Leveraging Twitter, Part 4: Define a Goal & Create a Strategy Tutorial

4.2 Introduction

Hi I'm Jennifer Evans Cario, President of Sugarspun Marketing, Author of Pinterest Marketing, and An Hour a Day, and the social media faculty chair at Market Motive. Thanks for joining me for part 4 in our series leveraging Twitter.

4.3 Twitter Strategy

Now when it comes to Twitter and utilizing it on the business or brand front. It's really important to remember that as with all things in social media you can't just go and start doing it and expect miraculous things to happen. You have to actually have a strategy and a plan. Trust me when I say that Twitter is not the field of dreams, it's the subway platform at rush hour. There's a lot of potential there, there's a lot of opportunity there. But sorting thorough all that noise and chatter and just all sorts of things coming at you in order to get to what you need. It's difficult enough for an individual to do, let alone for a brand to pull off, when you're trying to be the one voice that actually gets through. And penetrates into their collective consciousness to get the message across that you're trying to get. Now, you need to approach Twitter with a plan. You have to be thinking from the business perspective about what you hope to accomplish and what resources you have available to you. Because the small business or the startup company is going to have to come at Twitter with a very different plan. And a very different attitude than the multinational brand that has teams around the world, monitoring the conversation 24-7, and answering and responding within five to ten minutes of any post that's gone up. Now, you also need to make sure that along with that plan there's a purpose. Again, having a plan without a purpose still doesn't really do much of anything for you. So you need to know what the basic potential impact of Twitter is and you need to plan out a strategy that allows you to play to those potential areas of impact in order to meet your goals.

4.4 Twitter's Marketing Impact

Now, we talked briefly earlier in the series, about the four key ways that Twitter can really impact your marketing. So, just to review real quickly before we dig a little deeper into them, the first is the idea of brand building. Shaping how people actually view your brand. What they think of when they think of you. The second is the idea of boosting your credibility. Using Twitter as a platform to really share the type of news and information and resources that help them to view you in the type of light that you need them to view you in as part of your marketing plan. And there's also the idea of using it for reputation management. Particular industries often have a very difficult time maintaining customer service or sort of standing out from the crowd when the rest of the industry maybe doesn't have the best reputation among, you know, consumers. And then also the idea of directly driving conversions, whether that's driving traffic to your site, getting people to subscribe to something, or actually getting them to purchase. But actually using Twitter as a way to motivate them to take action.

4.4 Twitter's Marketing Impact

Now, we talked briefly earlier in the series, about the four key ways that Twitter can really impact your marketing. So, just to review real quickly before we dig a little deeper into them, the first is the idea of brand building. Shaping how people actually view your brand. What they think of when they think of you. The second is the idea of boosting your credibility. Using Twitter as a platform to really share the type of news and information and resources that help them to view you in the type of light that you need them to view you in as part of your marketing plan. And there's also the idea of using it for reputation management. Particular industries often have a very difficult time maintaining customer service or sort of standing out from the crowd when the rest of the industry maybe doesn't have the best reputation among, you know, consumers. And then also the idea of directly driving conversions, whether that's driving traffic to your site, getting people to subscribe to something, or actually getting them to purchase. But actually using Twitter as a way to motivate them to take action.

