Twitter is one the biggest search engines. Are you discoverable on it?
To many, that may sound surprising. However, twitter witnesses one of the maximum searches per day. In this post, I want to talk to you about how your startup can use this social media channel aka social search engine to take your business from 0 to the moon.
Most startups lack a proper twitter marketing strategy and end up caring only about how to get more twitter followers. This approach is not going to get you anywhere. When we talk about twitter for business, there is a complete science to it that I am going to share in this post in a step by step fashion. So let’s get started.
Some basic things about Twitter that most startups don’t know
1. The magnitude of twitter :
When someone starts a business, the first thing they want to do is Facebook marketing hoping their content would go viral and they would get lots of customers overnight (Admit it, you have thought about this at least once :). However, what most people don’t realise that Facebook has a very complex algorithm (called EdgeRank) which restricts your post reach.
However, nothing like this exists on twitter. Whatever you post, will be available for viewing. To add to that, here are some number related to Twitter which should compel you to use this social network.
2. Following : Follower ratio:
Most startups are just worried about getting more twitter followers from day 1 as that is how they see growth. While follower growth is important, most businesses end up following anyone and everyone and get the wrong followers who won’t be interested in their content or would unfollow after some days (Worst case is when you buy followers from fiverr.com)
In a hassle to achieve the follower number, most small businesses start following everyone they find on twitter hoping to get a followback. However, here is the real deal
Once you are following 2000 people on twitter and you don’t have 2000 followers (1:1 ratio), twitter won’t allow you to follow any more people.
So make sure you always aim for a 1:1 ratio and avoid getting stuck at the 2000 limit
3. Twitter Lists :
Most startups are alien to this concept. However, this is super useful. Twitter lists let you aggregate people into a segment without you following them.
Say your startup is looking for a seed fund and you want to target investors. The best way is to search these investors on twitter and look out for the ones who are active on twitter. Then add them to a list and start interacting with their content in one place.
We target startups for digital marketing services and here is how we have created our lists. The picture explains how you can do it as well.
So how to get more twitter followers that will really make a difference?
A basic rule to remember here is that on social networks, a simple rule of “scratch my back and I will scratch yours” works really well. Putting it simply, if you follow X number of people on twitter, Y of them (<X) will follow you back.
Industry research and our own experience in marketing prove that when you follow 100 people, about 25 of them will follow you back. So the follow back conversion rate can be safely assumed between 20% to 25%
What does that mean?
First of all, that doesn’t mean that you leave everything and start following people randomly (As mentioned above you will get stuck at the 2000 following number). This means that now that we have a marketing hack, lets use it the right way to grow followers
Examples of growing Twitter followers the right way
1. B2B Twitter marketing strategy :
Let’s consider our own company MarketingMasala.com that provides growth hacking services to startups across the globe. Now what matters most to us is that startups/founders/CEO’s should follow us on twitter so that they can see our content and we can also pitch to them.
Now we know who we want our followers to be. The next question we have to ask is where does our ideal follower hang out?
If you have been in the startup space for a while, you will see that AngelList is one of the biggest networks where startups can put up jobs, meet with investors and do a lot more stuff. So this is somewhere startups hangout.
Guess what? These startups and founders might also be following AngelList’s twitter. How about we dig into the twitter followers of AngelList and start following relevant startups in order to get a follow back that makes sense.
These are the followers (easily visible under the followers tab of AngelList’s Twitter profile) of AngelList. Jo-Anne here looks like a cool entrepreneur who we should be in touch with. So we followed her. Similarly, we can follow more relevant people
If you start following 100 relevant people per day, you can achieve 20-25 relevant followers per day.
Pitfall: At one point you will reach 2k following and you might not have a 1:1 following : follower ratio. To avoid this, use a tool like crowdfireapp.com (free and paid both) to unfollow people daily who haven’t followed you back. This hack keeps things in balance.
2. B2C Twitter marketing strategy:
One of our clients is an e-commerce store in the food sector. They don’t directly sell food but they come with new recipes every week and send the recipe and pre-measured ingredients at your doorstep so that you can cook a delicacy on your own.
