We’ve talked about websites and we’ve talked about Facebook, that’s enough isn’t it? The short answer? No. Your website and your Facebook page are great, and you will see positive growth from them, but there is one more social media service you need to be using, Twitter!
Is Marketing with Twitter Possible?
Twitter is an odd form of social media in that it is restricted in ways that most of the others are not. On Twitter, you only have the opportunity to phrase whatever you want to say in 140 characters. The only way to exceed that number is to break your tweet into more than one post.
You also can’t post an entire memory stick full of photos at once like you can on Facebook. In fact, if you post more than one or two at one time, your followers may become annoyed and stop following you! Twitter is its own animal, and it’s important to understand what it is and how to use it in order to be effective.
However, in spite of its limitations, or perhaps because of them, twitter is an excellent source for marketing. Finding success there can be challenging, but your influence has the potential to be more broad more quickly than with Facebook. So what do you need to know? Lets dig in!
Marketing with #Hashtags
The best way to communicate with people who aren’t actively following you is through the use of #hashtags. A #hashtag is when you place this symbol “#” in front of a word or short phrase. You can have no spaces between the # and the word or words you are using. For example, instead of #FG Market, I would have to use #FGmarket. If I typed #FG Market, only the FG is tagged, and Market is left off.
Why is this important? Twitter is set up so that you can search it’s entire network for everyone tweeting under a specific #hashtag, and you can read all the posts associated with it. Therefore if you post and use a #hashtag, anyone searching under that #hashtag will be able to see and read your post. Anyone. Anywhere. Now that’s reach! When multiple people are using the same #hashtag, that’s referred to as trending.
Of course, the secret here is not to make up your own #hashtags, or at least not always, but rather to piggyback on one that is already in use. It’s also important that your post be relevant to whatever tag you are using, as an errant post will be ignored and not garner you additional followers or the attention you want. In fact, it could result in some negative backlash. This is where my mantra once again comes into play:
Content is King
People don’t generally enjoy it when a company interrupts a conversation with, “Hey, look at me! Buy my product!” Instead, make a witty comment or inject yourself into the conversation legitimately. Your Twitter handle should be based on your business, not to mention the photo, and it is already advertising for you. If you engage in the conversation and get people to respond to your posts, you’ll get a lot more positive exposure.
That doesn’t mean you can’t do a little personal marketing. It’s okay to create your own #hashtags, especially when you know you can get your users to pick them up. For example, lets say that you own a floral shop. You decide to have a promotion to stimulate sales wherein you will reduce the price of tulips by 10% on Tuesdays for the next month. You post about it on Twitter and follow up with the tag#tuliptuesdays. There’s a good chance that your followers will either retweet your post, or post about it themselves and use your tag. Before long, you may be trending!
If you want it to remain local, you might also add the most popular tag for your area such as #detroitMI for Detroit, MI or #bigD for Dallas, TX. If you are hosting an event, feel free to post a sign informing attendees what #hashtag you’d like them to use when tweeting about what’s happening there. Those things are very acceptable and you’ll be surprised how much traffic you receive from using them.
The Twitter community does not take kindly to “astroturfing”. This is a slang term that refers to someone obviously trying to start his own grass roots movement, normally because he’s trying to start a tag with his business name. Unless your business is part of a local news story or something equally interesting, you should never use #businessname. At best it will be ignored, at worst it will look desperate and sad.
As you can see, Twitter can be a powerful tool if used properly. It’s important to understand the community you are entering and realize that ultimately they want the same things that the other social media communities want, interesting content delivered timely and creatively. Once you understand that, the rest is just details!