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The Twitter Best Practices Handbook

With a limitation of 140 characters, Twitter instills users to be creative and succinct with social media. Not only that, but with more than 310 million active users, it’s tough to know how to stand out and be heard.

Following the most essential Twitter best practices can make you more visible to your customers. But much like your product launch or social media marketing strategy, you have to know where to start before you can see any success.

Going into Twitter blindly as a marketer can lead to time-wasting efforts that don’t bring real results like traffic and faster customer support. While these are only a few things that Twitter can do for your business, you’ll want to learn how to successfully market your account.

Use the buttons below to jump to each Twitter best practice:

Or jump to the Twitter best practices infographic.

Most people trying to build a significant Twitter audience from scratch want it to be quick and easy. Sadly this can lead to the dangerous pitfall of buying followers, which is never a good thing. Authentic, truly-engaged followers are what can make your Twitter account shine.

It’s tempting to want to take the dark path of purchasing followers. This is especially true because according to Simply Measured, 58% of the top brands on Twitter have more than 100,000 followers. However, the difference between 100,000 and 10,000 active users engaging with your handle can make all the difference.

Add All the Leaders in Your Industry

twitter best practices search

If you’re like most businesses, you’ve created a Twitter account and followed a few friends and companies, but don’t know what to do next. The first thing you should do is increase your audience by following all of your industry leaders on Twitter.

Don’t hesitate or be partial to who you add. Follow every industry leader now.

digital marketing influencers

Use tools like BuzzSumo to find even more industry leaders. Buzzsumo lets you find the highest-shared articles in your industry and see who wrote them. Be detailed and comprehensive with searching who’s talking about your industry and what companies are generating buzz. Then follow them on Twitter.

You can even use tools like Sprout Social to do advanced searches to find Twitter users through:

  • Hashtags
  • Links in bios
  • Keywords in Tweets
  • Geolocations
  • Users mentioning brand names (without tagging)
add keyword feature on sprout social

This will easily bring all the outside conversations right in front of your eyes. Now you can see potential customers actively talking about your industry. Follow them so you have the chance for a followback.

If you follow these steps, eventually your audience will be full of thought leaders, companies in your space and Twitter users who are actively discussing your industry.

2. Optimize Your Twitter

Building a robust Twitter audience doesn’t have to be a huge burden. It’s all about knowing where to look and how to be found. Some of the most essential Twitter best practices are all about visibility.

Be Visible

This is why optimizing your Twitter is so important. The better you set yourself up to be easily searchable and found, the more people will actually see you.

moz optimized twitter example

In fact a survey from Twitter, The Advertising Research Foundation and FOX discovered 54% of Twitter users took action after seeing brand mentions in Tweets. These five mentions included things like Retweeting the original Tweets, visiting a website or making a purchasing decision.

Simply put, visibility has a tremendous payoff and you can increase your Twitter presence by:
twitter best practices optimize

  • Have a Simple Handle: There’s nothing worse than an overly complicated Twitter handle. Instead make sure your handle is short, true to your brand and understandable. Don’t add special characters or numbers to make your account unique. Try to simplify and only add additional letters if you need to define your location, a parent company or how you differentiate from other similar names.
twitter search example
  • Optimize Your Twitter Bio: It’s absolutely essential to optimize your entire bio and Twitter account. Make sure you include industry-related hashtags, a link or another handle where users can find you. For example, you can include a Twitter support handle.
  • Know Which Hashtags to Use: By now, everyone knows that you can reach more people with hashtags. But are you using the correct keywords? Use hashtag analytics to know what’s trending or related to your industry. This will help you make more informed decisions on your hashtags.
twitter best practices optimize pt. 2
  • Use Twitter Search Operators: With the help of Advanced Twitter Search, you can use Twitter search operators to find specific mentions that could be relative to your product, location or your company name. Searching keywords and phrases relative to your business can help you join conversations you didn’t know were happening.
  • Use Pinned Tweets: Ensure your feed has a pinned Tweet to showcase one of your more engaging posts. This is also a good feature to highlight recurring questions or news about product or service updates.
  • Promote Your Twitter Across Networks: Whether it’s your website, a newsletter, paid advertising or other social networks, promote your Twitter across them all. Cross-platform promotion is a great way to get your handle out there. Your handle should be as important as your website or phone number.

