This guest post is written by Andy Vale, Content Manager of SocialBro – an advanced Twitter marketing platform that offers end-to-end campaign management. SocialBro joined Seedcamp in November 2011. In this article, Andy looks at the role Twitter can play in helping rapid-growth startups.
As a lightning fast, public communication channel, Twitter in the hands of a smart startup can be an awe-inspiring force. With over 300 million active users, you can tap into large communities relevant to your business who can spread your message across the internet, and beyond.
Twitter also levels the playing field, giving you the opportunity to connect with an audience just as large as that of more established competitors.
But a good strategy comes from knowing how to cut through the noise, deliver a presence that’s more engaging than your competitors, and how to make a real difference to your bottom line.
1. Build Your Buzz
If what you’re offering captures the imaginations of people and makes their life easier, they’ll want to tell people about it. Word of mouth is still a highly trusted form of communication, Twitter is a the perfect vehicle for spreading those words.
Slack CEO, Stuart Butterfield, claims that 20% of getting the word out about your product is to do with traditional media, meanwhile, “The other 80% is people posting about that article. I almost never go to news sites — it’s overwhelming how much content is out there. But I will pay attention to what my friends are picking up and sharing.”
Create your strategy months in advance of when you want to reach your critical mass of interest. Encourage early adopters to share their experiences online by featuring them on your site or rewarding them in some way for their loyalty. Ensure you’re seen online during important industry events by Tweeting with the hashtag and engaging with attendees. To achieve maximum buzz, it helps if you…
2. Find The Biggest Influencers Of Your Target Audience
An influencer is a person or publication who speaks and people listen. They might not be famous, or even have a giant number of followers, but they tend to be experts in their field so their opinion is both respected and sought out. Winning them over can unlock a lucrative audience who are clued-up and relevant to your brand.
Twitter’s ability to connect with people who can spread your message is unmatched, you just need to get the attention of those people. The type of organic reach that can be gained with just a couple of high quality influencers Tweeting about you would be worth hundreds of thousands via traditional advertising channels.
Using Twitter Analytics and Marketing can help you discover the influential profiles within specific segments of Twitter users. This could be the difference between your social marketing strategy delivering impressive results or not.
3. Tie Twitter In With Your Other Marketing Efforts
There’s no benefit to having disconnected marketing efforts instead of a connected system of channels. If you’re putting a load of effort into one channel, why not reap some of the rewards elsewhere too? Cross-channel marketing maximises the results of your efforts, which is vital for a team that may not have huge numbers yet.
To get the best results, tie in Twitter with an email integration tool to find out who on your email database is on Twitter and can be targeted with Twitter Ads using a Tailored Audience list. You also need to keep branding consistent across all of your social networks, while remaining optimised for the channels.
Lastly, if people can create an account on your site, download an app, or give details to make a purchase, include a tick-box that lets people automatically follow your account. This will help to rapidly build a relevant following, who are already interested in your brand.
4. Launch Objective Based Promotional Campaigns
Twitter’s Objective Based Campaigns allow you to customise what you want to pay for, and how much you’re willing to pay for it. This means that Twitter Ads can be a reliable marketing platform which delivers a clear, measurable ROI. A vital factor for any growing company. Not only that, but the ability to tweak Tweets in your campaign means you can experiment with what drives the most conversions.
The Tailored Audience feature also lets you decide who sees your Tweets right down to the individual user, if you’ve invested in Twitter tools to accurately segment users then this can be a particularly powerful asset.
5. Have The CEO/Founder Active On Twitter
People love a human face, many are interested in getting to know a Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Richard Branson just as much as knowing what Microsoft, Apple, and Virgin are up to. This humanisation of a start-up brand helps people connect with the real people behind the company, making them feel like they’re supporting a likeable group of people on their journey rather than something faceless.
While your CEO doesn’t necessarily need to be a prolific power-user, they are the public face of the company and 64% of people believe that a brand’s CEO being on Twitter helps to improve transparency. Having them on Twitter, delivering insight, interacting with customers, and representing the brand can help to build a stronger image for your company.
6. Deliver Exceptional Levels Of Customer Interaction
As your company grows, it may not be possible to respond to everyone on Twitter unless you’ve hired a customer service team to do so. But it’s still worth looking for opportunities where you can reply to people in a manner that’s helpful, charismatic, and friendly.
Delivering a high level of personalised interaction at this stage is both achievable and beneficial, due to the early adopters you can help win over and the way it can help mould your brand in your early years.
7. Have A Worst-Case Scenario Plan
Hopefully you won’t have to use it. But if there’s a crisis, mishap, or accident then you need to have a plan of action to minimise the damage using Twitter and possibly turn the situation to your favour. Create a flow-chart to dictate your plan of action depending on the type and severity of the issue, allowing you to respond as efficiently as possible.
An example of this was when Path was accused of downloading peoples’ phone contacts without permission. It was the fast-growing company’s first major public backlash, but CEO Dave Morin was active on Twitter to answer people’s questions and concerns. It helped to cool down the situation, and meant that the public perception of their brand wasn’t damaged as much as it could’ve been if they were a lot slower to react.