Twitter marketing and management
From tweets to #hashtags, RTs and @replies, we speak the language of Twitter and can teach it to you too!
“Understanding Twitter and the available tools allow’s you to respond in real-time and begin a discussion with that customer. However, the issue most businesses face is time.”
Twitter for marketing your products and services
Twitter is one of the most popular social networks out there. But are you taking advantage of everything it has to offer for marketing?
We’ve been working with clients from a wide range of B2B and B2C industries, effectively working as social media managers within their business (a virtual marketing team). The truth is Twitter fast paced and takes a lot of ongoing work, but the investment pays off.
Imagine being a potential client and a potential customer tweeting ‘Where can I find a reputable mistress in London’ – understanding Twitter and the available tools allows you to respond in real-time and begin a discussion with that customer. However, the issue most businesses face is time, and that’s where we come in. Our social media marketers will fully manage your Twitter account and pro-actively look for opportunities on behalf of your business.
Too Many Tweets, Not Enough Time
This is how most small businesses tackle Twitter: start an account, follow a bunch of people, send a few Tweets about their business and hope for the best.
And in some ways, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. These steps are necessary to get up and running and learn the ropes on Twitter. But, the biggest mistake we’re all making is not using two extremely simple Twitter features to their full potential.
Replies and mentions.
Replies and mentions are two of Twitter’s most powerful features. They can help you build strong relationships, keep customers happy and even increase your bottom line.
Below I’m happy to share some insights into the power of these features and how to get the most from them.
First off: What are replies and mentions
You can join conversations on Twitter by replying to others and by mentioning them in your own Tweets.
A reply is a response to another user’s Tweet that begins with the @username of the person you’re replying to. For example:
A reply like this will appear in the notifications tab of the person mentioned. It’ll also only be seen in Twitter timelines of people who follow both you and the person you replied to (because the first character is an @ sign).
If you’d like a reply to be seen by everyone who follows you, you can add a full stop before the @ sign and it’ll then appear in your timeline as a normal Tweet.
Why you should go big on Twitter replies and mentions
I’d love to tell you a quick story. It takes place around 1998. Football (soccer) was my life back then. If I wasn’t outside kicking a ball in the garden, I’d be watching it on TV or or playing football related video games.
My Dad and I had started going to watch our local professional team, Ipswich Town, and occasionally we’d go along to games extra early so we could see the players as they arrived ahead of kick-off.
As we waited by the entrance, some players would spot us; come over to say “hi”, and sign my autograph book. Meeting my on-pitch heroes would make my week — and no matter the result of the game, I’d head home with a massive smile on my face.
These interactions made the experience remarkable to me and are a big part of why I fell in love with the club. It’d take each player maybe 10 seconds to pop over and sign and autograph, but for me the memories will last a lifetime.
After my early experiences at Ipswich Town, I became a fan for life. And now, 16 years later, I still go to almost every match.
How to Use Hashtags on Twitter
Step 1: Check If It’s New
After you decide on a keyword or a phrase, search for it. Visit Search.Twitter.com and enter your preferred hashtag in the search box. Did you get any results? Is someone else already using that hashtag for their event or campaign?
If there is a lot of conversation around it already, you might want to revisit your decision and pick something that isn’t as frequently used. In that way, you will reduce the chances of people who are not a part of your target audience entering/diluting the conversation you want to take place.
Step 2: Pick Industry or Brand Keywords
Hashtags can also help communicate a message to those not actively searching for them. For example, if someone you’re following is tweeting about an event using a hashtag, you will still be able to see their updates in your main Twitter feed without accessing the entire hashtag conversation. In other words, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of what they’re tweeting about and quickly connect the content of the tweet to the hashtag they’re using. And if the hashtag reflects an industry or branded keyword that is interesting to you, you might be inclined to check out the rest of the conversation happening around that hashtag, a win for the marketer who created it!
Step 3: Be Careful With Sentiments
A lot of politicians and big brands have experienced Twitter failure by choosing hashtags that include the word “love” in them. Love is a strong word, so if you are putting it in the mouth of your followers, make sure they really love you. Otherwise, they might turn against you and cause a major PR controversy. For instance, the
Mitt Romney Twitter campaign
that sought to wish him a happy birthday also attracted quite a lot of critical comments. If you are just starting out, pick something neutral that simply reflects your topic or campaign.
Furthermore, beware hashtag campaigns that have the potential of getting abused by users. The McDonald’s #McDStories hashtag campaign, which was launched as a way to share fun stories about people’s experience at McDonald’s, is a great example of a hashtag choice gone wrong. What McDonald’s didn’t foresee was people sharing negative stories about the McDonald’s brand, and that’s exactly what happened. Anyone who searched for “McDStories” were immediately met with thousands of tweets similar to the one below, which described awful experiences users had with McDonald’s.
