Fighting Social Media Redundancy, Part 2: Twitter
Content Marketing, 140 Characters at a Time
In Part 1 of this series, I discussed how to best take advantage of Facebook’s unique traits and features to advance your content marketing efforts. This time, we’ll consider another platform: Twitter.
Embrace the lighter side of social media.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter still has its cool factor for a number of reasons, including an air of exclusivity, a bunch of active celebrity users, a younger user base, and a degree of anonymity. It’s also a less formal affair than Facebook, which gives you the chance to take your collar down a button and have a little more fun with your content.
How should you take advantage of this? By engaging others. Offering kudos. Retweeting colleagues and industry figures. Linking to outside content you find interesting or amusing. You can even share something funny from your everyday life—once in a while. This is an opportunity to show your followers that you’re someone they’ll enjoy working with. Just make sure that every tweet is contributing positively to your image as a professional.
Maintain a constant presence.
There is, of course, another reason to be active in all of these ways on Twitter—namely, the fact that the Twitter stream moves very quickly. The content you share in the morning will most likely be buried deep in your followers’ feeds by lunch. Retweets and replies by people who like what you have to say can keep your posts alive, but you won’t always get them — and you shouldn’t ask for them outright.
This time sensitivity has an impact on the kinds of content you share. To ensure you’re reaching your followers, you’ll want to offer them something that’s current and provocative, but also easy to consume – images, video, short articles, etc. It also helps to make sure you’re publishing your best tweets at a time you know your prospects will see them.
Twitter’s 140-character limit is actually one of its strengths in the sense that it forces you to give more thought to your posts, which in turn leads to more wit and creativity. Of course, it also means you can’t approach your posts the same way as you do on Facebook. Yes, Twitter has begun to accommodate longer posts from other social networks by cutting them off and adding an ellipsis (…) at the end. But your followers want to see a complete thought on Twitter, not a link to a complete thought somewhere else. So take the time to craft a Twitter-specific caption.
When posting media, remember that Twitter makes less use of rich previews than Facebook. Even when a piece of shared content carries a preview, your followers will have to expand your tweet in order to see it (see above). Thus, it’s probably wise to be descriptive about the content in the body of your tweet: “VIDEO: 5 expert tips for awesome real estate photos.”
Unlike Facebook, Twitter supports hashtags. Still, they may be of the most misunderstood and misused social media feature out there. While lots of people use hashtags as an added layer of wit or commentary, strictly speaking, hashtags are essentially keywords for the Twitter search engine—and if you want to derive any advantage from them, this is how you should be using them.
That means doing the same kind of research you’d do when trying to improve your ranking in Google and Bing. If you’re trying to create and own a conversation, try creating and promoting a hashtag that doesn’t exist yet. Keep it short, use as few words as possible, and make sure it’s industry specific. If you want to gain visibility by getting involved in an existing conversation, check for hashtags that are trending and worth competing for, then try to add value to the chatter. Hashtags are also great for creating centralized conversations around events and webinars (see above).
That’s it for Twitter, but there are plenty of other social networks out there, with their own rules and unique opportunities for marketing your content. Next stop: LinkedIn.
Published on October 19, 2011