4.5 Build a Strategy

Now when it comes down to building a strategy that's specific to Twitter, there's a couple things that we need to define. We need to look at what our goals are. What are we actually trying to accomplish? Do we need to get more people aware of our product or services? Are we trying to repair or shore up a reputation that might not be quite as strong as we want it to be? Are we there specifically to get people to download our new white paper and sign up for our newsletter? What is it that we're trying to accomplish? What are those goals? We also need to have an understanding of our audience, who we're trying to get in front of and what really matters to them. And then based on those things we need to also have a realistic idea of what our posting plan might look like. What type of content are we able and willing to put up, how much time do we have to spend on it? So as we look at the goals and we dig a little deeper into this idea of what our goals are, this is where we're asking questions like why are we there? What are we hoping to accomplish? What do we measure? And you want to make sure that any goal that you actually define for your Twitter strategy is tied to something that you can measure. Because part of the reason that you want to define your goals as you sit down to think about how you're going to leverage Twitter is because defining those goals is what gives you those key performance indicators that you're actually going to be tracking on the analytics side down the road to know whether or not the things that you did actually got you where you wanted them to go. Now you also want to take the time to define your audience. You need to figure out who they are, what they like, what they need. And a lot of times with this, it's going to be a combination of existing marketing knowledge where you also go in and maybe make use of Twitter search or Twitter lists to really look at what the conversation looks like. What's causing people to respond? What hashtag conversations that are related to you that maybe people get involved in? What are they passionate about or not passionate about? Taking the time to spend some time observing on Twitter, even if you already have an active Twitter campaign. To take the time to run some of those searches and look to see what your target audience is talking about can go a long way towards helping you figure out what the conversation might look like. Now part of putting together this strategy is also asking yourself what resources you have available to you as you're putting the plan together. If you have access to a team, like a full legitimate team with multiple people, that's going to radically change the way you can approach Twitter. Then if you're a small business that's wearing multiple hats because maybe you're just one person or one department, then you have the responsibility for not just everything social media related, but everything marketing related, or even everything in the whole business. So there's a huge difference between how a large company is going to handle this versus how a small company is going to handle this. It doesn't mean both companies can't do it effectively, but it does mean that you need to put together a goal that takes into consideration the size and scope of your business and of the resources that you have available.

4.6 Goals and Team Define Strategy

Letting your goals and team define your strategy is part of what's going to help you put together what a realistic posting plan actually looks like. So for example if you're a financial advice site that gives advice to people that are sort of just starting their life together. College students, newlyweds, new parents, people that are, you know, undergoing some major young life change but still have plenty of time to do their investing. Then you might decide that the goals you have for being on Twitter are to engage in conversation and build credibility. Maybe you also want to have some direct sales, because you want to sell books and sell access to webinars. You want to drive links and traffic into your site. Your measurements that's going to be tied to those goals would be things like book sales, webinar registrations, number of followers and replies you get, and the number of retweets. So you start to say, here's what it is that I need to have happen nad what I'm going to measure. And then you start to spend the time investing and doing some monitoring and watching to see what type of content is going to give you the best opportunity to do that. And you may find the things like taking the time everyday to search for keywords and respond, is a great way to build awareness and engage people in conversation. Hosting weekly Twitter chats based on the feedback that you get and what people say they're interested in is another great way to, you know, boost some of that knowledge base and the credibility. While also giving you the chance to drive some traffic into resources available on your site or potentially drive traffic in to sell books. You may say that to do those things, you may only want half a dozen updates going out a day outside of those Twitter conversations and the daily search. You may be simply sharing resources that you find on other sites, and sharing some of your own resources in the mix as well. To pull that off, you may only need just one single account, one team member, and you're primarily worried about showing news and questions and facts. And it becomes the type of plan that is tailored to your particular company and what is your hoping to accomplish. On the other hand, let's say you are a large, multinational corporation that sells laptops and monitors and phones and tablets and all sorts of different things. Your audience is going to be much broader. You may be looking to sell tablets and laptops direct to students or maybe even to people at home and to small businesses. But you're also going to be looking at building the relationships with enterprise level tech teams, where you may be outfitting a company with thousands of devices that are literally spread around the world. Your goals are going to be on a much larger scale of selling products, raising brand awareness, generating those leads that you need to get in and close those really big deals. And maybe even clearing inventory, you know, refurbished units, returns, things like that. So in the measuring side, you're going to be looking at things like product sales and lead generation, but you're also going to be looking at things like traffic that's coming into your cart. What your conversion patterns are. You're going to be looking at @-mentions and retweets and how some of the conversation looks there. So as you look at this from that larger goal level and when you look at it just in terms of scale, you see that your posting plan becomes very different than the example that we saw in the last slide. You may need a dozen or more updates daily. And instead of, you know, once a day monitoring, you've got a real time monitoring program in place. Where every time someone comes out with any one of your user names, you've got someone that sees it and is responding to is within minutes, 24-7. You may be making heavy use of things like lead generation Twitter cards. You're probably operating several accounts. You have monitoring teams in place for each account. And your content focus is going to be on a combination of offers and deals while sharing knowledge and building up that credibility. So again, a very different posting plan. And a very different way of approaching things based on what those defined goals and what the needs are and what the size and scope of your team actually is.

