Managing Your Brand on Twitter
Branding strategies just help people identify your business or product: They create it. The more people see your branding elements in a bigger variety of location, the more firmly your brand will become established in their minds. They know what to expect from you – and until your brand is well established, this relationship-trust building block is your biggest asset. That’s why it’s important that all your branding efforts go towards reinforcing your company “message” and mission.
Twitter is just one of the many social networks that can effectively help you build your brand. Let’s focus now solely on this objective…
Step 1. Fine Tuning Your Profile
Think about your profile from the average Twitter user’s point of view. If he or she clicks on “Go to full profile” or sees the pop-up version, your bio URL is the only one that will be visible – so make sure you actually included one.
Include your location too – even if you do business solely online. Many people prefer to search for businesses in their area; and this way, you’ll ensure your profile is included in their search results. And, of course, add your keywords – the ones you want to be associated instantly with your business in the minds of viewers.
In addition to your header, consider adding a custom background – even if this is just a plain background in your company and/or website colors.
To create a Twitter background:
- Go to your Settings by pressing the little gear-arrow icon.
When your Settings page opens up, choose the Design tab in the left-hand menu.
- You can select one of many premade themes (backgrounds)…
…Or upload your own custom background file; or select custom colors…
If you create and upload your own 1920 X 1200 pixel custom background, you can include branding elements such as your QR code, logo, URL, colors, tagline, product photos, other social media URLs and any other element that can help viewers instantly identify your business.
You can give your business a stronger identity by including elements that patrons or customers associate with it, or showing team members or staff.
Background design tips:
- Remember that people will be viewing your background at all sorts of resolutions. Use a professional template or have a graphic artist design one for you.
(Tip: See if any offers for Twitter templates are currently being offered on Fiverr – run a search. Check the artist’s rating and feedback before ordering.)
- Make sure every element of your background supports your business as an entity, giving it personality, mood, tone – and above all, consistency
- Don’t make backgrounds too “busy”. Let the viewer’s eye be drawn to your most important graphics or elements without distraction
- Try to avoid tiling: Unless you are tiling plain colors or textures, tiling is the quickest way to exhaust the viewer’s eye (which can be both confusing and irritating)
Optimize your Twitter bio:
If your business has different functions or departments, do include (besides keywords) additional, relevant Twitter handles for the people handling these functions or departments. For example, a TV station might present the following bio:
- “Your Top News for the Sage Mountain area. @ViewerPhotoUploads, @NewsTips, @LocalEvents”
Make sure your Twitter handle is optimized to your brand:
Time to check and ensure you are using your Twitter handle and URL to maximum branding effect.
Most sole-proprietor online business will benefit best by signing up with the owner’s real name (e.g. “Phyllis Wisniewski”) but choosing their business name for their username, as below:
What this translates to when people view your Twitter profile, is the following:
Your Twitter URL is always the same as your Username – and your header display name is always the same as your sign up name.
If your business itself is more important than any one person, sign up with your company name.
Then have key staff members sign up under their own names or departments.
Step 2. Integrate your Twitter Profile with Other Social Media
Be sure to add your Twitter link to these other main social media profiles:
Doing this reinforces your branding. People remember your Twitter handle much better when they see it in other social networks and sites, and it adds credibility and weight to your other social media profiles.
Here’s how to quickly add your Twitter profile to these four networks…
|Google+||Home>>Profile>>About>>Links (scroll below fold)
In Links: Select “Edit” anchor text. Select “Other Profiles”.
|Profile (automatically goes to “Edit Profile”>>Edit Contact Info button|
Step 3. Building Trust in your Brand on Twitter
Why is Twitter essential for branding? It’s real-time, stream-of-consciousness. It’s immediate – and that’s why you should never waste time pumping static article links to your audience. (How do you feel when you see ream after ream of blog post titles and links? About as excited as a dead fish, right?)
It also allows for retweets – and people are more likely to repeat than to engage in any other platform’s mode of sharing. (It’s so easy!)
How do celebrities brand themselves on Twitter?
