Team angelMD • September 13, 2016

So you’ve just created a Twitter account, or you need some pointers on how to use your Twitter? We’re here to give you some tips on how to get started.

Twitter isn’t just for tech startups; healthcare startups are joining the social conversation and leveraging Twitter to amplify their brand and message.


TWITTER STATISTICS

  • According to Twitter, there are 255 million active Twitter users generating more than 500 million tweets per day.
  • Link clicks are key, accounting for 92% of all user interaction with tweets.

TIPS

  • Talk with people, not at them.  Reply to @mentions and address both positive and negative feedback.  It’s a real-time network, don’t keep followers waiting too long.
  • Keep tweets conversational.  Be professional without being overly formal.  Avoid business jargon when possible.  This is particularly important in companies with complex clinical elements involved.
  • Think about how your content will be consumed by your followers. Would they find a potential tweet useful or interesting?  If not, don’t pass it along.
  • Original content is the highest value content….but this need only be 5-10% of your overall content.
  • 78% of user engagement with a brand’s tweets is in the form of retweets, according to Salesforce research.  What does this mean?  Retweets are a sign of engagement by your community.
  • Salesforce found that tweets that specifically ask followers to “retweet” receive 12X higher retweet rates than those that do not.
  • When “retweet” is spelled out, the retweet rate is 23X higher than the average.  When using the shortened version, the letters “RT,” instead, the retweet rate is 10X higher.
    •  Adverbs and verbs have a higher click-through rate than tweets with more nouns and adjectives.  Action words make for stronger, more compelling writing.
  • Different tweets can be used to achieve various marketing outcomes.  For example, if you want to drive more direct response start by simplifying your tweets.
    • Start with a compelling offer and then communicate a sense of urgency.  Next, include a strong call-to-action with a link to your website.
    • If you’re sharing blog posts, people prefer sentence case—basically the first letter of every word in the headline capitalized, more than lowercase or all caps. This formatting can help set off content and signify that it’s something special that your followers will want to read and share.

HASHTAGS: HOW TO CHOOSE THE #RIGHT ONES

Hashtags should be short, recognizable by followers, and easy to follow along.  If you’re using an existing hashtag, ensure you’re adding value to the conversation.

The number of hashtags is important as well: one or two hashtags can get you up to 2X more engagement than tweets without hashtags. (according to Buddy Media/Salesforce)

More than 2 hashtags and your engagement actually drops by an average of 17%.  So make sure you’re choosing your hashtags carefully and focusing on the ones where you can add the most value for Twitter users.

Special characters (not alphanumberical) will break a hashtag. For example, #founder friday will only keep the word ‘founder’ in the hashtag. To use both words, get rid of the spaces or characters like &%$/! Instead, use them like this: #founderfriday

LENGTH: AROUND 100 CHARACTERS IS THE SWEET SPOT

While there may not be a foolproof “perfect length” for a tweet, research by Track Social on 100 well-known brands popular on Twitter found that the sweet spot for tweet length is right around 100 characters.

Their analysis saw a spike in retweets among those in the 71-100 character range

There is a 30% greater engagement rate when tweets are published during the day (between 8AM-7PM).  This makes sense if you consider the majority of news, store hours and activities happen during the day.

Specifically, the afternoon and early evening tend to be good time to see more engagement and clicks.

These stats from KISSMetrics say retweets have been shown to be highest around 5 PM and that noon and 6 PM are the best times to post for a higher click-through rate. (These findings are in the Eastern time zone, so adjust as needed for your location).

Another study on optimizing for clicks from bitl.y showed that 1–3 PM is the best time to tweet (once again, Eastern time zone).

Although some of the advice is conflicting, it all stays in the afternoon to early evening range, which may be worth a test for your brand.

Mobile users have their own patterns

There are also lots of Twitter users who primarily use a mobile device.  These folks are very likely to be on Twitter during their commute as well as during school or work hours.

If these are the ones you are targeting—they’re 44% more likely to click on links and 66% more likely to retweet than an average user.  They also tend to follow more brands and they’re 53% more likely to recall seeing an ad on Twitter than the average Twitter user.

