8 July 2016

How to Harness the Power of Twitter to Promote Your Business

Lesson #22--TWITTER

Once again, welcome! This is internet income course lesson twenty-two, and like our previous lessons is aimed at simplifying the difficulties of starting and running a profitable online business by breaking down important principles in simple English. Course author, George Little, continues to reveal tips, real-world advice, and in-depth, step-by-step instructions on setting up your Internet-based business. Read the previous lesson 21 here.

In this lesson, we will discuss how to promote your business on Twitter.

Know How to Use Twitter

First, make sure that you understand the basics of using Twitter.

Twitter is second in number of users only to Facebook at the time of this writing. Although second in use, many suggest that Twitter is more important because critical business and political announcements are more frequently made on Twitter first. Twitter, having a faster pace than Facebook, describes itself as "the place to find out what is happening right now in your industry, community and around the world."

A Tweet is a message posted on Twitter that can contain text, photos, links and videos. Twitter has traditionally allowed no more than 140 characters in a tweet. While there were some articles in January 2016 suggesting that cap would be significantly increased, the limit is still in place as of the time of this writing. Many argue against a change in the limit, claiming the 140 character limit is what gives Twitter its unique appeal and keeps it fast paced.

There are a few ways to react to a tweet. At the time of this writing, you can like the tweet, reply to it, or retweet it.

Up until recently, Twitter did not have a 'like' button, but had a 'favorite' button instead. Twitter abandoned the 'favorite button' for the 'like button' to prompt people to react to tweets more freely.

Twitter provides a 'reply' button to respond to tweets. A reply is basically another tweet that one makes in reply to the original tweet, tagging the person who made the original tweet to which one is replying. (Note that this works much differently than a comment to a post on Facebook.)

You can share someone else's tweet with your followers by 'Retweeting.' You can click the Retweet button to share the Tweet as is or add a comment and quote the tweet.

A hashtag is any word, or phrase without spaces, beginning with the # symbol. You can use hashtags to organize your conversations and facilitate finding and sharing content related to a given topic. Click on a hashtag to go directly to the search results for that term.

Bring a Tweet to another user's attention by including their @username in your message.

Promoting with Twitter

a). Free Promotion

There is much you can do to promote your business on Twitter without having to pay Twitter for the promotion. Basic strategies that need your attention first include creating an inviting profile, learning to tweet content that is enticing or informative, following others so they will follow you back, learning how to conform your content to what is shown the most, using standard promotional strategies (such as follow buttons on your website and including your Twitter profile in your email signature, etc.).

In either free or paid promotion, the same general approach applies after the above basics have been mastered. The three main steps to use with either approach are:
  1. understand your followers
  2. target the right audience
  3. monitor your campaign
Twitter provides free analytical tools that can assist you in identifying and understanding your followers. Even without activating these analytical tools there is much you can do to understand the interests of those following you. Mainly, it involves (as we discussed in earlier lessons) just reading their tweets to discover their interests and observe their posting patterns.

Most of the targeting tools available for paid promotion are not available for free promotion. but all users have a very powerful targeting strategy available – the hashtag. Hashtags correspond to concepts, subjects, people, places, events, etc. To bring your tweet to the attention of those interested in a certain thing, just use the hashtag for that thing. If one does not already exist, create one. All you have to do to use a hashtag is type a pound sign (#) followed by a word or phrase without spaces. (You can use capital letters instead of spaces to distinguish separate words in a hashtag, ex: #TwitterPromotion.)

Analytical tools to monitor the results of your tweets are available without charge. Go to analytics.twitter.com to activate and monitor.

Starting with free promotion is always a good course for beginners, especially those with limited budgets. There is much you can learn about growing your followers and targeting their interest without ever spending a dime. It is good to learn as much as you can before moving to paid promotion.

Twitter, at the time of this writing, also allows use of some 'Twitter Cards' without charge. When you begin to research promotion of your business with Twitter, you will soon encounter 'Twitter Cards.' Twitter Cards, first called 'Expanded Tweets' were launched in 2012. They have been under constant revision since that time, with Twitter stating that it eventually hopes to have hundreds of card types available. Because of the constant flux, we will not cover the details of their use at this time. The best way to get accurate information at a given time is to go to business.twitter.com. After reading what Twitter has to say, it is also helpful to look up recent articles and videos on the subject as well.

Twitter Cards involve adding certain meta code to the Head section of your web pages. After adding the code, you must seek validation and approval from Twitter. When this is accomplished, a link appears below the tweet to allow expanded, noticeable media to appear when you or someone else posts the URL to Twitter. If you have a Wordpress blog, there are plugins which will add this code to your blog pages automatically.

Since Twitter Cards involve much tedious coding and have arguable benefit, I would suggest that beginners postpone trying to use them until you become familiar with other Twitter promotion strategies. Although, since many of the cards are free to use, it is a good intermediary step before moving to paid promotion.

b). Paid Promotion

Twitter offers a large variety of paid promotional strategies, from promoting your brand by increasing your followers to promoting individual tweets pointing directly at product landing pages on your website. As the types of promotional strategies available and the specifics of their setup and use changes over time, the best place to learn the different strategies and their details is to go to business.twitter.com and explore at your own pace. We will, however, provide some details about the 'Followers Campaign' to give you a glimpse of what it is all about and get you started.

Followers Campaign

The best place to begin paid promoting with Twitter is to set up a 'Followers Campaign." The goal of a 'Followers Campaign' is to increase the number of people following your Twitter account. According to Twitter, there are three main steps in this campaign: 1) understand your followers, 2) target the right audience, and 3) monitor your campaign.

We have previously discussed the importance of understanding your followers on any social media site (for more on this, see Role of Social Media in Internet Marketing). Twitter provides analytical tools (found at analytics.twitter.com) to help you with that task on Twitter. So, the first step in promoting with Twitter is to turn on your analytics. When you have done so, you have access to a dashboard that provides you information regarding when and how your following has grown, your followers' interests, and your followers' demographics (such as language, gender, and location).

Twitter provides a wide range of targeting options for paid promotion. At the time of this writing, Twitter offers language, gender, interest, follower, device, behavior, keyword, and geography targeting. Or, you can tailor your own target audience from your own lists. You can, of course, use a number of these targeting options in combination.

You can experiment with different types of followers and different targeting strategies to determine which works best by creating separate campaigns and monitoring the results of your campaigns. In each campaign, you can focus on a certain targeted group with different types of tweets. Over time, you can determine which audience responds best to certain types of tweets. And, you can learn which type of tweets work best over all audiences.

The first step in learning to promote your business on Twitter is to learn the basic operations of Twitter. Twitter has similarities and differences from other media sites. What makes Twitter unique is its popularity for being a fast-paced site where you can learn what is happening in the world right now. You should become familiar and comfortable with posting tweets, liking tweets, retweeting, replying, and hashtags. You should then learn to promote your business with Twitter with both the free strategies and the paid promotional strategies. The general principles we have discussed in this course apply to Twitter. You need to learn about your followers and your target market. You need to learn the best ways to get your target markets attention, and you need to monitor your results to facilitate this learning process. You can move to paid promotional strategies as you learn, starting with a 'Followers Campaign,' while researching and exploring other strategies Twitter that makes available at the time.

In our next lesson, we will continue our discussion of social media. Read the next lesson here: How to Use Facebook to Promote and Power Your Business.

By George Little, Panhandle On-Line, Inc. For more information on the Internet Income Course and other works and courses by George Little, see http://www.profitpropulsion.com

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