This session featured Michael Gray of Atlas Web Service, Craig Greenfield of Performics, and my buddy, Joanna Lord of TheOnlineBeat. The panel shared many tools and opinions on how to improve your Twitter usage to meet your goals.
Michael started off by covering how search marketers can benefit from Twitter. He emphasized that there is no right or wrong way per se to do Twitter — do what makes sense for you!
How do you grow followers?
- Tweet interesting things — be insightful, humorous, useful.
- Tweet interesting links to other people and other sites — don’t just be self-serving.
- Have interaction in your community — be less robotic — be human!
Michael suggests you should be helpful, friendly and aggressive. Answer questions and talk to others in your vertical as well. If you’re not the best resource, send someone to another person who is — that helps build your standing in the community. Retweet others — they love you for it!
Dig through other peoples’ follower list to find people to follow. Build a master list of A, B and C level people and mine their followers! As Michael says, later, rinse, repeat — do this often to find new people to follow.
How can you interact and still be productive?
- For high volume accounts, focus on the @ messages and answer them.
- Schedule tweets when possible.
- Use surveys, ask questions, have polls. Use contests or giveaways.
- Automate your account where possible.
What about the Retweet?
- Keep tweet direct and to the point.
- Ask for retweets — it’s ok!
- Leave 20-25 characters free in the tweet.
- Thank retweeters.
- Use your own URL shortener — example: www.search-mojo.com/a2b7i
Michael says that fakers and ghost tweeters can be ill-received.
Some tools include:
- Tweetdeck: Categorize and group tweets.
- Twittermail: Send email to tweet and schedule.
- Twitterhawk: Pay for tweets — you can set up responses automatically and get alerts. Direct it on how to respond.
- EasyTweets: Appears to be a dashboard that lets you monitor and multiple tweets.
Some Twitter risky practices include:
- Use friend feeders and retweeters.
- Tweet hijacking — replacing the url to your link instead! (Oooh bad!!)
- Automate following — you can get banned for this though. Be careful.
Joanna said that Twitter is very valuable because you can reach all demographics and international audiences.
Joanna recommended these tools for Twitter:
Find people to follow:
Track and Quantify:
- Twibs: business directory
- Twitterfeed: link it all up
- Grouptweet: tweet as a team
- CoTweet: group tweets as one user
- Twitterhawk: local marketing tool
- Hootsuite: full service for marketers
Joanna encourages checking out the tools before you commit to them. Use tools to streamline efforts — not to be a spammer or scammer!
Craig covered how the consumer is really in control but how to leverage that with Twitter and such. Consumers can influence brand perception online through Twitter, so marketers should understand that process. Craig encourages everyone to understand how your brand is perceived in the search results (SERPs).
How can brands use Twitter to boost search rankings and improve online reputation? Craig claims that being retweeted can help organic search rank. (Author’s Note: Not really true per se. Links retweeted in Twitter are nofollow — therefore they offer little to no direct benefit to improve search rankings. They can, however, encourage others to virally link to you outside of Twitter — perhaps from a blog, website, etc.)
Twitter does however, Craig says, allow you to better control your brand online and to monitor your brand online — what are people saying about you? Twitter also allows you a mechanism to respond to customer concerns and respond to them quickly. He referenced Comcast as an example of a company that is using Twitter to respond on a customer service level.
Tips from Craig:
- repurpose your brand content on Twitter
- use listening tools to hear what customers are saying
- create an outreach strategy
- engage with your supporters
- integrate your search and Twitter strategies