7 Actionable Tips of twitter marketing for small business

Social media has taken precedence in all aspects of 21st century life. It has radically remodeled the communication paradigm to one where interacting with multiple entities across borders, both geographical as well as political, is a matter of just few clicks away . It has also presented an invaluable opportunity for companies to reach out to their customers and clients like never before.
Twitter is one of the best marketing tools available for branding, creating leads, increasing loyalty, etc. Yet a surprisingly small number of businesses have mastered the vital art of twitter marketing.
In this article, I will show you 7 points that will help you reach your potential customers in an easy and effective way.

What exactly is twitter marketing?

Before we jump into a list of actionable tips and techniques for twitter marketing, let’s explore the fundamental philosophy of twitter marketing and its difference from sales, content marketing, inbound marketing and other big marketing words.

Twitter isn’t a sales tool

Many corporate twitter users are trying ‘sell’ their products by bragging about their products and directly tweeting people for product recommendations. It’s nuts. In many 90’s American movies, door to door sales people would visit houses to sell their products and fail. Even top notch sales people don’t have a success rate of more than 50%. On twitter, selling is much harder because your potential customers can ignore you much easier.

Twitter requires everyday effort

“Retweet your articles about your product/service published by a blogger, and people will spend more money for your products and services” sounds very far fetched, but it works. Today’s marketing world is a more complex system than “develop good products and they will sell well”.

One tweet of an article about your product/service published by a blogger can have so much impact:

  1. They we will retweet your tweet so that you can reach their followers, increasing your outreach.
  2. They will publish more articles because they appreciate that you tweeted their article and they think they can reach your followers which will increase their audience.
  3. Other writers will see it and publish posts about you.
  4. Users of your products find the post beneficial or useful and retweet, reaching out to a new audience.
  5. Users of your products will find the post about how to use your products useful so they will be more likely to continue using your stuff.

In addition to that, action caused by your tweet will influence other twitter users and cause more actions. It’s kind of like a butterfly effect except that there are millions butterflies and some of them are actually giant dragons with a strong influence to the twitter market environment. Twitter marketing is a long term investment to grow a fanbase, community and increase positive opinions and it takes daily effort.

Fundamentals of content marketing

Twitter is a part of content marketing. There are so many techniques in the content marketing world such as customizing Google analytics reporst, A/B testing, newsletter subscription forms and much more advanced techniques.

However, the principle of content marketing is simple. Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. Instead of selling your products or services, you are delivering content including images, text and videos that are valuable to your buyers.

For example, what would you propose as a content marketing strategy to promote soy sauce in Russia? I would say “give away a recipe book for free”. What would you propose as a content marketing strategy to promote Google calendar? I would say “make content like blogs, youtube videos, or infographics on how to use Google calendar and how an individual or business can benefit from Google calendar”.

7 Actionable tips for twitter marketing

1. 3 steps to increase your followers without increasing your following

increase twitter follower

In the past, you had to pay to advertise your products to many people because only the media had a reach to the masses. Social media changed the game. You can be the media with a massive outreach to people who are super interested in you if you have an enormous number of subscribers to your blog, newsletter, or followers to your twitter. However, that is not the only positive effect of having many twitter followers, and sometime having many followers has none or only a negative impact to your twitter marketing.

  • A high ratio gives you a celebrity-like image, making your tweeting seem interesting as well as noteworthy, also creating a Bandwagon Effect.
  • Having a following count large enough to match the follower count, however, reeks of a spam account.
  • A low follower count makes you appear uninteresting.

The following 3 steps are a shortcut to a follower windfall that does not require active tweeting.

Step 1: Follow accounts that mention keywords relevant to your business

Follow accounts whose tweets are related to your business activities. For example; for a business in Task Management Software, search for phrases like “Task management”, “To-Do List”, “Task Management Software”, “Task Management Tools” etc. Use tools like Google Search Suggest and Google AdWords: Keyword Planner. Find and follow accounts using these keywords and phrases.

Following back an account that follows you is widely considered proper etiquette. Therefore, following accounts is a good way to increase your own number of followers. A CNET article explains why you should follow everyone who follows you on Twitter while Dummies.com weighs in with a similar suggestion.

Step 2: Unfollow accounts that didn’t follow you back

Following random accounts may be counter-productive as not all accounts you follow tend to reciprocate. Unfollow such accounts to reign in your following count. The trick is to know which accounts to unfollow. There can be cases where an account doesn’t follow back simply because your follow went unnoticed.

Fortunately, the solution is rather straightforward. Use Friend or Follow to check when they tweeted last. An account that tweeted after you started following them is an account that will not follow back and should, consequently, be unfollowed.

Step 3: Unfollow accounts to decrease the following count

The above steps illuminate the process of following accounts that matter. However, this tends to bloat the following count rather briskly. Nothing screams “Spam Account” like a swollen following count. This can be easily remedied by using Friend or Follow, as mentioned above. Unfollow users matching the criteria specified below:

  • Inactive for a long time – These can be safely unfollowed. Their dormancy entails inconspicuousness.
  • Users having a following count higher than their follower count – Such accounts do not aim at garnering more followers. Your unfollowing them would be a matter of little consequence for them and they will continue following you.