- They flatter their fans and make them feel special by appearing to engage with them – and the more personal and real their tweets, the stronger this effect.
- They talk about their world – the one we are fascinated by; and want on some level to share (even while we’re loftily denying this) – occasionally throwing fans “perks”.
In your particular target customer or client’s world, they don’t really want to hear that you ate Flaky Bits granola for breakfast: They want to hear about themselves.
Your target reader is the real celebrity when you are tweeting for business.
Only if your target reader is actually dying to hear about organic cereal (and your business is all about (a) cereal or (b) eating/living healthily, should you tip them off to a great brand you’ve discovered.
Cementing your brand on Twitter involves:
- If your company sells PLR – a writing shortcut — tweet only mostly about things that make life easier and save time
Don’t beat them over the head with this: Again, this doesn’t mean a slew of links to other peoples’ blog posts. It means talking from your own experience.
And if you bombard your reader with a whole host of such links within the space of minutes, as this poster did, the only thing you’ll brand your business for is spamming!
You can blog about milestones like awards or new venues for your product – but only if it would be relevant or interesting to your target reader.
Again: Your reader is the true celebrity you should always keep in mind. (It’s really not about venting your feelings.) “What would catch her attention and make her stop to read?” should be question # 1: “What does this say about my brand?” should be the other half of your tweet decision-making.
Step 4. Make it Mobile
It’s no accident that Twitter tweets are based on SMS text messaging format. That’s probably one reason why study stats from sites like Salesforcemarketingcloud.com (Buddymedia) and the now-defunct Compete.com seemed to show that mobile users preferred Twitter over Facebook (especially if they also use Pinterest, which has largely replaced Instagram).
For example, you can:
- Create and brand your own indispensable app
- Brand your logo right into your QR code
- Use QR codes in your campaigns
- Run mobile contests
- Use mobile micro-videos via Vine – and don’t forget to credit and acknowledge your followers
If your target customer is a big mobile user – and who isn’t these days? – keep that in mind and decide how you can best use mobile technology to brand your business.
Ten Top Twitter Branding Tips
- Follow Branding Magazine on Twitter for useful tips and case studies.
- Don’t use more than two highly-relevant hashtags – maximum!
- Brainstorm, research, plan and implement focused campaigns.
- Create and use hashtags in a campaign – as the white house did with overwhelming engagement when they tweeted “What does #40dollars mean to you?”.
- Cross-promote your campaigns simultaneously over Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram for maximum reach. (Make sure you promote and share your campaign from your website or blog!)
- Be interactive. Take notes from successful Twitter branding campaigns such as Pepsi’s irresistible spin the wheel (highly promoted through Twitter).
- Always leave room for retweets and replies. It’s now common knowledge, after several studies, that tweets with less than 100 characters have as much as a 20% higher retweet rate
- Turn your focus 100% on followers – as Starbucks did with their invitations for followers to post their own photos in their Frappuccino space campaign
- Search these hashtags (separately and together) for instant news relevant to Twitter trends and potential brand strategies: #twitter, #stats, #infographics.
- Be original – as Ben & Jerry’s were when inventing the #FairTweets campaign (one of the most successful Twitter hashtag campaigns ever!
The premise was simple: For every tweet under 140 characters, Ben & Jerry’s would use the remaining characters to promote fair trade. The fact that each #FairTweet post would be unique (and reader-generated) rapidly made this campaign go viral.
Here’s the biggest secret: When it comes to Twitter branding tactics, strategies, and campaigns, there’s no wrong or right way – just the wrong or right way for your unique target customer or client.
Do your homework. Check your facts. Keep a tweet Fodder File and plan your content for a consistent feel. Have one person handle all your tweeting. Make sure they know (a) your objectives (b) your policies and rules (c) your company mission.
Keep your Twitter “voice” consistent, so your followers know what to expect from you. And don’t be afraid to be real – that’s what makes people qualify or disqualify themselves as followers, increasing your Twitter value.
Twitter often and factor it into your business plan. Follow these tips, take the time to implement them diligently – and watch your branding power increase.