In our introductory blog – “Is Social Media right for social enterprise?” we considered the growing demand for user generated content in the Social Enterprise sector. Today we consider Twitter; its uses, value, and limitations.
Twitter versus Facebook – what’s right for you?
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo once said he viewed twitter as “the global town square – a place where everyone creates and share ideas instantly, and without barriers”. Facebook by contrast refers to “connections” making it a true social network. Twitter (being more of an information system) shares the need for regular update and fresh content – a must if they are to have any chance of delivering to business objectives.
Today’s article will focus on twitter with Part 3 of this series reviewing Facebook.
Does twitter work?
Despite being restricted to 140 characters Twitter is a game changer in modern communications. When compared to blog content, it forces users to be concise, and promotes external websites and articles. These are the conversion tools, while twitter is about their distribution. Limited, it shares information and is designed for one-to-one conversations; and does not exist to work in isolation.
The art of online conversation
Many marketers measure success in terms of followers and “likes” but it’s in “sharing” we judge. Hashtags, such as #SocialEnterprise or #JustEnterprise help to categorise the information, making participation in online conversations in real time possible. These “twitter chats” are a fast lead generation strategy and as a regular twitter chat guest you can set the goal of building your social enterprise as an authority by answering questions and resolving problems within the area of your expertise. Note, this is not the hard sell, but drives interest to you as a helper and subsequently to the products and services you offer. The “payoff or sale” may not be immediate but as you build your brand who will the prospect go to when it’s time to make a positive buying decision?
In your online conversations make sure to spell out the word retweet in its entirety, rather than using the abbreviation RT. The retweet rate for “retweet” requests is 23 times higher than the engagement rate for “RT” requests. Another rule of thumb is to limit hashtags to 2 per tweet otherwise research indicates a drop in engagement.
How do we measure success?
While you’re social enterprise needs to find your tone of voice, remember Twitter for business is not a personal journal but a professional marketing platform. Be quirky but don’t be trite.
So much hype is put on the number of followers. Your follower count is just the first step to understanding your potential to reach the masses. The followers of your followers are your secondary network; they determine how much potential there is for sharing content downstream. To give a better perspective on where you are, compare competitors growth rates to your own. Follow influencers and monitor their Tweets for opportunities to engage with them directly – don’t just tweet a new service. Talk to them, get involved in their Blog, and in so doing they will raise your awareness with their own larger audience.
Is your engagement scaling as your followers grow? Engagement rates, (number of replies + retweets/number of followers x 100) show how much of your audience you are really able to engage. A good engagement level is considered to be between 0.5 and 2.0% which may not sound much but it has to be worked on. Changes in engagement rate can indicate the value of fans gained or lost and the more active your followers are, the more likely they are to see and engage with your Tweets.
“Tweaking” your message makes a big difference
Is your service visual? Tweets containing images and videos (such as Vine) can get a 150% increase in retweets just by including images. This was borne out when test specialists Buffer conducted tests of tweets with pictures and tweets without. In each, tweets with pictures won by a huge margin.
In a similar vein using metrics from Buddy Media, 92% of all twitter interaction (retweeting, replying) happens when readers click links. In fact, tweets with links get 86% more retweets!
To up your engagement, don’t overdo it – constrain you’re tweeting. While you should actively respond to DMs and @s, you don’t need to produce multiple tweets throughout the day. Tweeting too often can result in very poor engagement levels so be careful about coming on too strong with your marketing. No-one likes an obvious hard-sell.
Want a better response?
If you feel your social enterprise could benefit from support in creating a more compelling presence online then why not contact us online or chat to Emma Stratton on 0141 425 2900 to discuss the options available. See how else CEIS supports individuals, businesses and communities here.
Through the Scottish Government’s Just Enterprise business support programme, qualifying social enterprises may even be able to access workshops for free. Check out our event calendar for upcoming workshops and dates.
To read the introduction to this series, click here
To read part 2 of this series, click here