Canadian Contractor

John Bleasby   

Social marketing for the working contractor (Part 3 of 5): Twitter anyone?

Canadian Contractor

Short, snappy and to-the-point makes Twitter different

You’ve likely seen the President of the United States (POTUS) using Twitter to get his political and personal messages across. However, is Twitter the right social media platform for contractors to get their marketing messages across?

Twitter is about ‘Breaking News’
Marc Hill, founder and president of Digital Giants in Barrie ON, tells Canadian Contactor that it’s vital to understand how Twitter differs from social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram (both profiled in early installments of this series). “Twitter is a very different sort of platform. It’s like the front page of the newspaper 24 hours a day, the top of the hour on the radio type of thing,” Hill explains. “If you want to receive breaking news at any time of the day —what’s trending, what’s hot — that’s where people go. Twitter is small snippets of information with maybe some images. It’s a different medium than Facebook or Instagram in terms of where you might find an audience for contractors. For businesses, it can be more difficult to connect with the right type of people, a little more challenging to find your buyers. However, like all social media, quality versus quantity of followers makes a big difference. Don’t just judge by quantity but judge the level of interaction and engagement as well.”

Social media captures a target audiences not only with computers but increasingly those using hand-held devices

Twitter requires a concise message
Including Twitter as part of your company’s social media marketing mix requires a different type of message, says Hill. First, it’s important to understand that there are only 140 characters available for Twitter posts, including any links. That makes it important to economize. For example, use links to shorten references to articles you wish to link. And as always, photos are vital; it’s far too easy for readers to scroll past a text-only message (unless you’re Donald Trump!). Photos make your Twitter post stand out better than corporate logos too, but keep it simple! Don’t filter or add effects to the photos.

What about that hashtag thing?
There is also the world of hashtags. Do you know what they are what and they can do in terms of increasing engagement? Basically, a hashtag is a pound sign (or hash) that turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link. Hashtags are important for developing communications with your target group. They allow you to organize content and track discussion topics based on those keywords. Twitter hashtags are mainly used to denote specific topics of conversation; the “Trends” sidebar of your Twitter feed curates a list of hashtags you might be interested in, based on your tweets.

A short lifespan requires Twitter time management
Another key element to Twitter, perhaps more than other platform, is the lifespan of the post itself. How long will it remain before the eyes of your target audience? Due to the nature of Twitter — very news and headline oriented — the lifespan might be less than one hour. That’s significantly less than Facebook and Instagram, and something to remember when deciding what to post and how often. You might want to Tweet as much as once a day, maybe more if you can find relevant content. That might require going beyond your own content and towards sharing content from other sources.

So many social media platforms to choose from! Managing them appropriately takes understanding of each one’s qualities and challenges

Repeating the message
That in turn brings up the debate about how many times one should post the same information. Won’t viewers tire of seeing the same message over and over? Maybe not with Twitter. Due to the short life span of a Twitter post, odds are many of your targets won’t see your message the first time. Even if they do, they may not care. Twitter is very high-volume! The social media consultancy CoSchedule has researched this question and found that “Sharing the same social post multiple times drove 192% more click-through’s.” CoSchedule also suggests that it takes up to 12 social media ‘touch points’ for a single message to reach the target audience effectively. In other words, repeating a post isn’t such a bad idea at all!

On the other hand, you can post the same type of content on Twitter as you would on Facebook. Keep it positive, fresh, helpful and friendly. Invite feedback or interaction by posing a question, using hashtags, directing people to your site or another link. The effectiveness can be measured to some extent by the number of re-tweets and ‘likes’ your posts receive.

All of this research data suggests that scheduling is important.
The next installment of this series will take a peek at scheduling and timing for all three social media we have been profiling; Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Have you read earlier installments of this series?

Part 1: Maximizing Instagram with videos
Part 2: Getting noticed on Facebook

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