EasyBiz – How to use Twitter to maximise your marketing

Your accounting business might be doing okay, but who doesn’t want more clients, right? However, if you don’t have a super-slick sales team to hunt down new business for you, then use what is available to you. Twitter is a pretty cool platform to get your business known and generate new leads, and it won’t cost too many of those precious beans that you like counting so much.

With more than 145 million active daily users, Twitter is the fifth most popular social media network, and it’s a great place to find new clients, get insights into your business, and connect with experts in the industry. But, with 500 million tweets sent every day, you need to be strategic in using it as an effective marketing tool.

Before you decide to use Twitter, make sure that you are a committed thought leader, who can drive a conversation in your space #TheAccountingIndustry.
Now, let’s start by setting up your account and profile.

Getting started

  1. Go to Twitter.com and click on ‘Sign Up’.
  2.  Choose an effective username to suit your business.
  3. Write a bio that captures what your business does.
  4. Upload a photo or image that makes your profile stand out.
  5. Find the right people to follow (industry-related).

Say cheese …
Your profile photo appears with every tweet, so use your logo or a photo that identifies your business and get the dimensions right. The ‘header image’ appears on your profile page. You can update it more often than your profile photo. It can show your team, highlight a specific project, an awards event, etc. – just not last year’s Christmas party where ‘certain people’ had a wee bit too much to drink.

Handle it
A ‘handle’ is your account name. It’s how people can find you on Twitter. Try to keep it consistent with names you have on other platforms, so include your business name, e.g. @brilliantaccountants, and make it memorable (in a good way, of course).

Bio, website and location
Your profile bio should be no more than 160 characters. Be creative, be clever, use your tagline, and let your bio be unique to your business. Be sure to add your company website where this is provided for. Also, add your location so visitors know where to find you. This also makes your profile more personal and real, i.e. not a scam artist trying to fleece people of their hard-earned pennies.

What do you want Twitter to do?
For the platform to have a positive impact on your business, you need to have measurable goals that must be aligned with your business objectives. For example, perhaps you want to drive more traffic to your website within three months. Remember, you want people who are really interested in your services, not a bunch of weirdos who think you have cute dimples.

Maintaining your account
Managing your Twitter account is not a task to dump on your teenage son or daughter because they’re tech-savvy – chances are, they’ll have a very, um, ‘different’ idea about how to respond to your followers. You need to have a dedicated person (more than one if it’s a busy account) monitoring and responding to messages, comments and mentions, so that there aren’t large gaps in between responses. People expect quick and regular responses. Even if only one person is monitoring it, have a backup person to ensure that you respond timeously.

Brand style
Create a brand style guide that will be used for every post, and make sure that anyone working on your account knows the guidelines and follows them. This guide should include how and where to use hashtags and emojis, how to format links, and what responses to give if you receive criticism. Having planned responses is ideal, so that you don’t have to think on your feet if someone has a complaint (and you won’t be tempted to give a snarky reply).

Create a Content Calendar
If you research events that are coming up in the year, plan to create content around those events, for example, the Budget Speech, Tax Return season, holidays, etc. Follow the rule of thirds: one-third of tweets should promote your business, one-third can be personal stories, and one-third informative insights from experts or influencers. A Content Calendar takes a bit of time in the beginning, but will save you having to come up with content later. You can also align this content with what you post on your other platforms to create synergy.

Determining how often to post and when are the best times to post – Twitter provides this information. Having a content calendar will also help you spend less time on Twitter, and you can use programs like HootSuite or eClincher to post at specific times, days and on multiple platforms.

Check out your competition
Take a peep every now and then at what your competitors are doing. Look at what they’re doing well, so that you can refine your offering and find ways to make your business stand out from theirs and others. This is your chance to snoop legitimately, so have fun!

Measure your progress
Are your tweets resulting in leads and actual business, or are you just getting meaningless likes on some funny, yet arbitrary pic you posted? Always keep your eye on the goals you set and whether you’re achieving them. We know you look good in your Speedo, but it might attract a scary crowd.

Make lists
The tool of making lists on Twitter is helpful because it allows you to find conversations that matter to you and your business. Lists are organised from selected accounts which allow you to follow relevant discussions or influential people. They are not organised according to Twitter’s algorithm, and are arranged chronologically, so you can follow current events easily. You may want to create lists of your competitors’ accounts, influential thought leaders in your industry, and your own team members. Remember that lists are public, so be careful when naming them.