3. Always Be Ready to Engage

Twitter was built with the idea of micro-conversations in mind. For brands on Twitter, this has become the go-to network to reach out to customers, answer questions and give feedback. According to the Sprout Social 2016 Q2 Index, roughly 36% of users choose to reach out to brands on social media over sources like 1-800 numbers and support websites.

Customers crave engagement so there has to be a balance of promotional and conversational posts on Twitter. Passion Digital recommends brands to post 20% promotional and 80% conversational.

This will help you build real customer relationships. You don’t want the only conversation between you and your customers to be “buy our product.” Instead try to engage with followers to get them interested in your brand.

How to Engage on Twitter

Your Twitter engagement efforts have a major opportunity to pay off. However, you have to take a balanced approach to engaging with Twitter followers.

Here are a few quick tips to increase your Twitter engagement:
twitter best practices engage

  • Introduce New Followers: When a new batch of followers come in, tag them and give a shout out for the follow. This is a great early audience-building tip that doesn’t take much time.
  • Ask Important Questions: You’ll see this tip a lot, but don’t just ask boring questions. Instead try to ask about what followers want from your product or what’s not working. You’ll not only gain helpful insights, but spark plenty of conversations.
  • Tweet About Industry Events: You can’t make every industry event, but you can ask for insights from followers who attended. Ask for details about conventions or talks you can’t attend. This helps you gain knowledge of what went on and makes your followers feel good about reporting back to you. Also, you can meet brand advocates and industry leaders through these conversations.
  • Jump on Trending Events: This tactic is often called “trendjacking,” which means to hop on a popular trend and use it for your branding purposes. Don’t just hashtag #PokemonGo without remorse. Better yet, try to find an organic way for your company to be involved with a trend. Remember, it doesn’t have to be promotional.
  • Tweet Multiple People a Day: Jeff Bullas recommends you put a little effort into your conversations and try to Tweet three people a day. By building small conversations each day, you increase your reach. If you do this just for three months, you’re talking about 270 conversations in that time period. Now that’s some engagement.
  • Don’t Bore Your Followers: With so many Tweets publishing each second, you can’t afford to be boring. Entice readers and be actionable with your words. Use the 140-character limit to your advantage for efficient calls-to-action.

4. Know Your Twitter Goals

Every social media marketer should have a set of goals for each social network. To see actionable results, make sure you tie your business objectives to your social media goals. With your brand’s Twitter, you want to have specific set goals to make sure you know exactly what efforts are paying off and what could be wasting your time.

Every business will have different goals, but it’s helpful to see some examples. You don’t have to start with high impact goals if you’re just beginning. Instead try to focus on achievable goals that can be measured. Here are a few common Twitter goals businesses try to achieve:
twitter best practices goals

  1. Get 10 High-Value Followers: Setting a goal of 10,000 followers is a poor metric to follow. Instead, try to get 100 followers who are active and have a voice in your industry. Start out with something small and build your way up.
  2. Post 3-5 Times a Day for a Month: It’s not about how many times you can Tweet, but how effective you are at keeping the conversation going. Don’t let your Twitter feed become stale. Stay active with a Tweet-per-day goal.
  3. Increase Audience Engagement: Again, engagement is key on Twitter. Try to boost the number of replies, Retweets and Likes with your account. You should set more specific goals depending on your follower count.
  4. Increase Follower Percentage Over Six Months: Within Sprout Social, our Twitter analytics give you the ability to see follower percentages. Track your percentages each month and try to see positive growth month-over-month for a six month period.
  5. Join three Twitter Chats in 30 Days: Twitter chats occur all the time. Businesses and industry leaders host these events to get the conversation going with like-minded people. Try to enter a few in a month’s time to see your network grow.

Measure Your Efforts

Measuring your Twitter effectiveness is essential to knowing what’s working. As more businesses move to Twitter, the importance grows greater on having detailed Twitter reporting to measure social media efforts.

Whether it’s impressions, link clicks or mentions, you want to track and measure all of your Twitter data. These analytics can provide in-depth analysis into how well you’re managing and operating your Twitter account.

