Creating a Twitter Marketing Strategy in 2021

White Twitter bird over light blue background. Twitter marketing strategy blog.
White Twitter bird over light blue background. Twitter marketing strategy blog.

Is there still a place for Twitter in your 2021 marketing strategy? The short answer is: yes.

The rise of other social media platforms might make it seem like many people and brands are abandoning Twitter in favor of other channels like Instagram, LinkedIn, or even TikTok.

But the truth of the matter is that Twitter still holds more than 190 million monetizable daily active users, led by the United States and Japan. Over 500 million tweets are sent each day, so this channel is still well worth using for marketers.

Table of Contents

What’s New on Twitter in 2021?

Twitter is doing its best to stay relevant by releasing several new features that have already proven to be popular on rival social media platforms. Stay ahead of the curve by incorporating the following into your Twitter marketing. 

1. Fleets

Their version of Instagram Stories, called “Fleets”, was beta-tested in early 2020, rolling out globally in November 2020. Just like Insta Stories, they show up as a row of circles at the top of the Twitter homepage and disappear after 24 hours. Currently, they are not shareable by retweeting but you can DM (direct message) a “Fleet” to people you follow. 

2. Twitter business account

Twitter is currently testing a new version of a profile, intended for businesses. It is actually surprising it has taken Twitter this long to make this move, considering all the major platforms have offered business profiles for years, typically including things like advanced analytics features and advertising capabilities. 

Business accounts on Twitter will include an automatic ‘verified’ check mark (which currently you need to apply for), a business category, and an expanded ‘About’ section in your bio that can include a location map, contact button, and more.

3. Spaces

In 2020, Twitter also introduced “Spaces”, which is basically their version of Instagram Live. When you go Live with Spaces on Twitter, your profile photo will show up with a purple background at the front of the Fleet line on the top of the homepage. It will remain purple for the duration of your Live session. People can then join your Space and react with emojis or comments.

4. No more cropped photos

Tweet made from official Twitter account demonstrating a fully expanded vertical photo, which is how photos will now look on mobile, without the automatic Twitter crop.

Just the other week the hashtag #RIPTwitterCrop was trending. Why? Twitter has done away with their limiting image size (horizontal 1,024x512 pixels), now allowing vertical images to fully show in-stream. (Note: this change is only visible on mobile Tweets. Images will still appear cropped on desktop). 

Who is Your Audience on Twitter?

Before doubling down on your Twitter marketing strategy, you need to make sure of two things: a) that enough of your target audience is on Twitter and b) you know who they are. Talking to the right people at the right time is essential for effective marketing. 

Twitter users tend to be in the older range. About 63% of all Twitter users worldwide are between the ages of 35 and 65. (oberlo.com)

Why Do People Use Twitter in 2021?

Now that you know who your Twitter audience is, let’s determine some of the primary reasons people use Twitter in the first place. 

1 . News

Rack of newspapers

Twitter’s trending topics are a great way to find out what’s going on around the world, in your network, as well as by topic. You can see what’s trending in sports, entertainment, politics, etc. 

Trends reflect what people are talking about moment by moment at the highest possible volume. So it’s truly a representation of what the majority of the population is deeming interesting or important. Brands can take advantage of this by using a trending hashtag or weighing in on a particular topic. 

2. Entertainment

In today’s easily distracted world, people are constantly craving and seeking to be entertained. Whether that’s by a funny meme, a cat video, or sitting back with popcorn to watch a Twitter fight unfold. 

Consider this when crafting your Twitter strategy - even if your brand isn’t necessarily humorous by default, you can still join in the Twitter fun. Craft a clever reply to a competitor's Tweets, or incorporate humor into a video ad to give people the type of content they’re looking for.

Food chains and streaming services are particularly good at trolling each other:

A Twitter exchange between IHOP and Dennys where the two brands try to claim their place as the "OG of pancakes".

3. To complain

There’s no doubt about it. Twitter is the new “can I speak to a manager” customer service line. Being a brand on social media unfortunately isn’t all fun and games.

The fundamental nature of customer service and complaints has changed since anyone can simply create a post tagging the offending brand, or they can reply on a thread.

Sometimes it can be really difficult to separate which comments are actually serious enough to warrant a response or further action, from those that are just annoyed people sounding off in the heat of the moment. It’s become an art form for social media teams: knowing how to identify and de-escalate crises on social media. 

4. To learn

There are millions of communities on Twitter. People meet others with common interests, common jobs, or common values through using the same hashtags and following the same influencers within a particular niche. 

It’s a great way to connect and learn from others as well as discover new blogs, articles, and professional development resources. Twitter Chats are a popular method these communities use to encourage conversation — and users can usually find even more niche sub-communities this way. We’ll go into this in a bit more detail later.

Twitter Marketing Tips

Photo of a robin perched on a tree branch with wide open mouth, chirping.

