With 330m active users and more than 500m Tweets sent every day, Twitter can be a great asset to any small business looking to get their message out there.
The question is, how can you stand out in such a crowded marketplace? How can you avoid wasting precious time and money on advertising that might get lost in the ether?
Well, while there are no guarantees in life, this simple ‘how to’ guide to Twitter ad campaigns will at least ensure you do all in your power to make sure your efforts have a fighting chance. The key is finding your target market and then getting your campaign in front of their eyes. Why? Because Twitter is brand-friendly and one-third of Twitter users (do the maths) have actually discovered a small business (SMB) through Twitter – and better still, whopping 94% claim they intend to purchase from said SMBs. Not bad, eh?
The majority of social media managers believe Twitter is the most important platform they use in terms of return on investment – two-thirds of them, in fact. The key is getting your campaign right on the money – do that, and you will reap the benefits, but before we begin, it’s important to understand the Twitter terminology – learn the lingo, so to speak, so here’s a quick guide to put you in the picture…
An everyday Tweet that you pay for and appears to those who are not currently following you. These can be retweeted, favourited, liked or whatever and the idea is that it gets the content you’ve produced out to a wider audience. The key is, your content should already have performed well and got good engagement from your followers and on your other social media channels. Don’t flog a dead horse, so to speak – if it’s good, extend your reach. If there has been little or no reaction from the people who already are on board, save your money. The advantage of a Promoted Tweet is its visibility – it will appear at the top of search results, on the app and in the timelines of your targeted users.
This promotes your account rather than individual Tweets and more than 80% of surveyed Twitter users claim they discover SMBs via this method. They appear in your target audience’s timeline as well as the all-important ‘who to follow’ suggestion column and in search results.
Any Twitter user will tell you one of the first columns they glance at is the ‘Trending’ list – things that people are talking about at that point in time. It could be a news story, TV show, celebrity moment, sporting event or suchlike and appears on the left of the Twitter homepage of every user as well as on the ‘Discover’ tab and the app. Now, how about getting your promoted Tweet on such a list? When users click on your Promoted Trend, they will discover a list of search results on your topic with your Promoted Tweet at the top of the pile. If they start to discuss your chosen hashtag with others, your campaign will receive organic exposure – self-generating marketing via users and who knows? Maybe even get your SMB trending to some extent.
Twitter ad campaigns: Categories
You get what you pay for, so expect the results to reflect your level of investment and each campaign will incur different costs. If you are splashing out, you’ll want to use every avenue available, but if you’re after steady, organic growth, it will cost less but perhaps take longer to achieve your goal. There are no hard and fast rules and much will depend on the level of engagement you create.
This is creating conversations about your brand and you’ll only cough up for the initial engagement with each user – and you only pay for what your Promoted Tweet delivers, so if nobody reacts, you won’t incur additional costs and you also don’t have to pay for engagement with those who respond to your Tweet organically.
To raise awareness for your brand, you can promote your message to a bigger audience and you’ll pay per thousand. What you’ll get in return are promoted tweets to a wider circle – a bit like casting a bigger fishing net at sea – you’ll pay for any impressions on your Twitter ad over engagement in this instance, so it goes without saying you need your Tweet to be shareable, retweetable and engaging – otherwise, it’s a waste of resources.
This campaign promotes your account and you pay for each follower gained – everything else (engagement and impressions) don’t cost a bean.
In a world where video is king, this can be particularly effective (and used across all your social media channels so only one initial production cost). Your video campaign will be aimed at a targeted audience and once your video receives positive interaction, you pay. Video works on so many levels that if you can get well-produced, engaging video content as part of your campaign, do so.
Clicks and conversions
These are very much doing campaigns aimed at people you believe will visit your website and take the appropriate action connected with your business. Click and Conversion targets your core market – those most likely to react given past interactions/activity – and also drives traffic to your website. You’ll pay for each click through and your Tweets will also carry a preview pane of your website via a Website Card. A useful method to track conversions, too.
App installs will promote your Tweets to those looking to download your app, or re-engage those who already did but haven’t been active for a period of time. Pay for either app installs or those who open the app – or both – depending on your budget and targets. Like the Click and Conversion campaign, this allows a preview pane and your app rating and the functionality of a direct link/download to your app.
Those are the basics, now here are 10 easy steps to follow…
Advertising on Twitter:
- Select Twitter Ads Manager and decide what kind of campaign you want to run – there is a list of objectives on the left side of the page and given all the info above, you probably know what will work best for your SMB. Once you’ve made your decision, click on the ‘Create Campaign’ button and you’ll be redirected to the campaign screen where you’ll need to figure out whether you want to begin straight away or schedule for a later date. You can also include third-party tracking if you need the stats behind your drive.
- Now you need to select a number of options. You need to choose your target audience so that your ad gets to the right people and you don’t waste your time advertising dog food to cat lovers. There are many specific options including specific areas (or postcodes) known as geo-targeting plus you can target by language, platform, gender or device. You can even target user traits and characteristics, hobbies and behaviours and even keywords that further minimise the chances of aiming your campaign at the wrong people. The interface is there to help, and you’ll be given a number of options to make your campaign as bespoke as possible – you can even upload emails lists if so desired.
- Costings. How much do you want to pay? This is obviously a major part of your campaign so either set a daily maximum payment or a total campaign budget to keep control of costs. By setting your budget, you can also tailor what it is you want to pay for – engagement, impressions etc and you can even compare your campaign to similar SMBs and what they are paying – Twitter can also recommend costings for different types of campaign. It’s all self-explanatory and pretty much foolproof.
- Get creative. Do you want to create a new Tweet or work from a list of Tweets you’ve previously made? It’s your choice and you’ll have previews before you commit. Once you’re happy, simply publish the Tweet and hey presto! You’ve started your campaign.
- Be engaging. Twitter ads are primarily aimed at drumming up new business and gaining new followers, so make sure you let people know what you do, how you do it and why they should use you. Assume they’ve never heard of you. Make that first impression a memorable one and get across your USP in the most imaginative way you can – the increase in characters from 140 to 280 makes this much easier as the shorter Tweets often meant squeezing in information and leaving some stuff out. Make sure your ad does what it says in the tin and get as much positivity in there as you can. If you’ve been reviewed/rated or talked about positively, let people know!
- Polish your profile. There’s no point working hard to get traffic coming to you and then not capitalising – if your profile is dull and underwhelming they’ll likely take one glance and move on, so make sure every page and piece of info you’re presenting is as engaging and interesting/informative as possible.
- Be clear! What’s your call to action? It’s all well and good telling everyone how wonderful your service or product is, but what is it you really want? Don’t be afraid to invite them to follow or retweet – asking on Twitter often gets good results, so be clear in your messaging and your own campaign what exactly you are trying to achieve. Don’t overdo the hashtags and links as that can become annoying and too needy.
- Cards can be stars, so create your own card within the Twitter ads manager. Here, you can add a preview of your website, app download option or other options – do they work? Well, Twitter stats suggest Promoted Tweets that include a card get more than 40% more engagement.
- Bespoke is the way. Generic campaigns are less effective, research suggests – find out what your target audience likes and go for the kill. Doing the legwork and really understanding your target market can pay off and rather than repeat an ad during your campaign, tweak it if necessary rather than diluting the message to cover all bases.
- Make it perfect. Don’t ruin a great Twitter ad with a blurred image, typo or incorrect link. Understand the Twitter parameters and be the best you can. If you’re not good with words, hire experts who are. If your image isn’t the best, find one that is. You’re providing a window of opportunity, so make sure the view inside is crystal clear!