13 Aug Twitter 101: A Guide to Creating and Optimizing Brand Content on Twitter
Choosing the right social media platform to position your business in the digital space is crucial, as it affects the way your business engages with consumers. Twitter is a timely, trend-driven platform that is ideal for sharing newsworthy content and authentic perspectives. This platform can be leveraged to provide credibility as a player in your brand’s industry, and allows your brand to connect with audiences through creative campaigns and timely cultural moments. In this blog post, we’ve put together guidelines to help you effectively create and optimize your brand’s content on Twitter.
The first order of business when launching a Twitter account for a brand is profile optimization. A well-maintained Twitter profile can help a brand stand out and make an impression on potential followers, including those who may be prospective influence-marketers, consumers, and to position your brand in the competitive digital marketing landscape. Below is a list of guidelines to help you get started:
- Twitter Handle – If you’re just getting started on Twitter, you need to choose a Twitter handle, or username, which is how users will find your brand’s profile or engage on the platform via @mentions. Choose a handle that clearly identifies your brand and is memorable—the best option is to keep things simple and use your brand’s name, or abbreviated name (just keep in mind that the handle must be 15 characters or fewer).
- Profile Photo – Similarly to your handle, your brand’s profile photo should be recognizable and associated with your product, service, or overall business. Keeping things consistent is key- ideally, your brand’s logo with it’s brand colors. Ensure that you choose a high- resolution graphic.
- Header Image – Use your cover image as an opportunity to stand out on the platform and give context to your product, service, or profile photo. Consider using a high-resolution photo that relates to your particular industry. Be sure to include important keywords when saving the image file name to increase the chances of being found in an image search.
- Profile Bio – Your brand’s Twitter bio is the opportunity to convey value to profile visitors and maximize the appearance in search results using 160 characters or fewer. While quickly communicating your mission statement, product or service, be sure to include relevant keywords and hashtags within your description relative to your brand’s market. Doing so will create more opportunities for your brand’s profile to appear in search results and alongside other relevant hashtagged content.
- Website URL – You have the opportunity to include a website link below your brand’s bio. Consider which URL will provide the most value for your visitors and simultaneously drive toward your own objectives, such as a link to your brand’s ecommerce site, catalogue, other social media account, or relevant resource where users can learn more about what you have to offer and take action.
- Pinned Tweet – While your brand’s profile bio is fairly limited, you also have the opportunity to provide more value and communicate more information to your viewers via a pinned tweet that will appear at the top of your brand’s Twitter stream. Think of this as your brand’s featured story, and include a strong visual, a clear call to action, relevant keywords and hashtags, and a link to a landing page where viewers can learn more about your mission, corporate social responsibilities, product or services.
Once the profile set-up is complete, your brand can shift focus to becoming an active player in the Twitter community and niche market through authentic content creation. Contributing a consistent output of relevant industry commentary will help build your brand’s credibility and establish subject matter expertise, while standing out from other key players. This can be accomplished by sharing third-party content relevant to your product, service, or overall brand messaging. As well, your brand can garner attention by participating in trending hashtags and responding to timely cultural moments that may even seem ‘out of the norm’ in terms of the tone of voice for your company. Twitter is the social media platform where brands should feel free to flex their creative, funny muscles while still maintaining a level of professionalism amongst consumers. In turn, these “out of the norm” tweets from brands create shock value and often tend to go viral. To determine what content mix makes the most sense, take some time to decide what percentage of your content you want to be focused on brand image versus promotion.
Once your brand has a comfortable content mix with a tone of voice in mind, you’re ready to begin posting. It’s important to note that while there are some best-practice posting guidelines available, every audience is unique, and you may need to adjust certain factors depending on what performs best among your followers. That said, we’ve put together an initial list of tips below to help get you started:
- Frequency: Because Twitter is such a fast-paced platform, the half-life of each tweet, or the amount of time it takes for half the number of people who will ever see the tweet to see it, is only 30 minutes. This level of timeliness requires a higher frequency of content output than other platforms to stay top of mind—your brand should maintain at least 2-6 tweets per day if possible, and consider using a time-saving scheduling tool such as Hootsuite or Buffer to increase efficiency. However, if this is a tall order as you’re just getting started, try to stick to at least one update per day to build credibility
- Post Length: While Twitter increased the character count maximum per tweet from 140 characters to 280 characters in 2017, the increase has not had a significant impact on the average length of tweets overall. In fact, the ideal length of a tweet is between 71-100 characters. Because of the influx of information on the platform and shortening attention spans, less is more when it comes to communicating information as quickly and clearly as possible.
- Timing: According to recent reports, the best times to tweet are generally at between 1-3 p.m or 5-6 p.m. every day, but as mentioned earlier, this heavily depends on who your brand’s target audience is and can change dramatically depending on their unique online habits. We recommend experimenting with different posting times to evaluate efficacy.
- Hashtags: Studies show that tweets with hashtags generate 2x more engagement than tweets without tags, but you don’t need to overload on hashtags within each tweet to see the benefit. In fact, one to two hashtags per tweet gets better results than three or more, so it’s more important to be strategic about the tags you’re choosing to use, and remember that less is more. Additionally, hashtags with ~6 characters are ideal.
- Visuals: Eye-catching and cohesive visuals that quickly communicate your key message will help capture attention in a cluttered newsfeed. In fact, visual tweets tend to generate triple the engagement of text-only tweets. Because of this, we recommend your brand experimenting with a number of visual elements including photography, gifs, quote graphics, infographics or videos to evaluate the performance of each among your unique audience.
Proactive Engagement and Follower Growth
Despite the quality of your content or how well-optimized your Twitter profile is, the success of your brand’s social presence on the platform is in large part dictated by the number of followers you have to see and engage with your content. Building a following will maximize your brand’s visibility and ultimately support your business objectives, whether you’re looking to connect with consumers, potential influence-marketers.
Start by reaching out to your brand’s target audience and relevant industry influencers who can help to expand your following. This might include those interested in similar products, services, or with a general interest in a lifestyle that emulates a brand’s mission.
While these individuals may be less likely to immediately return the favor after you follow their profiles, we recommend proactively engaging with their content by liking, retweeting or commenting on relevant tweets to provide insight, deliver a compliment, or further engage them in conversation. If done authentically and strategically, this kind of outreach is likely to lead to reciprocal engagement and help to further increase your brand’s following.
While launching your brand’s Twitter presence may seem intimidating, arming yourself with industry-specific knowledge and tools for success is an excellent first step. We hope you find value in these initial guidelines and feel empowered to get started, but we’re always here to help. If you’re interested in learning more, set up a complimentary consultation with one of our experts today.