ShrugAt the time of writing this article, I’ve published 14.7K tweets (every one a gem, naturally). Wow, that’s a lot of characters. However, there currently seems to be  another rash of p*rn and spam accounts that are diluting the impact.

So why do I bother?

I remember a week one November, when I won three bits of business from Twitter. That was a long time ago. In fact, I can’t remember the last time it happened. These days, it seems to be increasingly full of people tweeting into the void.

So does Twitter still have a place in your digital marketing strategy?

It depends

In the olden days, if you wanted to get a message to someone, you would have to meet them face to face. Eventually, you could write them a letter, or phone them up. More recently, you can communicate via email and text message. And now you can send instant messages using tools such as Twitter, Facebook or WhatsApp.

You have to be where your customers want you to be.

If you’re a brand, Twitter is great for customer service (customers will ‘shout out’ their complaints, whether or not you’re listening and responding). If you’re lucky, people will share testimonials about you too (and there’s a handy way to ’embed’ them on your website/blog):

Rather than buying a daily newspaper or watching TV news, Twitter is where I find out what’s going on in the world. I use it a lot for research (so do journalists). Writers use it for self-expression (and linking to blog posts).

It’s about engagement not broadcast

Twitter works best when you use it as an engagement tool not a broadcast medium. Your timeline needs to show @ messages and RTs as well as your own tweets. Do it for other people and they might do it for you.

A delegate on one of my courses had loads of visitors to his website, but few Twitter followers because he auto-tweeted everything. I encouraged him to respond to just one tweet from someone else. The next day his follower count had already leapt up, as people realised the account was handled by a human being not a robot.

You can start conversations, ask questions, and source suppliers. For example, I’ve recently used Direct Messages to:

  • Offer followup advice to a delegate on one of my blogging courses
  • Book a plasterer that I originally met at BNI
  • Solve a problem I had with Constant Contact

What to tweet

HubSpot say the optimum ratio of Twitter content is 10:4:1. That is, 10 tweets about other people’s stuff, 4 tweets about your own stuff, and 1 selling message.

It’s true. I notice the public tweets of mine that get most engagement are those where I share other people’s links.

Twitter is superb for promoting events – before, during and after. When I was co-president of PSA South East, we’d use the official hashtag, ensure all speakers’ Twitter names were on the printed agenda, and encourage the audience to take photos and tweet quotable quotes. Sometimes, we’d get hundreds of tweets the next day, so raising the profile of the organisation, the region, and each attendee.

One of the companies I train for uses Twitter to attract delegates. The company has set up multiple keyword-rich accounts and regularly tweets links to the relevant landing page. It seems to work, as the last few courses have been completely sold out.

Finally, Twitter is brilliant for celebrities who choose to engage direct with their fans and avoid any potential distortion that may occur via their agent, manager or traditional media.

Just don’t be too sales-y.

Remember it’s ‘social’ media. For example, here’s a recent tweet that got me more ‘likes’ than any standard sales messages:

Note to self. Do not check social media before watching recordings of Strictly Christmas Special.

“Twitter ye not” – with apologies to Frankie Howerd

All marketing is about objectives. You have to know what you are trying to achieve before you decide whether Twitter is right for you. So, if none of the above objectives apply to you, it’s OK to exclude Twitter from your marketing mix. And you can tell everybody I said so.

photo credit: Rachel.Adams What’s My Age Again via photopin (license)












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