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Twitter LogoTwitter has often been discounted because it works only in short messages, but it has transformed input marketing with over 100 million active users.  We need to harness the opportunity that it presents to turn Twitter into a closed-loop marketing process that produces quality leads.  It is a tool to reach fans of your business that can become leads.  You need to understand the mechanics of creating a unique image that translates into Twitter brand pages, a new development that should become part of your strategic media repertoire, particularly if your business uses a lot of inbound action.  Today, over two billion Tweets are sent every week, conversations related to almost any topic.

Anyone can read, write and share messages (Tweets) of up to 140 characters on Twitter, available to anyone interested in reading them.  Followers receive all messages at their convenience if they follow you on Twitter.  This unique combination of open, public, and unfiltered Tweets allows Twitter users to share and discover what’s happening on any device in real time.  For businesses and brands, the conversations provide a rich canvas and a powerful context to connect your messages and your brand to what people are talking about right now, for telling engaging stories, for participating in cultural events, for broadcasting content, for connecting with consumers, and driving transactions.

The information following on this website is intended to provide background on how we think Twitter can play a major role in your advertising strategy by highlighting where the strengths and weaknesses are in this medium.  Keep in mind that an advertising strategy needs many dimensions to be effective.

Twitter Activity Level

Limit the time you spend monitoring Twitter and optimize results: you do not need to be constantly replying to every tweet.  Reply to questions and negative comments.  Give Twitterers the proper responses they deserve:  64% of users are more likely to purchase from businesses that answer their questions on twitter.  Enable Direct Messaging (DM): follow back users that follow you so they can use DM.

By placing a Twitter handle in the beginning of an update (e.g, “@frits_bos I read...”), Twitter registers a tweet as a reply, anywhere else makes it a mention.   By replying to a user the tweet will only appear on your profile page and on feeds of people that follow you both.  Users dodge this with a period in front of their tweet (.@frits_bos). 

In responding to a Twitter user, decide of you want that to be seen by everyone or not.  If someone addresses you with a positive comment, however, you may want to respond with “Hey @frits_bos” so that the tweet is seen by anyone who is following you.

Twitter Brand Management

Businesses can influence and participate in real-time conversations on Twitter to drive consumer action with integrated paid, earned and owned campaigns, delivering results throughout the marketing funnel, to listen and gather market intelligence and insights. People may already have conversations about your business, your competitors or your industry on Twitter.  Cultivate your following, reputation, and customers’ trust with these simple practices:

Share -> photos and behind-the-scenes info about your business, news of developing projects and events, anything that is newsworthy for re-tweeting!

Listen -> monitor the comments about your company, brand, and products.

Ask -> questions of your followers to gain valuable insights and show you are listening.

Respond -> to compliments and feedback in real time and intercept public complaints.

Reward -> Tweet updates about special offers, discounts and time-sensitive deals.

Demonstrate wider leadership and know-how -> Reference articles and links about the bigger picture as it relates to your business.

Champion your stakeholders -> Re-tweet and reply publicly to great tweets posted by your followers and customers.

Establish the right voice -> Twitter users prefer a direct, genuine, and likable tone from your business, but think about your voice as you Tweet.  How do you want your business to appear to the Twitter community?

Twitter Brand Pages

Twitter brand pages support a customer header under the profile bio, an opportunity to show personality and a Call-To-Action (a link that directs visitors to your web site): you can create a custom CTA to feature a new marketing campaign, and direct people to the site landing page that then features a similar CTA to click through to the target page.   As well you can feature a tweet at the top of your Twitter feed - a great way to highlight campaigns, promotions, or offers to get more visibility over a longer period of time. 

A custom background is another improvement so users that stumble across your profile see basic branding: company name, logo, and URLs.  It is easy to whip up an awesome custom Twitter background using any design software.  Twitter backgrounds will not scroll down as users scroll down a profile page: the text/images on the background will be glued to one spot and will never move.

The center of every Twitter screen shows a message feed: make sure the background is never covered by this feed.  Twitter publishes the “safe spot” within which your image is secured.  Use an image or a solid color for the background canvas: a solid color is easier on the eyes for reading text that may clash with a picture.

Don’t forget the text: your company name, a brief bio, URLs for your website and social networks, and your company logo.  Keep it simple and make it reflect your company’s identity.  You can compose the background image as a JPG, PNG, or GIF file no larger than 800K, and go to your personal or company Twitter profile “settings” where you use the “design” tab and select “change background image.”  Upload your background, save changes, and your beautiful and custom background will appear right before your eyes..