The psychology of Twitter: Why we love to be mentioned
Our emotions are at play just as much in the digital world as they are in the physical world. And just as I’d wait at the gates of the football stadium in the hopes of meeting my heroes, many people now see social media, especially Twitter, as their best hope of engaging with their idols.
It’s not just mentions from our favorite celebrities that make us feel great though. Mentions from anyone – brand or individual – can go a long way to making us feel happy and appreciated.
Here are a couple of the reasons a mention on Twitter can make us feel so good:
We like to feel valued
In a Harvard Business review post, Tony Schwartz explains: “To feel valued (and valuable) is almost as compelling a need as food.”
It feels amazing to know that our favorite brands and personalities value our custom and support. And sometimes all it takes to show that is a personal response.
We love surprise
We don’t expect a brand, or individual, to pop up from nowhere and make our day. When our favourite brand or personality directly responds to us that feeling sticks with us.
University of California psychology professor, Sonja Lyubomirsky explains the power of surprise in the New York Times: “Surprise is a potent force. When something novel occurs, we tend to pay attention, to appreciate the experience or circumstance, and to remember it.”
The impact of personal replies
A study by McKinsey & Company found that in today’s world, when it comes to customer experience, good is no longer good enough:
Average customer experience performance has been worth about 5 – 10 percent less in terms of key measures like ‘likelihood to remain/renew’, ‘to buy another product’ and ‘to recommend’ for companies each year in industries we have analyzed. At the same time, however, improving customer experience from average to ‘wow’ is worth 30-50 percent more in those same industries.
This was visualized brilliantly in Gary Vaynerchuk’s Slideshare on community management:
Providing a unique, personal experience for as many customers as you can help you increase your ‘wow’ factor and in-turn keep your customers loyal and increase opportunities for positive word of mouth.
Finding opportunities for conversation
We’re not all in a position where we get hundreds or thousands of mentions each day. That doesn’t mean that people aren’t out there talking about your brand – or topics related to your brand.
Thankfully Twitter has amazing Advanced Search functionality that can help you keep an eye out for relevant Tweets.
Whether you want to find your next customers, keep tabs on brand keywords or measure the happiness of your current customers, Advanced Search is what you need.
Advanced Search allows you to keep tabs on a whole array of things. A few specific searches it may be good to take a look at include:
- Mentions of brand keywords: for example, @buffer, buffer and #buffer
- Monitor sentiment: using 🙁 or 🙂 after your search phrase allows to to filter positive or negative Tweets
- Find Tweets from your area: The ‘Places’ filter on Twitter’s Advanced search page allows you to filter Twitter by location. This is super handy if you’re looking to find people who are talking about your brand in a certain location.
When you’re looking at keywords and phrases to query here, think about how people talk to each other. Tweets tend to be a lot more conversational that Google search terms.
Setting up saved searches
If you’d like to regularly keep an eye on certain words or phrases, a saved search could be an amazing way to do this (and save you from manually searching all the time).
Twitter allows you to save up to 25 searches per account. To save a search, click More options at the top of your results page and then click Save this search.
Here’s an example of a saved search I have for the Buffer blog:
P.S. For a full list of Twitter Advanced Search hacks and trick, check out our Superhuman Guide to Twitter search.
4 top tips for replies and mentions
1. Try not to be too sales-y
Oftentimes, people on Twitter aren’t necessarily looking to make a purchase, but instead, to solve a problem. It could be a great approach to be more conversational that jumping right in for the sale at the first Tweet. To help with this I always try to visualize Twitter conversations as if they were happening in a coffee shop and ask ‘how would I approach this in person.’
2. Send timely responses to mentions
Research tells us that 42% of consumers expect a 60 minute response time on social media. Where possible, try to get back to people who mention you as soon as you can. This can make such a huge difference to customer happiness.
3. Add a personal touch
People like to connect with other people. Try to fit in some personality to your replies where you can, this a great way to bring business accounts to life and truly connect with the customer. Sometimes it can be as simple as signing off with your name or initials.
4. Follow up
It feels great to go the extra mile for a customer and Twitter provides the perfect platform to do this. A simple “How is everything?” Tweet is an amazing way to show you can and ensure the customer’s issue is truly sorted.
Over to you
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! What do you feel is the biggest mistake most of us make on Twitter? How often do you respond to your mentions? Any tips on handling replies?
Super excited to hear your thoughts below in the comments.