Don’t be left in the dark with your efforts. Use a social media analytics tool like Sprout Social to get detailed insights today.

5. Maintain a Schedule & Checklist

The easiest way to keep your engagement level high is to maintain a schedule. Plan out your Tweets on a social media calendar so you know what messages are going out each day.

For example, if you take Bullas’s tip to Tweet three people a day, you could schedule each Tweet during your slow periods to effectively engage with users. If you try to have three conversations at the same time, it could get messy.

Calendar With Compose Window

With Sprout Social’s social media calendar and scheduling tools, you can maintain a healthy ratio of Tweets per day without having to constantly go back to the native platform.

Create a To-Do List

If you’ve made it this far, you might be wondering how you’re going to do all of this. First off, start a checklist of everything you want to do with your Twitter account. If you already have thousands of followers, maybe you simply need to optimize and engage more. However, you could need to start from the beginning.

To-do lists are a great way to make sure you stick to your goals on social. It’s not easy to implement every tip, but if you’re at least somewhat aware of them all, you have a better chance to succeed.

To make life easier, we’ve created a Twitter best practices checklist. You don’t have to follow everything here, but seeing all of the examples could be beneficial.
twitter best practices checklist

Keep on Learning

Learning new Twitter best practices should never stop. The industry is constantly evolving and it takes time and dedication to see positive results. While you need to put in a bit of elbow grease toward your Twitter marketing, following these tips can help you plan, schedule and measure your efforts.

twitter best practices infographic

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This post The Twitter Best Practices Handbook originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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5 SEO Mistakes Killing Your Content Performance and a Fix for Each

Common SEO Mistakes

Common SEO Mistakes

Even the most seasoned content marketers make mistakes. In the world of SEO-driven content, with constant algorithm tweaks and changing search patterns, it’s nearly unavoidable. However, those same mistakes can often lead to discoveries that enable even better content performance.

The key is being able to recognize those easy-to-fix SEO mistakes and address them. As a result, your content will become an optimized, integrated network of metaphorical highways, leading searchers to best-answer content in a strategic and purposeful way.

So, what are the most common SEO mistakes, and how can they be addressed? Below, I’ve singled out the ‘usual suspects’ along with guidance on how to fix them while setting yourself up for long-term SEO success.

SEO Mistake #1 - Choosing Target Keywords Based on Volume vs. Relevance

How Keywords Affect Content Marketers: Great content isn't great unless people see it. But when content marketers overemphasize high-volume keywords, they miss out on meaningful engagement.

It’s tempting to plug into your keyword research tool of choice and select keywords with the highest search volume as your focuses for new content. But if the content you’re creating doesn’t match the search intent for that high-volume keyword, it’s unlikely to perform to your expectations.

The Fix: Google it! All jokes aside, evaluating the first ten search results for your target keywords can help you understand what searchers are trying to find, and what supporting content you should provide to truly be the best answer for that query.

While you’re analyzing those top results, pay attention to key factors that will shape your content creation and promotion strategy:

  1. What type of information is NOT included in top content, but is topically related? This can help you inform how you differentiate your content.
  2. What’s the content demand for that keyword? For example, are mostly top of funnel blog posts ranking, or are you seeing mostly product or service pages?
  3. How many backlinks and referring domains are pointing to the top search results? This can help you understand how competitive the first page of results is, and whether or not ongoing link building should be part of your content promotion strategy.
  4. How long is the top-ranking content for that keyword? This will help you determine ideal content length for your own post.

SEO Mistake #2 - Targeting the Same Keyword with Multiple Pages or Posts

How Same-Topic Targeting Affects Content Marketers: Pressure to create comprehensive content on a topic can actually result in dilution within search.

The conventional wisdom that more is better doesn’t apply universally — especially when it comes to SEO-driven content. Creating multiple pieces of content that target the exact same keyword is a surefire way to stand in your own way of success. There’s enough competition out there for B2B marketers without having to compete with your own content.

For example, a B2B technology company that wants to rank for B2B software consulting should optimize their service page for that term based on what is currently being served in search results. But, if they also create a series of blogs or resources that are targeting that specific term, search engine bots will be confused about which page is the best answer for that query. This could result in none of the content appearing in the top 10 results, in favor of competing sites with a more clear ‘answer’ to that query.

