Search engines such as Google and Yahoo previously drove website referral traffic, but now social media has taken the lead. In December 2014, social media accounted for more than 31 percent of referral traffic, compared to around 22 percent during the same period the previous year. If your company is looking to grow its Web audience, having an effective social media presence is key.
Because every social media site—including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter—has a slightly different function and audience, it’s important to tailor marketing to each platform. Last year, Nexight launched its Facebook page, and I blogged about some best practices for creating engaging posts. While businesses can use Facebook to have meaningful interactions with friends or customers, Twitter is more commonly used to exchange real-time information. Below are some tips for crafting compelling tweets.
- Think about your audience and goals: Whom are you trying to target with your Twitter account, and what would they find interesting? What perceptions of your company would you like this audience to have? Tailor your content to include information that aligns with your brand, and that your followers will also find relevant.
- Say something new: Dan Zarella, author of The Science of Marketing: When to Tweet, What to Post, How to Blog, and Other Proven Strategies, discovered that Twitter followers retweet content most when they feel it is new and valuable. People want to be the first to let their followers know about important news or information. For variety, tweet both original content and timely content from around the Internet and include links to additional information when possible.
- Use hashtags, but not too many: Using hashtags (#) relevant to your company or industry can expand the reach of your posts. Keep hashtags simple, using as few words per hashtag as possible, and only use one or two hashtags per tweet so they don’t bog down your content.
- Understand @: The @ sign is used to mention other Twitter users in your post. You can use it to attribute content, for example by including @nytimes at the end of a post to let your followers know you got your content from the New York Times. If you are starting your post with an @, put a period in front of the sign. Otherwise, that tweet is treated as a direct message to the mentioned account rather than being shared more broadly with all of your followers.
- Experiment: There’s no single right way to run a Twitter account. While afternoon tweets typically get the most views, interaction with your content depends on both your audience and the content itself. Try to vary what and when you post to see what particular posts or timing works better for your audience.
If you have multiple social media accounts, you may find it easiest to just post the same material on each site. However, to better make your content resonate, it is critical to tailor your messaging to followers on each platform. Your messaging will be more effective if you use Facebook to converse with your audience and Twitter to curate content. Follow our Twitter account to learn more about the subject areas in which we work, and stay tuned for my blog post on tips for using LinkedIn.