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The Power Of Twitter. Increase Your ROI.

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Real EstaReal Estate has always relied heavily on relationships and strong communication with clients. Today, thanks to online social media and marketing, it is easier than ever to reach out to, and build up your contacts. The marketing concept has ultimately transformed into an inbound one. This is great news if you have jumped on board, built up a strong online presence and taken advantage of all the tools available to you. On the other hand, if you are confused by the diversity of it and as a consequence, lagged behind; it will have also increased the level of competition you have to face, and you need to strengthen your Twitter presence immediately!

Either way, we have written this blog in order to groom you to be a key influencer and authoritative figure on one of the most important social media platforms essential to your online marketing strategy – Twitter.

It is now known that 42% of companies have acquired at least one customer via Twitter. There are over 140 million active Twitter accounts, and 340 million tweets a day, this social network is becoming omnipresent in the business world. However, in terms of business strategy and ROI, everyone wants to know how exactly to turn online social media relationships into quality leads. How can your Twitter’s 140 character update initiate business? How can you best take advantage of the changing social media landscape, and how can we implement a closed loop marketing process to analyse and track your relationships from prospects to clients?

Well, in short, you will need to use Twitter to promote and develop your brand, interact with customers and prospects, follow what people are saying about you and your company and develop direct relationships with bloggers, journalists and industry leaders.

“Twitter is not a technology, it’s a conversation and it’s happening with or without you”. Charlene Li

Keeping Pace. The constant evolution of technology is a challenge for even the most attuned marketers. Twitter has definitely gone through some pivotal changes; in 2012 alone Twitter and LinkedIn broke their partnership and now there is Vine. Clearly there is no way marketers can anticipate these changes, but it is essential to stay on top of these developments in order to be successful. And it pays to be on the cutting edge. Here at Blueprint Effects, we have managed to drive significant traffic by being the first to review a new development, or discuss new industry trends. This blog will show you how to maximise the Twitter tools available to you and how to use them to drive more leads and customers to your business.

1.      Branding your Twitter Profile

Every good business has style, and it is imperative that you present your style in a unique and visually compelling way. When Twitter announced in 2011 that they were allowing official brand pages, companies were able to improve brand presence and allure.

The first key element of this new feature is cover pages – companies are allowed a larger picture than the common user, so make the most of this! You are also given space to promote your brand’s username, location and a short description or bio. This header is the perfect opportunity to show some more personality. Make sure to include a call-to-action (CTA), a link that directs visitors to a desired action you want them to take. Gauge what’s important to your Twitter followers and create a customised CTA. Ask your followers to share a particular link or service that’s suits their needs.

Featured Tweets are a paid feature of Twitter which allows the company page to highlight particular campaigns, promotions and offers that they would want to give extra visibility over a longer period of time. This is a great feature because normal Tweets will not gain significant coverage of your target audience. This is due to the fact that tweets are only noticeable to viewers who come on around the same time you post and update. Also, research has shown that the average Tweet only lasts for 18 minutes before being overtaken by other posts. Featured tweets will have a much longer shelf life and will host engaging images and videos to better illustrate your offer and give your lead generation even more potency.

Custom Backgrounds are another quick improvement for your Twitter page. While once upon-a-time, users expect to see your company name, logo and URLs on your background, people are now much more susceptible to more simplistic designs.

Creating your own custom background:

Your background can be made using any design software as long as you follow these measurements:
Width: 2048 pixels
Height: 1900 pixels
Resolution: 72 pixels/inch
Note that Twitter backgrounds will not scroll down as the users scroll down a profile page. The text/images on the background will be glued to one spot.

2.      6 Steps to Twitter Search Engine Optimisation

“I see twitter impacting a lot of relationship building, which often leads to partnerships, links, referrals, and business development of all kinds.” Rand Fishkin

Your Twitter brand page is now prepared for the Twitter verse; it’s time to ensure its users can find your business in search engine results. Having a great social media presence helps to enhance your SEO. Your authority on Twitter and the amount of influence your updates have, actually support your entire marketing strategy through helping you rank higher in search engines for industry keywords. When it comes to optimisation, its okay to be greedy: You don’t just want the number one spot for your main keyword, you want the number one spot for as many keywords as you can get, so listen up…

Step 1: Make sure your Twitter handles are spam free. Your Twitter handle may be changed at any time pending availability, simply go to the settings drop down and find the field that allows you to change your username. Many spammers have twitter handles that include a set of numbers (e.g. @name546789). When Google’s algorithm scans links on twitter, it often disregards such usernames because it is impossible to differentiate between who’s real and who isn’t. Therefore, make sure you chose a unique and professional username.
 
