms. This gives you a multi-view of what’s happening in different conversation threads.

Another good way to be in the know is building relationships with people you interact with on Twitter. Like Vraj suggested, consider adding them to your network on other social platforms. Friends from Twitter could be friends on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn, and followers on Instagram.

Our guest Julia also shared some important information about Twitter’s default algorithm. As you become more active you are on Twitter, it automatically suggests tweets from people you often engage with. These show up under the notifications tab and as mobile push notifications, if you’ve enabled them.

Even if you do nothing else, always keep an eye on your notifications and mentions. That’s the easiest and basic way to keep up with what’s happening around you.

Q3: What are some ways Twitter helps develop a marketing strategy?

Twitter, like Julia said, is another avenue for your customers to reach you. It gives you a chance to develop a marketing strategy for social media alongside other activities.

And when you use hashtags relevant to your industry and specialty, you boost your chances of being discovered on Twitter. Read more about how you can use hashtags for branding.

Our community members pointed out some other ways Twitter can help build a marketing strategy. It lets you,

  • Showcase your expertise.
  • Brand yourself with a hashtag.
  • Listen to your audience’s needs and concerns.
  • Survey your followers and collect feedback.
  • Identify keywords that your target audience is familiar with and avoid jargons that might alienate them.
  • Gather market trends and analysis to develop your marketing strategy.
  • Reach local audience through targeted promotions.
  • Build an active, sharing community.

And as Sarah rightly pointed out, Twitter helps you observe your competition, see what they do best, and learn from their mistakes.

Q4: How has marketing on Twitter changed since its expansion to 280 characters?

Not everyone was happy about it when Twitter increased its character limit. From being forced to being concise, people suddenly had the option to be verbose. I, for one, was appalled imagining all the unnecessary banter that’d go into a tweet.

But I was wrong. As were many others. Even though for the first few weeks, all I ever saw were chunky, clunky tweets, as time went on, the excitement abated. Which soon led way to coherent information sharing. No more click-bait-like headlines—brands started investing time to craft meaningful tweet copy.

Julia said it well: We can now share a complete message, along with an image, an additional link, and relevant hashtags, without having to clip our points or break into multiple tweets.

Besides, having more characters just gives us a better chance of addressing specific matters with more detail. I’m sure older Twitter users can relate to James’s illustration of rethinking and rewording every tweet to fit in the character limit. What a pain that was.

Q5: Share some examples of using Twitter for customer service.

As I said before, Twitter is an ideal platform to learn by observing. Our guest and community shared a bunch of Twitter accounts that nail customer service.

Julia mentioned JetBlue Airways and how they use Twitter to update customers about flight details, answer frequently asked questions, respond to passenger concerns in real-time—all the while enjoying the process. That’s essential—if you’re not having fun on social media, you’re taking social too seriously.

AllState uses direct messages to effectively help out with customer needs. Often, direct messages can be the best way to deal with sharing email addresses and detailed explanations of issues and customer grievances on social media.

Nike is another company that responds with a fun message every time a customer or fan mentions them. Their acknowledgement and interaction boosts their credibility as an approachable brand.

John told us about the time he complained on Twitter when his cable went out, and Charter responded promptly. That’s how powerfully instant Twitter is.

Zappos and Target also do a great job of listening to their customers and letting them know they heard.

And remember, as Chaim put it, a brand’s power depends not on how many complains they receive on Twitter, but on how well they handle it and resolve those issues.

Q6: What’s the least-appreciated feature of Twitter for small businesses?

We all know how much you can gain from having an active presence on Twitter. However, as Julia admitted, Twitter is so fast that it can sometimes be overwhelming. For small businesses, in particular, to generate proper returns on their investment, they need to consistently tweet throughout the day. They might even have to allocate individual people to be on Twitter full time.

When they do have a solid Twitter presence, though, a small business could capitalize on some of these features:

  • Lists: Collect a repository of relevant or influential leaders in the industry and engage with them.
  • Direct Messages: Use it for customer support and build relationships with your network.
  • Advanced Search: Identify local audience and drill down specific conversations.
  • Live video: Expand your messages with a personal video. Let your audience see and know you better.

Boyd emphasized the importance of video. He referenced Dan as an example of sharing in-depth information just by replying with a video to a tweet or an article.

Q7: What should you consider when allocating resources for Twitter on your marketing plan?

The most important thing you should remember is that Twitter moves fast and you need to be tweeting a lot to make an impact. And so as Julia said, know that you have enough time to tweet. Even once a day isn’t enough—think at least 10-15 a day.

It’s also worth considering how you’ll use Twitter differently from the way you use your other social platforms. Each has its own merits and demerits and having a clear strategy goes a long way in maintaining consistency.

Here are some other thoughts our community offered:

  • Be aware that Twitter takes time. There’s no such thing as an overnight success, so be prepared to spend time and effort to build your network.
  • Have a Twitter management plan that includes time for responding to notifications, initiating conversations, participating in chats, and sharing content.
  • Know your brand’s values and the tone you use to project yourself. See that all stakeholders are on the same page.
  • Be human on Twitter. Offer useful content in a consistent manner, and boost your presence by being genuinely helpful.
  • Understand your budget limitations for promotional tweets, and come up with creative ways to work within your limits.
  • Set reasonable and measurable goals for your Twitter campaigns. Have a clear picture of your target audience, their requirements, and how you plan to engage them.

Mike spoke about the value of knowing when and how to use Twitter. We know Twitter is a good way to raise awareness, establish your brand, offer customer support, etc. But based on your audience and their position in your sales funnel, you might have varied goals and targets on Twitter.

Q8: Share some resources to learn about Twitter and Twitter marketing.

Julia, like most of us, is a big fan of Madalyn’s Twitter tips, resources, and podcasts. She also recommends Social Media Examiner.

Here’re a few other resources that our community members shared:

Oh, and Dan is an excellent resource too. He does Twitter live video tutorials every day. Have a question? Hit him up!

Well folks, that’s all I have for this week’s summary. Feel free to tweet out to me or Madalyn if you have any comments or suggestions about our weekly chats. And if you can spare some time on Thursday, join us at 1 pm ET for our net #TwitterSmarter chat.

About me, Narmadhaa:

I’m a writer of all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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