For a brand with a voice and something to say, Twitter acts as a powerful communication medium allowing you to put your stamp on things and get yourself heard. But let’s face it: Twitter is also kind of noisy. Your success on the platform rests on your ability to make your tweets stand out and gain visibility in your customers’ eyes. But how do you do that?
How do you make sure you’re being heard and you’re not just tweeting out into oblivion? Below are seven best practices.
Use characters wisely
Twitter gives you 140 characters to convey your message. And as short as that may seem, the truth is your message needs to be even shorter to be most effective. The average Twitter user is looking for quick nuggets they can click on for more information OR that they can ReTweet and share with their friends. You need to grab their interest early on in your message if you have any hope of getting them to act.
And don’t forget to leave some room in your tweet so that users can manually RT you, as well. By taking up the whole 140 character limit, you make them unable to add their own input into your message, limiting the chances they’ll share your bit of wonder with their world.
Personalize your content
If someone is following you, they’re doing it because they want YOUR take on life and the industry. So give them it to them in everything you put out. Want to share a link you found really useful? Great. But instead of tweeting [post title + link] personalize the tweet by adding personal commentary or by picking out a great line from the post and using that instead of the title. This not only shows you actually read the post, it gives your followers a meaty nugget to hold on to.
Find your magic number
How many tweets a day should you send out? It depends on your audience and their expectations!
To find your magic posting number it will take experimenting to see how many updates your audience best responds to. Ultimately, you want to post enough that customers look forward to your updates and you give them a reason to follow you, but you don’t want to post too much to the point where customers are ignoring you because you’re bombarding them with too much information. Test out different tweeting patterns to help you find your rhythm. There are also tools and services you can use which will analyze your Twitter stream to show you when your audience is most “alert” to your updates.
Find ways to engage
Entering social media means being proactive about hunting down conversations and opportunities to speak on behalf of your brand. Just because your customers are lurking on these social channels, doesn’t mean they’re ready to start the conversation. You need to be prepared to do that.
- Do keyword searches to find people talking about your topic and then jump in and be part of the conversation
- Find conversations related to your area/neighborhood and introduce yourself
- Start conversations with users who have retweeted your content
- Answer questions or concerns for current or prospective customers
There are opportunities everywhere to insert yourself into the conversation and be involved, but you have to find them. Don’t expect them to come to you.
Listen to your audience
The good news is your customers will tell you if your Twitter strategy is working. They’ll tell you through increased RTs, blog comments, site traffic, additional social media interaction, etc. So listen to them. If you see that certain types of content are doing better, it’s a sign your audience wants more of that. Try wording tweets differently and taking on different approaches to your engagement until you see what works and what gets a stronger reaction.
Use tools to monitor effectiveness
By using tools to help you schedule your tweets and monitor engagement, it allows you to spend more time crafting the tweets and less time chasing around mentions. Depending on the size of your business, this may be as simple as setting up saved Advanced Twitter searches or using tools like SocialBro , SproutSocial  or Buffer  to help you increase the effectiveness of your account.
If you’re not enjoying your social media interaction, you can bet your customers aren’t enjoying it either. Social media gives you a front row seat to the conversations happening around your industry, while also inviting you to host the show. Enjoy it! Find your customers and talk to them. Ask questions. Share resources you enjoy. Social media shouldn’t be a chore. It’s a new way to talk to your customers about your business.
Above are some of the tips I’d recommend to help get your brand heard on Twitter. What’s worked for you?