Twitter Tactics

Get Tweeting for maximum impact online with Gemma Went’s top tips for Twitter

Guess what? I’m getting married! And as a digital strategist, my first phase of planning was, of course, to hit the internet. But do you know what I found? Not much.

I expected to be bombarded with gorgeous venues all across social media, but the pickings were slim. I know that so many businesses in this industry struggle to make an impact online – even if they know enough to take bookings (glampsites and function venues) or sell tickets (events) through their websites. It’s a real shame. I passionately believe that all businesses can use social media to leverage their marketing – it’s not as tricky as you’d think.

Let’s start simple, with Twitter. Twitter is an awesome social media network, and a really powerful tool for marketing your business, but it can take time (and a bit of knowledge) to get it right. Luckily for you, I’m here to share that knowledge.

Hashtag concept illustration
Pic: Getty Images

What is Twitter?
Twitter is a platform that allows you to share updates of up to 140 characters, with a limitless audience. But it’s also a lot more.

Twitter is a fantastic way to listen to what your potential customers want. It’s a brilliant way to learn about trends in your industry. It helps you find (stalk) the people that you can help, as well as the people that can help you.

Top-notch Twitter content
If you hit your favourite search engine, you’ll come across all sorts of ‘rules’ about how often you should be tweeting. Ignore them all. The most important thing you can do with regards to Twitter strategy, is to create a consistent content plan. This is what helps you build trust with your target market, and establish yourself as a big player.

Stuck for inspiration? Here are a few tips to get those sparks flying:

  • Share photos of your venue/glampsite/event at its best
  • Ask your followers questions, and start a conversation
  • Retweet anything that mentions your business
  • Share top tips or anything that may appeal to a potential customer

If that sounds like a lot of work, let me remind you that there are tools to help you schedule tweets ahead of time. Buffer and Hootsuite are completely free ways to automate social media content across your different channels.

I also recommended that you share content from other sources – not just promotional tweets relating to your own business. This could be articles from websites that complement your niche. For example, if you run a boutique wedding venue, you could share articles from creative florists, artisan caterers, and quirky local bands. If you are a glampsite, then think about finding articles on tourist attractions in the local area. If you are an event organsier, then look at the demographic you are trying to attract and think what might appeal to them.

Remember that Twitter is a social network though – that means you need to be engaging with people in real time too. Respond to questions, share customer feedback and just chat every now and then.

Now, Twitter can be as simple or as complex as you make it. I would recommend starting at the beginning and getting used to the basic features before exploring anything more intense.

Hashtags
One of the easiest ways to start harnessing the power of Twitter is through hashtags. A hashtag is an industry keyword or topic, preceded by the # symbol. Think of hashtags as the terms your customers will be searching for when they find you.

My top tip for finding effective hashtags in your industry is to simply Google them. Look for “wedding hashtags”, or “festival hashtags”, or “glamping hashtags”, and see what comes up. Be picky though – you should stick to between one and three hashtags per tweet.

Perfect your profile
Another really simple way to start seeing some results on Twitter is to optimise your profile. That means adding a beautiful, professional profile picture and cover photo, using every bit of your bio allowance, and picking a Twitter handle as close to your business name as possible.

When drafting that bio, think back to those key search terms, and incorporate where possible. You should also add a link back to your website, for those that are interested in hearing more about you.

If you want to supercharge your impact, link to a special page on your site, rather than your generic homepage, and encourage followers to sign up to your mailing list. Once you have permission to be in their inbox, you can keep in contact in a much more focused way.

Highlight your offers
Twitter has a nifty little feature known as the ‘pinned tweet’. In other words, you have the option to append a single tweet to the top of your profile. Use that space to highlight any seasonal offers you may be running, as this is the first thing people will be see when they click through to your profile.

You could also use your pinned tweet to link to your mailing list, or the ‘book a tour’ section of your website.

Another quick, easy, way to increase your email sign-ups is to play around with Twitter Lead Generation Cards. This feature allows you to expand on your tweets, and include a sign-up form directly in your Twitter feed. A form which, incidentally, will be automatically filled out, making it even easier for followers to sign up.

Monitor your market
I’ve already mentioned that Twitter is a fantastic way to figure out what your customers want from you – by searching for some of those key industry terms you’ve already noted down, you’ll find the discussions that are taking place. If you see someone looking for a venue, holiday or event in your region, respond.

People often head to Twitter to find a product or service – it’s exactly what I did when I was looking for my wedding venue. Introduce your business to these consumers, and share a link back to your website.

Twitter is also a handy way to monitor the competition. Not because I recommend copying what other businesses are doing, but because it’s worthwhile knowing what they’ve tried from a marketing perspective, and what’s worked.

I would recommend creating a secret Twitter list to keep track of the competition, this way you can dip in and out to take notes, without falling prey to ‘comparisonitis’.

Twitter lists can also be used to connect with potential collaborators. You could create lists for the different niches in your sector. For example, if you operate in the wedding industry, think photographers, wedding planners and vintage car rentals, etc. Not only will this help you build relationships with professionals who could easily recommend your business to their customers, but it could help you create a more nurturing experience for your customers. You’ll have a nice list of services to recommend, making the wedding planning process much smoother for them. Again, this type of holistic customer service will help lead to future referrals.

Serve your customers
Increasingly, Twitter is becoming a platform for customer service. Consumers have started expecting 24 hour access to businesses, and Twitter can be a great way to swiftly deal with any issues that arise.

Towards the end of 2016, Twitter released a feature to aid businesses in delivering positive customer service; brands are now able to indicate that they provide online support, as well as highlighting hours of availability. This makes it much easier to manage user expectations and prevent negative responses. This feature can be activated through the “customer support settings page” on the Twitter Dashboard.

Connect your tech
The aim of any marketing activity should be to create a seamless experience for your customers. In the digital space, that means integrating each of your channels. Start by picking consistent usernames across each platform – it’s simple, but effective.

Then you want to make sure your Twitter profile links back to your website somehow, and your website links to your social media platforms. This is an in built feature in most web themes, so shouldn’t be too tricky. If you have a blog on your website, I would also recommend adding a social sharing plugin, so that readers can share your posts on their favourite platforms.

Whether you’re a total Twitter novice, or a social media whiz kid, there are tricks you can use to market your business to a wider audience. You don’t have to invest all your time, or all your money, you just need the know how to get going.

I have a free series that shares my top hacks for each of the social media platforms, including Twitter. If that sounds good, use this link to sign up gwent.co/hacksseries and they’ll be in your inbox quicker than a quick thing.


Gemma WentABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gemma Went is a digital strategist, business mentor and bride to be. She’s been working in the social media world since before Twitter even existed and has been teaching businesses how to harness the power of this online tool ever since. She was the social media director at two London agencies, the first to create a social media strategy for the BFI London Film Festival, and the first to put fashion bloggers on the red carpet next to the press at the Global Fashion Awards. Go here for more on Gemma: gemmawent.co.uk and, of course, Tweet her here @gemmawent

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