4.7 Brand Building

>> Now, if we dig into the concept of brand building, digging just a little bit deeper. Remember, brand building really boils down to that idea of creating an image around who you are and what it is that you have to offer. So, when we look at how we can leverage Twitter on the brand building front, there's a lot of things that come into play that are very consistent across the board, whether you're large or small. Things like human voices and personalization is very, very important to brand building. People feeling like they have a measure of connection with you and exactly what it is that you want them to see and understand. Visual content and media sharing. So, great photos. Great videos. The type of things that is engaging, catches people's eyes as it's going by in the news feed and really gets them to stop and respond to it. Hashtag creation and participation. We talked about some great examples of that with DiGiorno and some of the other brands of how they've really leveraged that to give people a very positive association, as well as getting themselves in the mix of the types of conversations that are a good fit for their target audience. Sharing curated mentions and features. When other people are writing about you or your products or services, it's a great way to help boost the brand side of things. And then, influencer outreach of saying, hey, these are the type of people that we want to have an ongoing dialog with. Because them talking about us is part of what helps us to actually leverage the brand side of things. Now, a great example of a company doing this really well on Twitter is Wigle Distillery in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. It's a small organic distillery that does several different versions of whiskey that they sort of do their own take on. And they've managed to use Twitter very, very effectively as part of their marketing and outreach. And a lot of times what they're doing is as simple as re-tweeting what other people have put out about them. Tons of local bars and restaurants in the Pittsburgh area have started to not only carry their product, but to create signature cocktails using those products. So, every time one of those restaurants puts a tweet out that makes mention of them, they make sure that they're re-tweeting it. On the connections front. Building up that credibility and the brand side of things by saying, hey, after the Pittsburgh Marathon, which is a fairly big race every year, come to the post race party at Wiggle Whiskey. And, again, getting that tie in of look who we're related to and associated with. But also things like Invites and Brags. So, one of the ways they've built their Twitter account is not just that they tend to host tons of different events and parties, but also that all of the labels on their products, all of them are hand labeled. Someone actually glues them on by hand. And they do this on a regular basis by hosting a labeling party where people come in and they do cocktails and they have hors d'oeuvres for them. And fans of the brand, and consumers of the brand, come in. And there's a limited amount of space each month. And there's no invites issued. There's no way to get into it other than seeing the announcement on Twitter and being one of the first people to follow though to the website and RSVP your space to get in. So, they've made it a very exclusive offering that let's you participate in actually building the brand. And it lends its, lends to that idea of the, you know, brand building if we're just a small little craft brewer. And that alone has helped them add thousands of followers of people who just want to know when that next date's going to pop up. But also, as they win awards, you know, they're sharing the information about the awards. And, you know, the posters that they're putting up. And things that they are putting into their, into their local store and their website. All of it just comes together to really result in a brand that's very effectively utilizing Twitter in order to, not just get people to know that they exist, but to actually build and define what the brand itself looks like.

