People come to Twitter to discover what’s happening in the world right now, to share information instantly, and to connect with people and businesses around the globe. With hundreds of millions of people using Twitter each month and over 500 million Tweets sent each day, Twitter offers a great opportunity for your business to reach a global audience of new and existing customers.
However, we often get the question: how can you create an always-on content strategy that helps build meaningful connections and encourage engagement?
In order to answer that question, we gathered data to give exclusive insights on how people engage with businesses on Twitter. We partnered with @ResearchNowUS to survey 1,000 active U.S. Twitter users who currently follow small or medium-sized businesses. Through our research we found that half of Twitter users who follow small or medium-sized businesses (SMBs) log in everyday and 86 percent use it (at least) weekly. This audience is highly engaged, with nearly all reporting that they have Tweeted to or about an SMB and 79 percent have Retweeted one.
To help you tap into this opportunity and craft a Twitter strategy that works for your business goals, we’re sharing three data-driven tips, illustrated by examples from small businesses around the world.
1. Make your content discoverable with hashtags
People are often in a discovery mindset when they’re on Twitter and are looking to connect with new businesses. In fact, 62 percent of survey respondents have discovered a new small or medium-sized business because of Twitter.
Hashtags are more than just a fun addition to your content, they are a useful tool for discoverability. Our research shows that 36 percent of respondents discovered a new business because they saw a Tweet in a hashtag conversation. Increase your reach and connect with new customers by including relevant hashtags in your Tweets.
Focus on keywords that relate to your business. Best practices recommend using no more than two hashtags per Tweet. One simple way to incorporate hashtags is by identifying popular events to which you can link your business in an authentic way. Remember, these can be everyday, personal events like meals or commutes, as well as wider cultural events, like Valentine’s Day or Chinese New Year.
This juice company got its audience in a healthy mindset by sharing a link to some wholesome Monday breakfast ideas.
— Pressed Juicery (@PressedJuicery) February 22, 2016
Wine company @barrelandink joins the #NationalWineDrinkingDay conversation to connect with their target audience.
— Barrel + Ink (@BarrelandInk) February 19, 2016
2. Include rich media to add interest and increase engagement
Compelling content will help you attract new followers and keep them engaged over time. There’s no right or wrong time—or number of times—you should Tweet each day. Instead, focus on creating a regular cadence of content that’s relevant and interesting to your target audience.
Through our research, we found that more than half of the people surveyed who Retweeted an SMB did so because the Tweet was interesting. An easy way to increase the likelihood of your content being Retweeted is by adding a bold image, video, or GIF to your Tweets. In fact, people are three times more likely to engage with Tweets that contain videos and photos, according to Twitter internal data.
Try experimenting with GIFs. GIFs are more than funny images you send to friends — they can be used to create powerful marketing content. Now with Twitter’s GIF search feature, it is easier than ever to add GIFs to your Tweets. These animated images can add a touch of personality to your content, and also lead to higher Tweet engagement rates.
TripCase Tweeted a GIF that clearly showed the value of its product, a travel management app.
— TripCase (@TripCase) February 12, 2016
3. Add value to your followers by sharing tips, research, and news
One important factor to keep in mind when creating content is that you’re adding value to your followers. Ask yourself before pressing the Tweet button, “Would a wider audience find this content interesting or helpful?” With 45 percent of people Retweeting information that they find useful, there is a huge appetite for tips, research, and news content. Focus on creating a balanced content calendar by sharing a variety of content and increasing the cadence of what’s resonating with your audience.
Remember that sharing useful content doesn’t necessarily have to be only research papers and formal whitepapers. Find a tone and subject area that fits your company’s’ personality. You can even use the Twitter poll feature to uncover what types of content your followers would like to see most.
🌟 10 Style Resolutions & Tips for 2016 🌟 from some of our favorite fashion bloggers – https://t.co/YgnzFIxbie
— thredUP (@thredUP) January 21, 2016
A B2B company drives followers to sign up for their newsletter for additional tips and tricks.
— Greenhouse Software (@Greenhouse) February 10, 2016
Now that you’re Tweeting out different content types, checking your free Twitter analytics will help you understand what content resonates with your audience. Use the Tweet activity dashboard to monitor engagement rates—this will help give you a better understanding of what your audience wants to see. If you’re using Twitter through Hootsuite, you can retrieve analytics by clicking the analytics tab on the left-hand side of the dashboard. Experiment with new creative elements often and hone in on what performs well.