7 reasons why Twitter is great for your business

Twitter birds

7 reasons why Twitter is great for your business

Twitter is a crazy place – a world full of opinionated one liners – good, bad, and often just mean – all shared publicly for all the world to see.

TV shows have harnessed its power and use it to give the fans a way to connect and see what everyone else thinks.

Celebrities use it to keep in touch with their fans and send the occasional messages of love or condolences to other celebrities.

But is Twitter any good for business?  Should you really bother?

The answer is a resounding YES.  Here’s why.

1.      You don’t need a pre-existing relationship with your audience

The top three social media sites are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Facebook and LinkedIn are focussed around connecting with people that you already know.  Sending random requests to people that you don’t know on these sites is generally frowned upon.

Twitter is the complete opposite.  Part of the twitter culture is that you “follow” anyone you like.  The great thing about this is that if people like your content, they are likely to follow you.  And if you follow someone, they often follow you back.

Once they’re a follower, you’re able to contact them directly with Twitter direct messages.

Each follower is a potential lead for your company.  Each have chosen to follow you, and decided over time to stay on as your follower.  From a marketing point of view, this shows that you both have their interest and managed to retain it!  Great!

2.      You don’t need any followers for people to see your message

Another powerful feature of twitter is the use of hash tags. If you’ve never used twitter before, you’ve probably seen some strange messages scrolling across the bottom of TV shows that look something like this:

Get VOTING guys - Shane really wants to stay in #ImACelebrityAU! RT & post #celebshane up to 20 times! #TeamWarne

Sample tweet with hashtags

In this example, a TV show has asked its audience to use #ImACelebrityAU hash tags to keep track of the conversation the audience is having.  By searching on that tag, you will see tweets from other people who are commenting about the show.  You don’t have to know who they are or follow them to see the tweets.

The same goes for anything that you write.  Just add some relevant hashtags, and your tweet will be seen by people who are interested in that topic.

Two minute hashtag research introduction

There is a lot that can be said about keyword research, but for the two minute introduction..

Pick a few keywords and put them into http://hashtagify.me.

It will show you how popular that hashtag is, and a number of the related tags.

Let’s say you’ve written an article about renovating a kitchen, or want to sell kitchen renovation related services.  Try searching on “kitchen renovation”.

At the top of the screen, you can see the popularity of the tag, out of 100.

#KitchenRenovation - popularity: 22.7

Popularity of the “kitchenrenovation” hashtag

22.7 is not great.

The next thing to note is the diagram of related hashtags.

Tags related to #kitchenrenovation

Tags related to #kitchenrenovation

The output is nice and visual –bigger bubbles belong to the more popular tags.

If you hover over one of the bubbles, it will tell you what its popularity is, as well as its correlation with the “kitchenrenovation” hashtag:

#renovation hashtag details

#renovation hashtag details

From looking at this diagram, I would use #DIY, #kitchen and #renovation as hashtags to use in a tweet, for example:

This #kitchen #renovation is starting to look great! http://link-to-your-site #DIY

And make sure you attach a nice big picture to get more interest in people actually clicking on your link to find out more.

3.      Connect with people and find customers from all over the world

If you have a business that is able to deliver internationally, Twitter can help you build your customer base in other countries.

As you tweet and gather new followers, you will find they are from everywhere.   Here’s a breakdown of where my followers are from.  The numbers are percentages of followers.  The map is a free service provided by tweepsmap.com.

Twitter follower map

Twitter follower map

My business is about writing materials in English, so naturally my target audience reside in all of the English speaking customers.  As you can see from the map, Twitter has given me direct access to potential customers in all English-speaking nations without me directly having to try to achieve that result.

4.      Gain regular exposure to your content over a longer time

On a lot of social media sites, you get one real opportunity to post an article and drive traffic to your website from it.  If it manages to gain some traction and other people share it, that’s great!  But in many cases, your article is published, gets some interest for a few days, and then fades away into the archives.

This is not a great result if you spent ages writing it!

Advertising can bring it back to life – for a price of course.

Or you can re-post it several times.  On most sites, that just makes you look like a spammer and is largely annoying!

Twitter however makes it easy for your articles to live on long after they were initially published.

On Twitter, it is common for tweets to scroll by fast enough that it is hard to read them all.  Often, if you weren’t on soon after a tweet was published, you can miss it altogether.

As a result, it is common for people to re-tweet their content number of times.

The main thing to avoid is having your twitter feed looking like it’s all the same thing over and over again.  That is easy to do if you tweet regularly and leave a bit of time between resending the same tweet.

