If you don’t use Twitter, you shouldn’t be running one professionally.
In my mind, that sounds rather harsh. If you understand a platform, why does it matter if you use it in your personal life?
Well let me put it another way. You’re a professional singer but in your spare time you never ever choose to listen to music, because ‘you just don’t get it.’
That sounds insane right? If you have no passion or interest in your chosen field. Get out now. Especially when it comes to social media. People recognise sincerity and passion online and they definitely recognise someone blagging it.
So before you start, do you want hit 100K impressions? Then step 1 is becoming a Twitter fanatic right now.
We’re just like any other company Twitter
We were okay. The e3 Twitter account has been fine for a long time now, not amazing, not bad, just, fine.
Like any agency Twitter account, here at e3 we did everything we were supposed to do. We were unsure why our numbers were fairly average. We had a substantial amount of followers, we tweeted every day, so why was no one listening? Below is an example of an average month.
March 2015 is a good example of what average was to us.
It’s actually a prime example of what most agency/brand/personal Twitter looks like when hard work may have been poured into it, but not enough passion for the medium. It’s been seen as ‘a thing we have to do’ rather than a project that needs care, attention and work.
What, how and why?
So we started looking at our Twitter in a different light. What could it do? What did we want from it and how could we measure that success?
We had around 3,700 followers and were following around 1,200 people so our follower base was solid and, importantly, we had a nice ratio of followers to following. Our engagement rate was pretty solid at 1.0%, which meant that if around 150 people saw a tweet around 2 people would engage with it in some way – this could be either a link click, favourite, profile visit etc.. It wasn’t high but it wasn’t nothing.
The thing that was still very low was impressions. We just weren’t catching the right people at the right time. So we focused on awareness rather than trying to gain followers or increase engagement, if we knew the audience was there – then we could attempt to coax them into engaging with us later.
If you’re going to focus on impressions - a better engagement rate, Click-Through-Rate and follower rate will be a nice by product, but it isn’t the focus.
How were we going to measure it?
Depending on the platform you are using to Tweet from, you may have analytics built into it. We use a number of different platforms to do different things on Twitter but for the sake of clarity we’ll be using Twitter Analytics to measure our impressions.
This is also because Twitter analytics is free to everyone, so whether you’re a personal user or a company you can monitor how you’re doing. If you want to delve deeper check out this report on the best social metrics tools from Sprout Social.
It’s also good to remember, what an impression means to Twitter. A 100,000 impressions on Twitter, is essentially ‘potential impressions’ so this is a tally of how many ‘potential’ people saw your tweet. Some people poo-poo this analytic but it’s a great benchmark to start your social media strategy and is also a great way of generally increasing your reach and amplifying your brand.
Who are we talking to?
The whole point of the Twitter follower system is that you tend to never see your followers (unless you follow everyone who follows you, please don’t do that.) So unless you make a concerted effort to check out every one of your followers, and even with a modest follower base that’s a big ask, you’re a blind to your audience.
Followerwonk is a great little tool from MOZ. It lets you do a huge amount of stuff and is the first thing you should do when you want to revamp your Twitter account.
To help you make sense of your Twitter followers, it gives you a word cloud from the bios of your Twitter followers. Giving you an easy graphic of who follows you and why.
This is great for us as those are exactly the type of followers we want. We work in strategy, technology, UX and creative. So we know that the direction and genre of our tweets has been spot on, but they’re still not generating impressions. This information will also be useful for the type of content we post, but we’ll come to that later.
Another way to analyse followers is within the Twitter Analytics tool itself. Twitter looks at the content of the tweets users send rather than their bios and gives you a breakdown of their interests.
We can see from this that technology is the biggest interest amongst our followers, this will also influence our choice of content and images when we start tweeting. Looking at an analysis of your followers is the best way to get to know them, and will let us know how we can engage them even more.
Remember to get lean
Another great little thing you can do with Followerwonk is looking at who you’re following as well as whose following you.
It’ll also give you a nice visual of when was the last time your followers tweeted. Twitter accounts get stale and you’d be surprised how many ‘dead’ Twitter accounts your following. So dump whoever hasn’t tweeted in over six months, it’ll make your following: follower ratio look better and make you look more authoritative.
Be brutal guys, it’s the internet, they’ll understand.
Content, content, content
Now you know your audience better, the first priority is creating content for them. As much as Twitter is supposed to be a social platform, which means opinions, the thing people want on their feed is information. Clear, concise and relevant information.
Driving your followers to your blog is key, whilst it may be taking them away from your account, no one looks/bookmarks specific users accounts. Think of Twitter like your own personal curated RSS feed, it’s so you don’t have to check specific sites for information, and so you can ideally scroll and find all the information that’s pertinent to you. If you're tweeting great content, it's also easier to tweet links to examples of your own work, because your followers trust that you're not only promoting yourself.
This is why it’s important that you use Twitter personally, you have to be a user to understand the user.
Your Twitter feed shouldn’t just be your content though. No one follows accounts just for information about them, whether it’s a brand account or your personal account. Unless you’re a publisher, no one wants to hear all about you.
This is why it’s imperative you understand what content your audience wants to read and the best places to get here. Here are a list of great content aggregators and tools to find the very best of the web and bring it direct to your followers, making you an authority even though you didn’t write the content itself.
One of the main ways to get more impressions on Twitter isn’t rocket science, tweet more and you shall receive more. We aimed to double our output from 5 tweets to 10 a day, this is easily done by aggregating content from other sites.