Ok, so if you’ve determined that enough of your audience is on Twitter it’s time to craft your strategy for marketing to them. Let’s break down some key Twitter marketing tips that will help you find followers, increase engagement, and run a successful Twitter strategy:

1 . What are your goals?

If you’re using Twitter for business you need to know why you want your organization to have a Twitter presence. Answering this question is imperative for shaping your strategy for reaching new and existing customers. A few things to consider:

  • Brand awareness - if your brand is still small, using Twitter could be an excellent platform to build a following and increase brand awareness
  • Sales - businesses need to make money! Whether you’re B2B or B2C or both, Twitter can help you increase sales as another touch-point with your customers. You can use promoted Tweets to advertise a product, run contests, or drive new followers. 
  • Customer service - some brands treat their Twitter feed primarily as a way to keep their customers abreast of things going on such as a power outage, internet interruption, or software glitch. It's also a great way to reply to customer reviews and complaints in real time.

2. Find your voice

To be successful on Twitter, you need to be super clear about your communication style. Twitter is a bit different than the other major platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook in that the character count is so limited. Because of this people often use certain abbreviations and hashtags, so make sure you know the common hashtags in your industry. 

Understanding Gif and Meme communication as well is super important for brands on Twitter. Both for participating, as well as for knowing when to show restraint. You should also know what certain Gifs are commonly used for to avoid using them out of context, thus appearing very out of touch with the Twitter user base. 

For example, the “relieved Denzel Washington” Gif is frequently used when people click on a trending celebrity and find out they're trending for another reason other than passing away. (This happens every year on Betty White’s birthday). 

3. Community engagement

Social media should be just that — social. Use Twitter as a way to get to know your audience and interact with them. Discover commonalities in your audience such as who they follow and similarities in the keywords they use in their bios. Use this to inform your Tweet copy and tone of voice.

Two ways to include community building into your 2021 Twitter strategy:

Twitter chats

Remember Twitter chats? This is another fantastic way to get in front of potential followers and customers in an informal, conversational way while still displaying a sense of authority in your industry. As we mentioned before, chats are usually focused on a particular subject or community, and they can target sub-niches within a community.

Consider travel for example. People love to travel but there are so many different ways and styles. Through chats like #LuxTravelChat luxury travelers can get to know one another, and through #FoodTravelChat, foodies can share their favorite memories of meals on the road.   

Chats are often sponsored by an influencer or brand, which is an excellent way to get involved in your community, answer real questions, and learn real pain points that your brand can help solve.

Memes

Get in on the fun of memes on Twitter! This is where it pays to have a young, active social media user as your social media manager. When they’re on the platform everyday anyway, they're not going to miss fun new memes and can recommend ways to use them to your brand's advantage. Memes, when used effectively, are a great way to encourage retweets.

Here’s how popular shoe brand Rothys participated in a very recent meme going around:

 4. Take advantage of hashtags

It would be worth it to create a branded hashtag, so people can easily refer to you. Branded hashtags can be the same as your handle, but the more useful way to use them is to refer to a campaign, value, or specific sale. They are especially helpful for shortening and abbreviating brand names and campaigns. For example, if you run a flower special for Mother's Day each year, instead of spelling out every word your hashtag could look something like #MDFlowers21. 

As you craft your Twitter marketing strategy, come up with a list of potential hashtags you’d like to use. You’ll want to narrow it down to two, ideally one, to be included in your bio. You don’t want to dilute the power of your hashtag by giving people too many choices. 

Twitter profile of Whole Foods, showing a branded hashtag in the bio

You should also be using hashtags to join the Twitter conversation. Make sure you use the right hashtags for certain holidays, events, and trending topics. Like in the example above where we tagged our flower sale hashtag with “21” for the year, keep an eye out for this for annual celebrations. 

5. Keep a schedule

White desktop showing a laptop and schedule planner

Lastly, you should come up with a schedule for the frequency, times, and days you post to Twitter. This helps your team stay organized as well as regularly seeds your profile with new content. The easiest way is to use a scheduling platform such as Hootsuite or Meltwater's social management tools!

Experiment with different times and different volumes to gather data around your audience's engagement. Once you’ve been scheduling for a few months, pull engagement metrics (impressions, video views, clicks, retweets, etc.,) to analyze when people are interacting with your Tweets the most.

A note of caution: crises can spark quickly if you forget what you’ve scheduled when unexpected things happen, whether globally or internally. Tweet copy that would have been perfectly innocent a day before can change meaning overnight, depending on the context of what’s going on in the world. For example, maybe a product is selling out and so you celebrate by posting "our new sneakers brand is on fire!" Then news hits of wildfires in your area. Not the best look for your brand.

Using Twitter Ads

Twitter ad for Dove body wash showing grey text saying "promoted" to indicate that it's an ad.

Augment your Twitter marketing strategy with advertising! Twitter ads are easy to use and can be fairly cost effective depending on how you choose to use them. Tweets that have the word “promoted” attached to them are ads. 

There are a few key ways you can put money behind your Twitter account for advertising and we’ll go into them below! 

