Twitter Marketing: Make the Most of 140 Characters

As of May 2013, it’s estimated that Twitter has over 200 million monthly active users and 500 million users in total. It’s a marketplace that can’t be ignored, both for its sheer size and the ability of businesses to directly interact with their audiences. There’s just one problem: limited space.

So, how do you sell your brand and its message when you only have 140 characters to do it? Knowing what terms, phrases and tactics to use can be the difference between being heard by the world… or no one at all.

Tell Us What You Want, Quickly (and Nicely!)

Ryan Cordell promised his kids a puppy if they could get 1 million Facebook likes. So they made a Facebook page and put out a very simple request: “Hi World, we want a puppy! Our dad said we could get one if we get 1 million Likes - so Like this! (He doesn’t think we can do it!)”

It’s the most obvious step in the marketing process, but one that so many social media marketers miss - you need to tell your audience what you want. How can you expect people to do something if they don’t know how or why to do it? Social media is all about delivering concise calls to action and setting clear goals for your audience to fulfill. Adding tangible goals based on numbers helps your audience to feel like they’ll be a part of something if they do what you’re asking. If you need proof, look no further than what happened for the Cordell family.

If you’re wondering - yes, the Cordell kids got a puppy. That’s because they got over one million Likes - in under seven hours. Did some of their success have to do with cute kids and a puppy? Sure. But the main reason it worked is because they presented a simple goal that created an emotional response in their audience - and they asked for action.

Speaking of families, what did our parents always teach us about asking for something? You need to be polite about it; more simply, don’t forget to say please! According to social media scientist Dan Zarrella, tweets that get “ReTweeted” use the word “please” over 5 times more than tweets that are not.

Don’t Make Us Read - Make Us Act

Plenty of great minds have offered advice on how to gain traction and followers in the social media marketplace. When in doubt, we like the advice of Elvis Presley: “A little less conversation, a little more action.”

It’s simple social proof: if you tell people what to do, give them a good reason why, and show them other people are engaging in the same behavior, there’s a good chance they’ll follow suit. It’s the reason why social media exists in the first place. Twitter’s mission statement is “to instantly connect people everywhere to what’s most important to them.” What’s most important to them, however, can be created and inspired by you.

Use verbs to drive your Twitter marketing. There’s no time for flowery language; you can get around to describing your business once you’ve captivated your audience. Motivate. Talk. Drive. Inspire. Make people believe.

Give Us Somewhere Valuable To Go

Dan Zarrella also tells us that over 69% of all ReTweets contain a link. As powerful as Twitter is, it does have its limitations - once you call your audience to action, they’re naturally going to want more information before making a final decision.

The link you put in your Tweet should be short (use a service like TinyURL or Bitly to “shrink” website addresses), and it should bring the user to a trusted website full of rich, valuable content. Hopefully, your website fits the bill (if it doesn’t, we can help!)

Let’s dissect this example:

Please read this informative marketing article (http://bit.ly/19opmcL), love it & help ReTweet it to 25,000 people - THANKS!

We provide clear, actionable steps, and use the word ‘please’ (and thank you!). We tell our audience to “read”, “love” and “help ReTweet” - three actionable steps. We define a measurable goal (25,000 ReTweets), and give a shortened link to a content-rich, credible website.

Is it rocket science? No. Is it the greatest ad campaign known to man? No. Does it have a better chance of being effective than other marketing Tweets? Yes, it does. So practice composing effective Tweets using our helpful tools, and get started on the path to social media marketing success.

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