Twitter Tips: Tweet Your Way to the Top
Twitter is used by millions of businesses and individuals as a way to monitor conversations about their brand, interact with customers, manage customer service issues, promote offers, share rich and engaging content like images and videos – all within 140 characters per tweet.
A 2013 study by analytics company KISS metric even found that Twitter users were more likely to buy from brands they follow on the site by a margin of 64 percent, and that’s just one statistic about a site that has the power, arguably greater than any other social network, to connect with customers and to create loyal brand advocates. In this chapter, we’ll explore some of the ways to make this a reality for you.
Twitter Profile Setup Strategy
No stellar Twitter strategy is complete without a profile built to knock the socks off your customers, so let’s get started with some indispensable setup and optimization tip
Top Twitter username, and a tip for the “Name” box
Your Twitter username is extremely important, as it will make up part of your Twitter profile URL – the address you’ll put on all of your marketing material to direct people to follow you on the social network. Try to keep your username short, simple, and memorable.
Most companies use their brand name as their username so that their address reads www.twitter.com/yourbusinessname. Unlike most other sites, Twitter will allow you to change your username as many times as you like via its Settings menu, but it’s worth remembering that if you’ve publicized one username for a while, unexpectedly switching to a new one would not make good business sense.
Write an engaging Twitter Bio, use real names
Your Twitter profile is likely to appear high up in web search results for your individual or business name, so it’s crucial that you use its 160-character bio right (the bio text is used as the search link’s description and, of course, appears on your Twitter profile itself). Use the small space to accurately and succinctly tell people who you are, what you do, and why they should follow you; use an upbeat tone to reflect Twitter’s fun and conversational nature, and if you’re an individual, single “descriptor” words separated by commas, lines, or hyphens (e.g., globetrotter | entrepreneur | wine lover…” are commonly used space-savers.
If you’re a company, it’s a good idea to include the real name of the person handling your Twitter account so that customers feel more like they’re talking to a person rather than a faceless brand. If you have room, you might also want to throw in a URL, or @mentions to link to other accounts you are associated with, and even brand or industry-related hashtags, too – but be careful that the latter doesn’t mess up the readability and balance of the bio as a whole.
Upload an effective Twitter profile image
Ditch the default Twitter avatar and use a photo of yourself or your brand logo. You could even combine the two, but make sure that a face is clearly visible – Twitter’s one-to-one interactions mean that people will identify much more closely with a profile that displays a person’s smiling face rather than the dreaded default ‘egg’ image or something similarly anonymous.
Twitter recommends that your profile image be uploaded at 400 x 400 pixels. To edit your header image, click the “Edit profile” button on your page and then “Change your profile photo.”
Create a custom Twitter header image
In April 2014, Twitter rolled out a new version of its desktop profiles, complete with a big 1500 x 500-pixel Facebook-sequel header image – a large banner that spans the whole width of the page, ripe for customizing with your own design.
Although a majority of Twitter users now access the site via mobile devices, there’s certainly no harm in making sure your desktop profile captures the imagination of the still-millions of people that browse on desktops. How you choose to fill the header image is up to you, but tactics similar to Facebook – simple branding, highlighting promotions, featuring customers, etc. are a few of the most common strategies. To edit your header image, click the “Edit profile” button on your page and then “Change your header image.”
Create a custom Twitter background image
In previous versions of Twitter for desktop, users could upload a custom design that spanned the whole width of the profile page’s background. Although this is no longer possible on the “home” page of a Twitter profile, you can still insert a background image to appear when someone clicks on an individual tweet to view it (and the conversation attached to it) on a separate page.
Although the eyeballs this portion of your Twitter profile’s branding will be considerably less than that your cover photo, the people that do click individual tweets are, by nature, probably more interested in what you have to say, so the background customization here might appeal to them more than the average Twitter user.
Tell customers when you’re available to help
Lots of customers now turn to Twitter to help solve their problems with a company, and expect a prompt reply when tweeting – studies place the expected response time at around 30 minutes or less! If you intend to use Twitter as an outlet to handle customer service queries, then it is a good idea to let people know when you will be on hand to answer questions.
Is it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, between 9 AM and 5 PM EST Monday to Friday? Or just ‘as soon as we can’? To help reassure customers that you will respond and provide clear expectations, include information about when you will respond, and how long it will take, within your Twitter Bio or as part of your profile’s cover photo design.
Use Twitter Search to discover and connect with customer
Aside from direct @mentions of your brand (those which you’ll receive a notification about), use Twitter Search to find people who have indirectly mentioned your business name, website address, area of interest or expertise etc. and interact with them to begin building a meaningful connection – in many cases, they’ll be even more surprised and delighted that you have made the extra effort to reach out to them.
Don’t jump in all sales-y (even if it looks like the opportunity is there). Start a conversation, get to know your customer a little, and then, maybe a few tweets down the line, start to move the conversation towards your end goal.
For a more subtle way to thank your followers for their kind words about your business, favorite a tweet by clicking the star icon next to it. Not only is favoriting tweets an easy way to collate customer testimonials – or ‘save’ a tweet that you want to think about or investigate before replying to (they appear in the Favorites menu of your Twitter profile for easy reference) – but a user is also notified when one of their tweets is favorited. Different to retweeting, however, is that this notification is not shared publicly – only with the individual to whom it applies – so it looks a little less like you are tooting your own horn… not that it’s a bad thing to do very occasionally!
Some Twitter users favorite any tweet that happens to mention them, but as your Favorites are publicly visible via a link at the top of your profile, you may want to use it to collate messages in a more strategic way, such as a way to “wow!” anyone who happens to take a peek at the slew of amazing feedback you have received.