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How to Turn Tweets to Dollars: Lessons from Top Brands

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Twitter is a powerhouse of marketing capabilities. With over 645 million users and an average of 58 million tweets per day, this social network can serve as a major factor in sales conversions for your business. Developing a credible Twitter presence can not only help you communicate with your customers and engage in trending topics worldwide, but it can also help you augment new clients and leads as well as boost sales.

This how-to will explain the art of transforming tweets into followers, based on the brands American Express (also known as AmEx) and Intel.

Set up goals for Twitter use: Posting on Twitter is like writing an essay: you can jot down a bunch of gibberish, but it won’t land you the “A” or in this case, the big dollars! If you want to make the most out of the 140 characters Twitter allows, then you need to structure your tweets based on a set of specified goals.

What makes a company like American Express so successful on this social platform? Their goals aim for three results:

- Ignite customer advocacy and engagement

- Heighten visibility of the brand and the different products and services offered

- Drive meaningful business results  

According to Alicia Picciotti, American Express’s manager of social media communications, the corporation uses these goals to capitalize on building a community that provides value, relevance, and experience for card members and also for potential customers.

Lesson learned: Develop a set of goals, understand the message you are trying to deliver through the platform, and implement your strategy.

Manage your Twitter presence: Think of your Twitter account as a celebrity: the more you approach the spotlight, the more buzz you’ll get. You don’t want to leave your Twitter account on the back burner if you want to maintain a social following that will garner better business results. Even more, you want to manage your Twitter presence to remain as relevant as possible in the Twitter world – stay in the loop!

Structure is everything. While Fortune 500 companies can have several Twitter Handles, a cohesive presence is still in order.  According to Jennifer Lashua, the manager of social media at Intel, the company is very data-centric, and analyzes tweet and campaign performance, as well as the performance of different handles for other countries. Intel also pays special attention to the way that different audiences and demographics engage and interact with the company, and the effects of paid media on Twitter.

Lesson learned:  Use data to highlight and evaluate all areas of your Twitter presence to get the best possible results.

Measure your success: Success is a reflection of your work. If you want to be more successful on Twitter, then you ought to keep doing your research. AmEx provides a five step approach to measuring success:

- Listen closely: read every tweet, listen to current trends on the platform, and look through your own timeline every day to see what people are talking about and what’s trending.

- Build relationships: Treat followers as individuals and address their needs quickly and responsibly.

- Be personal: Always offer a personalized approach to service.

Example: @AskAmex Twitter Handle gives more opportunity to provide a personalized level  of Twitter service.

- Use a test and learn approach: always try new forms of content and measure results; also, keep an eye out for what other successful brands are doing.

- Be relevant: Align tweets and content to what resonates with community 

Lesson learned: Don’t expect results without the effort. Dig deep into your Twitter activity to identify what works best.

Keep your followers engaged: Did you ever have one of those moments in school when a classmate woke you up because class had ended? Unfortunately, some of us have experienced this, partly from lack of sleep but mainly because the teacher was boring! Managing your Twitter account is like being an instructor and informing your class about all the various elements of your brand.  In other words: don’t bore your students!

Keeping your followers engaged is easily the most important part of this all. If you want to turn tweets to sales, then you need to put content out there that leaves a lasting impact. AmEx’s Picciotti shares an important tip to keep in mind: images help improve engagement. AmEx produces original images to accompany many of their offers and programs.

Lesson learned: Don’t have a boring Twitter account. Post interesting, innovative, and inspiring tweets to keep your followers active.

Take advantage of tools: Running a business requires your attention in multiple areas, and you don’t want to spend all of your hours dedicated to posting on social media. The plus side of Twitter is you can manage your account using the many tools associated with it.

Intel likes to combine multiple tools to keep track of their Twitter activity:

Kapost– CMS  and editorial scheduling tool to help organize content as its being developed

Sprinklr –  for tweet publishing and scheduling

Sysomos –  for social listening : form conversations, share voice, and identify when something needs to be addressed and responded to

There is an array of selections to choose from out of Twitter’s account management tools, but if you need further assistance, hiring a professional to do the job for you could save you even more time.

Lesson learned: Use your time wisely and plan your Twitter activity well in advance. Be sure to take advantage of the various tools offered.  

If there is any social network you should be on top of, it is Twitter. The more you utilize this platform to your advantage, the better business results you will see. The quick update format allows for immediate user attention, but you must post with care. Take these lessons from big brands into consideration and set up a new Twitter strategy for greater outcomes in 2014!