When people look at your profile on twitter, they’re most likely only going to scroll back through a few pages of tweets.  Try recycling tweets from further back.

To get the best benefit from it, check out your tweet performance on https://analytics.twitter.com and retweet the most successful ones.

Note – Twitter also keeps your more successful tweets alive without you needing to do anything.  As I was writing this, I received a few likes for a tweet that I sent out 24 days ago. (Or some of my new followers are bored and are reading back through tweets I’ve sent previously).

5.      A/B market testing is super easy

A/B market testing is the process where you systematically test different variations of advertisements, landing pages and the rest of the marketing process to see what works best.  I previously wrote about how Twitter is great for A/B market testing since it provides you with a super cheap and easy way to carry it out.

A/B market testing on men's hairstyles

A/B market testing on men’s hairstyles

Related article: Cheap and effective A/B market testing with Twitter

If you’re writing a book for instance, brainstorm some different titles and send them out.  See which one gets more interest.

Then, make a few sample book covers and attach them to a series of tweets.  See which works best.

When it comes to advertising to it, make a few different image ads and send them out.

Traditionally, this would be done through paid advertising.  Twitter makes it easy to try different variations at no cost to you!

The same process is also good for helping you to learn what it was that your customers liked about an article.

Reusing a previous example – I recently wrote an introductory article on the Internet of Things – what it is and how it works.

On twitter, I advertised the article over a series of 5 tweets.  Each tweet was different, just to avoid looking like re-runs of the same material.

I thought my article was about explaining a geeky technical term. I included a short day-in-the-life example just to make it more realistic.

It turns out that people loved the example, and in particular, loved the topic of home automation.  This was really just a side note in the original article.  I never expected that to be what people liked the most.

6.      You can meet the big players in your field

Twitter also gives you a great forum for meeting the leading influencers in your field.  Twitter keeps an eye on what you’re interested in and who you follow, and prompts you with people to consider following.  If you hover over a person’s name, it shows you how many people follow them.  You can quickly find out who the major players in this field are.

Here’s an example:

Twitter suggestions about who to follow

Twitter suggestions about who to follow

If I start a conversation with @VentureBeat, I will be talking to someone with six hundred and seven thousand followers!  Imagine the exposure to one of your tweets if they re-tweeted it?

Twitter makes it very easy to find leading influencers.  There are also a number of programs that can help.  RazorSocial have a good overview guide to some of the programs.

7.      You can learn a LOT about your customers

Twitter provides a gold mine of information about your leads and customers.  Many people include information about their likes, job, their website and a whole range of other information right in their Twitter biography.

This makes it super easy to get to know more about each of your followers, and really focus in on the type of buyers that you’re looking for.

Aside from their profile, you can also view a full history of all of the public tweets they’ve ever sent.  It is hard to get a clearer view of what people are really interested in.

This makes it very easy to get them talking – after all, you already know what they’ve been talking about.

For anyone in sales, this is awesome!

It’s a bit too easy isn’t it?  Of course, you still have to nudge them along from being a lead to being a customer, so there’s still plenty of work to do!

Conclusion

In summary, there are many good reasons why Twitter should be included in your social marketing mix.

  1. You don’t need a pre-existing relationship with your audience
  2. You don’t need any followers for people to see your message
  3. You can connect with people and find customers from all over the world
  4. You can gain regular exposure to your content over a longer time
  5. A/B market testing is super easy
  6. You can meet the big players in your field
  7. You can learn a LOT about your customers

If you haven’t given Twitter a go, try it now!

PS – If you found this interesting, please share it with by using the share buttons below.  Thanks!

About the author

Leon Troeth is a Melbourne-based freelance technology copywriter.  Leon loves turning complex tech jargon and concepts into articles that everyone can understand.

Acknowledgements

Twitter bird pictures by Vecteezy
Men’s hairstyles image designed by Freepik


Blogs and websites that have been left to die

Make sure your website doesn’t say that you’ve gone out of business!

This week I carried out a survey of 50 Brisbane-based IT services companies.  My aim was simple – I’m looking for companies that might be interested in help with writing material for their business or managing their social media.

I was shocked with what I found.

My survey was focused only on IT companies – specialist IT services companies!

The amount of sloppy IT work that I uncovered was frightening.  Not just sloppy social media advertising, but also a number of ancient relic websites that look like they were built in the Stone Age (which in computing terms is anything more than a few years ago!).

Survey results – website updates

Out of the 50 companies, 15 companies had websites that are desperately in need of an overhaul.

