To Tweet or Not to Tweet

A beginner’s guide to decide if Twitter is right for your digital strategy

They don’t ‘get’ their users! Shares are down! It’s cluttered! It’s dying!

Marketers – and users – have had plenty of complaints about Twitter recently. However, with over 330 million active users worldwide, the social media platform seems to be doing just fine. Usage has accelerated for three consecutive quarters, and with no explicit direct competitor in sight, Twitter will be around for the foreseeable future. But, it’s still not right for every brand. Every channel has its strengths and weaknesses, so when considering Twitter for your brand’s digital strategy keep in mind what the channel excels at: direct communication, immediacy, and influencers.

How to take advantage of Twitter’s strengths

  • Direct communication – Treating Twitter as a simple broadcasting channel is choosing to ignore its most unique strength: Communicating directly with your audience as individuals. Look for opportunities to reach out and start conversations directly with consumers. If the rise of Alexa, Siri, and conversational commerce shows us anything, it’s that people are getting used to talking with brands naturally. So, reach out to them in a natural way on a channel that’s built for conversation.
  • Immediacy – Twitter’s roots are firmly planted in journalism. Co-founder Jack Dorsey even credits journalists with the platform’s rise to prominence. Take advantage of this and use Twitter for the newsworthy aspects of your brand: focus on announcements, events, and ongoing stories.
  • Influencers – Every industry has a thought leader, and Twitter makes it easier to reach out to them. Thought leaders are becoming more and more important to consumers: in fact, 49% of twitter users rely on recommendations from influencers. So, reach out to them. Ask them questions directly and build relationships in ways you never could outside of social media.

So, is Twitter worth it? It has unique abilities for direct communication, a sense of immediacy, and great potential for influencer outreach. Take a close look at your brand goals: if you find a way to harness Twitter’s strengths it can be a powerful part of your digital strategy.

What Twitter Metrics Should You Pay Attention To?

Okay, you decided to use Twitter as part of your brand’s digital strategy. Now what? Well, you need to figure out how to track performance. Twitter gives brands access to some pretty robust analytics on its site, but it’s easy to get bogged down by all the numbers. To figure out which KPIs to focus on it’s important to break them out by your channel goals.

What Do You Want to Use Twitter For?

Direct customer service? Track these metrics:

  1. Average Reply Time – This absolutely must be on par with industry standards, but exceeding those standards is a surefire way to delight your customers. JetBlue figured this out. The brand is consistently among the fastest-responding airlines and is often recognized for its efforts by the industry its fans.
  2. Reply Rate – Not every query will be appropriate to respond to, but it’s crucial to help those you can. This is when an escalation plan can come in handy.
  3. Sentiment – This helps show if serious queries are being addressed/ Many tools give you the ability to track what you respond to most. If you only respond to positive mentions, it may be time to adjust.

Influencer Campaign? Track this:

  1. Number of Tweets vs Number of Followers – Segregate the influencers on these two criteria and dedicate your resources appropriately: one who often tweets to a few followers has a different type of influence than one who seldom tweets to many followers.

A campaign to reach new viewers? Track these metrics:

  1. Hashtag usage and mentions – Tracking how many times a hashtag is used, as well as brand and/or campaign mentions, is an effective way to measure your campaign’s reach.
  2. Favorites – They may not do much for social selling, but they are a good way to measure what your audience likes. Think of it as a “good job”. They liked that content, so show them more of it.
  3. Retweets – By retweeting, they’ve basically said, “I like this and I think others will too”. This is exactly how Twitter can help expand your reach to an even broader audience so take care to track retweets and determine what type of content your audience likes to share.
  4. Replies – These are also great to flag to your customer service, which will help maintain that direct conversation with your fans.
  5. Time of day/day of the week – This can be an easy one to overlook. Different audiences have different media habits, and tracking the most effective times and days for engagement is crucial when fine-tuning your Twitter content.

Driving customers to your site? Track these metrics:

  1. URL clicks and traffic – Twitter can be an effective way to drive traffic, just be sure you’ve organized a way to track URL clicks using Google Analytics or a similar tool. And check your landing page bounce rates to ensure the traffic is performing to your standards.

Now, these are not the only metrics that you might find helpful: it truly depends on the goals you’ve outlined. But if you’ve decided to play to twitter’s strengths of direct outreach, immediacy, and influencers, these metrics are a great place to start.


© 2016 DK New Media.

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