Twitter can be a powerful marketing tool once you discover how to optimize it for your business needs…
- Don’t focus on number, focus on quality. Rather than seeing how many thousands of people you can follow in the hopes they will follow you back, focus on finding the highly targeted members who are a good match for what you’re promoting. Read their profiles and follow people who are interested in your niche; whether it’s gardening or race car driving or Internet marketing
Think of your Twitter followers as you would a mailing list – a thousand highly target people who are truly receptive to your products are worth far more to your business than a 100,000 randomly selected people. That’s why Twitter isn’t about who has the biggest follower count – it’s about making real connections with real people.
- Don’t blast links to the exclusion of great content and making real connections. Certainly you want to promote your brand with your latest blog post or product, but you won’t get the results you seek unless you’re also forging connections, developing networks and growing relationships as well.
If you spend too much of your time pushing your products and boosting your own ego, your followers will run for the hills faster than you can say, “Whoops!” Plus, if you’re not interacting with your followers, your followers are forgetting you altogether.
- Don’t slave over content. If you’re already producing content elsewhere on the Internet, then Twitter is a breeze. For example, craft 3 or 4 tweets for each blog post that highlight something interesting you covered in your post, and do the same for articles. New product? Pull out some nuggets of information and share it freely with your followers.
- Don’t tell your followers what you had for breakfast unless there was something truly interesting about it. Cornflakes or eggs are NOT tweet worthy, fresh alligator is. Some folks on Twitter feel it’s their duty to report every little thing in their lives. Yawn! If you’re on Twitter to market, then leave this mundane stuff out of your tweets.
- Do share the latest news in your niche. This is easy – sign up for Google Alerts using terms relevant to your niche to receive the latest news each day, and then write a few tweets from this content. Presto! That took maybe 5 minutes, and you become the informed person people want to follow.
- Do offer your Twitter followers sales and coupons. Since the very nature of Twitter is fast response, you can give followers an incentive to follow you by offering them special deals, such as a 50% discount for the next 20 minutes.
- Do provide immediate support. Dell Computers has been combining product discounts with customer support and a request for feedback from Twitter users for sometime now – and their efforts have added millions to their bottom line. To easily keep track of every tweet mentioning your name, your product or your company, use http://tweetbeep.com/. It sends you notifications to let you know who’s tweeting about you, allowing you to immediately respond. And remember, every time you respond to a tweet, there are hundreds of other people watching your conversation. That’s why one stellar show of customer service can result in several more sales.
- Do elicit customer feedback. Ask questions such as, “What’s missing from our latest product?” What’s your toughest challenge?” “What would you like to know concerning how to ____ ?” And so forth. This is a great way to get information on how to improve your current products and what products you should roll out next. Be sure to acknowledge the responses you receive.
- Do run contests. People love contests and you can really capture their interest with this. First, make the contests short – no more than an hour in duration. Second, make them fun. You might ask followers to send their best example of a web page with a funny header, or to guess what you did to earn money in junior high, or to write the best headline for toothpaste for elephants. Encourage your followers to retweet your contest and be sure to award prizes to the winners – free copies of an e-product or Amazon coupons work great.
- Do retweet. By reposting useful content to your followers, you can build goodwill, increase your followers and get your own content retweeted as well.
- Do run polls. You’ll find new people to follow and you’ll collect dynamite tips and insights from your followers. Plus it’s a great opportunity to engage your network and further build your relationships. Not sure how to run a poll? No problem – see the “How to Run a Twitter Poll” in this edition of Delaveri.
By using these steps you’ll find that Twitter is a great place to build relationships with your customers, find new customers and even enjoy the process.
How to Run a Twitter Poll
Twitter polls are an excellent method for asking for help, getting feedback and further building relationships. And they’re super easy to run, as well. Here’s how:
- Announce that you’ll be taking a poll or asking a series of poll questions.
- Use a descriptive #hashtag after each of your poll questions to thread them together.
- Ask questions that are relevant to your tweeting history. For example, if your Twitter profile is all about online marketing, then stick to that rather than asking what they think of politics or global climate change.
- Do make it fun. Polls don’t always need to be serious. For example, if your niche is marketing, you might ask how they would market square chicken eggs or what is the worst example of marketing they’ve witnessed in the past week.
- Thank your participants, ask for clarification if necessary, and let them know what you’ll be doing with their feedback (Creating a new product? Changing your marketing strategy? Writing a new blog post? Etc.)
- If you’re writing a blog post based on the results you receive, consider thanking the participants by name in your post. If there are too many to thank, at least create a Twitter list just for this particular poll and then link to the poll from your blogpost.
If you’re finding it difficult to interact with your fellow Twitterites, you’ll definitely want to use a few polls to get things jump started. I’ve seen a poll on whether or not people prefer creamy to chunky peanut butter generate huge interest in just minutes. It’s all about engaging people and valuing their opinion – even on something as silly as smooth or lumpy.
Tricks to Getting Retweeted
When your tweets get retweeted, a whole new group of followers is exposed to your tweet, and thereby you. The more your tweets are retweeted, the greater number of followers who get to see them. Why is this important? Because the added exposure can mean you get new followers as well as more clicks to your website.
So are there any tricks to getting retweeted? Absolutely, and I’ve picked out some of the best…
- Write good stuff. Seriously – write tweets that people enjoy, that are interesting or useful or entertaining or helpful. Recall the kinds of things you’ve retweeted – you don’t forward boring stuff, you retweet only the best tweets, and that’s what your followers do as well.
- Anything about Twitter is retweetable. Think about it – what is the ONE thing every single person on Twitter has in common? Twitter! So when you find an article with Twitter tips, or the latest editorial rant on why Twitter is bad, or great, or the marketing bonanza of all time – go ahead and tweet about it.
