Social Media: Free Twitter Basics for Business

If you’re looking to attract tourists to visit or book with your business, you should consider using Twitter as part of your social media and online marketing strategy. 

What is Twitter?

Twitter started in 2006 as a way to share a 140-character message to a network. This evolved into what could be called “a text message to the world”. The use of #hashtags, which have turned into a great online marketing tool, began on Twitter. The network was slow to grow at first but surged to over 100 million users in 2012.

Growth hasn’t stopped. As of January 2018, Twitter reportedly has over 300 million users!

These days you can use 280 characters, and tweet photos, videos, and gifs. Most importantly for marketers, you can also include links! We’ll get to that in a moment.

How big is Twitter?

The Twitter audience in New Zealand is highly engaged but small. According to StatCounter, under 8% of New Zealanders have an active Twitter account. That’s around 370,000 people.

Twitter is huge internationally, however. For example, according to StatCounter, 27% (34 million!) of Japanese people use a Twitter account. That’s a big number, and the USA audience is even bigger, at 78 million. Worldwide the number is 335 million users-per-month (Statista). Lots of those people will be visitors or possible visitors to Wanaka, for example.

So, that’s why having a free-to-use Twitter account as part of your online marketing makes sense. Think of all those Tweeting tourists who can become potential customers!

Joining Twitter

To join Twitter, you only need your name, and a phone number, or email address. The process is very easy, and of course, it’s guided by Twitter.

Choosing a username can be tricky. Some are taken, some are too long, others are just not allowed. Try a few different options. For example, we’re @AspDigiNZ because @AspiringDigital didn’t fit! Twitter will suggest a few categories to look at and some profiles to follow. You can follow us, just mention this blog and we’ll definitely follow you back!

Your Profile

Setting up your profile is the logical next step. Upload a logo, choose your location, and add a link to your website. Simple! Another section to fill in is your biography. Now you can get a little strategic. Firstly, make a statement about your business. From that statement, choose the most relevant word(s) and make a #hashtag. For example:

“Aspiring Digital serves business in Wanaka and the surrounding area with #digitalmarketing expertise.”

We’ll explain why below. Once that’s done, you’re ready to start tweeting. In the meantime. go ahead, send your version of “#MyFirstTweet”!

Online Marketing using Hashtags

If you’ve never heard of hashtags, you should read Twitter’s guide. They are a very powerful online marketing tool. In brief, by using hashtags, you’re extending your reach.

But wait! Before you go #hashtagging #everysingleword #inyournext #tweet, we need to get tactical. The easiest way to decide on a hashtag is to think of it as the subject line of an email. If that’s not clear, ask yourself this:

Which hashtag is probably the most relevant to my potential customers?

There are also tools to help answer this. Using the search function on Twitter is free. RiteTag is an easy-to-use tool with free features. Hashtagify is another option, but you might want to pay for that one.

Hint: These “days of the week” hashtags are an easy start: #MondayMotivation, #TravelTuesday, #WednesdayWisdom, #TBT (ThrowBack Thursday), #FF (Follow Friday).

How many hashtags should I use?

We all love a simple answer: Twitter recommends using just two hashtags at a time. That’s actually an opportunity: By moving your hashtag to different words, you might also find some perform better than others.

Content 

What should you do next? Well… Tweet! If you have a blog, tweet the links by copying the URL and pasting it into the tweet. This can be great for your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Then, tell people why they should click. Remember to use a good hashtag! Do you have images of your products or location? Tweet them. You might also have some nice brand imagery, so tweet that too.

You’ll probably notice the “Retweet” (RT) symbol under tweets. Using this will copy someone else’s tweet (or your own!) into your followers’ timeline. There’s also a “Favourite” button. It used to be a star, now it’s a . You could think of the RT as an engagement, and a ♥ as an acknowledgement. These are an easy way to get noticed, so RT and ♥ often.

Just so you’re aware, many people treat RT’s as an agreement with the content of the tweet. You do have the option to “Retweet” or “Retweet with comment”. Use this to add your own context as needed.

If you’re also struggling with making your online marketing content, you can try our Content Creation tool, or get in touch.

How often should you tweet?

If you’ve got something useful to say, tweet it. Recommendations for how often you should tweet range from “every 15 minutes” to “a maximum of 12 per day”. That is not very helpful! If you’re using other social media or digital marketing tools, you can use the same content for Twitter, too.

You’re probably thinking “how does anyone tweet every 15 minutes AND get anything else done, anyway?!” The answer is scheduling.

Hint: Don’t worry about people getting sick of your tweets. Even if you only have 20 followers, they’re still not going to see all your tweets, thanks to Twitter’s algorithms!

Scheduling tweets

Scheduling or queueing tweets is common in online marketing. Brands use platforms like AgoraPulse, Buffer, Hootsuite and Sprout Social to do it. These platforms also manage scheduling for Facebook, Instagram, Google +, and even LinkedIn. Some of these platforms have a free version, but these come with some drawbacks. You might only able to connect a few profiles, for example. Or the reporting is limited.

As we mentioned in a previous blog, one of the benefits of using a social media agency is leaving the content creation and publishing up to them. Aspiring Digital can help with this, and of course, it’s easy to contact us.

Measuring success

Not so long ago, the number of followers your profile had was the only measurement available. Paid Twitter ads made that irrelevant. You can reach as many people as you like… if you’re prepared to pay! (If that’s something you’d like to learn more about, contact us).

If your content is good, and you’re reaching the right people, your following will almost certainly grow.

When you use the right hashtags, you’ll probably see some growth too. Engagement is a good metric: If you’re getting RT’s and ‘s, your content is clearly working. Just make sure it’s pushing interest in your brand.

All things considered, if your following doesn’t grow but you notice an increase in website traffic (or even foot traffic), you should probably just keep doing what you’re doing. On the flipside, if your following grows, but you’re not getting more website or foot traffic, you should probably change part of your content.

Just like any other aspect of a business, you should decide on what you want to achieve, and work toward it.

Hint: Never, ever pay for followers. It will ruin your insights and traffic quality.

Conclusion

Twitter is a powerful online marketing tool because it’s a massive worldwide social media network. It’s easy to join Twitter, but it will take time to build a following to increase traffic or sales. To reach potential customers you will need to learn how to use it.

You can save time by talking to us about our experiences with organic and paid online marketing using Twitter. We will get you up and running, and help you learn to eventually manage it yourself.

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