The Bird is the Word, So Why Aren't You Using Twitter?

Twitter is famous for Stephen Fry’s observations, cute pictures of animals and most recently, the wildfire spread of Kim Kardashian's unnaturally shiny rear. But with 284 million monthly active users and 500 million tweets sent per day, it’s time that Businesses started to take Twitter seriously.

Twitter opened its doors in 2007 as an instant social platform where jokes, news stories and daily musings (all under 140 characters of course) could be shared at the click of a button. In the last seven years Twitter has become a force to be reckoned with and is now an essential part of everyday life for many people.

Twitter stood out from the likes of other social networks like Facebook and MySpace by creating a mobile site. From conception, it was designed to be an immediate platform enabling people to respond instantly to whatever was going on across the world.

The majority of the one billion tweets going out every two days are not accessed on a computer but on a mobile. With a staggering 78% of people accessing their twitter accounts on their mobile phones, it is vital that any businesses using Twitter remember that this is a mobile first application. 

‘I’m not sure it’s for me…’

Twitter is not just for teenagers sharing cat pictures and stalking the latest hunk, it’s a serious way to reach a national and even global audience. In Business Intelligence’s 2014 study on Social Media advertising it was found that a staggering 94% of Twitter users research, search for or make purchases on their mobile phone.

It was also reassuring to hear I’m not the only person who ‘needs’ the knee high boots Millie Mackintosh is sporting in her latest picture. Nearly 60% of people surveyed admitted that they had been influenced by content on Twitter when buying products or services.

Although Twitter has been around for over seven years it’s expanding at an incredible rate because people are only just realising the potential of what it can do. Business Intelligence predicts that by 2018 there will be an 18% growth rate in social media advertising. It is not just advertising where BI forecasts growth though, as they expect a 16% increase in the e-commerce business coming from mobile phones.

While still at a relatively early stage in the understanding of these huge sectors, Twitter has shaped its product to take as much advantage of this growth as possible.

‘Ok I have an account, but now what?’

To make sure your business’ Twitter page is making the best first impression on potential customers set an image that matches your brand and co-ordinate the colour scheme to create an overall connection on the page. If visitors like the look of your account, make it as easy as possible for them to find out more about you by linking to your website in the bio section.

If you’re using Twitter for business then you need to seize its potential by creating a solid social strategy on TweetDeck or Hootsuite. Sit down with your team on a weekly basis and decide what it is you’re doing for the following period. Twitter’s ‘Own the Moment’ calendar shows what events are happening each month, enabling you to plan your tweets and make the most of relevant events.

Everyone loves a good picture and Twitter has found that tweets with pictures or graphics receive twice the engagement of one without (Wishpond, 2014). Make use of the ‘list’ function too as it enables you to organise your followers into categories, which gives you a real insight into the type of people engaging with your brand.

It is important to keep an eye on how competitors and industry leaders engage with and respond to clients so that you can adopt their good techniques into your own Twitter practises.

Whether you’re finding your feet on Twitter or have been using it for years, it is essential to use data analytics (analytics.twitter.com) to identify what the engagement has been and see how to optimise the tweets you’re sending. 

‘I want more followers!’

Now Twitter is not stupid and over the last few years it has developed a paid advert function on its global social platform. Whether you want more followers or wish to drive traffic to your website for increased conversions, Twitter has created specialised adverts for whatever your business needs.

The majority of these adverts will appear on someone’s Twitter feed in a normal tweet format, but marked with a small yellow note letting users know it is a promoted message. If you’re looking for more followers, your advert will appear on the sidebar among the ‘suggested people to follow’ list where it is integrated with other unpaid suggestions.

With Twitter adverts there are 3 main factors to consider: sending the right message, to the right audience, at the right time. Paid ads aren’t about bombarding Twitter users with your brand but carefully designing a message that can be sent to an appropriate audience.

To improve your campaign performance it is essential to carry out analytics on both paid and unpaid tweets.

The paid ad platform allows you to choose the objective of your campaign and includes getting more followers, conversions or leads on Twitter. After you have chosen your goal, you can select the audience to target and decide when to send the message out.

 ‘#ILoveTwitter’

Twitter has grown from a social platform into a vital tool that allows companies to easily reach people all over the world. At Twitter headquarters they reportedly drink 585 gallons of coffee per week, so they know what they’re doing. Twitter is free, used by millions and offers great potential for business growth, so what are you waiting for?

Go on….get tweeting!