4.8 Credibility Boosting

Now if we come at this from the idea of credibility boosting, it's really just about displaying your knowledge, your skills, and your value through both the creation and the sharing or curation of content. When we look at the things that are common ways to do this, what you might want to consider doing, quality content curation and creation tends to be at the core. Whether you're writing and creating and producing and shooting the content yourself, or you're searching out the absolute best of the best, and I don't mean sharing the same thing everyone else is sharing. But really looking to be the first person to find those true gems, or to put your own unique and creative spin on those gems of information. That becomes part of what needs to be at the core of your Twitter strategy. Usually, there's a very heavy use of images, and media, and linked content as part of this way of coming at Twitter. Making use of trending hashtags to make sure that you are perpetually and continually particitating in whatever conversation is of interest, while still being relevant to you. But also Call To Action integration for clicks, and subscribe, and follows. Making sure that you're reminding people, hey, click through to read more on this story. Come see our take on this particular topic or this particular breaking news. Then it's about forging connections with influencers because part of getting that message out there, and being able to share that content, is both having the connections with the people who create content you may want to turn around and share. But also having connections with the type of people that will monitor and watch your feed and help you spread your message by retweeting the content that you put up, as well. Now a great example of the brand doing this is the Cleveland Clinic, one of the foremost hospitals systems in the United States. Now, they're making use of Twitter to really boost up that credibility and the impressiveness of who it is they are and what it is they have to offer. They're doing that through things like sharing information as they find studies and they find data, as there's breaking new stories, they are making sure that they're getting that out on their feed. If there's changes to things medically that happen to impact the clinic itself or people who may come and be patients at the clinic, they're making sure that that news is getting shared. They're offering advice by creating their own content and making sure that it gets out there in a manner that helps to answer the questions that people have. But they're also taking advantage of the original, credible content that they have, what's going on in the research department, what type of scientific studies or papers have they published out of the clinic itself? They're putting all of those things together to have a feed that is continually full of information that is both ground breaking, and interesting, which goes a long, long way towards continuing to build up that idea and that mindset that people have of the Cleveland Clinic as a leader in healthcare within the United States.

4.9 Reputation Management

Now digging into the idea of reputation management. Keep in mind that this is generally about turning around a flailing reputation or building one that's so strong that it's almost impenetrable. We see plenty of brands on Twitter. Zappos being one of the best known ones that just has such a great reputation among their customers that even if someone comes out with a complaint and says here's a bad experience I had, oftentimes, you'll see customers coming to the defense of the business before the business even gets a chance to get in there and participate in the conversation. Whether you're trying to fix a problem or keep a problem from happening in the first place, there are a couple things that you can do to go about building that up on Twitter. Probably the biggest and most important one is constant conversation monitoring. Now, when I say constant, that's still going to vary based on the size and scope of your brand. The small business that has one shop in Peoria is not going to have to have the same level of conversation monitoring as the brand that sells mobile devices in 26 countries around the world. So having the time invested in running searches to see how frequently conversation pops up and using that to make educated decisions about what your monitoring timetable is going to look like is usually a key part of putting that reputation management plan together. Now you'll also want to make sure that you have fast but non-automated responses. One of the biggest mistakes I see even major brands making on a continual basis when it comes to reputation management is scanning for conversation so that they can instantly get a response out but that response is so clearly auto-generated. Oftentimes, when you're sending out an auto-generated response, it's not going to address the original question, which is actually going to make people even more upset than they were in the first place. Because it becomes crystal clear that it's an automated response. You are far better to have a slight delay in the amount of time it takes you to get a response out, than you are to very quickly get the wrong response in front of people. Now building and utilizing Twitter lists can also be a really handy part of reputation management. Part of that's going to be because if you have brand evangelists out there, that are talking you up on a regular basis, you probably want to keep tabs on what it is that they have to say. On the other hand, if you know you have detractors, if you are Sea World, you probably want to have a list that monitors organizations like PETA and other groups that are actively campaigning against you right now. Having those lists in place to see what the conversation is leading towards allows you to participate or at least, monitor the conversation even if they're not directly mentioning you. That can be really important in terms of getting out ahead of a problem when it starts to materialize. Now, it's also about connecting your Twitter team to your customer service team. One of the other big mistakes I see on a regular basis coming in from really large companies is responding to any and all customer service complaints with please call this number and we'll be happy to help you. In a world where Twitter almost always gives you the name and location of a person, and in a world where companies have customer service databases that track customers, there's almost no reason that your Twitter connection team and your customer service team should not be able to communicate with each other. If you are a major appliance installer, and Joe Smith from Peoria, we'll go back to Peoria, is posting a complaint about how horrible his install went, you shouldn't need him to have to pick up the phone and call. You should be able to go into your system and look up Joe Smith in Peoria who just had a refrigerator installed last week, find his information, check with the service team, see what happened. Then proactively reach out to him with some type of solution or to, at least, start a customized and tailored conversation. That's really the level that reputation management is going to need to go. Now, smaller companies, oftentimes, have an easier time with us. One, because they have less customers and two, because they often tend to recall the types of incidents and events that are going to be large enough that they are going to result in someone going online and complaining. Sometimes it's a little easier for them to connect the Twitter team and the customer service team because the same person is actually handling both. Now, above all, if you're looking to Twitter as part of your reputation management, you have to make sure that you're coming at it from a perspective where you're open, honest, and willing to make changes in your business. Because when you come at it from that perspective, you have the ability to see complaints as an opportunity for you to make changes within your business that will better serve your customers. Because a lot of times when customers are complaining, it's about something that truly could be done better, not just because someone's having a bad day. Coming at it from that ability and having a recognized history of responding in a positive manner and making changes when changes need to happen will lead to that world where you actually have a whole team of people out there that see and observe and become a fan of those. Again, will become part of that evangelistic team, that helps promote you in the long run.