While all these different timing findings for different users can get complicated, the main idea is to put yourself in your followers’ shoes and consider the patterns of your own audience.  What’s their day like?  When are they busy?  When are they bored?  When do they have a few minutes between meetings?  When are they most likely to want to hear from you?

FREQUENCY OF TWEETS

More posts = more engagement

You’ll come across businesses that tweet 2 times per day and others that post 20 times per day. What’s most important is to develop a regular cadence of tweeting—your followers should know that they are going to get regular updates from you.

It’s generally OK to tweet as often as you have content to support it.  Twitter is a high volume channel, and it helps to Tweet enough to get noticed in the stream.

Track Social studied 100 well-known brands that are active on Twitter and found that as brands tweet more, the total number of Retweets increases.

The general rule here: Make the most of the time you do have.  As a startup exec with a million things to do, you might be better off trying for 4-5 tweets per day to make the most of the time you do have.  If you have the time and the content to post more often, tweeting regularly helps you establish yourself as an authority on Twitter.

The more you tweet, the more opportunities you have to engage with supporters, and the more total response you will receive.  Greater volume should generally correlate to greater total response.

Try spacing your link posts out throughout the day.  Social media scientist Dan Zarrella found that the higher the number of links an account tweets in a given timeframe, the lower the click-through rate on each individual link.

To combat this potential effect, you might try experimenting with your posting rate by mixing up “conversation starter” tweets—where you ask question or post “inside scoop” type photos—with your more direct call to action posts with links so each link gets a little more attention.

For example:

On Monday, you could launch a Twitter-only promotion for your followers. Tweet an online offer code or a secret word for customers to use when they visit your business.

On Tuesday, tweet a behind-the-scenes tour of your business.  Highlight your products, your team etc.

On Wednesday: Create a regular series of tweets that are informative such as tips.

On Thursday, retweet a few positive customer reviews.  Or tweet some industry-related news your followers might find interesting.

Finally, on Fridays, give customers a glimpse into your workplace culture.  Tweet photos or Vine videos of your colleagues and employees hard at work or having fun.

MEASURING AND TESTING

Metrics to explore: Growth, reach, engagement, clicks and conversions

Measuring your progress is key to growing your business on Twitter.  Start by asking yourself what you want to achieve.  From there, track your results on a weekly basis using a tool like Hootsuite.  Here are a few key metrics worth a look:

  • Follower growth: How many new followers you get every day, week or month.
  • Follower quality and engagement: How many users interact with your account.
  • Reach: How many users favorite or retweet your tweets.
  • Clicks: How many users click on your links.
  • Conversion: How many users sign up for your service or buy your product.

The more you tweet, the faster you will learn about what works and what doesn’t.

You can test different headlines, days and times, types of media and more to isolate what resonates most with your followers.

All you need is a way to track the metrics of all the tweets you are sending.  You can do this either through a URL shortener like bit.ly, or with Hootsuite, or both.

For example, test timing by taking one piece of content and choosing 3-4 different times to test it on the same day.  Generate a different URL for each link so it’s super simple to do a quick A/B test.  It works best to post simple tweets with a headline plus a link each time (interspersed each time with other types of posts that are perhaps more conversational in tone).

The following day, check your analytics and see how the tweets compare for clicks, favorites and retweets.  From there, update your schedule to optimize for your metric of choice.  Repeat this process as your content changes and you get more followers to make sure you’re always tweeting at the most optimal times.

You can also do this with headlines. Test headline variations by tweeting out the article several times throughout a day with a different title each time.  Track the results to see which headline performed best in terms of clicks, shares, and favorites.  Then, re-write the post’s headline depending on the winner.

Conclusion

It takes time to build a following and to demonstrate your market leadership.  This means you need to start now.  Hopefully some of these tips give you a framework to get moving.  Don’t be afraid to experiment while always maintaining this twist on the Golden Rule.  Share things you would find interesting to consume.

Be sure to follow our company twitter @angelMD_Inc, and our CEO @tjarthur to stay connected!

This post was adapted from content published in Fast Company featuring an interview with Jimmy Hang of Twitter for Small Business.

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