How to Create a Twitter Campaign

Twitter needs no introduction – we all know that together with Facebook it’s the social network that attracts most brands and marketers. Twitter can help your brand in many ways, but it’s an especially effective social media tool for building a large group of followers and driving quality traffic to your website or blog, when used properly, that is. Like all social media, Twitter requires that you invest time and effort into connecting with others.

Don’t let Twitter’s 140 character limitation deceive you into thinking that the network is easier to use for marketers than other networks. On the contrary, the character limitation can actually make it harder for you to master Twitter, because it doesn’t leave any room for filler content. Still, it is possible to create an effective Twitter marketing campaign even if you don’t have at your disposal a dedicated social media team, or the resources that big brands have. The step-by-step guide below will inspire you to get started.

Analyze your industry and competitors

This will help you 1) figure out what your audience wants and 2) what your competitors do with Twitter. Although it takes time, you should try to perform in-depth research to discover what people in your industry discuss on Twitter, which individuals or groups are influential, and what they have done to achieve their current status. Compare the profiles of your competitors, keep track of their follower growth, and identify the topics that attract people’s attention.

Decide what to focus on

Will your Tweets consist mostly of links to your blog posts and other social media content? Will they be shares, that is, links to interesting non-competitor pages and resources relevant to your industry? Or will they be attempts to directly interact with your audience, by asking questions that invite participation or answering questions asked by followers? Ideally, you will want to mix all of these.

Tweet regularly

Tweeting several times a day will make your Twitter campaign a lot more effective. Do remember, however, that posting too often can dilute the value of your tweets, and even make you look spammy. Tweets may be short and easy to post, but they must have value if you want to attract a large following. Make sure you prepare a list of tweets at least a day in advance. TwitterFeed is one of several services that enable you to schedule tweets. However, don’t let automation services replace your presence on Twitter – you have to be there, interacting with followers if you expect them to engage with your brand.

Stay fresh

While you can use Twitter to bring to light older content from your blog or website, most Twitter users are on the lookout for hot news and fresh content. For this reason, it’s important to focus on what is important now, and to try to tie that with what your brand is currently offering.

Answer questions promptly

The convenience of Twitter encourages many people to use tweets to ask their favorite brands questions. Some questions are about upcoming products and services, others about locations and contact information; most tend to be the kind of questions your customer support team is used to receiving. That’s why it’s important to answer them accurately, and quickly. If you don’t, if you ignore questions or are not helpful, the whole world will take note of your indifference towards your customers, and that’s bad.

Monitor replies, retweets, and mentions

If you are active on Twitter, your brand will be mentioned by others, by followers, non-followers, industry experts, organizations, even other brands. Not all mentions require your intervention, but there will be some that do, and it’s good to be prepared.

Interact with influential users

Twitter isn’t just about interacting with your followers – it’s also about connecting with influential people and creating affiliations with them. You can do this by retweeting their messages, directly contacting them, exchanging views, and starting conversations.

Reward your followers with special offers

Once you have a large Twitter following, a highly effective marketing strategy is to create special offers for them – give them vouchers and discount codes or invite them to Twitter-only image-based or Q&A-based contests with interesting prizes.

Finally, don’t forget that building a Twitter following takes time. Don’t expect people to just flock to your Twitter profile, because it’s not going to happen. Tweet constantly, be relevant and interesting, and try to interact as much as possible with others, and your Twitter marketing efforts cannot but succeed.

How to Use Twitter Hashtags to Market Your Brand

If you add one to two hashtags to your business Tweets, you will increase your Twitter engagement by at least 50%. Hashtags are like labels that help you categorize your Tweets, making them easier to discover for people who are potentially interested in what you have to offer. Once a user clicks on a hastag, he or she is sent to a page that shows all the Tweets that use that hashtag, sorted based on recency and popularity.

A local business baking and selling pizza in Medford, Oregon, can use a tag like #bestpizzainmedford to increase the visibility of its Tweets and make it easier for prospective customers to find it. Even more general hashtags like #food, #restaurant, or #freedelivery can be used to market a brand on Twitter. But using Twitter hashtags to market your brand requires a bit more than adding relevant hashtags to your Tweets before publishing them. Here are a few golden rules for using hashtages effectively.

Use only relevant hashtags

All the hashtags that you use should be relevant to your business and your tweets. Moreover, they should be specific, without being however hard to understand. Simple, direct hashtags work best. But bear in mind that while it’s better to use a general hashtag such as #technology, #food, or #bar than none at all, the more specific your tag is, the better. You can also try to incorporate your location in the tag, especially if your brand handles most of the business on premise.

