The Twitterverse is overrun with a strange mix of spammy accounts and highly-engaged users that every business should want to target. Business owners and marketers turn to Twitter to drive traffic to their websites and achieve tangible business goals, like increased sales and new marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

If you understand Twitter, you already know that Twitter is your best friend. Twitter is the top source for brand listening and reputation management. There is no better way to eavesdrop on what all the cool kids are saying about you: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Even if they’re well aware of how to use Twitter to engage with and listen to potential customers, few business owners and online marketers can claim to be experts in effectively boosting business through Twitter.

That’s where I come in! Bring your Twittexperience to a whole new level with these eight ways to improve your sales.

1. Engage!

I don’t mean to state the obvious, but engaging with your followers is the only way to keep them coming back for more. Think of your own experience. How often has a company directly reached out to you to solve a problem or make a suggestion? Get out there! Do more than just thank someone for the new follow. Be personal! Really exploit Twitter to communicate your brand voice and promote a positive customer experience. Tweet This

2. Promote Your Tweets

Twitter now allows you to quickly promote tweets directly from your Tweet activity dashboard at analytics.twitter.com. View your latest tweets and carefully analyze what makes some more popular than others. Give your popular tweets an extra push by promoting them! Tweet This

To promote your tweet, follow the directions below.

3. Tailor Your Audience

With Tailored Audiences, you can define groups of existing and potential customers and connect with them. Tweet This

Use your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to export a list of email addresses. You can then import it into Twitter as a unique audience to target. Separate sold leads from unsold leads to customize what messages to promote. Don’t want to go to all that effort? Connect with one of Twitter’s ad partners and share the information automatically.

Let’s say you’re a fashion retailer, you want to advertise a spring clearance sale on Twitter, and you’d prefer to show your ad to current membership cardholders. To get the special offer to cardholders who are on Twitter, you could create a tailored audience using unreadable scrambles (called hashes) of the email addresses of your card members. Your ads partner can then match the information to Twitter accounts to show the right users a Promoted Tweet with the sale information. – More about tailored audiences

In the same way, you can create tailored audiences using a list of Twitter IDs—usernames or user IDs. Gather this information via a contact form on your website or through your employees to ensure that you’re tailoring who you do (and don’t) want.

Whether you’re importing email addresses or Twitter IDs, you can also use these lists for exclusion targeting. This ensures that your promoted message doesn’t go to anyone you’ll be wasting money on. Block out leads that you’ve already sold to or a long list of employees that should be engaging with your page regardless of advertising. Then you’ll know that you’re getting the most bang for your buck!

4. Get Keyword Specific

When creating a new ad campaign on Twitter, you can choose to target keywords in a users’ timeline or keywords from search results. Ask yourself if you want to target what users are searching for or if you want to target a keyword based on what users typically want to see and what they follow.

Once you’ve decided, you’re ready to specify the keywords you want to target. Keywords should match the general keyword research you’ve likely already conducted. This will produce more content for your website and target your Google AdWords campaigns to the right audience.

You’ll also choose whether you want to phrase match exact keywords or target keywords of the same general idea (which Twitter calls unordered keyword match). Additionally, you can define geographic location, device, and gender—to make targeting an exact science!

GoPro (@GoPro), a leader in wearable and gear-mountable cameras, is a great example of a test partner that achieved promising results. After testing keyword targeting in timelines across four marketing campaigns, GoPro saw close to two million impressions and engagement rates as high as 11 percent on Tweets promoted using this feature. – More information about targeting keywords

5. Use Twitter Cards

Increase traffic to your website and generate more leads with Twitter’s Website Card—a fancy way to show off new content to both mobile and desktop browsers.

A Website Card allows users to easily discover interesting content while giving you the capability to drive more click-throughs. Users today are visually-engaged, stopping only for what appears instantly interesting. Combine your latest blog post with a highly-engaging (and relevant) photo and add a few lines of HTML to your site to enable Twitter Cards. Voila, you have your newest Website Card.

Website Cards allow users to preview an image, see related context, and be motivated by a clear call to action. This encourages far more retweets, mentions, and clicks specific to your promoted post.

We’ve tested the Website Card with a handful of brands, including Citrix and Betabrand. These campaigns saw significant decreases in cost-per-click (CPC) compared to campaigns that used an image and URL to drive website traffic. Betabrand’s CPCs were reduced by 85 percent, and Citrix saw a 92 percent decrease in CPC. In addition, UK-based mobile company Three saw a 26-percent higher engagement rate as well as a 64-percent increase in URL clicks when utilizing Website Cards. – More information about Website Cards

Build your first Twitter Card in your Twitter Ads account by logging in to ads.twitter.com/accounts/ Tweet This

6. Set Up Twitter Remarketing

Since mid-2014, Twitter has offered a remarketing tag to help users post ads specifically targeted to website visitors. Twitter allows you or your web developer to generate a remarketing tracking code in the Twitter Ads User Interface. By adding this snippet of code to your website, you can then target Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts to users who have already shown interest in your brand by visiting your website. Tweet This

Suppose a surf shop wants to use Twitter Ads to grow its follower base and drive website traffic and conversions. The shop wants to show its ads to surfing enthusiasts who have recently visited its website. Once the shop adds a website tag, Twitter can match users who visited that site to their Twitter accounts using a browser cookie ID. This lets the shop show matched users Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts, delivering a relevant, high-quality message to the users. – More information about website remarketing

7. Try Your Hand At TV Ad Targeting

One thing Boostability does well is help our partners and clients understand the importance of television targeting as a part of an overall online marketing and SEO strategy. That’s why it comes as no surprise to us that Twitter has been on board with this same general idea since 2013! Tweet This

Television ad targeting is a feature that allows you to interact with people as they talk about a television program or commercial (think, Superbowl) on Twitter before, during, and after it airs.

