It’s no secret that Twitter is a large and fast-growing social media platform. Like Facebook, it’s becoming a social media platform used by practically everyone and their grandmother—everyone from the barista who serves you at Starbucks every Monday morning to Katy Perry. There are 302 million users on Twitter who are active every month—and overall, close to a billion existing Twitter accounts. A huge chunk of these users consists of brands and businesses looking to expand their online presences and engage with followers and potential customers.
To post successfully on Twitter, a business must carefully consider what is appropriate and what isn’t appropriate to share with their followers. In order to help businesses determine this, Hootsuite has published a very handy diagram that addresses five questions one should ask before posting content to social media.
As you might expect, however, people don’t always think before they post. From simple misspellings to terribly timed tweets to flat-out unprofessionalism, plenty of businesses and brands have had to fire people over tweets. Just type the phrase “fired over a tweet” into Google. You’ll get at least 32,000,000 results—some chronicling the misadventures of people whose unfortunate actions and statements have earned them the pink slip, and many news articles on specific incidents of this.
All of those stories and incidents are something to be shared at another time. For now, we’d like to give you a little bit of advice if you’re a brand or business looking to expand your presence online and begin marketing on Twitter. Here are five things to keep in mind.
#1: Don’t use tragic trending hashtags to promote your business or brand.
This point should really go without saying. If there are hashtags currently trending on Twitter, make sure you do your research to see what they are about before you post in them. If these hashtags are dedicated to a special cause and especially if they involve human tragedy, then it’s probably not a good idea to use them to promote yourself and your services.
For example, you may have heard the story of DiGiorno Pizza not checking a certain hashtag before posting in it—and unwittingly making light of domestic violence in the process. Or maybe you heard of when Gap Inc. wrote an insensitive tweet during Hurricane Sandy? Both are perfect examples of why it’s a horrible idea to use trending hashtags like these in order to promote a business or brand. It’s not smart and it’s very insensitive.
#2: Schedule your posts.
If you want to use Twitter to reach the most people in your niche at the right time, you’ve got to figure out the best time to post. Once you know your target audience and the best times and days to post on Twitter, schedule your posts accordingly. Hootsuite isn’t a bad tool to use for scheduling Twitter posts—set up your content, punch in a date and time for it to post, and you’re good to go. Posting at the correct time will allow you and your business or brand to reach and engage with most of your followers.
#3: Post information that’s relevant to your business and the industry as a whole.
Stay on topic. Discuss the latest industry trends and link to news articles about them. Post content that you know your audience will care about. Build up your brand’s authority by sharing your own industry insight with your followers. And as you establish your business or brand’s authority on your Twitter account, you’ll make a voice for it in the process. Remain consistent and keep posting with this voice in mind.
This isn’t to say, however, that you can’t be creative and put a little humor into your posts. By all means, go for it—just remember to be appropriate and to not post harmful humor that could cost you your job.
#4: Use appropriate hashtags.
This point builds off of the last one. How are you going to show off your knowledge of the industry to people who don’t follow you? The answer is simple–by using hashtags. Utilize hashtags so you can be a part of the current discussion on certain topics. For example, if you work for a web design and web marketing business, consider using hashtags like #SEO or #ResponsiveDesign in some of your posts. If you’re very passionate about trolls like we are, then how about the hashtag #TrollsAreReal?
By the way, posts that use hashtags get twice the engagement of posts that don’t. Try placing hashtags in your posts–but make sure you don’t overdo it and overload your followers with unnecessary hashtags! Make sure the hashtags that you use are relevant to the content in your tweets, too!
Triple-check your tweets before you hit the “post” button. Spelling and grammar errors in your tweets are very off-putting on the internet nowadays. If one of your followers spots a tiny misspelling or the slightest of grammar errors, your business or brand’s authority and credibility may take a hit.
Oh come on, it’s just one little spelling error, right? It may be—but Disruptive Communications took a survey about what a group of followers hated the most about the brands that they followed on social media. They put together an interesting infographic of their findings—and lo and behold, spelling and grammatical errors are the factors that these brand followers said they hate the most.
You may only have 140 characters to compose a tweet, but this doesn’t mean that you should neglect proper spelling and grammar. If it helps, read your tweets out loud before you post them, or have someone else take a look if you’re really uncertain.
Here’s one other piece of advice: write every tweet like it’s going to be retweeted. What do we mean by this? Don’t use up all 140 characters in one shot—use up to 120 and leave enough characters free for Twitter’s retweeting format.
Web marketing—including social media marketing—can be pandemic. If you have questions about managing your web marketing mayhem, feel free to contact us.