What is a Twitter ad campaign?

On Twitter, brands have the option to “promote” different kinds of content including Tweets (photo or video), an account, or a trend. These are the different types of Twitter ads available:

Promoted Tweets are exactly what they sound like — promoting a single Tweet for various goals including gaining followers, website traffic, and video views. This is similar to boosting a Facebook post.

Instead of just promoting one tweet, you have the option to promote your entire account, targeting people who don’t already follow you. These Tweets include a follow CTA directly within them, so they’re great for increasing follower count. Promoted accounts also show up in “suggested people to follow”.

Forget about a 24-hour news cycle. Twitter trends are practically a minute-by-minute cycle, indicating what people are tweeting about in the highest volume at any given time. To help brands get in on this massive exposure, Twitter does offer the ability to purchase a spot on the trending list (it will clearly be labeled as ‘promoted’). 

How much is Twitter advertising?

Twitter ads are served on an auction system. Advertising campaigns on Twitter can be customized to fit your budget and there is no minimum spend requirement so it is an accessible social media marketing tool for both large and small businesses. 

You bid on available ad space and how much you want to pay for a “billable action” taken by your chosen audience, on your Twitter ads. The more you bid, the more chance you have of getting in front of your target.

Promoted Tweets are the lower-cost option, ranging from $0.50 to $2.00, while a promoted account can cost between $2.00 - $4.00. Promoting a trend is by far the most exorbitant option, costing $200,000 per day. 

What are billable actions on Twitter?

Man holding credit card in front of laptop screen, ready to make a payment

Like many digital ad campaign set-ups, Twitter charges based on a number of different actions taken by the user. When setting up your campaign you can pick and choose which actions you’d like to bid on and for how much. And you’ll only be charged when those actions are taken. Twitter splits these actions into 3 buckets: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion.

Billable actions include the following:

Reach - paying for ad impressions on Tweets. This is an Awareness action.

Video views - bidding on cost per view (CPV). This is a Consideration action.

Pre-roll views - insert an ad before premium content (CPV). This is a Consideration action.

App install - pay when someone clicks a link to install your app. This is a Consideration action.

Website clicks - pay when someone visits your website. This is a Consideration action.

Engagements - increase engagement on your Tweets and pay per engagement. This is a Consideration action.

Followers - paying for followers. This is a Consideration action.

App re-engagements - draw people back to your site or app a second time. This is a Conversion action.

Who is eligible for Twitter ads?

There is no follower number restriction for posting a Twitter ad, but there are still a few eligibility rules.

1. Brand new accounts will be held for review before they can begin posting Twitter ads

2. Tweets used for ads must be public

3. Account must be active. Deactivated or suspended accounts cannot post ads

Examples of 3 brands that are killing it with their Twitter marketing strategy

These brands lean in to the community building capabilities of Twitter, providing entertainment, company news, and incorporating promotional campaigns with great balance. And for some other great examples, check out how these SaaS companies use Twitter to their advantage!

1. Netflix

From fun post captions like this:

To retweeting everyday watchers expressing their enjoyment and interest in Netflix shows and movies, Netflix has truly embraced the fun side of social media. They deftly balance promotional content with light-hearted humor and a clear focus on the film and television community.

Netflix is also an example of a brand that’s chosen to create multiple accounts as opposed to just one. You can follow the main Netflix account or you can follow Netflix Movies or regional accounts like Netflix UK & Ireland or Netflix Philippines for example.

2. Oreo

Oreo gained national recognition on Twitter when they demonstrated how a brand can expertly and appropriately take advantage of a situation, even when they are not immediately relevant. 

During Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, when a blackout occurred and the game plunged into darkness, Oreo posted a simple tweet to lighten the, understandably angry and annoyed, mood of football fans. (This is also a very important case study supporting the benefits of balancing scheduled Tweets with live posting). If you want more proof, check out the impressed and complimentary comments on the Tweet.

That was a few years ago, and their copy today is no less clever and fun to scroll through. 

Oreos Twitter page showing five fun and humorous tweets in a row.

They also do a brilliant job of replying to comments on their threads, which in turn encourages more comments. A self-fulfilling prophecy for increased Twitter engagement!

3. Smartwater

A bottled water brand doesn’t really need a social media presence for anything other than boring but necessary self-promotion, right? It’s just water, right? Smartwater: hold my...water.

Ok, we’ve said the word “water” enough probably. But seriously, Smartwater does a masterful job of using their platform on Twitter to promote wellness, good health, and good spirit in mind, body, and soul — all things that are helped along by staying hydrated. 

This is the kind of content that is so decidedly non-promotional it, therefore, endears a wider audience to the brand. Smartwater isn’t talking about themselves or their product. They’re just talking about well-being...which happens to be a benefit of drinking water. Genius.

Are you feeling ready to take on Tweets, Twitter Ads, Fleets, and Spaces? Learn more about how Meltwater can help you utilize these Twitter essentials and more social media essentials by filling out the form below!

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