How to Create a Twitter Marketing Strategy

I work with clients who have signed up and are using Twitter. Roughly half of them love it, the other half loathe it. One thing they all have in common is that they are not sure about how to be strategic in terms of their Twitter marketing.

Using Twitter to market yourself or your business requires a bit more thought than simply following and retweeting Mashable. Here are a few tips that others have found useful when setting up a marketing strategy.

1. Define your market and target audience

Before you start tweeting away at random, take some time to do your research properly. You probably know who you are selling to so it’s a case of identifying the key influencers and authority figures in your industry . You’ll find that some players (e.g. competitors) in your market are much more advanced than others. These power tweeters are probably picking up incremental business from Twitter as a result.

To find your influencers you’ll have to do searches for keywords in bios (try TweepSearch), for what people actually tweet about (check out Twazzup and Hashtags.org) and even their usernames (Twitter Search). Once you have a list of influential users, you have defined your targets and we can crack on.

2. Set your goals and metrics to track them

Now we move on to setting clear and SMART targets and putting the metrics in place to measure when you have achieved them. Whilst gaining a big following is important, just having 30,000 random followers is nowhere as effective as being connected with the right ones. Twitter is about spreading information and getting others to pass it on to their networks (retweets). A handful of influential tweeters spreading your message can send it going viral in minutes, so be sure to set goals around who you are engaging with and not just how many.

3. Twitter as a part of your marketing mix

Twitter is very useful for connecting and communicating with prospects, clients, employees, suppliers, investors and any other stakeholders in a business. By using Twitter effectively as a part of your marketing mix you will be able to inter-connect all parts of your business and use as a tool for engaging, workflow management and even reporting.

Then there is the wider circle of influencers that you will want to reach, such as journalists, bloggers and of course other social media authority figures. Getting these users to forward (retweet) your messages will have a powerful impact, both in terms of stirring up interest and for credibility. An added benefit of social mentions on Twitter is that search engines like Google are trawling through all global tweets on a daily basis and it will help your ranking and SEO.

4. From strategy to tactics

When the strategy is in place it’s time have a tactical look at your Twitter activities. You have probably read about some of these and you may be doing a few already. In any case, here is a list of basic useful tactics that successful tweeters are using:

• Get your Twitter profile in shape first of all, with a full bio and/or company description
• Targeting the influencers in your industry, both customers and competition. Do searches to find their Twitter handles and start following them.
• Link your Twitter account to another social platform where visitors can start a conversation. This could be a Facebook Page or your blog which allows people to comment on posts.
• Identify and share quality content every day. Be the first person to share a well written article and you will be retweeted.
• Be sure to utilize hashtags whenever possible, such as #branding or #socialmedia – Twitter users carry out searches on these terms 24/7 so it increases your chances of being retweeted.
• Encourage your website and/or blog visitors to follow you on Twitter. Make it very obvious to first-time visitors what your Twitter username is and invite them to engage with you.

5. Monitor and measure your success

As with all social media and marketing in general, measuring up your progress can be somewhat tricky. As a business, you have to make the effort to follow up and see what is working and what isn’t. Avoid making Twitter a big waste of your time by constantly following up on your results.

Most tweeters will judge their success by the amount of followers they have. While this number does play a part in attracting new followers, there are plenty more metrics to look at:

• Listings, how many lists are you included on
• Retweets, and retweets of the retweets
• Potential reach from those retweets (who retweeted)
• Website/blog traffic as a result of Twitter (check Google Analytics)
• What Twitter users has your company Twitter account added to its own lists?

Some useful tools for monitoring and measuring are Twitter’s own search function as well as Social Mention, Trackur and Radian6. There are plenty more tools out there, new ones seem to be popping up every day so keep your finger on the Twitter pulse and try out new tools as they come out.

Bottom line

Work out a strategy and then break it down into tactical steps to take. You will find that measuring and monitoring is key and allows you to tweak and recalibrate your efforts as you go along. Twitter is a new platform; nobody can give you the exact formula for success so you have to analyze your results ongoing. Stay flexible, creative and willing to engage and you’ll succeed.

Are you using a Twitter strategy or are you just winging it?