We’ve all read those same old Twitter marketing techniques: use hashtags, speak with your followers, listen more than you talk, and a host of others that are all too obvious after using the service for more than a few days.
I’m going to skip past those and give you advanced Twitter marketing techniques that will really help your Twitter account take off. Whether you’re trying to get the word out about a new piece of software or you just want people to know about your latest online sale, these are the Twitter strategies you’ll want to employ.
I’m going to break down my advice into three basic categories: tweet layout, using your followers, and using your competitors. You can choose to focus on one topic for certain marketing efforts, or just build up your knowledge slowly.
How to Change Your Tweet Layout for Optimal Engagement
Vary link locations: You may think that placing a link anywhere in a tweet is good enough, with the most common location being the end of the tweet. A study by Dan Zarrella used a heat map on tweets that had links in them. It found that the click-through rate for links was higher on average, by quite a bit, when the links were closer to the beginning.
Go multimedia: Twitter has been working constantly to update their service. First came pictures in tweets, then video, and now, finally, GIFs are on Twitter. The most important medium for software companies right now may be these new GIFs, as you can quickly show, without the data problems of video, a new feature, a redesign, or how to use an aspect of your software. You also can have fun:
So… we just heard that Twitter is supporting gifs. We’re kind of excited about it. http://t.co/bPvKGswme0
— AMC Theatres (@AMCTheatres) June 18, 2014
Use @reply carefully: A Twitter design issue that you may not be aware of and that may be hurting your chances of getting all your tweets out to your fans is the @reply problem. This is when you share a tweet like this:
This tweet will show up only on the account of @otherdeveloper. Your followers will not see it. Twitter reasons that since you’re starting by addressing another user, you’re speaking to only that user (as in a real group conversation, you would say someone’s name to get their attention and address them specifically).
Instead, you can try this to have your tweet viewed by everyone:
This is unless you do not want your fans to see the tweet, of course!
How to Use Your Followers on Twitter
Locate and work with crowd influencers: There are going to be people who follow your company because they really love a particular piece of software, service, or feature of yours. They will work extra hard to promote you. There also will be on Twitter those who are trusted voices in your industry.
Work with both of these crowd influencers, or brand evangelists, by creating specific content for them and giving them @mentions in your tweets. Send them a direct message to see if you can work together on anything further. Maybe they’ll want to live tweet a tour of your office or a demo of your next software, or just retweet your best content.
Use Twitter’s List function: It seems that many people never go beyond learning where the “tweet” button is. Twitter’s List feature can help you locate influencers by finding people who retweet, favorite, and reply the most often. You’ll have a better idea about who you should target.
Find the Twitter list by clicking on the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner and selecting “Lists” from the drop down menu. You can start creating lists based on your needs.
Create rewards: This can be done one of two ways:
- You can work to reward specific followers who you find to be crowd influencers.
- You can work with all your followers to promote a Twitter exclusive promotion.
Either way you choose, rewarding your followers on Twitter is a great way to find even more new followers. Wouldn’t you be more prone to retweet a message or send it directly to your friends if you knew they would be up for a prize or reward, too?
The simplest way I’ve seen this done is software companies simply sending out a tweet that says something like: “@Mention a friend in the replies below to be entered into our contest for the New Software. #companycontest.” This is how new fans can find a company easily. Their followers do the work for them!
How to Use Your Competitors on Twitter
Use Twitter’s Advanced Search: This tool will help you refine a search, allowing you to find your competitor’s hashtags and customers. By using the geo-location and keywords search functions of Twitter Advanced Search, you can narrow your parameters to the keywords that are important to you, or you can find potential customers in the city or country that you’re interested in.
You can get to Twitter Advanced Search by first entering search terms in the search bar along the top. On the results page, you will see a menu on the left-hand side. At the bottom, you will see the “Advanced Search” tab. Click on it to discover all the features of Advanced Search.
Follow your competition: Not only will you and your competitors share followers, you’ll also share interests and passions. With all of your similarities, why wouldn’t you follow the competition and see what they’re up to?
Pretty silly, right? The followers of both accounts loved it and joined in, and this kept both brands on the minds of consumers.
If you’re not up for fun, you still can see what competitors are doing, jump on trends that emerge, and join in on sedate conversations. Another practical consideration I’ve seen is software developers launching beta tests on their Twitter accounts that are never mentioned anywhere else. You can get that information!
The “Other” Field in Advanced Search Is Your Secret Weapon
The “Other” field in Twitter Advanced Search is the most ignored, yet useful, search feature of the Twitterverse. You can find it at the bottom of Twitter Advanced Search as a series of checkboxes.
To give an example of how it works, let’s say you’re a software company that has a new product launch for photo editing software coming up. First, you go to the Words field and enter a phrase like “best photo editing software”:
You then scroll down to the bottom of the Advanced Search field and find the “Other” checkbox section for questions.
Now hit that big blue Search button and voilà:
You have found new leads you can quickly recommend products to, with real advice that is useful to them. Maybe you can include a link to your store and the exact program you’re recommending in the tweet. And, here is an important tip: Look in the top right-hand corner of the above picture of search results. That Save button will save your search so that you don’t have to do this over and over!
For even more customization, you can narrow down your search with other fields. Under Places, select a specific region if you sell only within a certain country or city and want to address questions from that area. Under People, select a specific Twitter account if you want to see what people are asking your competitors. Sneak in and answer questions yourself if your competitors are ignoring their customers!
The number of things you can accomplish by simply knowing that the Other field exists is staggering. It may be the key to your using Twitter as something besides a fun place to chat, turning it into a place that really helps you find new leads.
Twitter Is More Complex, and Useful, Than You May Think
On the face of it, Twitter is a very simple marketing platform. You have 140 characters to make a momentary impression. Once you move beyond focusing on those 140 characters and start seeing all of the more advanced opportunities, you’ll find that those short tweets you send out can set you up for a lasting impression.
About the Author: Matthew Yeoman is a social media writer.