Chapter 1: Search Engine Journal’s Twitter Strategy
One of the largest social networks, Twitter is the “buzz generator” where people go for breaking news and updates. It’s a very fast-paced environment, intended to be short and sweet with each tweet being no more than 140 characters. Twitter shares some features with the most common social media tools: Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube.
However, the differences really define Twitter:
- Facebook: A tweet is like a short Facebook status update, but with Twitter every tweet arrives at every follower’s feed, unlike the filter of Facebook’s EdgeRank.
- Pinterest: Twitter allows you to share photographs and provide commentary in your tweet, and with Twitter it’s much easier to have a conversation around a shared image versus the comment feature on Pinterest.
- LinkedIn: A tweet is like a short LinkedIn status update. While LinkedIn is based on trust relationships (and two-way agreements), Twitter allows you to follow anyone, including strangers.
- Google+: A tweet is like a short Google+ status update. Twitter also allows you to organize people into lists that organize conversations similar to Google+ groups.
- YouTube: A tweet can contain a link to a video; although, Twitter doesn’t allow you to create a channel, or organize your videos for easy location and commentary.
Twitter Posting Strategy
- Use feeds to automatically stream through the latest SEJ posts as they go live
- Integrate a variety of non-SEJ content, such as humorous articles/photos and content from other related sites about industry events, timely news, quotes, etc.
- Promote the SEJ Writers by retweeting their content and sharing posts
- Tweet at least one month-old post each day
- Promote our team and writers onsite and off using their Twitter handle
- Share timely SEO news from other reliable sources
Twitter Engagement Strategy
- Reply to at least 10 users per day
- Propose questions about corresponding topics
- Thank people for sharing our posts
- Identify users who manually Tweet a post, comment, or otherwise interact
- Retweet at least 3 posts per day
- “Listen” to what people are saying about SEJ by searching Twitter for relevant keywords surrounding the company name
Twitter Following Strategy
Following new users on a regular basis will help grow our own fan base. Following quality brands and individuals will ensure we get as much relevant information from Twitter as possible. Our timeline will be more manageable with contributions from targeted accounts, as opposed to randomly following anyone or automatically following people back.
How to identify which accounts to follow:
- Look at those who follow us. Scroll through bios, select people who seem relevant, and ensure their feeds are live.
- Consider those who are retweeted frequently. If we are only following quality people, then the folks they are retweeting are probably worth investigating, too.
- Allude to our writer lists to see who they are quoting and talking about.
- Visit competitors’ follower lists. Anyone following them is clearly interested in the subject matter, and thus, we’d be of interest to them as well.
- Clean up older/inactive/automated users at least once a month. Use platforms like Twitter Karma, Just Unfollow, Status People, etc.
Twitter Observation Strategy
Observing other users along with their habits or the habits of related cohorts can be extremely educational in growing our fan base. One of the great things about Twitter is transparency- we can see everything everyone is saying. This makes competitive research super accessible. Our competitors have networks that likely include influencers who are directly related to the industry. Eavesdropping on Twitter conversations surrounding pertinent topics will help to ensure we are staying on top of what our audience is saying and interacting with.
Identifying influencers that are already following us is useful as well. Followerwonk is a platform which ranks users’ social authority based on the retweet rate of their last few hundred tweets, the recentness of those tweets, and a retweet-based model trained on user profile data. This number is by no means perfect, but retweets are so strongly correlated with a healthy community that they are a great way to identify relationships that should be pursued.
Keep the overall sentiment light and positive. Avoid tweets that are negative in nature or could come across as unprofessional; like those including: profanities, racism, stereotyping, or referencing unprofessional activities. Do not engage in any argumentative conversation.
On Twitter, it is common practice for people to use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase (without spaces) in their tweet to categorize those tweets and help to increase their visibility in Twitter search. No wonder, since studies show tweets using hashtags get twice as much engagement as those without. For example, if you search for #SEO you will get a list of tweets related to SEO that contain the hashtag phrase.
- Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other tweets tagged with that keyword
- Hashtags can occur anywhere in the tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end
- Hashtagged words that become very popular are often trending topics
- Good practice to research trending hashtags in order to avoid accidental misuse
- Use hashtags only on tweets relevant to the topic
- Do not #spam #with #hashtags. Don’t over-tag a single tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than two hashtags per tweet.)
Studies show tweets with images can get 60-200% more shares than those without. Using images means we have a better chance of standing out in follower’s feeds.
SEJ uses the “Summary” version of Twitter cards.
Twitter is about building a community of followers who are passionate about SEO, social media, digital marketing, etc., and eventually become passionate about SEJ. The primary goal is to increase our Twitter following by at least 5% each month through Q2 2014.
- February 2014 = 2,775 fan increase
- March 2014 = 2,913 fan increase
- April 2014 = 3,058 fan increase
Ideally, this will draw traffic to the website, where we monetize our efforts through advertising and sponsorships. Social traffic referrals to the website should rise at least 10% month over month.
We also hope to consistently grow the number of mentions, retweets, and replies. In January 2015, we had 2,829 retweets, 221 replies, and 5,460 mentions. An increase of 1,641 retweets, 84 replies, and 1,971 mentions compared to January 2014.
Another major goal is to enhance the reputation of SEJ as an expert voice in the search arena. Showing that we are always on top of what is happening in the search world helps solidify our persona as a leading source in the field. This means keeping the community updated by continuously showcasing knowledge in various related topics such as social media, blogging, content marketing, and industry events.
Promoting the SEJ editorial team and guest writers will also aid in diversifying and creating high-quality content to share. Spotlighting SEJ authors and their work offsite will help strengthen our relationships with them. However, such content should be presented with a light hand so it does not come across as too promotional.
Using Twitter to monitor what is being said about our company is vital. We should respond in a timely manner to any issues and make sure all inquiries are addressed. Maintaining a consistent tone will help our audience understand who we are. Our voice should be professional, yet conversational and friendly.