Today, communication is ceaseless. As of January 2014, 74% of online adults use social networking sites and tweet about 190 million times a day. Users are constantly tweeting, favoriting, sharing, and commenting.
As a marketer, it’s important to see the potential of word of mouth and find a way to be included in consumers’ online discussions. Because of the personal nature of word of mouth, people see it as credible source of information. Because it has a strong impact, it’s an effective tactic for meeting some of your marketing goals:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Driving engagement
- Increasing direct sales
When users interact with your brand online, they can do so in a number of ways. As a marketer, it’s important to understand not every click is created equal. When a user favorites your tweet, it’s very different than a user retweeting it. For the best results, it’s important to understand which interactions mean, which ones are the most beneficial, and how you can earn them.
When a user replies to your tweet, it’s almost like equivalent to leaving a comment on a blog post. She is reacting to what you tweeted and is most likely sharing her personal opinion on the content, asking you a question, or answering a question you asked. She could also be communicating with you on a separate topic.
As we know, Twitter is about engagement. So conversation is a great way to meet your goals. If someone replied to your tweet, it means he or she has taken time to react to the content you posted. In order to increase this engagement, it’s important to reply back to keep the conversation going. This could mean answering a question, continuing a dialogue, or simply thanking them for their contribution. Not only does a meaningful reply show that your brand’s Twitter account isn’t run by a robot, there’s a good chance the user may retweet your response simply to show his followers your business interacted with him. By answering a reply, you’re not just engaging with one follower, you’re engaging with a much larger audience.
To get more replies on your tweets, be sure to create relevant, resonant content. Too many companies focus their Twitter solely on the product they are trying to sell. This type of content isn’t easy for consumers to relate or interact with. Instead of limiting yourself to solely your company’s message, you should convey your industry’s message. This will give you more to talk about, and if people see you as an industry expert they’re more likely to trust your businesses when looking to make a purchase within your industry.
For example, KitchenAid doesn’t just tweet about their products, they tweet about delicious recipes and other kitchen-related content. This keeps followers interested, and helps position the brand as an expert in the cooking industry.
Another way to get replies is by creating content that applies to the lives of your followers. If I’m KitchenAid and I tweet, “Cooking dinner, can’t wait to eat!” I might get a few replies, but nothing spectacular. But, if I tweet, “There’s nothing better than a home-cooked meal. Don’t you agree?” or a quote like,”Cooking is essential to life, therefore make it good.” I’m sure to get a larger response because many would agree, they love home-cooked meals, and many people respond well to quotes. There’s a good chance they may even retweet it to resonate with their followers.
Awesome, someone favorited your tweet! But wait… what does that even mean? The favorite action on Twitter is more unclear than the other action buttons.
In some ways, a favorite is simply a way to bookmark a tweet. A user can click the star button for the purpose of going back to read later when she has time or to keep for her records.
A favorite can also mean a user identifies with your tweet. This can mean, she loves it, she has the same opinion, she simply favorites everything you tweet, she doesn’t like it enough to retweet it, or she’s just doing it to earn some brownie points.
On the other hand, a favorite could simply be a way to end a conversation as a way to say, “Hey, I read your tweet. Let’s end the convo now.” Your followers can see if someone favorites your tweet and favorites display as a public list on each user’s profile but not too many people take to time or effort to actually locate and view them and they don’t really help your content get seen by a larger audience.
As you can see, a favorite can be interpreted in a number of different ways. If you’re having trouble deciding what someone meant by a favorite, check out this chart from the Washington Post taken from a study where researchers asked 290 Twitter users why they favorited tweets.
Although most engagement is good engagement, favorites don’t really help your content spread around the Twittersphere – meaning they don’t do much for increasing your followers, your web traffic, or your direct sales.
For the most exposure, your goal is to earn retweets.
When people retweet you, it usually means they think the content of your tweet is useful, therefore they believe it would also benefit their followers. By retweeting you, they’ve said “take a look,” and exposed you to all their followers, giving your tweet a greater reach. With a greater audience, you can earn new followers and also increase your web traffic. This can help spread the word and ignite talk about your company, helping better your engagement, increase your brand awareness, and up your direct sales.
Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) involves spreading the word about your company in an organic, meaningful way. When you create share-worthy content, users will want to engage with this content and share it with their followers, helping you to be viewed as an expert in the industry and a credible source. Want to effectively increase your Twitter traffic and generate more leads? Concentrate on getting more retweets.
To do this there are basic steps you can take – such as writing great content or adding Twitter buttons to your website – but there are also a few more tricks that can help. If you want to get into the nitty gritty, there are certain words that you should avoid including in your tweets that are statistically the least retweeted. According to a study done by Dan Zarrella, some of these words include:
But tweets that included the words and phrases below got the most retweets:
- please retweet
- social media
- how to
- blog post
- check out
- new blog post
Other smart tactics are to:
- Time your tweets to go out when they will get the most visibility (Keep in mind that 48% of Twitter users are based in Eastern Standard time and the most retweets happen during 5PM EST.)
- Tweet quotes (quotes tend to get 847% more retweets than questions)
- Put retweet buttons throughout your blog posts so readers can tweet certain phrases they find interesting
- Add links in your tweets (56.69% of retweets contain links)
- Leverage popular hashtags
Not all social influence is equal. To learn more about what the top marketers (director-level or higher) are doing for their influencer strategies, check out our latest eBook, “The State of Influencer Marketing.”