That’s all. There are several Twitter tools available online that perform and optimize the aforementioned three steps for you. Most of them, however, require payment and may carry with them an added risk of following accounts that advertise pornography, offensive content or are affiliated with fraudulent businesses.

Bear in mind that the ultimate goal is NOT to increase the number of followers without overburdening the following count. Twitter is an effective medium for branding, getting feedback and reaching lots of people easily. Having many followers helps you reach the masses but branding and getting feedback requires methods other than these three-steps follower increase tactics.

2. 4 Dos to Increase the number of your influencers

twitter influencer marketing

Youtuber is an actual job title now. They make money from youtube ads or promoting sponsors’ products/services. We are living in the future that everybody with smartphone and laptop can be the media with a huge outreach. We call those bloggers, twitter users, youtubers, instagram users and other social media celebrities with this kind of large impact “influencers” because they are very influential.

While actually paying them to advertise your products without notifying their audience that the content is sponsored is illegal in some countries, including Japan, encouraging them or making connections with them so that they will voluntarily promote your product is completely legal and more organic.

Influencer marketing is, in a nutshell, encouraging or supporting influencers so that they will promote your products, service or causes voluntarily.

Two fundamental mechanism of influencer marketing

There two fundamental techniques to encourage influencers to promote you or to create connection a connection with you.

  1. Reciprocity
    If you follow them, like their tweets, tweet their blog posts or anything that favors them, they will feel grateful that you do those and return favor.
  2. Game Theory
    If you retweet their blog posts about your product or articles that are loosely related to your products (e.g. if you product is task management app like todoist, articles about lifehacking or task management, problem solving), your influencers understand that they can reach your followers because you retweet their articles so that they can increase followers, impressions or traffic to their blog.
    If other bloggers notice that, the other bloggers are likely to do the same.

However, this psychology works only when your influencer is a small size or more or less the same size as you are, and not in direct competition. For example, if you are an independent app developer with less 100 followers on twitter. Retweeting Google’s post would not be noticed by Google.

Monitor web and twitter for posts about you

The first step of influencer marketing is finding potential influencers. Google Alert monitors websites and alerts you when new content that meets set conditions are found. You can create a search query for “Product A” OR “Product B” OR “Product C” in your language.

If you are a new company and have no search results, you can set search queries for solutions which your product provides. For example, I set “task management OR GTD OR todo list” for Todoist to find bloggers who write about task management and productivity. If you follow them or retweet their tweets, they will notice you and might think “umm….Todoist. Maybe I should try and write about it”.

In general, I recommend prioritizing retweeting over ‘liking’ because bloggers prefer when their tweets are retweeted more than when they are liked. However, when a post is not worth it, it’s probably better to ‘like’.

Subscribe to your influencers blogs and share their posts

Bloggers like when their blog is shared. Some of them reciprocate your sharing by sharing your posts or retweets. Even if they don’t, they will at least have a good impression of you.

However, don’t blindly share all articles. Share articles influencers especially want to share, or articles that are valuable to your customers.

Connect with influencers outside of twitter

Influential bloggers often have other social media accounts, and they may join blogger events or other events of their interest. For example, many Todoist influencers attend a blogger festival in Japan, held annually in Tokyo, and other  task management blogger meetups and lifehacking blogger events.

Check their blog and twitter, maybe even facebook to find events they will join or host, and go there and meet with them. That is also a great opportunity to connect with other bloggers.

Make a list of articles that you can reuse

We’ve established that other bloggers appreciate your retweet and likes. So why not tweet their old blog posts that are valuable to your customers?

Make an inventory of older content from these influencers  and tweet their old posts sometimes. You will save time from creating new tweets, you can create a good impression, and if they retweet your tweets, you will reach more people who haven’t followed you yet. Don’t forget to include “@accountname” when you tweet their posts so that bloggers know that you shared their article.

3. Tweet useful information

twitter content marketing

Customers don’t want your product, customers want solutions. Customers don’t want Todoist, customers don’t want a task management app that meets their needs. Customers want their tasks to be organized and to be less busy or confusing.

Create your Audience Persona

An Audience Persona is a representation of your target audience: age range, gender, location, likes, dislikes, job, position, income, leisure activities, hobbies, social media that they use, device that they use to browse your media and most importantly what they are they searching for on the internet.

We all act on purpose. Maybe sometimes not for a particular purpose but we act on some purposes. Sometime in a course of action, a person will encounter something that interests them, something that they didn’t intend to encounter. If your company is what they stumble across, you want to be interesting,

Content marketing is a marketing activity in which you give your target audience what they want for free so that they can discover you and then become interested in your products.

How to create valuable tweets for your target audience

Managing twitter account is no easy job.

  • You need tweet something everyday, ideally two to five times daily.
  • Tweets must be unique, interesting, valuable, and/or informative.
  • You cannot post anything that hurts your brand image.
  • Tweets should be about your company and help promote sales.
  • You cannot spend too much time for each tweet otherwise cost of tweets exceeds profit.