The Fix: Determine which of your pages or posts is the best answer for that particular query by analyzing ranking and analytics data. Which post or page sees the greatest amount of engaged organic traffic for your target keyword, and most closely matches the associated search intent?

Once you’ve determined your target page, it’s time to evaluate the remaining content targeting that keyword. Look for opportunities to:

  1. Remove or prune low-value or outdated content. Is there a blog post full of stats from 2009 that’s hindering your priority page’s chances of ranking? It might be time to consider removing that post and implementing the proper redirects.
  2. Optimize existing content for related, but different, keyword targets. For example, if you have a priority post for Chocolate Chip Cookies, and another post that more closely relates to ‘Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies’, consider optimizing that post for the latter and implementing internal links back to your priority cookies post.
  3. Combine closely related content. For example, if you have several blog posts around your targeted keyword(s), consider combining those posts into a longer, more robust piece of content.

SEO Mistake #3 - Ignoring Internal Link Structure

How Internal Linking Affects Content Marketers: Links are like electricity on the web, lighting up content for people and search engines alike.

Content is discovered by links. Your site’s internal linking structure tells bots (and users) which pages are most important, and which pages are most relevant to specific keywords. If you link to several pages from the same anchor text, for example, there will be some confusion about which page is truly ‘about’ that topic. Other times, you could have pages or posts on your site that are orphaned, with no internal links directing users or bots their way. This can confuse your site users, search engine bots, and even your own team. Confusion is not a ranking factor!

The Fix: Make sure you develop and continue to update your site’s keyword map. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet that lists your page’s URL and associated target keyword(s). This keyword map will help you determine what anchor text should be used to link to your target pages.

Next, conduct a site audit to determine:

  1. If there are orphaned pages that need internal links
  2. If you are linking to multiple pages with the same keyword-rich anchor text
  3. Where there are opportunities to create additional supporting content
  4. Where you might have opportunities to reduce and prune existing supporting content

Next, you’re going to want to crawl your site to find any orphaned pages. Then, map those into your overall keyword strategy and implement internal links.

SEO Mistake #4 - Ignoring Data from Other Digital Tactics

How Marketing Data Affects Content Marketers: Inspiration often drives ideation for many content marketers, but data drives optimization for ideal content performance. Marketing performance data can provide both.

Any data you can collect about how your audience engages with your content has the potential to be an SEO gold mine. For example, analyzing the keywords from your paid search campaigns can give you insight into which keywords are your best converters, and what content best suits searchers for those terms. Social posts that get the greatest amount of engagement can tell you which topics your audience is most interested in. Ignoring data from your other marketing and sales channels means missing out on an opportunity to better engage your prospects.

The Fix: Meet with different teams or departments to find out what kind of content performs best on their channels. Look at the data each platform or channel provides and compare that with your site analytics data for a full picture. And, be sure to share your channel performance data with the rest of your marketing team. The more information available related to content and marketing performance, the better equipped you are to optimize.

SEO Mistake #5 - Giving Up

How Persistence Affects Content Marketers: Content performance in search is a long game and persistence is essential for success.

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes a lack of results can feel demoralizing, but giving up is simply not an option. You wouldn’t stop building your house just because the nearest lumber yard ran out of wood, right? You’d find another lumber yard and keep plugging along.

The Fix: Take a step back. Re-evaluate the search landscape, your competitor’s organic presence, and your site’s overall health. Being able to remove yourself from the frustration can help you find opportunities you may have missed and additional whitespace to tackle.

Next, seek out advice from other SEOs. Ask questions on social media, in specific groups or forums, or send a question to your favorite SEO blog. If budget permits, enlist the help of a consultant or SEO agency that can help you break through your roadblocks.

Finally, we have two big SEO bummers that are tougher to fix, but absolutely necessary to address.

Bonus SEO Mistake: Migrating Your Site with No SEO Plan

How Migrating Without a Plan Affects Content Marketers: A bad migration can effectively undo your hard work, reducing content visibility and creating more user friction.