Twitter Keywords

Make sure users find you in search engine results, so your Twitter handle and updates assist your entire marketing program to push your business rank in a search for industry keywords.  You want your website to be the first hit—but why not your Twitter posts closely following?  Try to get as many top spots as you can grab.

Google does not like “@name1234” or handles like that because it thinks of spammers: it may even ignore names like that.  One advantage of an early adopter is a user name like @frits_bos that is pretty self-evident.  You can also use your company name if it is available.  Note that your bio allows 160 characters of information – you don’t want that taken up mostly by search keywords: the aim is to accurately reflect your business and help you improve search visibility.   Search engines often display your Twitter bio in the links’ description on the results pages, so make it count.

Analyze your keywords and pick a smaller subset of keywords for Twitter: use them in your tweets to help boost your rankings.  There is another reason – re-tweeting should not truncate the keywords when “RT @username” is used:  make sure tweets have at least 10-20 characters of legroom.  Further, 120-130 character tweets have the highest click-through rates: meaningful but not too long.  Ideally your tweets are remarkable enough for other influencers to re-tweet them: a great exercise in viral marketing. Also, posting updates that appeal to influencers will boost your search optimization efforts.

Twitter Lead Generation

The key reason for using Twitter is to bring in new customers, so consider the following strategies for success with these steps:

Start using an Analytics Tool -> To see how many visitors are coming to your site via Twitter, you’ll need an analytics tool, such as free Google Analytics.

Tracking Tokens for different sources -> A tracking token is added to the end of a link to allow an analytics tool aggregate a certain group of traffic. A generic token looks like this:


Now anyone that clicks the link tells your analytics tool they come via Twitter, or whatever other channel you identify.  Check the tracking tokens you need to get data assigned to the right categories.

Use the Right Metrics -> check your analytics monthly, if not weekly, to keep track of progress.  Stay on top of Twitter Follower month-to-month growth, in total or as a percentage that highlights if your campaign is effective or a waste of time.

Twitter Visitor-to-Lead Rate -> you can check web traffic based on Twitter visitors and Twitter lead numbers to calculate the conversion effectiveness of your landing page.  This can ultimately be the strategic planning rate to see if your campaign is losing steam or going strong (you can do this for all your lead sources). 

Further qualify leads -> follow-up with your leads, offer them incentives through simple drip marketing or sophisticated behavior-based communication.

Twitter Marketing Ideas

Here are some marketing ideas that generated results. Use a few as a starting point and build your own strategy by following what works for your business.

TWEET OFFERS -> the simplest form of lead generation: share your offers periodically! Control how often you share the same offer to keep the interest.  Each offer is a link to your website.

CONNECT YOUR BLOG -> tweet links to all your posts (that also contain call-to-action) as an indirect but effective way to attract new leads.  Connect your blog with Twitter so that a post gets tweeted the minute it’s published automatically.

RESPOND WITH LANDING PAGES -> respond to user questions with proper feedback and add a landing page link to your response if possible.  

HASHTAGS -> if you see a trending hashtag relevant to your tweet, include it in your updates and re-tweets. This lets your tweets to reach anyone looking at tweets for that particular hashtag.  For an event, create a hashtag so users can chime in and you aggregate a list of tweets from potential leads.

BUILD REACH -> The more people you send information to, the higher your chances of generating leads.

TWITTER CHAT -> is an online discussion between a brand and the Twitter world.  While there is no set format, you can ask an expert five to seven questions over a half hour period via the hashtag #inboundchat.  To help push lead generation you can tie each chat to a certain offer.

Twitter Scheduling

Scheduling tweets helps to minimize the time you spend scripting tweets each day.  By knowing you have a backlog of content that will automatically publish, you get more time to follow that content, how it’s discussed, and what leads its generates.

Think of clever ways to promote your content ahead of time. By allocating ten minutes to composing a batch of tweets for the day you can focus on other work throughout the day.  You can use HootSuite for scheduling: there is a free option available on their site.  Now you only have to check in occasionally to see what people say and respond only as required while you appear active.  People follow you to receive information they may not otherwise find, so only post valuable content about your product or service.  

While tweets have a short shelf life, don’t overuse the medium: 15 tweets/day is a good target and posting too much can decrease your opportunities to grow followers.  Keep an eye on industry leaders to learn what they tweet, and follow your customers and fans.   Love brand loyalists that publicly follow your company and talk about you with a 2-way communication strategy to keep your fans on your side.

Twitter can make you money as a place of positive brand communication or dialog, and to generate leads.  Test what works best for lead generation: what works for one business may not work for yours.