There are little yet momentous ways to make your brand a shining star on Twitter without breaking the bank.
What’s the Big Deal With Twitter?
One thing is for sure: if you’re looking to see what’s happening in the world right now, Twitter is the go-to source for real-time and breaking news. The mostly mobile social network celebrated 10 years of the hashtag with, what else, #Hashtag10.
If you were on Twitter in the pioneer days, you might remember the #FF (or #FollowFriday) as a way to meet and introduce new users. Then, of course, came #TBT or #ThrowBackThursday and the rest is hashtag history. But history repeats itself, and the start of the hashtag was also the beginning of one of the most powerful ways to optimize.
Today Twitter boasts more than 320 million monthly users and continues to fly high and low. Thanks to some “presidential” treatments Twitter is getting more attention than ever from the media, journalists, and both the personal and business community.
Need a Reason to Be on Twitter?
So many social networks so little time, so why Twitter? Besides its real-time nature, the number one reason is if your audience is on Twitter, then your brand needs to be active and engaged on Twitter.
Journalists, bloggers, and influencers monitor Twitter for brand, fan, and company story ideas. Happy and furious customers passionately flock to Twitter to voice opinions, concerns, and complaints.
Twitter is also an excellent place to share your brand’s news and content with an ROI that equates to referring traffic to your website or blog.
Bonus reason to be active on Twitter: If you optimize your Twitter profile correctly, your Twitter URL can show up on page 1 of Google search results.
More Than Character Count
While Twitter started out as a mostly text platform confined to the 140 characters or less stigma, today it’s messaging is packaged in more than just character counts. The social network comes adorned with the options of adding visuals, videos, location, images, apps, GIFs, polls, tagging, and live-streaming. All in real-time.
So now is an opportune time to take advantage of the increased activity and make sure your Twitter profile is ready for action!
Here are 22 tips on how you can optimize Twitter’s various elements.
You are seeing what Twitter thinks you would be most interested in when checking your Twitter feed thanks to the latest algorithm update in March 2017.
This not only includes accounts you choose to follow but also content Twitter matches up based on your account interactions.
The best way to leverage the algorithm is to be aware of timing, location settings, relevant hashtags and use outstanding images, videos, GIFs, and polls. The more interaction and engagement you can drum up, the more Twitter will favor your content.
Your Twitter bio is your one chance to romance Twitter’s search engine and the visits to your profile in 160 characters or less. Use super relevant keywords and hashtags.
When considering which hashtags to use be aware that the hashtags you use in your bio will be clickable and could also be a distraction from your bio. If someone does click through the hashtag be mindful you are not driving them to your competitors if you are using an industry hashtag. Stick with branded hashtags or ones where the pros outweigh the cons.
“Your bio should be compelling and inviting. Don’t be cutesy or funny. Your profile should paint your story in 160 characters and encourage me to want to learn more about you,” said Madalyn Sklar, Twitter Marketing Specialist and host of #TwitterSmarter Podcast and chat.
3. Profile Image
For business brands, use a version of your logo that is easily recognizable and representative of your brand. Think about color, image size, and how it will look from a mobile device.
4. Header Image
Compare your header image to a magazine cover. Change it monthly to match your monthly editorial calendar.
Feature promotions or a visual that tells a story about what’s happening that month with your brand. For example, your team, a trade show, book launch, new product release, a featured story, or even tiring in a holiday or special event.
Be sure to optimize all images by saving the image file name with branded keywords to increase chances of being found in an image search.
5. Website URL
Here is where you can move beyond the typical home page link. Think about some specific pages you want to send your Twitter followers.
Since many journalists and bloggers use Twitter to source stories, link to your company newsroom or blog. Maybe you want them to download a free guide, subscribe to your email list, or go to a landing page for Twitter users with a feed of your most popular tweets.
If you’re a local business, fill out the location part of your Twitter profile. This way Twitter’s algorithm can match up your content with other locally based audience prospects.
7. Open up Your Twitter DM
If you want to make your brand more approachable on Twitter and optimize your accessibility, take the privacy off your direct messages. How do you do this?
Go to the Twitter settings page and click on the Privacy and Security tab. Scroll down the page, go to the direct message option, and check mark the “Receive Direct Messages from anyone.”
Each profile has a media timeline showcasing the most recent GIFs, photos, and videos in chronological order. Photos and videos are excellent opportunities to stand out in the news feed and your timeline. Even more, visuals boost media relations optimization serving as bait to journalists and bloggers fishing Twitter for story ideas.
Attach up to four photos to a Tweet and take the most of the visual real estate available in addition to telling your brand story. Go one step further to maximize exposure and attention by tagging the photos if it makes sense.
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) August 28, 2017
Twitter is video-friendly and makes it possible to record videos straight from the app, upload your own videos, or go live thanks to Periscope. Keeping up with its real-time reputation, brands are using the live video feature to report on the spot news and share experiences as it happens.
Keep in mind that recorded and uploaded videos are limited to two minutes and 20 seconds so you might need to trim size if you exceed the limit.
Explore the Twitter developer documentation for your website or blog and add Twitter’s Player Card to optimize your delivery of rich media shared on Twitter.
10. Pinned Tweets
If your Twitter cover image is like a magazine cover, look at the pinned tweet as your featured story. Pinning a Tweet to the top of your profile is an often skipped yet a valuable optimization feature.
Think strategically when pinning tweets by including a strong visual, a clear call to action, relevant keywords, strategic hashtags, and a link back to your website or blog for more detailed information. Remember for new users landing on your profile the first thing they will see in your Twitter stream is the pinned tweet. Make it sweet!
11. Customer Service Twitter Tools
Since 80 percent of customer service requests a happen on Twitter, there’s a compelling reason why brands are leaning into optimizing customer service with Twitter.
