Twitter – 6 Strategies for Success


Every year there’s a conference in Austin, Texas called South by South West (SXSW as it’s commonly known). It’s a combination of original music, independent films and emerging technologies. If you want to have a look, here’s the link – www.sxsw.com

The conference attracts all the leading tech brains from the States and Canada (the plane that flew in from Seattle was apparently nicknamed the ‘Nerd Bird’) and this year the focus was very much on social media. And a lot of the applications that were catching the eye concentrated on Twitter. After all:

  • Twitter has 370,000 new sign-ups every day
  • 175 million registered users
  • And there are 95 million tweets daily

 And all that in five years and 140 characters…

If you’re running a business, you ignore Twitter at your peril – your competitors are certainly not ignoring it.

So, here, borrowed from Optify – one of the many companies to launch a Twitter app at SXSW – is a six point guide to being successful on Twitter.

1. Establish your goals

 Twitter should be as accountable and measurable as any other marketing channel. First of all establish what you want to use Twitter for and as always, make sure that your goals are SMART – the most important one this time is probably ‘attainable.’ There’s no point using Twitter as a customer service centre if you don’t have the resources to get back to people quickly.

2. Decide how often you’re going to ‘tweet’

 Remember that Twitter is a conversation. Don’t batter people with tweet after tweet telling them how wonderful you are. But equally, don’t be silent. You don’t have a conversation with someone by saying nothing for days and then suddenly not letting anyone else get a word in edgeways. There is one alarming stat that says the optimum number of tweets per day is 24. For most TAB members – unless they pay someone to tweet for them – that’s simply impossible. But do tweet regularly & try and tweet something of value to your audience.

3. Organise what you’re going to tweet about

 If you’re launching a new product or opening a new office, that’s fine – they’re perfectly logical subjects to tweet about. ‘Here’s a pic of me getting drunk’ isn’t. If you want to build up a select group of followers that you can really engage with, then tweeting information that’s useful to them is absolutely the way to do it. Don’t be afraid to re-tweet either: if someone sends you something useful, fine – pass it on to your followers.

4. Decide how you’re going to attract followers

 Unless your name’s Billy No Mates, then you need followers – and there are two distinct approaches. One is to simply go for as many followers as you can; the other is to aim for a smaller, more select group that you can actually ‘talk’ to. I tend towards the latter, but different approaches will work for different companies. If you’re Ford and you’re launching a new car, then a select group of 200 followers might not be the right answer…

5. Twitter has to work as part of your business

 Simple question – who’s going to do the tweeting? If it’s you, when are you going to do it? Try setting aside a small amount of time each day. And don’t forget staff resources. It’s exactly the same as a mailshot or an ad – there’s no point being deluged with enquiries if you can’t handle the enquiries when they come in

6. Measurement Tools

 Success with Twitter is about much more than simply counting the number of followers you have – it’s about the quality of your conversation, and having that conversation with the right people. The good news is that there are some very sophisticated measurement tools available for Twitter, which are relatively inexpensive. If you’re serious about a Twitter campaign it will probably pay to subscribe to a reporting service.

If you want to see Optify’s full report then go to their website – www.optify.net – where there’s a lot of other useful information as well. And if you’ve had significant success with Twitter – or if you think it’s a waste of time – let me know. Controversial opinions always welcome…

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7 comments

  1. Dick Jennings · March 17, 2011

    Very educational. Thanks. (That short enough?)

  2. Rich Cadden · March 18, 2011

    I do not know enough about twitter to add to this as I thought it was just a one-way conversation, telling ‘followers’ what you are doing…..

  3. Andy Douse · March 18, 2011

    I know a lot of people who use Twitter, but none of them can really say that it has generated paying business for them. I’d like to hear from anyone who has had success to learn from them.

  4. Andy Gambles · March 21, 2011

    My personal belief is that some of the things being said about how beneficial twitter is and what it can do for your business is frankly crap.

    I have used twitter for a long time. Attended a multitude of training seminars, presentations and insider sessions about how twitter can be amazing for your business. Apart from telling me how amazing twitter can be for my business nobody has yet told me how to make it amazing for my business.

    I have read many times how twitter is “conversational” and should be used to engage. Yet the often quoted successful twitter user is Dell who publish links to their latest bargain bin products. The account doesn’t engage it simply posts last minute bargains.

    I have found the same. One of my accounts has a mere 200 followers. Yet if I tweet a link to a special promotion or product and craft the right hash tags I can pull in a few sales. Again no conversation needed.

    Here comes the but. I do believe it is important to have a presence and monitor what is being said about you or your brand/business. This is the opportunity to engage with your customers. A good example of this is BTCare. They seek out users with problems using BT and offer to help. This is how I see twitter be highly advantageous. But it only works for some industries and businesses.

    For me at the moment it is a broadcast tool but with engagement if users want to engage with me.

    • edreidyork · March 21, 2011

      Hi Andy – thanks for your comments. I think you’ve eloquently demonstrated how Twitter still has a long way to go to win a place in the hearts of many business owners, even those in the IT sector!

  5. Charles Clayton · April 13, 2011

    I have asked many times for financial success stories and never had a reply. Social media may well be valuable but I suspect it is as poorly used as websites. Most websites could not attract an enquiry even on a good day and most company sales departments wouldn’t know what to do with an enquiry anyway. Having proved this time and time again as A Web Critic and acting as a “secret shopper” social media is just a distracting event that keeps junior marketing execs busy.
    If it doesn’t make money, forget it and get on with some real work.

    I am at http://www.WebCritic.co.uk or Follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/WebCriticUK

    • edreidyork · April 15, 2011

      Hi Charles – I love getting some robust replies, so thanks. I agree that there are plenty of people not using social media to any great effect, and also plenty of people who are currently wasting their time. I’m not sure that that translates to it being “just a distracting event” for all!

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