4.10 JetBlue Example: Reputation Management

Now the example that we have for this one is Jet Blue Airlines which does a wonderful job of both building and managing their reputation in the world of Twitter. Now some of that is just about building the brand. They're perpetual posting images of just gorgeous, gorgeous places that you can fly using Jet Blue. But they're also very involved on a lot of fronts. Now it makes perfect sense that Jet Blue would participate in World Autism Awareness Day because the whole movement behind the World Autism Awareness Day is light everything up in blue. So it's the perfect fit. So that gives them the opportunity to say, hey, here's something that we're doing. And they're perpetually participating in building playgrounds or can partnering with autism awareness day, or all sorts of other charities and making sure that that's going out on their Twitter feed. But they're also making sure that they're playing to that sort of heartfelt idea by putting together creative Twitter campaigns and social media campaigns that really resonate well with the people that they're trying to improve their reputation with. So, for example, their Flying It Forward Program, started with giving a free flight to one person who then spread it to the next person, and the next person, and the next person and it started this entire conversation where people are sort of participating, saying, here is what I would do, here is what I would go do. Really hope someone picks me when it comes to this city. And it started this great overall conversation and awareness that was not just talking about the airline but talked about the airline in the positive aspect of what they're trying to do with this idea of a single ticket that's traveling all the way around the world as people pass it on to others. Now even on the pure reputation management side, they are phenomenal about getting in, and replying almost immediately to anything that pops up and it's wonderful to see that it's not just, hey someone's asking a question about checking baggage and they're saying okay well here's where you can find that information on our website. They're actually answering the question over and over. Any question that someone comes in with, they're answering it. They're not saying, let me point you over here so I don't have to deal with you any more and you can take care of it. But they're also just sort of participating on the share awesomeness side of lot of times if you go in and you look and you find people tweeting them just saying, you know, hey, made it home safely. So glad to be home. And they'll mention who they flew on. And Jet Blue will respond to them and say, oh, home sweet home, thanks for riding with us. And it's just a really great way to make clear to people that there's a human being there. None of these are automated responses. They come through fast, they come through frequently and there's a whole team of people that are out there monitoring these conversations looking for these mentions and then making sure that they participate.