You can also subscribe to lists by other accounts. If an influential industry expert has already made a list of accounts you want to follow, you can subscribe to their lists: Go to their profile page, click the icon with the three dots above their bio, and then select View Lists. You can see the lists they’ve created, as well as those that include their account, and lists that they subscribe to. Click the list you want to follow. Hit Subscribe.

To see all the lists you own, follow and appear on, click Lists in the left-hand menu on your Twitter home page. Creating your lists may take a little time, but they help you use Twitter efficiently and strategically.

Be real, be you
People want to interact with an authentic person. Show personality and make sure you’re consistent – whether you choose to be funny, inspirational or bold. Also, don’t post the same message across all of your platforms – that’s a big no-no. They must all be original and reflect the real you. By all means, post pics and videos, but you’re not looking to just attract fans (although we know you wouldn’t mind a fan or two) – you want your followers to turn into potential clients. Use plain language instead of industry jargon, and check your spelling!

Run a poll
Running a poll is an excellent way to engage with your followers, obtain feedback and opinions, learn about customer preferences, and more. People love doing polls and it will give you quick insight into specific issues.

Schedule your tweets
You don’t have to spend all day, every day tweeting. You can schedule when and on which platforms to schedule your tweets by using HootSuite, eClincher, ContentStudio or SocialPilot. This will also help you optimise your content calendar. Check your Twitter analytics to see when are the best times to post, and schedule your tweets for those times. You will still have to make time to respond to comments and mentions, though.

Pics, graphics and videos
When you only have 280 characters to express yourself, pictures, infographics and videos are really effective in attracting attention and increasing engagement. You can use a chart or infographic to explain an informative tweet and a video to hold attention and add interest – tweets with videos get 10 times as much engagement. GIFs are useful, too, and achieve a 55% increase in engagement. Make sure your videos are optimised for mobile, because Twitter reports that 93% of viewers watch on a handheld device (hopefully not while in the bath).

Hashtags
Using branded hashtags that are unique to your business can boost your engagement and help new audiences find you on Twitter. Use hashtags that are relevant to your industry and follow what is trending on Twitter – join in the conversation if it’s relevant. Also, check out what hashtags your competitors are using to give you an idea.

An ear to the ground
Pay attention to conversations on Twitter that provide insights into your customers and community – this is another way of saying listen to ‘useful’ gossip. It’ll let you know what people think of your business, as well as your competitors, help you tighten up your messaging, and let you build trust and loyalty. Check out anything to do with your business name, your competitors’ names, industry hashtags and jargon, and relevant trending topics. Use social media managing programs like HootSuite, eClincher, ContentStudio or SocialPilot to monitor keywords, hashtags, mentions, and other info.

Advertise
Advertising on Twitter can help you grow your audience, promote your business, drive traffic to your website, and more, without any bullet-biting necessary. You can promote your account to gain new followers, or promote individual tweets to boost engagement. Twitter Ads allow you to target the specific audience you need for your business, and provide detailed analytics to gauge the success of your ads. You reach the right people and quickly learn which messages are most effective, which translates into more bang for your buck.

Mission accomplished
To get more sophisticated with analytics, you can use UTM parameters, which are short text codes that you can add to your links to hone in on traffic and conversions. They can specify the source, medium, ad campaign name, and more. You can add them directly in Hootsuite Composer, or through Google Analytics. With this data, you can see exactly how people get to your website, which tweets are most effective, and you can measure your ROI.

Now that you have the know-how, you can customise your Twitter marketing campaign to suit your specific business needs. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll find that Twitter can be extremely useful in helping you gain new clients and get your accounting business known.
Happy tweeting! This blog is brought to you by Quickbooks Online Accounting. To get your accounting business
onto the QuickBooks Online Accounting system, go to www.quickbooks.intuit.com/za

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Where a party receives any personal information (“PI”) related to the other party, the party who receives the PI, will comply with and have adequate measures in place to ensure that its employees, agents, subsidiaries and representatives comply with the provisions and obligations contained in the Protection of Personal Information Act, No. 4 of 2013. Any PI pertaining to one party which is required by the other party, will only be used by that other party for the purposes of this contract and will not be further processed or disclosed without the written consent of the latter and the recipient of that PI will take all reasonable precautions to preserve the integrity and prevent any corruption or loss, damage or destruction of the PI. If and when the contract is terminated, each party will, save to the extent that it is required to do otherwise by any applicable law, erase or cause to be erased, all PI and all copies of any part of the PI relating to the other party”.