Want to get more return on your Twitter efforts? Use these best practices to build your brand's relationship with customers.
With more than 200 million users posting 400 million tweets a day, chances are good that your customers use Twitter. But reaping the business benefits of the microblogging site can be tricky and time-consuming if you don't know how to approach it, according to Catherine Gluckstein, president of SumAll, a social analytics company.
"Twitter is an important social media platform for connecting with your customers because it's an effective way to reach a broad audience quickly," she said. "But at the same time, you don't want to spend too much time with it if it's not providing an enormous value."
The key to tapping into that value, Gluckstein explained, lies in the composition and timing of the tweet, plus an understanding your core audience. Here are five quick changes you can make to post more effective tweets.
1. Research Your Audience. Knowing when and what to tweet requires that you have an understanding of your audience: who they are, what they respond to and more. This may mean investing in a social media monitoring tool, which culls this information automatically.
"You want to know who your audience is so you can tailor your tweets and optimize content taking into account the time of day, day of the week and more," Gluckstein said. "For example, if you're a retail store and you tweet a promotion, you'll want to know the optimal times to do this for the best return."
2. Tweet At Optimal Times. Once you know when your followers are most active, capitalize on that time of day or those days of the week, Gluckstein said. It's also important to be aware of breaking news that your followers may be interested in as this type of content helps foster real-time commenting and conversation. The more conversation you can drive around an event or piece of content, the more your brand gets noticed, she advised.
3. Engage With Followers. While it may be impossible to respond to every tweet or message, interacting with your followers is essential, Gluckstein said. A good rule of thumb: Respond to both the good and the bad.
"When someone has tweeted a great comment, you should reply to it, favorite the message or retweet it," she said. "If you're replying to a message, try to personalize the answer."
If a customer is tweeting a complaint, it's important to respond in a timely manner and acknowledge their concern, Gluckstein said. Try to reach out to them through email, too, so you can deal with the issue directly, she recommended.
4. Don't Go Overboard. "Be careful not to tweet too often, even though it's so easy and can be tempting to do," Gluckstein said. "Your followers notice if you're inundating them with messages."
While this depends on your audience, Gluckstein said it's usually a good idea to keep the total tweets per day to between 8 and 16. This range will vary from business to business, and it's important for each individual one to find a rate that works for them.
5. Have A Personality. Twitter's 140-character limit means you need to be creative to make an impact. Gluckstein pointed out that users enjoy following accounts that have personality, so try to inject your brand's voice into your tweets whenever possible. "People like it when you're witty and clever, so be creative and find a voice that helps you stand out," she said.