Using hashtags, following people back, replying to every Tweet that mentions you—these are all great things you can (and should) be doing to gain more followers and build a strong presence for your business on Twitter.
For this post however, let’s go beyond the basics and look at five best practices that will help you create great content, better engage with your followers, and make the most of some new (and old) Twitter features.
Bonus: Download the free strategy guide that reveals how Hootsuite grew our Twitter following to over 7 million users and learn how you can put the tactics to work for your business.
Best practices for businesses on Twitter
1. Create and monitor Twitter lists
Looking at the profile of an important influencer or potential customer and noticing questions asked that your brand could have answered had you seen the Tweets is not fun. (If it sounds like I’m speaking from personal experience here, I am.)
Twitter moves so fast that just one refresh of your timeline can cause important Tweets to get lost. This is what makes lists one of the best features Twitter has to offer. Twitter lists help you group together similar people or topics, so you can see everything in one place.
How to put it into action: Create a Twitter list for industry influencers, for example, or for your most vocal and loyal customers. In Hootsuite you can set up streams for your Twitter lists and see them all side by side.
2. Participate in (or host) Twitter chats
Twitter chats are conversations people have using a shared hashtag at a predetermined day or time. They can revolve around a specific industry, topic, or trend. For example, Hootsuite’s weekly Twitter chat about social media marketing takes place every Thursday at 12 p.m. PST using the hashtag #HootChat.
Twitter chats can generate valuable feedback for your business, help you gain new followers by increasing the visibility of your Twitter profile, and create a sense of community that can lead to stronger relationships with potential customers. They can also just be a lot of fun (our #HootChat with Giphy comes to mind).
How to put it into action: This comprehensive list can help you find a couple of Twitter chats to start monitoring and participating in. You can set up a dedicated stream in Hootsuite to monitor the chat hashtag and see all the action in one place. When you’re ready, Hootsuite can help you host and monitor a Twitter chat like a pro.
3. Publish video
Why limit yourself to only 140 characters when you have 30 seconds of video time to play with too? Posting videos on Twitter is a great way to make your Tweets stand out and drive engagement. Uploading a video natively to Twitter is even better, since it drives 2.5 times more replies, 2.8 times more Retweets, and 1.9 times more likes than simply including a link to a third-party video in your Tweet.
This video posted to Twitter by Starbucks tells the story of a specific type of coffee bean. It’s beautiful to watch, and educates customers while informing them about a product at the same time. The information is conveyed solely through text in the video, making it just as effective when watched on mute as it is with sound on. This is important for any of your followers who have the autoplay feature activated in their Twitter timelines, because videos automatically begin playing without sound.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) May 27, 2016
How to put it into action: Push yourself to think of creative ways your brand could use video on Twitter to support your social media strategy. Here are some ideas:
- Customer service: Use video to give more personal responses to customer inquiries that pop up in your @mention stream.
- Supplement offline events: Capture and share footage from an event through Twitter video. You’ll make those not in attendance feel included (or jealous that they missed out) and give those who were a highlight they’ll want to share with their followers.
- Tell customer stories: Humans love seeing other humans, this is a scientific fact.* Use Twitter video to showcase attention-grabbing testimonials from your customers. A 30-second clip demonstrating how they use your product or service and why they love it can be a powerful piece of content for growing your business on Twitter.
You can upload video to Twitter directly from Hootsuite, publish it immediately, or schedule it to go out later.
(*This is not a scientific fact, but it’s definitely true.)
4. Tag people in photos
Think tagging people in photos is only for Facebook and Instagram? You can tag up to 10 people in a photo on Twitter, without affecting your 140 character limit. As with any great power, however, this too comes with great responsibility. Don’t use this feature to try and get people’s attention by tagging them in random photos. Save it for when you have a relevant photo—a picture from a conference for example—and tag the appropriate people.
How to put it into action: Tagging people in photos is a good way to show you’re on Twitter to build and engage with a community. Tweet some user-generated content (such as fan art, or photos from customers) and tag the creator accordingly. You could also use the feature to announce contest winners by posting a picture of the prize and tagging their @name in it.
5. Post Twitter polls
As I was writing this post, I heard someone in the office say: “Twitter polls are so hot right now.” Even though they might have sounded slightly like Paris Hilton in 2003, they’re not wrong. People really love polls on Twitter.
They’re a great way for businesses to do market research, get feedback on their content, and spark conversations on social. We recently posted a poll gauging interest about topics outside of social media for our weekly #HootChat. Not only will these results help us plan future Twitter chats, they’ll also give us insight into the type of content we may want to produce for our audience overall.
Would you be interested in #HootChat topics outside of social media? Which would you choose? Did we miss any?
— Hootsuite (@hootsuite) May 26, 2016
How to put it into action: Start including Twitter polls when creating your monthly social content calendar. Choose a purpose for your Twitter poll, whether it’s doing research into customer preferences, gathering feedback about a recent event or campaign, or simply having some fun with your followers.
Now that you’ve got five best practices for Twitter under your belt, Hootsuite can help you put them into action.