Imagine that you are a twitter manager, and you need to promote math textbooks. You need to create 365 tweets and you can spend 5 minutes on each tweet so that it fulfills all aforementioned conditions. Can you do that?

If you are alone without support from your team, it’s extremely hard. If you already have a blog, a support team, a list FAQ, and a sales team, it’s not so difficult.

Here are some contents ideas and how to find useful content.

  • Quotes from your blog
  • Quotes or summary of FAQ
  • Talk to support team and sales to get inspiration
  • Search your target keywords on twitter to get inspiration

For example, at Todoist, I often tweet short lifehacking, task management, time management and  productivity tips as they are of interest to the target audience of Todoist users and they are solutions that potential Todoist users are looking for.

4. Search our potential prospects and connect with them

twitter lead generation

Again, customers do not want your product. They want solutions.

On my tweetdeck, I have a column for twitter search result of “GTD OR task management OR todo list”. I find many twitter users having trouble managing tasks or finding right task management app for them.

Recommending them Todoist is too pushy, but recommending solution or Todoist blog articles to help them solve their problem is helpful. As a result, they will get a positive impression of you, and some of them may follow you, retweet your posts, or become your customer.

5. Brand yourself with cool images or passionate tweets

twitter branding

“Customers don’t want your product, customers want a solution.” This was right until Apple released the ipod. We didn’t know how exactly Apple’s product could enhance our quality of life but we wanted an ipod so badly because “it’s cool”.

The updated version of the phrase goes like this “Customers don’t want your product, they want a better version of themselves”.

Daniel Wellington and Evian are very good example of successful branding. We don’t know how exactly Daniel Wellington (popular watch brand) or Evian water is better than their competitors or how they enhance the quality of our lives. We just like them because they’re cool.

Their “coolness” is made through Daniel Wellington Instagram, Evian’s product placement on movies, and celebrity endorsements. Daniel Wellington gives its product away for free, specifically to social-media stars. They don’t use traditional advertising, but they work with thousands of  bloggers, celebrities, and other “influencers” worldwide who post cool images of/with Daniel Wellington.

Branding is not only about cool images. It’s also about your cause, your passion, and how you make the world a better place.

Samsung Singapore’s Dream Exchange campaign is a viral branding campaign that changed how people see Samsung.

To most people, Samsung makes cutting-edge phones, TVs,  kitchen appliances and other devices they use in their daily lives, but the brand simply wasn’t known as the catalyst for the experiences that involve those products. In order to brand themselves as a company that cares about people’s dreams, Samsung Singapore launched the Dream Exchange campaign to inspire and enable consumers to turn their dreams into reality, by giving away Samsung products to 50 people out of 5000 people who stated their dreams, specifying the Samsung product which could help fulfill it, using the #DreamExchange hashtag.

Samsung Singapore achieved 68 million impressions and 2.8 million in online reach. (source: https://www.creamglobal.com/case-studies/latest/17798/35958/samsung-dream-exchange/)

At Todoist, sometimes I tweet something like “We believe task management and problem solving skills need to be more widespread in the country with the highest suicide rate: Japan.” or “we believe task management is not just a productivity technique for business people, it’s what people need to achieve their dreams and reduce their stress.” without mentioning Todoist. These messages often get many likes and retweets, because it shows how we care about people.

6. Use existing hashtags to get into discussions

twitter hashtag

Creating a hashtag to launch a campaign is risky and difficult. Google “twitter hashtag campaign backfire”, and you will find many campaigns that turned into a joke.

Even if you have nothing to be laughed at, you need supporters to make your hashtag campaigns active.

Instead of creating hashtag to create discussion, join discussions using existing hashtags where there are already participants and active discussion.

7. Reuse your tweets

twitter content inventory

I categorise contents to news and evergreen content. News gets old. News about old versions of Todoist is not valuable a tweet. Evergreen contents, by definition, never get old, they become timeless classics.

For the Todoist Japan twitter account, I created a Tweets Inventory where I keep evergreen tweets. Everyday, when I tweet new evergreen tweets, I add the tweets to the inventory. Every few months, I export the spreadsheet and feed the data to socialpilot.co.

Socialpilot will automatically tweet according to your set schedule.

Note: you need to make slight modifications to your tweets because twitter won’t let you post duplicate tweets. You can simply add/change hashtags or change words.


Twitter is a very valuable and inexpensive marketing tool. If used properly it can help skyrocket your company’s image and brand power.  If used improperly or neglected it can make your company marketing look stagnant and not connected with modern technology. Keeping in mind that you need followers that are interested in your brand’s products and services, you can easily grow your customer base by using good content marketing methods and connecting with influencers in your field.  Always remember tips like not having too large a following count compared to your follower count. With the advice outlined in this article, and some dedication, I’m confident that you’ll be able to increase your brand’s fan base and connect with customers and network with people in your field that you may have never been been able to connect with before! Happy tweeting!

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