If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of SEOs cringing around the globe. A botched site migration can wreak havoc on your organic positioning and torpedo your results. It can take months, even years to recuperate organic visibility to pre-migration levels.

The Fix: Always, always consult your in-house SEO team or SEO agency when you’re considering a website migration. Before you move forward, it’s imperative you have a plan for technical, on-page, and off-page factors.

If you’ve already migrated your site and have experienced a loss of organic traffic and rankings, start with a site audit. Check for the basics, like whether or not your site is being indexed, first. Then start to evaluate technical factors like broken links, crawl errors, and duplicate content.

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Recovering from a site migration is a challenge for even the best of SEOs, and sometimes those big challenges call for a little teamwork.

Bonus SEO Mistake: Not Optimizing for Mobile

How Not Optimizing for Mobile Affects Content Marketers: Even the greatest content can’t stand up to a bad mobile experience. Users will bounce, reducing engagement and sending negative signals to search engines.

Mobile accounts for about half of web traffic worldwide. Knowing this, in March 2018 Google started migrating sites to mobile-first indexing. Providing a seamless mobile experience is no longer optional, especially when you’re living in the wild world of search.

Sites that didn’t properly prepare for this can and will likely see some declines in organic search traffic and rankings as a result. And, as more sites follow mobile best practices, more users will notice and become frustrated by poor mobile experiences. This leads to declines in other pivotal ranking factors like on-page engagement. In short, if not properly addressed, a poor mobile experience can wreak havoc on your search visibility.

The Fix: The first thing to do is to conduct a mobile audit on your site. Understanding your site’s mobile performance is step one toward making improvements. Look for things like:

  1. Mobile site speed. A couple great tools for this are Google Page Speed Insights and Pingdom. These tools can tell you where to look for issues like slow-loading code, images that aren’t optimized, and other technical issues.
  2. Mobile experience. Visit your site on your phone. Ask someone who doesn’t use your site regularly to do the same. Record your experience, take notes on where you get stuck and why. Click on everything. Turn your phone into horizontal mode. Try to think of every single way a user could browse your site. And, don’t forget to try a site search on mobile.
  3. Look at mobile analytics. This will tell you key metrics like mobile bounce rate, mobile time on page and pages per session.

These steps will help you build a hypothesis to test against. Is your mobile bounce rate crazy high? Does your site take a long time to load? Is your time on page way out of line with desktop traffic? Then, use A/B testing to root out the discrepancy. Use these same metrics to test if the fix is working. Then, repeat with another element.

So, What Does This All Mean for You?

Ultimately, following SEO best practices as a content marketer can reduce performance-related headaches and set you up for long-term success.

For example, when Innovatech Labs decided it was time to make major changes to their website, they worked with our team at TopRank Marketing to implement a safe website transition strategy, minimizing their risk of reduced content visibility on Google. This assessment involved avoiding many of the big risks mentioned above, including linking, use of data and keyword research which allowed us to act quickly post-migration to combat organic traffic declines. The result? Double- and triple-digit increases in organic traffic (and increased conversions, too!).

A best-answer content strategy focused on creating content with the most relevance to their audience was the ticket to better marketing performance for a martech SaaS company. Working with the team at TopRank Marketing, long-tail and hyper-relevant keywords were researched for a comprehensive content strategy to help the brand content become the best answer for those queries. The “best answer” approach and topics were applied across organic and paid efforts. As a result, the volume of both paid and organic MQLs increased, leading to better content performance and spontaneous proclamations of love from the client’s sales team.

Fixing these big SEO mistakes aren’t only for short-term wins. Our longtime partner Antea Group USA has achieved amazing triple-digit growth over three years by avoiding these big mistakes and implementing an ongoing commitment to SEO-driven, best answer content.

As I mentioned earlier, even the most experienced content marketers can make these common SEO mistakes. But, with the right SEO strategy driven by diligent execution and monitoring of results, you can get back on track. The key is to be intentional about your site’s architecture, as well as the content you create, and to never, ever give up.

Still feeling stuck? Or maybe your team doesn’t have the resources to take on this battle alone? Check out our SEO services, tweet us your thoughts @toprank, or drop me a line in the comments. We are here to help!

The post 5 SEO Mistakes Killing Your Content Performance and a Fix for Each appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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