It’s no longer enough to hope that your business can thrive on word-of-mouth advertising alone. In the age of social media, you must be using the next generation of marketing tools to reach potential customers. If Twitter seems like a foreign land to you, a primer course in reaching your target audience might be in order.

The basics of signing up for Twitter are like other social media sites – you choose a username (make it something relevant to your business, if that’s how you plan to use the site), upload an avatar, and get tweeting – that is, start composing these 140-character posts that are blasted into the electronic world.

It’s not enough, however, to simply tweet. There’s a lot that goes into making sure your tweets get seen – accruing followers, using hashtags, following what’s trending. Following a few tips can make it more likely that your tweets are being read and shared by the people you want.

Who Is Your Target Audience?

In order to reach your target audience, you first need to know who it is. Some products, like male-driven video games or trendy nail polish, make determining the target audience easy. But others aren’t quite so cut and dry, so you need to make a few decisions.

If you don’t think your product or service has a niche demographic, consider this: Twitter’s fastest-growing demographic is 55- to 64-year-olds. Therefore, you might want to expand your audience if you think it’s only tweens, teens, and 20-somethings on Twitter.

Address What’s Trending

When you log into Twitter, there’s a list on the left-hand side of what’s “trending.” It refers to some of the most popular topics on Twitter right now. They’re often news, events, or TV shows, but part of the beauty of Twitter is that you never truly know what could take off as a trending topic.

If you can realistically loop into what’s trending, you can reach a wider audience, including those potential customers you want to reel in. However, to do so, you need to use hashtags.

Do you know who is following you on Twitter?

Use Hashtags Appropriately

Twitter knows what’s trending because of the use of hashtags, which you’ve probably seen out in the wild but was unsure of what they meant. Hashtags are comprised of a topic preceded by a pound symbol, so it looks something like this: #TopicHere. No spaces, no punctuation.

Tweets that use hashtags typically get twice the engagement, but that doesn’t mean more is better – use only one or two, and keep them short. Pick an obvious hashtag rather than trying to be clever (though humorous or ironic hashtags have a place if you’re trying to make your audience smile).

Tweet Every Day

Only 19 percent of brands tweet on the weekends, but engagement is 17 percent higher at that time. If you think about it, that makes sense – consumers have more time to browse social media networks on the weekend, but that’s when most businesses close up shop. Click-through rates tend to be higher on weekends, as well.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to send out tweets on weekends, look into a service or app that allows you to pre-schedule the posts.

It’s hard to keep up with technology, but your business counts on these marketing tools. As soon as you start signing into Twitter every day and seeing your “followers” count grow, you’ll know you made the right investment using Twitter as a social media strategy.

Kelsey Castle is a freelance business writer and editor, focusing on topics such as social media and people such as Cecilia Ibru. She uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn in her daily life.

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