Twitter is growing rapidly, and daily, and reporting around 6000 tweets every second, with almost 400 million users.
Among those 400 million people, your target audience must be there somewhere, so it is highly recommended that you have a presence to reach your customers.
The primary purpose of Twitter is to connect people, allow them to share their thoughts to a large audience. Unlike other platforms Twitter is universal in its use, in other words it isn’t just for businesses or just a social platform, its functionality seems to cut across everything.
In addition, it’s a platform where everyone is equal. There are no prime listings for big businesses or senior or celebrity people. Everyone who is registered has a voice and anyone who isn’t can still see what’s going on in the world.
Twitter does have its algorithms though, but they are a little more forgiving. You’ll notice on your news feed that you have the option to view ‘top tweets’ or ‘latest tweets’.
Top Tweets is where the algorithm works, bumping up top performing and engaging content. Latest tweets are a simple reverse chronological feed of each tweet that is sent, with the very latest at the top of the feed.
Because of the latest tweet feature, the timings of your post are sometimes crucial, especially when it comes to interacting and engaging with your audience as they comment and share. To keep up with these conversations in a timely manner, it is wise to build a ‘Twitter Listening Plan’.
Twitter is a great tool for connecting with businesses. It is informal, but valuable for networking and staying up to date with news and events. Explore how to make Twitter work for you... learn how to ensure you don't miss important events, make the most of networking and explore how to make use of media opportunities.
What’s a Twitter Listening Plan?
- Social media listening can have a direct effect on your business. How you interact and respond to your audience. In simple terms, it’s customer service, but on social media.
- A listening plan will consist of ‘monitoring’ (replying and responding to direct comments and messages) and ‘listing’ where you proactively find conversations to be involved in.
- Explore who you want to be communicating with and note down what hashtags they are using. For example, prospective holiday makers using #NeedAHoliday or tourism influencers using #UnforgettableHolidays.
- Follow these accounts, interact with them, and listen to how they have conversations with other Twitter users too.
- But that’s not it for Twitter. You still need to create and publish fantastic quality content too.
Here are a few benefits to using Twitter:
- Connect with people and brands you wouldn’t otherwise have access to and hear their thoughts and what’s important to them. You can even raise concerns with them about their products or services
- Get relevant news from the local authority and business community as soon as it’s released – perhaps you’re waiting to hear about new grants or local policies
- See what your competition is up to and who they follow – this means you won’t get left behind if they know something you don’t know
- Share your thoughts on key subjects and be part of the conversation – this helps people get to ‘know, like, and trust’ you, thus helping them along their customer journey with you
- Stay up to date with key trends and new products and services. This is especially important if you are a leading authority in a specific area
- Get to hear what people are saying about your business and respond accordingly – this is especially important if anyone says anything bad. You’ll need to nip it in the bud straight away
- Get information out quickly about any promotions you are running and hence increase sales
- Provide better customer service. Twitter is made for chatting and can be a good way to answer customer questions quickly and easily.
Making it easy to cut through the noise and find Tweets that interest you
With over 500 million tweets being made every day, you’ll want to be selective so that you only see tweets that are interesting and relevant to you. If you skipped this section during set up, you can go back in and update your preferences by: –
Following a person or a business
Search for a person or business name using the search function and, depending on whether you are on your mobile (use the drop-down menu) or your laptop (hover over the heading) and select the follow button next to the account name.
Customise, organise, and prioritise Tweets about certain subjects or that come from certain groups of people by creating lists.
To create your own list, click on your profile picture and then click on Lists in the navigation bar. Click the ‘create new list’ icon at the top of the page and type in a list name. You have a maximum of 25 characters and can choose whether the list is private to you (it will show as having a lock by the title) or if its open to the public. Click next and then search for people and businesses to add to your list. Click done to save.
You may for example have a list called ‘Local Authority Info’ under which you will include prominent councillors or individuals, the local authority sites, LEP sites, Grant funding providers. You might decide for this to be public.
You might also want to create a list of your competitors so that you can see what they are up to, what they are saying and who they are following. You wouldn’t necessarily want everyone to be able to see who you consider your competitors to be and so you will make this list private.