- Break news – whether it’s a tornado moving through your backyard or the latest development in your niche – tweet about breaking news as soon as you hear about it.
- Tweet “How-to’s.” People love tweets that begin with, “How to…” regardless of whether it’s how to make sauerkraut chocolate cake, get more done in less time or hot wire a car. Another phrase that also gets retweeted a lot is “The art of…”
- Use links in your tweets. Providing a link adds credibility and gives your followers a place to go for more information. Always add a link if it’s pertinent.
- Tweet about the weird, strange and bizarre. Glow in the dark goldfish and naked graffiti artists will get retweeted non-stop for DAYS, so go ahead and tweet about the weird stuff, because you are NOT the only person who loves being surprised and shocked.
- Which brings us to the last one – be surprising, be different, be FUN. More than almost anything else, people love to be entertained – so go ahead and get a little crazy, let the kid in you shine through, and transmit that innate sense of pleasure in living life to your followers.
Bottom line: The more you get retweeted, the better. And what’s the number one trick to getting retweeted? Believe it or not, it’s simply ASKING your followers to retweet you.
How To Survive Your Fist Hashtag Hijacking
During a presidential debate, the sitting U.S. President gave a shout out to a group called, “Proud Boys”.
When I think of ‘proud boys’, I imagine two year old boys in diapers who just used the potty for the very first time.
But apparently these “Proud Boys” are actually a white supremacist group classified by the FBI as an extremist group and a hate group. Before the debate even ended, the hashtag #ProudBoys began trending.
That’s when LGBTQ Twitter users jumped in and hijacked the hashtag, posting photos and messages of love and pride including wedding photos of gay couples.
Within hours there were thousands of people – politicians, TV stars, the Canadian armed forces and so forth – posting gay love pictures and quotes under the hashtag.
For most this is a heartwarming result, but what about hashtag hijacking of legitimate businesses and groups?
When McDonald’s kicked off their #McDstories campaign, little did they realize they would be hit with plenty of negative stories on that hashtag, such as…
- “Fingernail in my BigMac Once” #McDstories
- “Ordered McDouble, chipped my molar” #McDstories
- “Hospitalized for food poisoning after eating at McDonalds 1989” #McDstories
- “I lost 50 lbs. in 6 months after I quit working and eating at McDonalds” #McDstories
- “Learn about McDonalds using pigs from gestation crates” #McCruelty #McDstories
Let’s say you launch your first hashtag campaign. It’s going well, your hashtag is starting to trend, your message is spreading and you’re getting plenty of user generated content. Then it happens: Your hashtag gets hijacked. It could be people who have a problem with your product, your marketing, your name or the cut of your hair. Or it could even be a total misunderstanding.
But hashtag hijacking usually falls into one of two categories: Either these hijackers are attention seeking trolls or you’ve got a complete PR disaster.
That’s why you want to choose a specific hashtag that isn’t easy to hijack. You don’t want to make the same mistake McDonald’s made of choosing a hashtag that is too broad and vague, inviting trouble.
Before you start using your hashtag, have a few people take a look at it and see if you’re missing something obvious that could lead to trouble. For example, “Susan Album Party” looks harmless, but when you turn it into a hashtag (#susanalbumparty) then you’ve got something entirely different.
Once your hashtag is launched, monitor what’s happening closely, looking for any signs of trouble. If you start seeing negative posts on your social media wall, be proactive.
Here is a list of things you can do to keep damage to a minimum:
1: Keep inappropriate posts off your social wall.
This isn’t about paranoia; it’s about protecting your brand image. You should already be blocking anything racist, pornographic or derogatory by using a blacklist. While I can’t give you a list of words here to blacklist (nsfw) a quick search on Google will provide you with astonishingly long lists of terms.
2: Find your hijacker(s) and delete their comments.
Remove hurtful content, find the creator of that content and let them know their post was removed and you’ve blocked their account.
3: For legitimate complaints, apologize and make it right.
You can do this publicly or behind the scenes.
4: Wait it out.
Eventually all PR scandals are forgotten and people move on to other things.
In the future, follow these hashtag rules:
1: Do be creative and unique, and don’t be vague or self-serving. If your hashtag is too vague then you’re just inviting trouble. If it sounds self-serving, people will mock you.
2: Avoid open-ended hashtags. The #McDstories is a great example of what NOT to do because it’s simply too broad, inviting sarcasm and negative posts.
When Delta Air Lines wanted to try a hashtag, they chose #Flydeltafree because of its specificity. Conversely, #whyIlove delta would have invited sarcasm and a host of negative posts.
3: Start new hashtags only in good times. If your business or product is generating any kind of negative press right now, then it’s smart to forgo a hashtag campaign because it can burn you.
4: Use contest hashtags. To encourage customers to generate content for you, consider using a hashtag campaign. For example, let’s say you’re a coffee house during the holidays – how would you get customers to post photos of their drinks? Starbucks did it with their #redcupcontest, inviting people to post shots of their holiday-themed beverages for the chance of winning a large gift card and it worked beautifully.
Before I close, I want to share my favorite Hashtag campaign:
IHOP (International House of Pancakes) is known for being in the breakfast business, which is why fans went crazy when they announced a name change to IHOB. What did the “B” stand for? Would they still serve breakfast? What the heck was happening?
The company invited speculation on what the “B” stood for, resulting in 1.8 million mentions of #IHOB on Twitter, 86,000 tweets per hour at the peak, and holding the No 1 spot (IHOP) No 2 (IHOB) and No 4 (International House) according to AdAge.
Eventually IHOP let customers in on the joke, announcing the supposed name change was simply a marketing ploy to draw attention to their burgers and other menu offerings.
Done right, hashtag campaigns can generate a frenzy of buzz, visibility and even content.