Twitter is a powerful platform for a business trying to engage in one-on-one conversations with their audience, while also trying to monetize their social media marketing efforts.
Monetizing your social media channels is just one of the many goals an organization should keep in mind, but important nevertheless, since all the activities occurring across your business should be driving measurable value.
Today, there are 347,000+ tweets posted on Twitter every 60 seconds.
This highlights how widely used the service is today, how powerful it can be for promoting your messaging, and how difficult it can be to get your tweets seen among the pure volume of content posted on the platform throughout the day.
Why should your business spend time trying to monetize your Twitter efforts?
Twitter is a platform for establishing leverage with your audience and the social community at large.
By consistently providing valuable content and ongoing dialogue with your audience, you'll begin to build their trust and establish a relationship with them. Monitor your business on Twitter on a daily basis to ensure you don't miss any opportunities to connect with your customers.
The goal of this long-term process is to educate, delight, and humanize your brand for your audience.
Therefore, when it comes time to ask something of your customers, like shopping your new product assortment or visiting your website, they will more likely to oblige due to the relationship you've already established and the value they've already seen from your business on Twitter.
Since Twitter is the ideal platform to build long-term leverage with your audience, here are a few techniques to monetizing your Twitter community.
Drive Traffic to Landing Pages & Product Pages
Among the assortment of tweets you're sharing with your audience, discuss how your products and services help deal with some of the ongoing issues your customers face.
Share a tweet with valuable information as well as a link to where customers can view your products or services.
Twitter runs an advertising account called @TwitterAdTips that sends its followers tips on best practices for driving results on the platform.
Twitter suggests not including hashtags or other rich media like video or photos when trying to drive clicks on a particular link in a tweet.
When it comes to driving traffic from a tweet to your website to encourage sales, keep your tweets simple.
Hashtags and rich media are typically an effective addition to your tweets, but they are included to achieve other goals and if you're looking to drive clicks to your links then remit them.
Ideally, the more relevant Twitter followers will be sent to your website from Twitter and will make a purchase then or in the future.
Advertise Using Twitter Cards
Although using Twitter search is an effective way of finding your customers on the network, it's difficult to scale.
Twitter advertising is another effective way of gaining more traction from your daily tweets among your customer base, since you're paying for added reach.
Twitter Cards are a form of Twitter advertising that has many use cases like giving a your customer's the ability to shop a product, download an app, or sign up for an e-mail newsletter to help monetize your presence on the social platform.
Twitter cards appear below a tweet to offer more functionality to a user based on the content of the tweet. Of the eight types of Twitter cards, the following three types are the most effective at helping to generate sales for your business.
1. The App Card: This Twitter card allows an account to highlight their business's mobile app in order to make it as easy as possible for someone to download the app from clicking the link at the bottom of the tweet.
2. The Product Card: This card highlights where to find a product featured in a tweet by providing a link, image and description of that product pulled from your website.
3. The Lead Generation Card: Increasing your e-mail list or downloads of your latest content, can help build a database of leads for your business to convert later down the customer funnel.
This card features an image, more about your offer, and a call-to-action button that captures the e-mails of any Twitter users that choose to sign-up directly from their account.
Include Media-Rich Content to Encourage Engagement
If you're looking to encourage ongoing sales from your Twitter content, then it's important to feature your offerings with a variety of media. The previous tip suggested not to use rich media when trying to drive traffic to your website, which still stands.
Yet, when trying to educate your audience about your expertise in the industry, as well as the features and benefits of your products, it's extremely helpful to illustrate your point with images and video.
— Coach, Inc. (@Coach) March 14, 2014
For example, this tweet above from Coach illustrates how an organization can use a photo to show how a product works.
Therefore, photos and video are more effective at highlighting the value of your offerings and are far more likely to help drive sales from Twitter in the long-term.
Use a mix of tweets focused on driving traffic to your website, while others focus on showing your offerings and how they can best be used to add value to your customer's lives.
Improve the Quality of Leads with Twitter Chats
A Twitter chat is an effective way of driving ongoing conversations with your audience on the channel, which can help lead to more sales for your business in the future.
After hosting a Twitter chat, your business won't experience an immediate increase in sales but what your business will see overtime is an increase in conversation between your business and your audience which can lead to long-term customer retention.
A biweekly or monthly Twitter chat can help give your business a human feel since you're engaging in real conversations, which will go a long way towards building loyalty among your audience.
By hosting a Twitter chat centered on topics of interest to your customers, you'll be able to answer important questions about your industry, your products or services, and expertise as well as discuss relevant trends to pay attention to.
For example, Experian hosts a Twitter chat every Thursday to spur conversations with their audience on the network.
They invite industry experts to the chat as guests, ask them questions about the industry and help answer the questions of participants throughout the chat.
Overtime, their Twitter chat has become well attended by experts in the industry looking to participate in informative conversations about the advertising marketplace.
Empowering your Twitter audience with more valuable information about the industry and your offerings as a business will help position your organization more favorably with your customer base.
An ongoing Twitter chat will help your company continue to build strong associations with your audience over time and as a result of this increased loyalty, will hopefully increase sales.
How has Twitter driven results for your business? What strategies have worked best for your organization on Twitter to increase valuable conversations? Share your input in the comments below.
Brian Honigman is a Marketing Consultant, Speaker & Freelance Writer. He's worked with clients like Dell, HubSpot, Citibank, Toyota and Poptip. He's written for Forbes, The Next Web, Mashable and others. Follow him on Twitter.
A version of this column previously appeared on the Sumall blog.