The way TV conversation targeting works is simple: through conversation mapping technology, networks and brands can promote Tweets to users who engage with specific shows, whether or not a brand is running an advertising spot in the program. Advertisers can easily reach Twitter users exposed to integrations, sponsorships, and other innovative TV tie-ins for an additional touchpoint or message expansion. – More information about TV targeting

Companies like Dominos have asked themselves the same questions you may find yourself doodling on your company notepad. They wanted to know –

  • How can we make Twitter more engaging for consumers as they interact with TV?
  • What can we do to drive more TV discovery?
  • How do TV and Twitter campaigns affect consumers’ purchase intent compared to actual sales?

That’s where Twitter came in, working with MarketShare to run a marketing mix model using sales data and media spend across both online and offline channels. Their data discovery showed 36-percent cost savings for companies that ran Promoted Tweets alongside their television advertising campaigns. That is, a 36-percent decrease in cost per incremental acquisition from television advertising. Likewise, companies experienced 8 to 16 percent more sales as a result of effectively combining their efforts.

8. Less Is More

Don’t overstimulate your current or potential online followers with too many in-your-face ads. Three is the perfect number. Whereas four is acceptable, having four ads running within one campaign can be overkill. Trust me! Give it a try. Regardless of how lofty your advertising budget may seem, running a campaign with three ads will result in better overall performance (as well as better performance for individual ads) than a campaign running four or more ads.

However, don’t overlook that having only three ads per campaign can still mean that you’re attacking your followers with ads. Never run more than one campaign at the same time targeted to the same audience and keywords. Tailor your campaigns to audience, gender, and location and utilize varying keywords.

Be less of a salesman. As I said up top, Twitter is about engaging. Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter thrives on honest, blunt conversations. Don’t attract unwelcome tweets by including blatant calls to action or gimmicky photos in your advertisements.

Overall, keep it simple. Keep it real. Keep it Twitteriffic.

Have a question about how to use Twitter effectively for your business?  Tweet it to us at @Boostability or by using hashtag #BoostTwitter

This post was originally published February 2015 and has been updated to be current in the new year.

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10 Comments

  • Becca Watters (Vaughn), February 23, 2015 @ 10:51 am

    Caz! I love this so much! I really did not know half of this stuff about Twitter, and I am really glad you outlined this for us. I knew there were analytics available, however I have never used it, but now that I see how comprehensive it is, I would love to see it in action! This is such great info for anyone who is using Twitter as an outlet (which everyone should be doing) to engage and communicate with current and potential clients. I will for SURE be sending clients to this post! Thanks so much for the info!

  • Kate Lyman, February 23, 2015 @ 5:04 pm

    I love Twitter, and this makes me realize how much I still have to learn. I’m glad you made the points about being personal and expressing a positive company voice. I think the character constraint can bring out the most creative and efficient in social media messaging; it’s great to learn about ways to optimize your presence on this channel.

  • Caz*, February 23, 2015 @ 7:28 pm

    Twitter is so extensive and a lot of these features have been brought to some real hard hitting levels in just the last year! Twitter is a great way to really reach out to a business oriented crowd as well as the younger generation. There’s more on Marketing to Millennials in this great post by Jeremy Lindstrom bit.ly/MarketingtoMillennials

  • Caz*, February 23, 2015 @ 7:31 pm

    A lot of people don’t understand Twitter. Even I have been one of those people that didn’t quite jump fully on board the Twitter train for anything outside of live tweeting for events (which remains my favorite part about Twitter). When I first opened a Twitter account, it was an SMS app that ran through your cell phone number and that was the only way you could post to Twitter. Likewise, you would receive messages from friends just like it were a text message. So I didn’t understand why I wouldn’t just group text my friends? Twitter has certainly expanded into an undeniable force. One of my favorite reasons for using Twitter is because I don’t always want to browse through Facebook to see these overly lengthy updates. I want to see what people are REALLY up to and what news is happening in the world. I use Twitter because I WANT to engage. I don’t think any other social media platform can really say that the reason people scroll through is because they WANT to comment on things.

  • Becca Watters (Vaughn), February 24, 2015 @ 9:19 am

    I agree. I go to Twitter to directly engage. I remember when Twitter was new, and I really hated having to text my status updates. Like you, I didn’t understand the perk of this, or what I was getting out of it that I couldn’t get easier elsewhere. Twitter really has expanded, and I use it more than any other social app at this point, minus Facebook. I think with these insights, I will likely use it even more now.

  • Caz*, February 24, 2015 @ 3:57 pm

    Ironically, as a social media professional, I do very little of my own social media anymore. I’m not big on posting every day to my personal Facebook. But one thing I use every day and fairly consistently is Twitter – it is the one area where I continue to build out my own brand and is constantly motivating me back into doing more with my personal blog, Google+ page, etc.

  • Jenny, February 26, 2015 @ 5:01 pm

    FYI the link to twitter analytics is incorrect. It took me to an error page and I noticed the web address was spelled wrong.

  • Boostability, February 26, 2015 @ 6:30 pm

    Thanks so much Jenny! We got that link adjusted and it should be working properly now. Please let us know if you are still not able to access it.

  • Andrew Williams, July 15, 2015 @ 11:53 am

    Wow I had no idea that Twitter had this function and that there is even a Twitter Analytics.

  • Matt Christensen, December 8, 2015 @ 11:10 am

    As it should be, ENGAGE is #1. I see too many companies ignore their Twitter account or any other Social Media account. This is a prime tool to be in touch with your customers either Pre or Post Sale.

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