There were a number of obvious mistakes like:

  • Links that don’t work in Chrome
  • Websites that have been optimised for an 800×600 screen
  • Websites that are not responsive (as in.. they won’t look good on a mobile phone)
  • Copyright info dating back to 2012 or earlier
  • Websites that just look awful compared to modern designs

These websites are so far out of date, it looks like the company has gone out of business.

Survey results – social media presence

Social media survey of 50 Brisbane-based IT services companies

Social media survey of 50 Brisbane-based IT services companies

54% of the companies had no social media presence at all.  That’s ok – it’s not a requirement to be on Facebook and twitter.

Another 13% were doing a really great job of it. Constant updates, regular engagement with their audience, blogs with good material.

However, one third of the companies really struggled.   These companies had done something in the social media space, but then left it to wither and die.  They had a page on Facebook, Twitter, etc, and even had a few updates.. but then.. nothing.

They also had a blog or “news” page with very few updates, and often no updates for months at a time.  It is hard to call it “news” if there is nothing new on there!

Bad social media presence is a whole lot worse than no social media presence

The bottom line is –

If you are not going to keep a blog or social media page updated regularly, don’t make one!

It gives a really bad impression to have a website that is so obviously out of date.

First impressions matter

Having an out of date website leaves a very bad impression.  It is very easy to tell which websites have been updated in the past couple of years.  Modern, responsive websites all have a particular look about them.  Any website that hasn’t been updated in that time looks very old, and gives the impression that the company may not really know what it’s doing.

The sad part was, all of these were IT services companies.  If IT companies can’t modernise their website when they probably have the skills available in-house, how is the rest of the business community meant to do it?

The good news is that keeping websites and social media up to date is a lot easier than it looks.

Tips for keeping your website and social media alive

The following can keep your website and social media presence alive with the absolute minimum of effort.

1.      Use WordPress for your website, and update the theme regularly

If you are struggling to keep your website up to date, this is the best tip for you!

WordPress is a content management system for websites.  It is very easy to use, and many web hosting providers have a one-click install for getting it up and running.

There are hundreds of different themes that can be used with WordPress – each providing a different style for your website.  It will not take long to find one that you like.  Do a search on “Wordpress themes” in your favourite search engine to get started.  Other good searches are “best responsive WordPress themes” or “best free responsive WordPress themes”.

Many themes are up to date with all of the modern features.  They work on all modern browsers and automatically resize content to work on mobile phones, tablets, desktops – you name it!

You don’t need to know anything about coding webpages – just put in the text and WordPress and your theme will look after the presentation for you.

There are also a number of providers that will run WordPress for you – you only need to worry about the content.

WordPress also has a multitude of plugins that make enhancing your website easy.  It is very easy to install a plugin to provide whatever features you want – from being able to add social media sharing icons through to running an online store.

WordPress themes and plugins are also updated regularly.  Keeping your website up to date is as easy as logging into the admin console once a month and installing the updates that are available.

2.      Be consistent

If you have a blog, news section or any social media pages, make sure you post updates regularly.

As a minimum, post something every month.  It doesn’t have to be new material – just post a link to something that is relevant to your audience, and a brief blurb about why it is relevant.

It will be enough to show that your company is still alive.

Whatever you do, don’t post a few updates during one enthusiastic week, and then leave your pages idle for months on end.  Over time, this lack of updates looks really silly.

Note – if you want to get any traction with a blog and social media in general , you really need to be posting at least a couple of times, preferably three, a week.   For platforms like twitter, a few times a day is better.

3.      Consider removing your blog and social media pages

If you don’t want to have to worry about making regular updates, that’s ok – you can always remove your blog and social media pages.  Just review your website content at least once a year, and occasionally update the look and feel of the website (see tip 1 above), and the job will be done.

You can also create a company page on sites like LinkedIn.  These work just as well if it has static information about your company.  They don’t all need updates.

If you have any existing articles on your blog that you want to keep, you can always re-brand the page as a “resources” section.

If you do post any information that is only relevant for 6 months, put a note in your calendar to take it down when it is no longer relevant.

Summary

Just remember, your website and your social media pages say a lot about your business.  Just make sure they don’t come across like this..

This website is in major need of an overhaul!

This website is in major need of an overhaul!

PS – If you found this interesting, please share it with your friends by using the share buttons below.  Thanks!

PPS – If you need some help resurrecting your website, send me your web address.  I’m happy to give some free advice on where to start.

About the author

Leon Troeth is a Melbourne-based freelance technology copywriter.  Leon loves turning complex tech jargon and concepts into articles that everyone can understand.

Acknowledgements

Cemetery image by Stockvault