To see Tweets from any of your lists, go to your profile page, click the Lists tab, click the list you’d like to view, and you’ll see a timeline or Tweets from the accounts in the List.
To follow other people’s lists, go to the profile of the other person by clicking on their profile image and then click the three small dots. Tap view lists, select the list you want to follow and click follow.
You can pin lists to your home timeline so that any feeds from those accounts in your list will automatically appear in your feed without you having to check the list. To do this, go into your profile by clicking your profile picture, click the list you want to pin and then tap the pin button. (You can remove this by going to ‘pinned’ and tapping the pin icon).
You may want to spend some time reading others posts before you jump straight in. There’s no rush to get involved. But when you do, here are some tips for you: –
- Use hashtags to reach wider audiences. By entering a # directly followed (no space) by a search term that people might use for example ‘#Skegness’ or ‘#SkegnessB&B’ your post will appear in the results in that searcher’s feed. You can use multiple hashtags, but it’s recommended to keep it to one or two otherwise your post becomes hard to read and looks very ‘salesy’.
- Think carefully about the hashtags you use. Who do you want to read them? Customers, business contacts or partners or potential employees? What are they likely to type in?
- Try and keep your Tweets short, although you have 280 characters to use, the recommendation is that you keep it to around 100
- Consider using images and videos – its isn’t just a platform for pure narrative
- Ensure you have a call to action. What do you want people to do because of your Tweet?
- Remember that Twitter is a conversational platform so keep the tone conversational, ask questions, make suggestions, use emojis.
- If you have a special Tweet that you want to appear at the top of your feed (if for example you have a promotion running) then pin it to your feed. Just remember to unpin it when the promotion has ended.
- And remember, whilst your tweet can be viewed as soon as it’s posted from anywhere in the world, you can take a Tweet down if you’re not happy with what you’ve posted.
Signing up, creating a profile, and creating your lists
Signing up and creating your profile couldn’t be easier, and like most social platforms it’s free to use!
- Go to the Twitter website
Click the blue sign up button and enter your name and phone number (or you can select email in place of a phone number), click next, read the terms and conditions and if you’re happy click sign up. You’ll be sent a code by either email or text to verify who you are and once you’ve entered this, you’ll be asked to create a password for your account.
You’ll be asked to personalise your feed by selecting your interests and people that you want to follow but you can skip these steps and complete later.
Finally, you’ll be asked to enter and verify your email address and you’re all done!
2. You’ll want to create your profile straight away so that people can find you and that you’re recognisable when you Tweet.
If you haven’t already developed brand guidelines, we recommend you head over to the Marketing Strategy section of the website for our fact sheet on what you should consider when creating brand guidelines and then follow these when you set up your profile which will include: –
- Uploading a picture that represents you. It could be your face or a logo, but your image should fit within the circle, be strong and have a resolution of 400 x 400 pixels
- Upload a banner image. This usually gives a broader representation of who you are and what you’re about. But it could also be used to show any promotions you have running or jobs you’re advertising, or campaigns you’re backing. If using for these purposes, do remember to change the image when the promotion or campaign ends. Again, this image should be strong and have a resolution of 1,500 x 500 pixels
- Choose a handle name – this will be your username @. You only have 15 characters for this so make each character count. This should be memorable and easy to spell
- Your real name or business name can be shown directly above your handle and for this you have more characters – up to 50
- Remember to include a link to your website if you have one, or alternatively any promotional pages or other sites
- Include your location – you can put UK, but if you’re going to be using Twitter to engage with customers, potential employees, and local businesses, you’re better entering your town
- Don’t forget to include your Bio. Try and make it punchy – its simply who you are, what you’re offering and what you do. You can use hashtags, emojis and @ tags to help your bio stand out too.
If you’d like any assistance or reassurance to get you started on Twitter, don’t hesitate to contact us
In this first of two Twitter masterclass videos, Sam explains the importance of Twitter as a tool to connect with the business community and what it’s generally used for. By the end of this video, you will be able to assess how you want to use the tool, whether this is for research, engagement, networking or perhaps all three.