Twitter marketing rules to learn from influencers: top tips
In this article, we were inspired by Twitter influencers to draw up tips to help you grow your Twitter profile. From content to engagement, we explain what rules work for influencers and will work for you!
13 minute read
Twitter is a playground for a particular audience. Just how you wouldn't use Facebook to reach 15-year-olds, don't try to use Twitter to reach someone like your grandma or boss (unless you're working in tech, marketing, or media).
According to the Pew Research Center, Twitter users are younger, more likely to identify as Democrats, more highly educated, and have higher incomes than U.S. adults overall. Moreover, some industries favor tweeter over other platforms: I already mentioned tech (just look at Elon Musk's Twitter), startups, media, and politics.
In addition to that, Twitter is one of the main platforms for social customer support: brands get hundreds and thousands of @s and DMs from their customers. Some even set up dedicated Twitter accounts specifically for handling customer care.
We know how important battery life is on your Mac. How long ago did you install the macOS update? Let’s take a look at the Activity Monitor to see what processes may be running. https://t.co/aTAsN1cMic— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) November 30, 2020
At the same time, you have a pretty high chance to get noticed on Twitter. The lifespan of a tweet is much shorter than an Instagram or Facebook post (about 18 minutes), however, there are not as many people tweeting as you might think. The 10% of users who are most active in terms of tweeting are responsible for 80% of all tweets created by U.S. users.
All this makes Twitter a great platform for marketing — and one where you're not required to use ads to gain followers unlike on Facebook. You can win Twitter over just with your wit and charm — as many Twitter influencers do. Let's turn to them for advice on how to kill it on Twitter. Actually, a lot of these tips can help you on other platforms as well — so don't apply them exclusively to Twiter.
Without further ado, here are the seven Twitter marketing rules you can learn from Twitter influencers.
Rule 1: Find your audience
The same thing we criticize in news media is found in the SEO world, too: "access journalism."— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) November 24, 2020
Many prominent SEOs think they need to build a relationship with John Mueller or Gary Ilyich or, before them, Matt Cutts, and not criticize what those folks say, even when it's untrue.
Twitter is doing everything to segment their users based on their interests: that's why they are doubling down on Topics so much. This should sound like gospel to every marketer since we know that defining your target audience and finding where they are is the cornerstone of every marketing campaign. Influencers know that as well. They create their content around a specific topic or voice their social and political beliefs thus attracting people with the same interests and creating a community. For Twitter influencers, this is an organic process, but brands can do the same deliberately to attract new customers.
I find it amusing when politicians try to diminish the seriousness of our policy work, movement organizing & grassroots fundraising to “she just tweets,” as though “serious” politics is only done by begging corporate CEOs for money through wax-sealed envelopes delivered by raven— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2020
How to: find your audience
The first thing to do is to know who your audience is. Audience analysis is a whole another topic that we covered extensively on our blog already, so check it out! Defining your audience's beliefs, interests, demographics, and attitudes should impact everything you do, from what type of content you post to what tone of voice you use.
Awario can help you find your audience: by creating an alert with hashtags related to your brand, you can find out who talks about your niche and what are their other interests besides your niche.
For example, if you're marketing a new easily-available coffee drink, creating an alert with keywords around your major competitors and checking out the analytics can help you get the fundamental metrics for your target audience analysis.
Rule 2: Engage with your audience
So you found your audience, what do you do with it? Talk to them!
Twitter is perhaps the best social media network for conversations with strangers. Unlike on other social media platforms, you don't need to connect or become "friends" to comment on each other's statuses: sometimes you don't even need to follow each other to do it. Twitter's algorithm puts a lot of tweets from people you don't follow on your timeline based on your engagement and interests, and you can take advantage of that.
Twitter influencer, from micro- to people with millions of followers all reply to the tweets on their feed and replies from their followers, tag other accounts and talk to each other in the DMs (we know that because they sometimes share screenshots of these conversations when they need to win a public argument). If Lady Gaga can do it, you can do it too!
No I GOT CHU 😚— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) September 10, 2022
How to: engage with your audiences
That step is pretty self-explanatory: just go on Twitter and start talking to people! However, I'd break it down into the following steps:
- Check your mentions and reply to those first.