Don’t load your Tweets with more than two hashtags

Some users and brands load their Tweets with hashtags, thinking that more hashtags means more exposure. Wrong. Doing that is the equivalent of stuffing your blog posts or website content with keywords — it only confuses people and alienates them. Studies have shown that if your brand uses more than two hashtags, engagement drops by 17%.

Use the same hashtags across social networks

Hashtags may have originated on Twitter, but now Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and other social networks are using them, much in the same way. An effective hashtag strategy is to identify a few hashtags that are highly relevant to your brand and use them consistently on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and any other social network that supports them. A unified social media hashtag strategy will bring your brand more exposure.

Don’t use hashtags in Twitter ads that feature a call to action

Although hashtags are valuable, it is important to remember that in some scenarios they are not needed. A well-crafted Twitter ad ends with a call to action, which usually comes in the form of a tiny link. If you include hashtags to your ads, viewers won’t have just one clicking option (the call to action link) but two (the link PLUS the hashtag) and that can actually lower the conversion rate.

Use hashtags to promote user-generated content

One of the awesome things about hashtags on Twitter is that you can use hashtags to encourage your fans to create fun content for you. You can do this by coming up with hashtags that inspire people to photograph or film themselves while using, reviewing, or speaking about your product. For example, you can create a marketing campaign and hashtag such as #yourproductinthewild which could lead to an avalanche of Tweets with photos from customers photographing themselves using your product (whether it’s a drink, an item of apparel, or a gadget) in the most strange and hilarious places. Then you can retweet the coolest Tweets to show your appreciation for those customers. This strategy works because it shifts the focus from the brand to the customer, while keeping the marketing part.

Create dedicated customer service hashtags

An increasing number of consumers take their customer service problems straight to their favorite brands’ social media pages, and in particular Facebook and Twitter. Dedicated customer service hashtags that your users can add to their Tweets are an elegant way for you to deal with customer support questions on an ongoing basis. Furthermore, it can make it easier for you to filter and differentiate between customer support questions, and even assign them to different departments. Going a step further, you can answer customer service hashtags in real time, creating one-on-one conversations that can draw in other people and generate buzz on your Twitter page.

The Bottom Line

Tags are indeed important, and if you don’t use them, you’re losing exposure, not just on Twitter, but on all social sites that support them. Remember, however, that hashtags are like keywords and shouldn’t be misused or overused, else they become ineffective.

Retargeting – The Secret to Expansive Market Reach

The marketing landscape is forever changing and everyday there is a new technique or tactic that you read about as the ‘it’ thing to do. Although this is not new, one marketing strategy business should definitely take a good look at is retargeting.

Retargeting campaigns are highly-focused and cost-effective marketing efforts that can help your business persuade interested customers to buy your products or services, as well as continually expand your market reach.

There are many reasons why prospective customers who check your products and services leave your website before making a purchase, including indecision, the desire to compare you to competitors, real life distractions such as phone calls or knocks on the door, wallet inconveniences, such as not finding their credit cards, and a thousand other reasons. Retargeting is the solution to all of these. It’s such an effective strategy that 88% of brands are already using site and search retargeting, according to the Chango State of the Industry report. Not using retargeting is a sure way to lose customers and suffer from online marketing conversion rates that are lower than average.

How Retargeting Works

The mechanism behind retargeting is straightforward and very effective: a bit of code placed on your website creates a cookie in the browser of your prospective customer, adding him or her to your retargeting list. After they leave your website, you can remind them about the product or service they viewed or about other similar offerings by retargeting them, that is, sending them ads that display while they browse the web. Retargeting creates the impression that your ads are everywhere, but that is of course not quite true — your ads display only to those people in your retargeting list.

Many marketers use Google AdWords’ retargeting tool for websites, which is a great starting point. In addition, social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have their own retargeting tools, and there are plenty of advanced third party solutions, including Perfect Audience and AdRoll, which supports Apple iAds.

Retargeting Provides Great Value

Another reason for you to use retargeting is that it is a cost-effective marketing strategy in the long-term. Focusing specifically on visitors who have checked your products or services, it enables you to market your brand to an audience that is interested in what you have to offer. Of all forms of online marketing and advertising, retargeting offers the best value for every dollar spent. By being so targeted, it provides an expansive market reach at costs that are far below those of other online marketing strategies, and offers superior results to most types of ads.

Other Benefits of Retargeting

Apart from offering you a second, a third, a fourth, etc. chance to convert a visitor into a customer, retargeting enables you to capture valuable user data in a natural way, without having to invest in data mining or research. If your website receives a steady stream of visitors, placing a retargeting code on your landing page gives you the opportunity to build over time an audience within your wider audience that is a highly relevant retargeting list comprising of visitors who have shown interest in your brand, products, and services.

