Friday, 23 March 2012
I get a lot of people asking me whether Twitter can truly generate leads. The answer is that, yes, it can. As with anything however, it is dependent on many factors, all of which need to be ‘right’.
Let’s quickly overview these areas.
Firstly, choose a suitable, findable Twitter handle. Seems obvious enough, but make sure it’s recognisable and presents a clear link to your Business – choosing your company name is an obvious solution. Make sure it doesn’t appear “spammy” i.e. avoid using random, irrelevant numbers.
Next utilise all of the profile information that Twitter makes visible. Complete the bio section with meaningful, useful information that describes who you are, what you do, what you’ll tweet about, and if you have any space left, why you’re worth following. This is tricky because it’s only 160 characters, so make sure it’s clear and straight to the point. Upload a customised Twitter background, which can feature the company logo, slogans, images, social media links, addresses and so on. Don’t underestimate the importance of page customisation, as these are sources of information that the visitor will call upon to determine who the account belongs to, and whether or not they should follow you.
Data from mediabistro.com shows that tweets between 120-130 characters in length, with a URL placed a quarter of the way through the tweet, typically achieve the highest rate of click throughs. Additionally the data suggests that Tweets with verbs typically generate more clicks than Tweets containing nouns.
Next, it appears from various sources that, for purposes of SEO, both quantity and ‘quality’ of followers is crucial. Indeed major search engines revealed that their algorithms look at both of these figures for ranking. Therefore, start following ‘quality’, or rather, highly subscribed to users, and start posting relevant, interesting tweets in the hope that they’ll follow back.
Interact with your followers! A survey from InboxQ revealed that users who had their questions answered by brands via Twitter were nearly 65% more likely to purchase from them. Therefore respond to users’/customers’/prospects’ questions whenever possible.
Research has shown that approximately 15 to 24 tweets per day is the optimum number to increase your following. Sounds a lot doesn’t it. Remember also that although tweets typically have a small exposure time on your followers’ twitter feeds, you don’t want to come across as a spammer to them. It’s essential that your tweets are quality and not quantity.
Use hashtags (#). These are good for increasing the discoverability of your tweets in the Twitter universe. Essentially they’re searchable keywords which can help categorise your tweet. From a business perspective, they’re also useful for creating campaigns over Twitter, that if successful enough can be seen to be ‘trending’ across Twitter.
Finally, and most importantly - make sure your tweets are ‘good’. What does this mean? To answer this, think about who your audience really are, what they’re interested in, what they want to hear and what your goals are for doing this. Don’t do ‘sales’ tweets. No one wants to read these, and if they do, they won’t want to constantly read them - think annoying, repetitive adverts! Instead, tweet about industry news, best practice, and other topical stories that you feel might appeal to your audience demographic. In other words, be prepared to share and give away a lot of best practice in order to build your brand, whilst subtly looking for opportunities to weave in mentions of your products/services.
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Britain is a nation that is growing fed up of social media, and demanding greater functionality from social sites. That is what a recent survey, conducted by YouGov, has concluded.
The survey revealed that, although Britons remain extremely active on social media sites, they are consistently demanding more from the various platforms. In fact, the survey results state that 41% of the UK online population claim to be getting bored of social media.
With the speed at which social media sites seem to be evolving, some might consider this to be surprising, especially when so many businesses that we meet seem still to be experimenting with social media, and their usage of such platforms seems to be in its infancy. The truth, however, is that we are living in what is frequently termed the ‘digital generation’, and many young adults have grown up with these social media sites.
In terms of social media usage, perhaps unsurprisingly, Facebook still reigns supreme, with a staggering 65% of the UK online population claiming to have accessed the site in the last month. If your target consumer is between 16-20 years old, then this is also the perfect platform for your marketing and customer service efforts; 95% of 16-20 year olds have accessed the site in the last month.
One key trend that the report identifies is the increased popularity of sites that offer a greater raison d’être than simply being ‘social’. For example, analysis from the survey reveals that www.moneysavingexpert.com (the financial advice website and forum) has as many active users as Twitter. Whilst some may find this shocking, it seems to demonstrate a fundamental evolution in the way in which users are engaging and interacting with these online platforms.
Many of you may question what these results mean for you, and how they are relevant to your business. Please allow me to elaborate.
Fundamentally, social media is becoming part of an overarching marketing communications strategy for most businesses. It represents a revolution in the way that individuals, and businesses, communicate, and most have decided that they have no option but to adapt and embrace it. This survey gives a vital insight to the way in which different demographics are truly using social media, and can help you to ascertain which platforms are most worthy of your time investment.
So, what does the future hold? To keep it concise, the survey predicts that usage of Facebook is likely to plateau, while commercial use of LinkedIn is likely to increase. I suspect that this will be as a direct result of increased awareness amongst SMEs about the potential reach of such sites.
Interestingly, the survey also reveals that consumers will remain fairly unresponsive to paid-for advertising over social media. For instance, 44% of respondents stated that they would not feel more compelled to make a purchase simply because their friend had ‘liked’ the product or service. Perhaps a note of caution for marketers?
To conclude, I think it is important for us all to pay attention to surveys such as this, which offer us a valuable insight into how best to make an impact in what is becoming a crowded online arena. Be sure to read the full survey results and analysis, are you surprised by the way in which your target consumer behaves online?
Let me know your thoughts; have the survey findings prompted you to rethink your online marketing strategy?