Step 2: Include your company key words in your twitter bio. Do not saturate this ‘about’ section with industry keywords as it will be obvious to followers that it is forced. A few keywords placed strategically will improve your search engine visibility. It is also good to keep in mind that the search engines may actually display your 160-character twitter bio in the links’ description on the search results page, so make sure your bio is attention grabbing!

Step 3: Extend your reach by gaining a following of high quality twitter accounts and influencers. In an interview with Google and Bing, the two primary search engines said that their algorithms check the authority of every user tweeting content. “We do compute and use author authority”, said a Google representative. “We don’t know who anyone is in real life.”

Step 4: Create a subset of keywords for you company. You will already have keywords in which you try to rank highly for, however they need to be filtered for the best possible keywords which will translate over to twitter. You can analyse your keywords through various tools such as Bing Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics and SEOmoz and then choose a smaller subset of keywords especially for your Twitter account. If you tweet updates which include these keywords throughout the day it will inevitably help you boost your search engine rankings.

Step 5:  Keep your retweets in a safe place. To ensure your keywords are not deleted when a user shares your tweet via “RT @username,” make sure your tweets are short. You want at least 10 characters leftover. To encourage you further, research has shown that tweets with 120-130 character count have the highest click through rates.

Step 6: Make your content interesting enough that other influences retweet it. Search engines such as Google and Bing actually register the value of the Twitter authority figures and compare that with the value of the link posted. The crawlers of the search engines are looking at the number of followers of the people who retweet your content, and ranking your retweeted link based on that value. This is bringing you a new source of inbound links. So, posting updates that appeal to influencers will boost your optimisation efforts.

3.      Twitter Etiquette for Business

Only Reply When Necessary Replying to every tweet with a “thank you” or a “wow cool” has little value to your Twitter authority. However you should make a habit of replying to two sorts of updates – questions and negative comments. When you know the answer to a question, answer it. If you don’t know the answer, ask someone who does or look it up online. Use your resources well and give your followers the response they deserve.

Allow Direct Messaging Make sure you follow users back when they follow you. For all you know they could be potential customers and they may need to use Twitter to ask you a question. To do this they would want to use direct messaging (DM) and Twitter only allows this if you are following them back.

Place @reply In Front of Tweet Twitter will differentiate between a reply and a mention based on where the @ handle is placed in your tweet. If it is at the beginning of your update, it is considered a reply, if it is at the end or within the tweet it is considered a mention. Replying directly to a user means that tweet only shows up on your home page, so decide what kind of visibility you would like before tweeting.

Schedule Then Monitor Your Tweets This technique will allow you to spend less time scripting tweets consistently throughout the day. Having tweets pre-scheduled will allow you to spend more of your time analysing where exactly your content is going, how it is being discussed and what leads it is generating for you. You can start doing this through BudURL.com which allows you shorten the URL you are linking to, schedule your tweets and track how many clicks you are getting on each URL.

Twitter Myth 1: Longer Vs. Shorter Membership

Your Twitter presence is not measured by how long you have been a member; it’s measured by the value you provide - which translates to followers and engagement. People follow users to find information they wouldn’t stumble across on their own. To grow followers, make sure you post truly valuable content, not simply spam about your product or service.

Twitter Myth 2: Tweeting Every Second

Tweets are tricky as they have a very short shelf life, but this doesn’t mean that you should be tweeting every second of the day. Your most recent updates move down a users’ feed instantly and if you are taking up their entire page you will inevitable start to become annoying. Research shows that 15-25 tweets per day is the ultimate number to increase your following.

Twitter Myth 3: Following Industry Leaders Vs. Following Customers

Following Industry leaders is a great way to learn from the insights they share, and following competitors is also great for keeping an eye on their messaging. This being said, it is also extremely important to show your customers and supporters that you love them back by following them too.

4.      6 Ideas to Jump Start Your Lead Generation Strategy

The biggest mistake marketers make with Twitter is not realizing it can make you money. From a business standpoint, why do anything that doesn’t demonstrate concrete ROI? Twitter is still a place of positive brand communication and conversation, but it’s also a place to generate leads. When it comes down to it, your business needs to test what works best for lead generation. You can’t do everything, and what works for one business may not work for yours. Here’s a list of ideas we’ve experienced success with. Use a few as a starting point and build your own strategy by following what works for your business.