In the past year, brands can choose from customer service tools including direct message deep links, customer survey messaging, profile notifications signifying a brand’s response time, and also whether the profile is the correct username to provide support.
Social media and customer service is such a serious trend Twitter published a free 120-page Customer Service Playbook to educate brands on how and why to integrate Twitter into its customer service strategy.
If your Twitter account is geared for customer service, be sure to add that your bio and thinking of listing service hours.
12. DM, Bots, and Custom Messaging
Twitter’s Direct Message feature is getting personal with bots with the launch of a Direct Message Card Message Card to go deeper with customers using fun and engaging bots.
Studies show Tweets with hashtags get 2x more engagement but when it comes to the number of hashtags in a tweet less is more. One to two hashtags get better results than three or more, so it’s best to focus on the best. Beyond hashtag numbers, there is a code of ethics and honor when using hashtags.
Best selling author David Meerman Scott coined the term newsjacking referring to the art and science of injecting ideas into breaking news.
— David Meerman Scott (@dmscott) August 19, 2017
The skyrocketing use of hashtags takes newsjacking to a whole new level and Scott warns that hijacking a hashtag can backfire on a brand.
Think twice about injecting your brand into a trending hashtag that involves death, politics, religion, or sex. While you might be trying to optimize your Twitter reach with a trending hashtag, it could have a crash and burn impact resulting in negative news coverage on your brand.
Check out these tools to research the best hashtags to match your news and messaging:
Participate in #followfriday
If you want to attract a quality following, it’s important to be active, aware, mindful, and generous on Twitter. Be:
- Active on a daily basis and especially follow relevant bloggers, journalists, and industry experts.
- Aware of your competition’s activity and industry hashtags.
- Mindful of your keywords and messaging; listen to your customers and brand conversations.
- Generous in sharing other’s content, especially the media.
The more you give on Twitter, the more you will get back.
Being active on Twitter is more than just listening and spying on your competition. Engagement is key and includes a strategy of sharing, acknowledging, and helping others shine.
It’s important to find your credible sources and optimize the process with a system in place to find excellent content to share and create magnetic quality content that others will want to share. Ask questions and answer questions, the engagement will follow.
Use these features regular to get “engagement” credit on Twitter:
- Embedded media
- Profile photo
- Tweet expansion
An emoji is worth 1,000 words, practically. Today it’s almost impossible to be on social media without using emojis.
With a 775 percent increase in emoji use for marketing and more, brands are finding the perfect emoji to match message moods. Expression, personality, and emotion come to life with the use of emojis that optimizes our use of characters in ways that words can’t describe.
Consider using emojis as part of your social customer service messaging. Acknowledging a happy customer comment with a smiley face humanizes the message more than words can describe.
Did you need help with your return? 😊 *MG
— Zappos.com (@Zappos) August 28, 2017
Looking for that perfect emoji way to say it? Use the emoji search engine, Emojipedia.
17. Twitter Chats
If you’re trying to learn, grow, connect, and get brand exposure, there is most likely a Twitter chat waiting for you.
Brands can start their own chat using a branded hashtag such as #BufferChat. It is treated just like a weekly talk show on a dedicated day and time each week. You can find a list of industry Twitter chats here.
— Madalyn Sklar 🚀 (@MadalynSklar) August 28, 2017
18. Blog or Website
Wouldn’t it be nice if Twitter did some of this heavy lifting work for you?
It’s possible as long as you have some of the technical aspects set up properly and make use of Twitter’s developer bells and whistles. Brands doing this find that optimizing your owned online media is one of the easiest ways to have Twitter work for you.
If you answer no to any of these questions, it’s time to ramp up your Twitter priorities:
- Do you have Twitter cards set up on your blog?
- Are the share buttons programmed to tag your brand’s Twitter handle and author handle?
- Do you have something like “Tweet this” or “Click to Tweet” to encourage Tweets and spoon feed digital bytes of good content for more shares?
- Is it easy to find the share and follow buttons on your sites
Weave in embedded tweets to parts of your web and blog content where it makes sense.
Growing your Twitter account is hard work that pays off. The worst thing that could happen is to have your account hacked due to a lack of security when it comes to passwords.
The most optimized Twitter account is worthless if the account gets compromised. Use apps such as 1Password and change the password regularly to prevent possible hacks.
Add a Twitter widget to your site with a specific #hashtag and use that hashtag when you want those tweets shown on your website or blog.
21. Twitter Lists
Creating a Twitter list or being included in a Twitter list can both optimize your experience by saving time and your exposure by “getting listed.” For example, I created a Twitter list of all the guest speakers to make it easy for students in one of my classes to access and follow them all in one place.
Create a private Twitter List for competition so you can easily keep an eye out of what’s happening!
An easy way to add visuals to your Twitter stream is tapping into to you Instagram feed. By using IFTTT’s applet (formally known as recipes) you can automate to tweet you Instagrams as native images on Twitter.
Where Does It Stop When It Comes to Twitter Optimization?
“Do a Twitter profile audit every 3 months. Your profile is a reflection of you and your business. It’s important to have it stand out and grab attention. Check it regularly,” according to Sklar.
Twitter Optimization Signs of Success
Measuring what matters in Twitter is the best way to track if your optimization tactics are working for you. Benchmark your efforts using Twitter Analytics, Google Analytics, and/or third-party platforms such as Buffer, Hootsuite, or SproutSocial.
Given today’s Twitter climate, the forecast is bright for brands with an eye on the little details of dedication, inspiration, and above all optimization for big results.
In-post Photo: Screenshot taken by Lisa Buyer, August 2017.
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our weekly newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!