On November 7, Twitter increased the number of characters that you could use in a tweet from 140 to 280.
The reason for this was because of increasing pressure from users who noticed that languages like Japanese, Korean and Chinese were able to express twice as much information in a single character is those who spoke English, Spanish or French, for example.
Some people happy with the 140 character limit were unhappy about that because the 140 character limit has been a defining feature of Twitter since it was introduced. In fact, the developers behind the platform have often resisted any changes to increase the character limit.
Whilst this might seem like a blow to Twitter purists, the increased character count (along with previous changes that removed URLs and images from that count) has opened up more opportunities for marketers wishing to use Twitter as a traffic platform.
But, people are still getting there Twitter marketing wrong or, even worse, not even trying the platform out for themselves.
If you are interested in putting your toe into the world of Twitter (not just having an account that never gets used), here are 10 tips that will help you succeed on the platform.
Jon Ferrera, the CEO of Nimble advises making sure your company identity and voice are well branded on the platform. Make sure your bio tells people exactly who you are and includes a link to your company website or landing page. John also suggests you have "a consistent tone so that people clearly understand who you are and what you do."
Regular tweeting, retweeting and liking is a sign of an active, healthy profile. Twitter is a micro-blogging platform and the original idea was to broadcast little snippets of your day as you went along. Whilst the platform has changed slightly from its original goals, regular tweeting is something that most businesses fail to do.
Sandra Fathi the founder & president of Affect has this to say on the subject:
"I recommend daily postings and engagement so that you are top of mind on a consistent basis."
In the past, this was difficult to do but recent changes have seen the increase in platforms that let you automate this process, whether it's liking and sharing content or posting industry-relevant content to your twitter feed.
Twitter is a social platform and, as part of your customer service, you need to make sure that you respond to people who are mentioning you in comments. You don't need to do this all the time but certainly, if a question is asked, you need to be the person answering it.
It's also a good idea to track your keywords and brand mentions to make sure you know what people are saying about you and find out what your competitors are up to. You can also jump into conversations (where appropriate) to give people advice or even to promote your product, although don't do this too heavily on the platform.
Whilst this might seem like an awful lot of work, you can get most of it done in just a few minutes a day.
It's worth taking a look at each day out which topics a trending to see if there is a way to make them a relevant connection to your brand. If you're able to put your business amongst those trending topics, that can easily drive traffic to your offer pages and will help increase your authority on the platform.
However, if you only use hashtags (especially the trending ones) it's very easy to be seen as spamming your users. Use the 80/20 principle to make sure you're not actually making too many tweets about any particular topic. That way, you can reach new users without annoying your old ones.
As with Facebook, there is something about an image post or a video post that really grabs the attention of your users. If you want to get more likes and retweets than posting images is a great way of doing it, especially if they connected to your industry or niche. In fact, research has shown that you get a significantly lower negative feedback score when your tweets have an image or video attached then you do without. This is because customers appreciate the interactivity of these posts. They feel more engaged so they engage with you in turn.
Of course, you're going to want to tweak promotional material at your audience. For business, it would be silly to have a twitter account which is purely retweeting other people stuff. At some point, this twitter interaction that you're performing must provide an ROI.
When you create a promotional tweet, make sure that you are not over saturating your market. Again the 80/20 principle is a great indicator of whether you're tweeting too much promotional material. For those not familiar with this principle, assume that one in every five tweets can be promotional with links back to your websites, landing pages or offers.
If you're planning on using the same tweets over and over, make sure you are repeating them too much. If you need to get the message across, find a different way of saying it.
The use of Twitter, Facebook, any social media platform, really needs to be connected with your main marketing plan. If you don't have a marketing plan yet they consider this the next stage in building out the online side of your business. It's incredibly useful to be able to take the traffic that you get from Facebook and pointed toward your Twitter account if you're running a promotional contest. Imagine having an email marketing campaign that also gets people to sign up for your Facebook or Twitter profile.
Moving traffic around like that gives people more than one point of contact for you and, in doing so, raises your profile as well as getting people to offers that they're going to enjoy without having to try and find new sources of traffic all the time.
It might seem an odd thing to do but part of having a social media profile is to help increase your business profile. The best way of doing that is to be seen as an authority in your field and show that you know what is going on, not just with your business but with others as well.
For that reason, it can be incredibly powerful to retweet, like and share your competitors' posts. I'm not saying that you need to share every piece of promotional material they produce, you're not their marketing department, but when they share interesting content that is relevant to your industry then that is worth sharing with your audience as well.
Don't be scared that they may then take your business because what you need to try and do on your profile is to give people a reason to buy from you over anybody else. This is actually very easy to accomplish if you are the source of most of your audience's information.
When you've built up your following on twitter you will be able to ask people to do things for you. Traditionally, this is called a call to action and would lead people to click on links or buy particular products. On Twitter, this needs to be a lot more subtle so the advice here is just to ask people to share your content on a regular basis.
If you build up a Twitter following that is used sharing your content, when you want to share promotional material it becomes an awful lot easier.
Twitter actually has daily analytics information available. This can be incredibly useful because it allows you to tell which tweets perform well and which fall flat on the face. If you want to build up a better audience, build better posts to your twitter feed. Again, this doesn't need to take very long but, as part of an overall marketing plan, this information can be absolutely crucial to understanding exactly what your audience one from your twitter profile.
Twitter analytics are often not used by businesses who either don't understand them or don't want to take the time to understand them. If you start using them you get a massive benefit over those businesses because you can replicate what's working and drop what isn't whilst they are still doing the same thing again and again.
If this is your first foray into Twitter then I hope some of this information can be useful for you. If you are a Twitter Pro and have used the platform since it came out, perhaps there is a little bit of information in there that you didn't quite think of all having considered for a little while.
I've been on the twitter platform now since 2008 and I've gone from using it on a regular basis to never touching it to then picking it back up and using it again. It's a great platform and with this expansion in characters, it's a great way to connect with an audience that you probably haven't thought about before. But, you must do it right!
If you'd like to follow me on twitter then please do, you can find me by typing in @steve_mellor into the twitter search. I will warn you, however, part of my job is testing software and a lot of software gets tested out on my twitter account so, whilst I may not practice what they preach, you can be sure that the products I'm telling you about actually do work and have been thoroughly tested by me and others before we tell you about them.