Used in this way, retargeting becomes a multi-purpose marketing strategy that not only increases conversion rates, but enables you to build a customer list to which you can later send personalized offers and ads. Without retargeting, building such a customer list would entail in-depth research and considerable costs, not to mention that it would take time.

Retargeting Works Across Industries

Another benefit of retargeting is that it is a highly versatile strategy that works for any business in any industry. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling pizza, search engine optimization services, luxury watches, trips to exotic destinations, or website design services — retargeting is a dependable strategy that you can use to complement all your other marketing efforts. It goes great with organic SEO marketing, paid advertising, social media marketing, or content marketing. All the traffic that these strategies bring you can be used by a retargeting campaign to increase the efficiency of your marketing efforts.

Finally, it’s important to highlight that just because you don’t have an IT team doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of retargeting. According to the same study cited above, 47% of brands outsource their retargeting efforts. Whether it’s in-house or outsource, retargeting should definitely be one of the priorities of your marketing campaign.

How to Use YouTube Video Ads for Your Business

YouTube’s video advertising platform is one of the most exciting around, offering your business cost-effective advertising options that you can customize in depth and target very specific user groups. Whether your business is entirely online or grounded in a brick-and-mortal location, YouTube video ads can help you increase your reach, boost brand awareness, improve conversion rates, and more. This is one marketing strategy that you should seriously consider adding to your arsenal. Here’s how you can use YouTube video ads effectively to market your business.

Getting Started

Before you can start creating effective YouTube video ads for your business, you have to link your YouTube channel to your AdWords account, and then in AdWords create a new Online Video campaign. Once that is done, you’ll be guided through a simple set up process where you select your target audience, budget, and other essential marketing parameters. YouTube offers you multiple advertising formats and ad creation options with which you can experiment. Below we’ll look at a safe approach to getting your campaign running and staying within your budget, which you can then adjust depending on your results.

Choosing the Right Video Ad Format For Your Business

YouTube video ads can come in four formats; display ads, overlay ads, skippable ads and non-skippable in-stream ads. Display ads are those that appear right of the feature video and overlay ads are semi-transparent and appear on the lower portion of your videos. Skippable ads users can skip after 5 seconds of viewing, whereas non-skippable video ads must be watched before your video can be viewed.

Both skippable and non-skippable ads can appear before, during, or after the main video. Of all these ads, non-skippable ads are in theory the most effective, yet they are the most expensive also, that is, they have the highest cost per thousand (CPM) impressions. What’s more, they can suffer from a high video abandonment rate, so they are a bit of a gamble.

High priority skippable video ads are a safer and usually more cost-effective choice for most businesses, so you may want to consider focusing on them, at least at the beginning of your campaign. Depending on your available budget, choose a realistic CPV, or cost per view, the amount you pay whenever a viewer watches a portion of your YouTube video ads. The usual CPV for a locally-targeted skippable ad is between $0.10 and $0.30, which means you can get good exposure even on a small budget. Make an in-stream bid that amounts to half of that cost, but don’t forget later on to tweak this figure depending on the performance of your ads.

Targeting Your Audience

After choosing your ad type, you have to define your target audience. If you already have some video marketing data from past campaigns, you may want to drawn on that to choose the demographics, that is, the gender and the age range for your YouTube video ads. An effective approach is to combine demographics targeting with keyword targeting, to focus on a specific category of users such as men between 25-45 years who like cars and watch videos on car cleaning and maintenance, or women between 23-56 who love birds, and watch videos about canaries. The important thing is to combine targeting options to focus your YouTube video ads on people who are truly interested in what you have to offer.

Finally, placements enable you to target individual YouTube videos or specific YouTube Channels, which can come in handy if you want your ads displayed in a partner’s videos. After you’ve chosen your audience, you can create your ad and add a banner to it to make it stand out.

YouTube Video Ad Tips

Regardless of the type of ads you choose or your target audience, here are some tips that will help you get more out of your YouTube ads.

  • Keep your YouTube in-stream video ads separate from your YouTube Search ads (which display the video ad within the video search results), by targeting them to separate audiences.
  • Set a low maximum daily budget to minimize unprofitable views at the beginning of your campaign and keep unexpected volume in check.
  • If you’re on a small budget, focus on targeting small groups while ensuring that your predicted views don’t exceed 1,000. Smaller campaigns are easier to monitor and to adjust.
  • Lower a predicted audience estimate by adding overlapping keywords.
  • Retarget your ads to your YouTube viewers using the AdWords remarketing tool to increase conversion rates and improve brand awareness and recall.
  • YouTube video ads can be a great marketing tool for your business. Don’t forget, however, that like any type of online marketing, they require constant adjustment and fine tuning to be highly successful.