Feedly is a content aggregator tool that you can tailor to specific categories. So looking at our wordcloud from before we know that we need to repost news about technology, business, marketing, advertising etc.
This is also a great way to put in some new topics that you want your followers to know you’re also interested in, for us it’s the sectors we mainly work in like charity, automotive and finance etc.
Feedly also has an automatic plug-in in Sprout Social so if you’re using that to schedule and post your content, then you don’t have to spend time writing the tweet and finding the link. Saving time is a Social Media Manager’s number one priority and handy little tools that save those precious few minutes are what takes you from posting 5 times a day, to 10 times day.
Buzzsumo is one of those tools that we can’t hype up enough. It’s useful for a multitude of things and is available as a free or paid account. It has two great functions, the first is its Trending function:
The Trending function allows you explore all most popular news on social media around the world. Not only is it great for finding the best content, it also gives you a great overall view of what’s trending online. The categories at the top also allow you to drill down into more specific content options.
Another function of Buzzsumo is the ‘Most Shared’ section, which allows you to search specific terms and find the content that’s most popular on that topics organising by data and type of content.
This is a great way of finding niche content for your audience and also is a great way of keeping an eye on competitors when it comes to outreach and guest blogging (but that’s a blog for another day.)
It’s a great tool also if you want to delve deeper into Twitter and want to gain important followers check out our blog post on How to Find the Perfect Influencers on Twitter.
Tweets with images do better on Twitter.
Let me say that one more time with evidence to back it up. Tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites and 150% more retweets.
If you’re going to tweet, you need an image. If you haven’t got enough characters to use an image then tap into your copywriter brain and re-write it until you can. It’s imperative that your Twitter feed doesn’t just look like a wall of text. Here a few tools to get you started.
No copyright, no referencing, no citation. Yes that’s right, unsplash is an amazing site which has hundreds of completely ‘do whatever you want’ images at your disposal. They also all happen to be amazing quality.
Pablo is a free image tool by Buffer. It also allows you make custom images for all social media platforms and add any text you want. Great little tool for making custom quote images, a sure fire way to get RT’s and favourites – because everybody loves a quote.
Canva is another image making tool similar to Pablo but has a much bigger scope. Made by graphic designers, it allows you do wide array of things. You’re able to make any type of image you want whether it’s presentations, posters, Instagram posts etc. It does require a bit more finesse than Pablo, but the outcome always looks incredibly polished and professional.
What’s the best way to post?
There are lots of different social media scheduling tools which allow you to post whenever you want. We’re not going to go into all of them, but here are our best recommendations whether you’re going free or paid.
Tweetdeck is Twitter’s own scheduling tool, it’s easy to use and allows you manage multiple accounts. It’s also used a lot because of its function of dividing lists into separate Twitter feeds, so if you’re following a lot of accounts and you can segment them. Even though we use a separate paid scheduling tool we think that Tweetdeck is the best way to keep on top of your follower’s activity.
Sprout Social is social media tool that pretty much does everything. Reports, scheduling, monitoring, feed plug-ins and lots more. If you’re brand or an account doesn’t require a lot of monitoring, it may be for you.
However, one of the biggest features is its ability to plug-in with a bitly account, a fantastic time saver. Keeping your links tidy and short is the one of the most important things when posting to Twitter, creating a bitly link shortens it automatically. Doing this manually eats into a lot of time, which is why Sprout Social has a great plug-in that does it automatically whenever you past a link into the posting box.
Okay, I get it, give me the cheat sheet
Alright, alright so now you’re a social media expert. You’ve got content for the next week planned out, you know your audience and you’re ready to start making an impression. So how are you going to tweet?
It sound silly but once you realise that a lot of information on Twitter is reposting current news or repurposing information, you see that a lot of tweets on Twitter contain the same content. It’s just that some people are doing it better than others and they’re reaping all the benefits.
So here’s our cheat sheet to crafting the perfect tweet.
1. Make sure you @ the author and outlet you got the information from. We’ve had tweets which have gotten us 10K impressions just because we referenced the author who happened to have thousands of follower and they gave us a RT. It’s also polite! Remember journalists are narcissists, they want to be acknowledged.
2. Hashtags are often overused but tools like Ritetag plug right into your Chrome browser and let you know how many people are viewing specific hashtag and therefore, whether it’s worth you using it.
3. Grammarly is another great tool that plugs into your browser. It checks your grammar as well as your spelling and offers helpful suggestions about sentence structure.
4. Images, images, images.
5. Followerwonk also allows you to see when your followers are most active, for us 3pm is a great time to post as it tends to be when our followers are checking their feeds.
6. Sprout Social lets you schedule content for multiple days, this is great for marketing your own content.
7. Remember your bitly link! No one wants to see a big long link that trails off, it looks a bit spammy whereas bitly links saves you time and most importantly character space!
We’ve been following this formula for around 4 months now and we’ve hit that all important 100K mark every month. In fact, we’ve surpassed it every month!
This is now what our average month looks like on Twitter. Compare it to the one at the start of this blog and you can see how far we’ve come.
We’ve raised our engagement rate to 2.8% and gained over 500 followers. It’s also made an impression on visits to our blog, giving us triple the amount of visits than we previously got.
Overall it’s been a success and we’ve used a lot of the tricks we’ve learnt in other projects as they have a lot of other practical uses.
Hopefully this blog has made you a social media wizard, feel free to tweet us any tips you use or if we’ve missed anything out! @e3_media