5 Tips for Targeting With Twitter
Twitter provides marketers a valuable source of targeted traffic with consumers who have opted in to hear from and interact with their brands. A brand’s Twitter following essentially consists of a self-selected group raising its hands saying, “I’m interested in what you sell or what you tweet about.”
Before social media sites like Twitter, marketers traditionally stayed in touch with their target audiences through email or list buying. Many consumers on such lists grow tired or object to the amount or frequency of outreach from brands. Twitter, on the other hand, enables marketers to publish news and updates on a regular basis while giving consumers the option to simply “unfollow” that brand due to information overload or any other reason.
Twitter also offers marketers the chance to interact with their brand followers on a larger scale rather than via one-off replies from list subscribers. These benefits provide marketers with better ways to promote their brands and reach their target audiences. However, marketers should understand some rules of engagement to put Twitter to work properly.
Some brands have a more universal appeal. For those marketers, getting as many Twitter followers as possible can be essential to promoting their brands through social media. For other brands, focusing on their niche markets holds more importance than accumulating a sheer number of followers. A brand that's marketing highly specialized services or products may not have lots of followers, but those that do follow it are qualified prospects interested in what it has to say.
Twitter also offers the opportunity for brands to interact directly with their biggest advocates, who can influence the spread of a brand’s message. Therefore, to gain and engage mainstream or niche followers effectively and proactively, communicate with influencers on Twitter. Keep these five strategies in mind:
1. Provide unique offers. Online T-shirt seller Threadless gives away free T-shirts on Thursdays via Twitter. Consumers tweet about their favorite Threadless shirts by including “#threadless” to enter the contest; the company now has more than 1 million followers.
2. Quality content. Twitter has a lot in common with a regular blog. If a blog continually generates quality content, more people will add that blog to their RSS feeds, hungry for daily insights. Most importantly, marketers should focus on their sweet spots — what their target audiences want.
3. Be timely. Tweeting about what’s hot in the news can gain followers who search for real-time insights on Twitter Search or have conversations around certain topics. It’s like search engine optimization for Twitter Search — the timelier the tweets, the more visibility brands will have on search engine results pages or Twitter Search, and the more followers they can gain.
4. Be consistent. A brand isn't likely to gain followers if it hasn’t tweeted in a month or doesn’t continually push out quality content. At the same time, marketers don’t want to spam or clog followers’ feeds with too many posts. Set a schedule, and stick to it.
5. Follow others. If your brand starts to follow people, many will reciprocate. A direct thank-you message for following makes for a good personal touch, too.
With millions of unique users, Twitter offers marketers countless active prospects to reach. Creatively using Twitter to respond to the needs and demands of followers and keeping them informed on the latest news in their sectors can help marketers successfully reach, engage and hopefully win over their target audiences.
Craig Greenfield is the vice president of search and performance media for Chicago-based Performics, the performance marketing division of the Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi Nerve Center. Reach Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org.