4.11 Driving Conversions

The last of our marketing opportunities is the idea of driving conversions. Getting people to take action, whether they're becoming a lead, buying a product, or simply subscribing to something. It's saying hey, here's what we want you to do, and here's how we're going to get you out there and get you to actually do it. Now there's a couple of different things that tend to work better than others when it comes to driving conversions. Now, the strong and integrated use of Twitter Cards tends to really make a big difference on the conversion front. They display in a very different way. The conversion-based Twitter Cards have that clear cut Cut one click call to action in there, makes a very big difference of getting people to actually step out, and do what you want them to do. Even outside of the Twitter Cards, making sure you've got a clear cut call to action in the tweets that you're sending out. When appropriate goes a long way towards helping to push people. You want to make sure that you're making use of trackable links and that you have things tied up with your analytics, so that you have the ability to go in and look at them. You also want to make sure that your tweeting different entry points to your conversion funnel because keep in mind, some of the people following you are only just going to be starting their journey. While others may already know enough about you, that is just a matter of having them be ready to pull the trigger. So it's a really good idea to build into your content strategy. Different entry points that take into account, how familiar they may or may not already be with a product or service that you're trying to get them to pull the trigger on. And then finally, it's about monitoring and responding, to push the conversation further. Again, looking for people who are asking questions, where you stepping in to answer the question, might help push them a little bit further. Or simply responding in a way that may even make them aware that you exist in the first place. Now when we look for examples of companies that are doing this really effectively on Twitter, one of my favorite is seamless. And if you're not familiar with seamless, they're basically a service that allows you to order take out and delivery from a variety of different restaurants and some of the different major metro areas. Now, their Twitter stream, is extremely well done. First off it's like scrolling through Pinterest in terms of the food potential. It also does a really great job of driving engagement and driving conversions. Sometimes it's just about reinforcing that need. Here's that wonderful, yummy, delicious food. That you want to make sure you're eating tonight. Sometimes it's about driving on-going engagement so that people are used to interacting with you. So it's asking a question. It's having a quiz. It's calling up different celebrities. Or borrowing credibility from here or there to get people to respond to you and participate. But it's also about putting some of those direct calls to action in place. So putting a coupon code out that maybe has a shorter lifespan, so that it's a little easier to track how far it spreads, and what the redemption rate is and who's using it. But also things like contests and sweepstakes, and again different things that give people a reason to come in and actively get involved with you. Because each of those can be tracked on a different level to see, okay, what's the conversion rate when we're pushing for engagement? What's the conversion rate when we put a coupon code out there? What's the conversion rate on our contest? And looking to see what's resonating really well so that you can fine tune your campaign down the road.

4.12 Automation Advice

Now, one last strategy tip that I want to offer you while you're kind of considering this from the marketing side is to be aware of the dangers of automation. Now, the New England Patriots learned this the hard way when they used automation to Tweet back a Jersey image, to all of the twitter users that were sending the messages. So, they'd send back a customized jersey that had the twitter username as the name on the back of the jersey. Well, unfortunately, there were plenty of twitter accounts that ended up of sending in a message that had either profanity or racial slurs or other things in them that caused a problem. And unfortunately, their auto filter did not pick up all of these and so it resulted in them Tweeting out a very, very, very problematic racial and that caused a lot of problems for them. Now, there's nothing wrong with automation on Twitter, but the way I always tell people to do automation is to look for the places where automation saves you time but does not directly engage with your followers. So, for example, if you want to use an automated program, and there are plenty of options and tools out there that will allow you to monitor the conversation, pulling things that meet a certain criteria, dump them into a CSV file, and then dump it into Excel, so that you can sort it, and then use it to create something else that you can put back out. There's nothing wrong with that level of automation. The problem comes in when the posting is automated. No post should ever, ever go out on your Twitter account without a human being looking at it first. There's too much potential for problem and the bigger the brand and the more heavily you rely on automation. The bigger the stink people are going to make, if you are one of the brands that makes the mistakes. So, again, there's nothing wrong with automation, you just need to be very careful and very strategic about how you leverage it.

4.13 Coming Up

Coming up in the next part in our series, we're going to talk about four types of Twitter tools that you might want to consider using. We're going to gain a little bit of insight about Twitter's native analytics option. And we're going to look at five KPIs that you should be considering when it comes to your own internal measurement and metrics for the success of your Twitter campaigns. Thanks so much for joining me for this partner series.

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