For this company, the ideal customer is a cooking enthusiast. Probably someone who loves to cook and wants to explore recipes. Now, where does someone like this hangout on the internet? Yes, you are right if you thought cooking blogs. So if we researched a list of the best cooking blogs (in the target geography) and researched the twitter followers of these blogs, we might find some gold! Let’s see.
Now Krithika here looks like an ideal follower that we want to have. So we will follow her.
Again, if you setup a process of following 100 cooking enthusiasts daily, you would get 25 relevant followers daily. That’s not at all bad for a start. Right?
How to increase/boost engagement on Twitter
Till now, you must have heard a lot about social media interactions, communications and what not. While there are lots of posts explaining that, understanding it from a perspective of a startup is a whole other game.
You are a startup with very few people knowing about your business. Why would people care if you want to talk to them about your business and products? Well, there is a happy ending to this one too if you do it the right way.
Again, let’s understand by examples. I am going to use the same two examples as done above.
1. B2C Twitter Marketing best practices:
So this is the company that sells recipes and ingredients and wants to increase its weekly orders. If we start telling people to buy from us directly, that might very well be received as annoying.
However, our core need is to introduce the concept of this company to a potential customer (already told you how to research them in the above section) in a subtle sense.
Here is what we did: We asked people for their review of our concept. People love to give an opinion (valid for any part of the world). By asking them for a review, we made them feel special (that their review matters which actually does matter a LOT) and also introduced the concept.
And as planned this worked out wonders. Not only did we get a lot of awareness (and orders), there were a bunch of people who also started blogging about our company and concept. What else does an entrepreneur need?
Set up a process
The beauty of marketing is in executing efficient processes. We made a process where we pitched 50 people (targeted) every day and that worked out best for us.
2. B2B Twitter Marketing best practices
Again, let us take our own example of MarketingMasala.com. Now we want to be involved in conversations where people are asking/discussing about digital marketing and we want to add value to those conversations.
To do this, we first have to find a relevant search term/hashtag that people might be tweeting with the conversation Lets take something as simple as #digitalmarketing
Tip: You can find relevant and popular hashtags using a free service called hashtagify.me
When we search this, we find a lot of blog posts but also a conversation like this by an influential guy (look at his followers)
Although we won’t make a sale from here, but, if we replied to this guy in a detailed sense and started a conversation with him by asking his favourite tools as well, that conversation will start showing up among his 20.6 k followers
Imagine doing 10-20 conversations like this per day and the visibility it will give you in just 1 month?
Best Twitter Management Tools
Advantages of Hootsuite over Buffer: If you are in an industry where customers are super active on twitter (like online shopping), you should use Hootsuite as it will allow you to listen closely to what customers, potential customers and competitors are talking about.
Other than that, both tools are good enough for content scheduling and come with a free version that won’t hurt your pocket. Here are some snaps of how these tools work like
Twitter advertising best practices
Twitter ads can be prepared for various purposes and campaigns. What is most important is that you do the targeting right. I personally suggest to target people based on
1. The keywords in their profile
2. Followers of people who share the similar interest which you are looking to target.
I have highlighted the targeting options that you should be exploring with twitter ads.
Twitter Metrics that matter for your business
If your startup has the funds to afford a $100 per month tool, then TrueSocialMetrics.com is the best tool you should start for tracking metrics. However, if you want to go the free way, you can log in to analytics.twitter.com to find some important metrics that really matter and which will help you analyse your marketing efforts.
Here is a snapshot from analytics.twitter.com
Some of the metrics that you should be measuring other than followers include:
1. Best performing tweets (in terms of engagement): Post more of this type of content as this is a validated learning.
2. Worst performing tweets: Remove them/their type in the future content strategy.
3. Engagement %: Monitor it on a weekly basis to understand performance changes.
4. Top followers: People who have maximum followers and follow you as well can be very useful if you start interacting with their tweets on a regular basis and they enter the conversation. This will make you visible to their followers.
Summing it up
There are hundreds of things that you can do using Twitter marketing for your business. However, always make sure that the following things are in place
– The quality and relevance of your followers is super high
– Post at multiple times a day as a lot of tweets gets published every second.
– With ads, choose the right form of targeting
– Analyse the results from your efforts every week and keep improving
How do you use Twitter marketing for business? I would love to know!