Idea 1: Post about your offering. This is the simplest way to transfer Twitter followers into prospects. Make sure this is a rare occasion as you do not want your posts to start being perceived as spam as you will find yourself unfollowed. For your post to be most effective, your offering must be contingent with your followers needs. For example, a recruitment company can post often about job listings because their followers are vested in new opportunities.

Idea 2: Connect your blog to your Twitter account. If you have a blog, be sure to link posts to all your new blogs (these should have a call-to-action in them). This is a much less direct method, but will still help in creating new prospects for your business.

Idea 3:  Respond with landing pages. When a Twitter user asks a question on your feed, you can respond with a landing page to your business website. This ONLY applies when the question is relevant to your business, and when your website will actually be of use. For example, a development company asked us a question on Twitter on how to improve their marketing and technology. As this question directly related to the work we do at Blueprint Effects, we sent them a like to our website. The user appreciated our beneficial, not-spammy response.

Idea 4: Create a Hashtag. You can create a hashtag by simply adding a number sign in front of a word. These posts will be automatically grouped with all the latest posts with the same hashtag. But simply adding a hashtag to a tweet isn’t going to give you any results; you need to integrate them to a marketing campaign. If you see a trending hashtag relevant to your tweet or content, for example, one of your keywords - include it in your updates. Similarly, if a user is tweeting with a particular hashtag, include it in your retweet. This allows your tweets to reach anyone who is looking for that particular hashtag. When hosting an event, create a hashtag so users can chime in and aggregate a list of tweets from potential leads

Idea 5: Build Your Reach. If you are going to use all of this information to maximise the amount of leads you gain from Twitter, it is obvious that you will first need to make sure you have maximised your Twitter following. Go back to the basics and remember how you spent time building your following.

Idea 6: Try Out Twitter Chats. A Twitter chat is an online discussion between a brand and the Twitter world about a particular topic. There are no rules or set format, but the moderators usually host a chat once a week and ask about 7 questions over an hour period. For example, when Blueprint Effects hosts #InboundChat, the @BlueprintEffects account plays the role of moderator, while a specific Spotter will jump in separately on their personal Twitter handle, playing the role of expert. This person is mentioned by @BlueprintEffects at the beginning of the chat so attendees can identify the expert and ask follow-up questions.

At the beginning of the chat, @BlueprintEffects asks the audience to introduce themselves and soon after jumps in with Question 1. Strategically, when asking a question during your chat, be sure to include “Q1:” (Question 1) at the beginning of your tweet as this identifies which number question you’re asking. Also, insert your chat hashtag at the end. When answering a question, include “a1:” (answer 1) at the beginning of your tweet and include your chat hashtag at the end. There is no need to include the moderator’s Twitter handle in every answer, but do include specific handles when/if you’re replying to someone’s follow-up question for further discussion.

Keep in mind that this platform may not work for every business. You actually have to plan and promote a chat for it to be run successfully. Make sure you don’t just simply host one and then quit. If you aren’t prepared to host one just yet, you can join chats whenever you like, they are being hosted all over Twitter on a number of topics.

Note: To make sure the chat takes advantage of lead generation potential, it is a good idea to pair each of your chats to an offer that suits!

5.      Incorporate Vine Into Your Twitter Strategy

Vine was launched by Twitter at the beginning of this year and enables users to capture and share 6 second videos. The 6 second brevity complements the 140 character limit and is perfect for a digital audience given that the average online attention span is 8 seconds. In this fast moving social media world, it pays to get creative. Vine offers an interesting fusion of video content and static visual content, enabling mobile users to capture and share small moments. These videos play on a loop and also include audio options.

Although Twitter purchased and launched Vine, they can also be linked to Facebook accounts. This move shows that Twitter cares more about the use and benefits of the tool (and the reach it can get through Facebook), than they do about having the tool limited to just Twitter. This move will help them see greater success and be a lovable social platform. Twitter also expects to expand to more social networks in the near future. At the moment, the Vine app currently is only available for use on the iPhone and iPod touch, but we would expect twitter to expand this tool for use on other platforms as its popularity grows.