- Scroll through your feed and reply and like interesting tweets.
- Go to Awario (or Tweetdeck if that's your Twitter monitoring tool of choice) and look for untagged mentions of your brand.
- Use social listening to find questions about your niche and respond to them.
I suggest making this workflow a daily routine. Don't forget to encourage engagement from your followers as well! Ask them questions, recommendations, to post Twitter polls, and use other creative ways to inspire conversation. For example, this Twitter influencer gives out perfume recommendations based on the situations people describe to her.
OK! If you are on line to vote or text banking or just trying to distract yourself for one blessed minute from the stress of today....it's perfume genie time for the next 45 mins (rules in the thread to follow!) pic.twitter.com/fiMox9u1dM— rachel syme (@rachsyme) November 3, 2020
Another great way to practice engaging on Twitter is to participate in Twitter chats. We made up a list of Twitter chats for marketers here, but you can look for one in your industry as well!
Rule 3: Listen and stay on top of trends
Since I've already started talking about social listening, let's discuss it in a bit more detail. I doubt that many social media influencers use social listening tools: maybe the politicians and A-list celebrities do, but certainly not micro-influencers. However, they do know how to listen to their audience. This is actually a natural development of the previous rule: the more you engage with your audience, the more you listen to them and the more you learn about them. Since Twitter influencers talk to their audience so much they obviously listen to them and know what they want.
Twitter influencers are spending so much time on Twitter that they simply know what are the hottest trends, latest memes, and trending topics on the platform. Since Twitter itself is based on the premise of quick information and live events, new trends appear daily. For social media marketers, who usually have more than one account to manage, it's impossible to be as connected to the latest trends as some Twitter influencers — that's why we use social listening tools.
how it started // how it’s going pic.twitter.com/dnnqqCIqBE— CHIKA 🕹 (@oranicuhh) December 2, 2020
How to: stay on top of trends
I think I made it obvious that social listening is the way to go here. Twitter monitoring based on the keywords related to your niche can help you stay in the know of what's going on in your industry and get the latest Twitter trends.
Another great way to keep up with the latest news and fades is to organize Twitter lists. Twitter Lists are a great instrument to keep track of all the various groups you follow on Twitter: industry newsmakers, competitors, most engaged customers, influencers, and trendsetters. A list of accounts that post the latest news and funny tweets can help you stay relevant.
Rule 4: Be funny
Speaking about memes, let's talk about wit and humour. There's a common joke that Instagram is for pretty people and Twitter is for funny people (not like you can't be both at the same time).
hot people should go to instagram and twitter should remain for the common shitposter— merritt k (@merrittk) November 3, 2017
Indeed, most tweets that go viral are funny first, and everything else second (informative, beautiful, and so on). There's a reason why comedians, journalists, and writers usually have a huge Twitter following — people come to the platform for jokes.
Brands understand that as well. The most notable example is probably Wendy's Twitter account that uses sharp remarks and sassy one-liners to boost engagement and entertain their audiences.
that fry is longer than waiting for a text back https://t.co/JKdqJz9tPd— Wendy's (@Wendys) October 27, 2020
How to: be funny
You might say: but it's ridiculous, you can't just learn to be funny. And if we are managing a serious consultancy agency, for example, maybe we shouldn't even try?
Remember, no matter if you're a B2C or a B2B company, your clients are still people. And people appreciate humour. There're different kinds of jokes, there is mean humor, absurd humor, witty observations, word-play and dad jokes, and of course, memes. Copywriting and comedy writing are great skills to practice and leverage for a social media marketer. If the U.S. bank can make pirate jokes why can't you?
What's a pirate's favorite way to make purchases? ... With a credit carrrrrd! #TalkLikeAPirateDay— U.S. Bank (@usbank) September 19, 2014
Rule 5: Use visual media (video, images, GIFs, voice tweets)
While Twitter is mostly associated with words, images and video are a big part of it. If you look at the successful influencer accounts, you'll notice that many of them exclusively post visual media: funny videos, pictures of cats, reaction GIFs, and so on. One of my favourite accounts posts pictures that you can send to your friends and partners with a tag line "us" — and it gained almost 260 thousand followers in 3 months.
