Photo: Robert Scoble via Flickr
Twitter has become one of the most popular ways for Internet marketers to spread their message, but if you don’t know how to harness this powerful tool, it can actually negatively impact your marketing campaign. On the other hand, a well executed Twitter campaign may bolster your profits and reputation on the Internet. Projecting the right the image on Twitter is the first step to successfully marketing your products or services on the world’s most popular microblogging site.Projecting the right image starts from the moment you sign up for Twitter. You should choose a user name which is quickly identifiable and unique to you. Many people opt to register their first and last name as their Twitter username and then associate that name with a business Twitter account. Remember, you cannot use hyphens in your user name, but you can use underscores.
After registering your account, there’s several simple steps you can take to immediately begin building your Twitter reputation. First, you should change the background of your Twitter feed. Changing the look of your page helps your feed look personalised and gives the impression that a real person is running the page, rather than a spam bot. Depending on the background you use, it can also help “brand” your Twitter account. If you can’t make a background for yourself, there’s dozens of websites that offer high quality backgrounds for free or you can hire a designer to create a custom background.
You should also take the time to personalise your avatar with your own picture or another image which is uniquely you. Next, consider what you will say in your bio space. Your bio must be 160 characters or less. That’s a small amount of text, but you should not use it to randomly keyword stuff. The best Twitter bios use full sentences and weave a few choice keywords into the bio description. For example, if you were tweeting about travel deals to the Caribbean, your bio might read something like, “I’m a world traveller, who enjoys trips to Caribbean hotels. While on vacation I enjoy going to the beach, scuba diving, hiking, and watersports.” Taking the time to make your profile look just right before adding followers will immediately set you apart from the thousands of marketers on Twitter who appear to be spammers.
Now that your Twitter page is personalised, it’s time to start putting Twitter into action. Inexperienced marketers may start plugging their services and products right away, but if you’re interested in becoming a well respected Twitter marketer, you will avoid this mistake. Instead, you should provide several useful and informative tweets that establish you as someone knowledgeable, or at least interested in, the keywords you are promoting.
One of the quickest ways to begin twittering is to create links to interesting blog posts or articles you find in your niche. If possible, provide a short commentary on the link rather than just the link itself. A great tweet will provide an interesting and informative piece of information, while also provoking interaction. Returning to the example of the marketer who promotes Caribbean vacations, a good tweet may read something like: “Scuba in Cozumel is great, but is Bonaire better?” followed by a link to an article about scuba diving in Bonaire. This method is more likely to produce replies or re-tweets than simply posting the link since it asks a question and even adds a little controversy, as different readers will have different takes on which destination is better. This tweet also manages to work in a few keywords.
Cozumel and Bonaire are both Caribbean destinations and scuba is a bio keyword. Google’s Caffeine upgrade is focusing on social media, so it’s more likely than ever that your tweet will appear on Google, thus increasing the need to include keywords and LSI directly into your tweets. Just remember that it’s more important to be clear and informative in your tweets than to have them rank for keywords.
Once you have tweeted a few useful links or messages, you will want to start making an effort to actively recruit followers. Many marketers focus exclusively on the quantity of followers, but this can be somewhat short sighted approach. A small targeted group of followers is far more likely to convert than a massive hodgepodge of followers. That being said, gaining a substantial following is the only way to successfully market on Twitter so it is important that you are proactive in finding them.
If you own a website, blog, or newsletter be sure to mention your Twitter username on them. Followers you gain from this method are the best prospects because they have already shown an interest in whatever products, services, or information you are offering through your Twitter feed. However, it is important to find new prospects on Twitter as well.
Use Twitter to search for other users who have the same interests as you and add them as friends. Some people you add will automatically reciprocate your add, either manually or with software. Others will check out your Twitter page before agreeing to add you. This is why it is so important to build up your tweets and personalise your page before attempting to market yourself to other Twitter users. When users who are weary of spammers go to your Twitter page and notice that you have made an effort to contribute something useful to the Twitter community, they will be much more likely to add you than someone who is just blasting the Twitterverse with their affiliate links and hasn’t even bothered to write an appropriate bio.
As more people follow you, your account will grow organically since people will be re-tweeting your information to their own followers, causing some of them to add you. In addition, some marketers choose to pay for Twitter followers. Paid services can scale up your operation quickly and some Twitter users are more likely to follow accounts which are popular, but it is important to consider the cost-to-value ratio of these services. One final tip to keep in mind: adding too many people at once may flag your account as being spam and Twitter has integrated ways to prevent this behaviour into their system.
Once you have established your presence as a trusted and interesting tweeter you can begin promoting your own products or services on a limited basis. Experts have suggested that you should promote your own services about 5% of the time on your own Twitter account. This prevents Twitter users, who have become sensitive to marketers spamming them, from deleting your account. Of course, if you are presenting truly useful information on your blog or website, not just a sales pitch, you can integrate those links into your tweets more frequently.
By following these tips, you will be well on your way to cultivating a Twitter presence that is likely to result in conversions. Good luck and Happy Tweeting!