Tweet Smarter: Twitter Best Practices

At the INBOUND14 conference in Boston, I had the opportunity to attend a session taught by Anne Mercogliano, head of Small and Mid-Sized Business Marketing, and Russ Laraway, head of Small and Mid-Sized Business at Twitter.  What follows in this article is some insight they provided to help people like you and me “tweet smarter.”

Twitter is an exceptionally powerful tool.  The statistics back that up: 271 million active monthly users and 1 billion (that’s billion with a B) tweets every 2 days!  The challenge with every tool is to determine how it can help you and your business.

According to a DB5 Small Business Customer Insights Study conducted in 2014, 57% of respondents say they discovered a small or mid-sized business (SMB) on Twitter.  Of those, 35% discovered the SMB via a tweet in a #hashtag conversation and another 35% discovered the SMB via a friend’s @reply.  These stats suggest that your potential customers are on Twitter.

There’s more.  The same study showed that 9 out of 10 users have engaged in a conversation with or about an SMB on Twitter.  Customers are talking to you or they’re talking about you.  Many of these customers (60% according to the study) have purchased something directly because of Twitter.  That’s called opportunity and you need to be prepared to take advantage of it.

Here are a few simple best practices you should consider when using Twitter.

1. Keep It Short

Tweets with less than 100 characters get +18% more engagement.  Proper planning can help with this process – curate your tweets with a calendar.

2. Give Clicks Context

Tweets that take advantage of Twitter’s website cards have +43% engagement.  Website cards let you prime users before they click-through, setting clear expectations and a better overall user-experience.

Twitter now offers cards for 7 different types of experiences including photos, apps, and videos.  For more information, view the Twitter Cards developer page.

3. Make it Visual

Tweets with rich media (photos, videos, etc.) get +313% engagement and +52% retweets.  That stat shouldn’t surprise you, Google has been reporting the same thing for years.  And it makes sense – your eye is naturally drawn to vibrant photos and interesting videos.

4. Optimize for Leads

Tweets with Lead Generation Cards have +42% engagement.  It comes back to the user experience – make it easier for the user to do what you want them to do and very often they will.

5. Start a Conversation

Tweets from advertisers who @reply one or more times per week have +18% engagement.   If you’re using Twitter at a broadcast platform, you’re using it wrong.

Your customers are talking to you and talking about you.  Engage with them.  Speak to them and not at them.

In short, don’t overthink it and make it easy for customers to engage with you.  Be approachable and have conversations and the results will follow.

Have a few Twitter tips of your own?  Let us know what they are in the comments below.