Among tweets that are mainly text, visuals immediately attract attention. This can aid your brand when you need to stand out from the Twitter feed of your followers.
How to: use visual media
This one is pretty clear: you've got images and videos and you post them. But what specific images and videos do you post? Well, here's a list of what brands can share on their Twitter:
- Pictures and videos of their products
- Customer reviews
- Quotes and ordinary tweets presented as visuals
You can use tools such as Pexels, Shutterstock, Canva, and good old Photoshop (and Spark) to create images or turn your regular tweets into images.
Rule 6: Publish informative and engaging threads
In recent years, Twitter surprisingly has become a platform for long-form content. While users are still limited by the number of letter they can use in one tweet, they manage to tell the whole stories by publishing threads. Twitter threads even get turned into movies!
So, let's talk about @Wingstop.— Jack Appleby ☕️ (@jappleby) September 8, 2022
And this... tweet.
A 20-tweet 🧵 with thinking + data on:
- does this strategy work?
- why it might be genius?
- does it hurt the business?
- should every brand tweet this way? pic.twitter.com/2zjCO9M8gR
There are multiple reasons why threads became so popular among Twitter influencers and general public.
For starters, they enable you to give more information on the same topic.
Moreover, you can use traditional storytelling technoqies on your thread to make the reading experience more exciting. You can end a tweet on a cliffhanger, inftroduce plot twists, allege to something you're going to tweet later, and so on.
All this keeps your followers engaged and gives them something to discuss in the replies.
How to: publish engaging Twitter threads
Twitter threads can be divided into two categories: the ones that are fully pre-planned, and the ones that unfold as they are published. The latter are usually dedicated to current events.
For example, if you're running a launch party for your new product, you can start a thread dedicated to the said party and tweet everything as it happens. Of course, all the previous rules apply to this thread: be funny, use different types of media, and so on.
This Twitter tactic requires less planning but the content can be hit or miss - depending on how exciting is the topic you're tweeting about.
The pre-planned threads give you more creative freedom.
Write a story beforehand and see how it can be divided into tweets that make sense. Here you can choose where you want to take a pause in the story, where to leave room for suspence, where to put a joke and so on.
It's always good to tell a story about your business, for example, about a challenge you overcame and how you did it.
Tesla is worth $939B— Brian O'Connor (@BrianFOConnor) September 12, 2022
More than BMW, Ford, and Toyota COMBINED
Yet they spend $0 on advertising
Steal Tesla's 5 strategies to grow ad-free: pic.twitter.com/lX8xmwztlr
Twitter threads that tell a good story with an unexpected end tend to go viral, so remember to ask people to follow you or check out your website in the end. But do it subtly.
Rule 7: Follow Twitter's updates and try new features
Twitter is a platform that is constantly introducing new changes to the app. And it's not just the attempts to move some buttons or try a different shade of blue - they actually launch completely new features for users to try.
For example, the most recent new feature Twitter introduced is Circles. It's a separate feed that only people you added to your circle can see - something similar to Close Friends on Instagram Stories.
I'm firing up Twitter Circles so I can share stuff I'm working on that I don't want on the TL.— Colin Landforce 🛠,🛠 (@landforce) September 12, 2022
- AMA on anything
- Also weird random shit
Drop a comment if you want in we're gonna give this a run. 🛠🤺
Twitter influencers immediately took up the new feature and are now using it to curate a special content feed for their followers or for audience segmentation.
How to: try new Twitter features
Of course, it shouldn't be a race where you try to incorporate as many new Twitter features as possible. However, it's also important to stay up to date in order not to be left behind.
I recommend following industry media such as Social Media Today to quickly learn about new updates and then trying those that seem the most interesting to you.
Besides, major launches such as Twitter Spaces usually create a lot of hype just around the feature itself, so by adding them to your Twitter marketing strategy you may get some new followers.
Usually, influencers do not set out to have a huge Twitter audience: it comes to them organically because they consistently post deserving content. Brands don't have such luxury of waiting for their audience to grow organically. That's why social media managers figure out what works for influencers and replicate their best practices in our social media strategies.
I hope you try these tips from Twitter influencers and see the results. What other tactics could we copy from influencers? Comment with your ideas!