By Rachel and Shane Snow
Twitter: it’s the net’s largest micro-publishing service. In 2009, Nielson Media Research presented a global growth rate of 1,382%. That was over 1,100% higher than Facebook’s growth. With over 105 million registered users in early 2010, Twitter gets around 300,000 new users to sign up daily, 10 million unique visitors each month, 600 million search queries, and hits about 50 million tweets per day.
But how to harness Twitter’s potential?
We’re assuming you already know the basics of how Twitter works, but in order to become the marketing megalord you want to be, it’s important to know why Twitter is important and who you’re trying to win over. If you know all that, feel free to skip down to the Basic Twitter Marketing and Advanced Twitter Marketing sections.
Who’s On Twitter?
Twitter is becoming more mainstream all the time.
Speaking of time…Twitter is more time-efficient than most other major social networking sites, differentiating the demographics from other social media. Twitter is quick to use and easy to navigate, which explains why most tweeters are between the ages 35 and 49. Users 25-35 and over 55 are recognized for using Twitter a lot also, but that doesn’t mean it’s not for teens and young adults. A significant amount of social networking traffic comes from the younger ages.
Texting has boomed in the last decade, causing a huge portion of Twitter users to access the site via mobile device. Although teens and young adults are stereotyped as always using their cell phones for the Internet and texting, the majority of mobile users are between the ages 35 and 54. Less than 25% of people ages 13-24 use mobile devices for their social networking.
Twitter hits all demographics of people, making it an innovative source smart marketers and advertisers are taking advantage of. As of September 2010, marketers are now paying $100,000 for “promoted tweets”, or top search spots on twitter.com. Over 30 major name brands, including Coca-Cola Co., have signed on Twitter to use the new advertising product.
Advantages to Twitter Marketing
- Unlike Facebook, relationships don’t have to be mutual to see what someone is saying or to talk to them. On Twitter, your ideas and thoughts are public. You can follow what people are talking about and comment without having to be their “friend”.
- Twitter Search is becoming a growing resource for people looking for news updates, local information, answers, or product information.
- People often voice complaints or ask questions, which opens the door for marketers to be useful – this yields more positive results than interruptive advertising.
- Brands can communicate one-on-one with their customers without being intrusive or annoying.
Basic Twitter Marketing
Tweet Interesting Stuff (Duh!)
The most basic Twitter marketing tactic is to actually tweet stuff people want to read. Craft your tweets so that people will pay attention when they see your name in the stream, and hopefully retweet what you have to say.
Find New Customers Through Twitter Search
Win Back Dissatisfied Customers
Just as you can find customers your products satisfy, you can also win back dissatisfied customers. Again, by using the same Twitter Search, you can read the negative tweets and blogs customers are writing regarding your product. Since most customers complain to their friends rather than the company, you can pin point the root of the problem and fix it. How great would it be to regain a customer’s trust, maintain a reputation for quality and be prompt about it?
Buy Sponsored Tweets
The web is bogged down with advertisements, so getting your brand well-known can be a struggle. Twitter offers Sponsored Tweets (similiar to Google AdWords) to solve the issue. By paying money for a 140-character advertisment, marketers can get their advertisment to show up in the Twitter Search sooner. Depending on the spot you pay for, your brand can get recognition fast.
Advanced Twitter Marketing Tactics
Take for example Mint.com’s “Money Tweets,” a filterable tool showing selected tweets about finance from trusted sources:
Become a Suggested User
New users who sign up for Twitter are presented with a list of “suggested users to follow.” Getting on that list means scads of followers for your brand’s Twitter account. So what’s the secret to getting on? There are two ways: Method #1 is getting Twitter’s attention by participating usefully and gaining followers already. The Twitter blog says “the Suggested Users list is a bit like your local book store’s staff picks,” meaning much of it comes down to what the Twitter staff likes and thinks new users will like. So basically to get on this, do a KILLER JOB on Twitter and cross your fingers.
Method #2 is easier: you pay Twitter to be on the suggested user list. If your company is willing to shell out some cash in exchange for social media clout, and you have a good Twitter account going already, this can be a great investment.
Run Creative, Non-Spammy Contests
Twitter is chock full of contests, and that’s because contests really do work. The trick now that the market is saturated is to come up with something clever and unique. Here are a couple notable contests that crushed it on Twitter:
Threadless.com held a twitter contest where the top voted contest tweets ended up on t-shirts. It was simple and played to users’ egos. And, not coincidentally, it was super successful.
Moonfruit.com had a contest where users could tweet any kind of tweet and as long as they used the hashtag #moonfruit, they were entered into a daily contest to win a Macbook Pro. It worked well because it was simple, generated curiosity (“What’s this moonfruit thing?”) and didn’t look spammy to people’s friends. Many contests force you to tweet something like “TechSystems Inc. LLC is a great technology company giving away a macbook pro. Enter at http://techsystems.co/contest123 like I did.” Basically Moonfruit’s contest was innovative because it didn’t require people to “sell out.”
The key to a good contest is to make it fun, easy, and not spammy. Think haikus, poems, and ego-boosting prizes, and you’ll be on a good brainstorming track.
Turn Your Employees into Twitter Tag Teams (Zappos Style)
Zappos has been lauded as one of the best Twittering companies on the web. Take a page from their book and you’ll be off to a good start. Among other things, Zappos uses the following Twitter tactics:
- Zappos has public pages on its site showing all its employees tweets.
- Zappos encourages employees to tweet by using a company leaderboard, turning Twitter into an internal contest (that simultaneously turns every employee into a brand messenger).
- Zappos’ CEO, Tony Hsieh tweets interesting and insightful thoughts that keep users following him. He takes Twitter seriously, and that leadership trickles down the ranks.
- Zappos puts together pages for their super fans, giving public props to their customers, which turns those people into evangelists for Zappos as well.
Success on Twitter is all about getting people to pay attention to what you are saying. Being interesting, clever, and creative so that people want to listen to you is the best long-term strategy to crushing it on Twitter. But at the same time you’ve got to listen to others in order to make it work. Listen to your customers, listen to the crowd, and listen
to gurus with lots of followers to see how they do it. Be thoughtful and then take action.
In other words: GO!
Thumbnail Image: Wisely Woven