Tips for Running a Vine Twitter Chat:

1.      Include multiple team members in your execution process. It generally takes one person to film, one to act as the expert, and one to moderate and monitor on Twitter.

2.      Using a tripod for your videos will produce the best results. That way, your audience can focus on the expert’s answers without any distractions.

3.      Remember that your expert’s answers must be 6 seconds long, or fewer. Ask your expert a few practice questions before starting the chat so he/she can get the feel for how long 6 seconds is.

4.      Keep a backlog of good questions you want to ask your expert to make the process quick and easy.

5.      When uploading your video through Vine, don’t forget to include the chat hashtag and the expert’s twitter handle, and then select “Share on Twitter” to publish the video to both Vine and twitter. Use Vine to develop a deeper, more personal relationship with your audience, and turn silent followers into serious brand evangelists. 

6.      How to Measure your Twitter ROI

What is the use of all this Twitter optimisation if you’re not tracking and analysing your ROI. How do we know that all our social media efforts are actually worth it? Are the leads and prospects actually turning into customers? Through analysing actual marketing data, you can find out whether or not you are using your time wisely in order to benefit your business.

Closed-loop marketing is what you need to look at to track the power of Twitter compared to your other marketing channels. This means tracking the path of a user clicking a link in a tweet, to visiting a page on your website, to filling out a landing page to become a lead, and, ultimately, to converting into a customer. And isn’t that ultimately why you’re using Twitter or Vine for business in the first place - to bring in new customers.

Twitter serves two purposes and you need to be measuring both:

1.      Business generated through leads

Look at traffic drawn from Twitter. While many people look at traffic drawn from all their social media channels, you need to be able to analyze twitter on its own. The website SEOmoz.com has software that will let you do this.

There are three key metrics in measuring Twitter business growth – visits, contacts and visits-to-contacts rate.

Visits This is reflective of the amount of visits to your website Twitter has helped to drive. However, this cannot be the only thing you track as traffic numbers to your site helps give you a deeper understanding of contacts and visits-to-contacts-rate.

Contacts Measures the amount of new leads, the amount of new people, who have shown interest in your company. They may have become contacts through subscribing to your newsletter, submitting an application for a job, whichever way; they have shown some vested interest in your business. Contacts emphasize the “new” concept, meaning they are not repeat leads. New leads are the prospects your sales team should be focusing on converting into customers.

Visits-to-Contacts Rate This is the most important element in ROI analysis because in order to measure your overall marketing effectiveness, you need to see the rate at which your visitors are converting into contacts. This function will allow you to see your Twitter success monthly but will also show you gaps in your marketing strategy. For example, if your traffic numbers are high, but your visit-to-contacts rate is low, you are obviously having a problem converting your followers into business leads. But if your visits-to-contacts rate is high and your raw number of contacts is low, you have a traffic problem. Over time, these three metrics will build up and add more and more contacts into your database. From there, your sales reps can work on converting them into customers.

Measuring Your Twitter Database Growth Your followers on Twitter are like your subscribers to your email, they have reached out and formed a relationship with you and have asked you to communicate with them. It is extremely important to convert these followers to leads and then to actual customers. So in order to maximise leads for your company, you need to grow your Twitter followers. Seomoz.com has an analytic tool that will let measure Twitter growth using different metrics.

There are three main metrics to help you track your Twitter followers:

1.      Month-month growth By pulling the data for the amount of new followers monthly, you can see if your marketing and Twitter strategies have been working or if they are just a waste of time. This is a beneficial metric to tracking your overall improvement.

2.      Daily Follower Growth this data can be used to see how many new followers a certain campaign garnered on the day it launched. If your following remains constant over time, this could indicate that you’re not using twitter as well as you could. Your goal should always be to increase followers so that your reach grows. As stated before, more reach resultsin more leads and customers.

3.      Link Clicks BudURL.com allows you to shorten links to be Twitter friendly, but it also provides you with the ability to analyze the number of clicks on that specific link. While it’s tedious to look at each link separately like this, it provides valuable insight into how many people actually clicked on your link.

We hope you now have a better understanding of why Twitter, when used appropriately, can be extremely beneficial as apart of your marketing strategy. If you are still having second thoughts on how beneficial this social media platform can be to your business, make sure to test and analyse all of your efforts continually. You will be amazed at how many new leads you will attract and how easy it is to turn these into leads, and more importantly, turn the leads into concrete ROI.