Getting Twitter right: how to perfect your business tweeting strategy

Get the frequency right

Frequency of tweets is a very delicate balance. Tweet too little and you'll be overlooked – once a day isn't going to get you noticed and interacted with. But if you're constantly posting repetitive content, you run the risk of putting people off through overkill.

A business should typically post between eight and 15 tweets a day, not including responses. Put time and thought into the content you are going to share – it's entirely acceptable to spend 90 minutes or more every morning finding and curating content to share throughout the day if you run a busy active feed.

It's also important to respond to as many people as possible. If somebody contacts you through the Twitter feed with a question, always respond. If they have made more of a general comment respond if time allows. It is advisable to respond to as many interactions as possible, without getting drawn into arguments, because this helps build engagement and shows followers that the feed is manned by a real human being, and isn't simply a stream of scheduled tweets.

It's important to remember that scheduled tweets, while useful, are not a substitute for genuine human interaction. On rare occasions, they can land a business in real trouble if there has been a tragic event to which the tweet could be seen to relate.

Get the measurement right

Social media experts have been arguing amongst themselves for some time about what matters more: number of followers or engagement with followers. The simple truth is that both matter. Your boss, for example, is going to like the number of followers, as that's a concrete figure that sounds impressive. Those who live and breathe social media are going to prefer engagement. Quality does trump quantity, but anybody who says they don't care about number of followers is likely to be lying.

There's no one hard and fast way to measure engagement. Third-party metrics like Klout and PeerIndex are useful, as is looking at how the feed is growing. The number of retweets and interactions are also a helpful indication that you're moving in the right direction.

Get the results you want

While numbers of followers, replies and retweets can be an indication of a successful Twitter strategy, sentiment analysis is also important.

There's no point generating 1,000 engagements in a day if they were all to criticise your company or one of your tweets.

If your content is reaching and being discussed positively by influencers – individuals or clients among whom you want to raise awareness of your brand – then you can consider your strategy successful. For many consumer brands the ultimate goal is to achieve endorsement by a celebrity, but there are rules and regulations surrounding this kind of activity and users are very wise to any potential agreement between celebrity and brand.

A useful way to understand the impact of a Twitter strategy is to analyse sales figures, or similar metrics such as inquiries or leads, over a given time period when your Twitter activity is high. Or compare sales figures with a previous year when your brand was less active on social media.

This won't tell the whole story and you will need to take into account other marketing activity. But it is possible to put everything together in one place and look at number of followers, engagement, sentiment, Klout score and growth-related figures.

  • Jon O'Toole is Global Director Community Management at dunnhumby