As was demonstrated in our previous blog post about how semiconductor companies can increase their Instagram engagement, tech companies do tend to find it difficult to grow an engaged social following. This, in turn, impacts the extent to which social media can be used to drive traffic to their blogs.
There seems to be a widespread worry that the tech industry is too boring and complex for social media. That tech-related topics aren’t interesting enough to engage users and encourage them to click ‘follow’.
Twitter, in particular, is an informal and chatty platform that, in the eyes of many tech companies, doesn’t mesh well with complex, technical topics. There’re a lot of accounts tweeting about #AI, #CyberSecurity, #BlockChain, and more, but it’s rare to spot one with a lot of genuine engagement.
So, how can we change this? How can we develop a technical marketing plan for Twitter that results in an engaged following and more blog traffic?
1. Use short, useful tweets
Particularly when discussing a complicated topic, concise tweets that get the point across quickly are likely to be more effective at grabbing people’s attention than long-winded tweets.
You should aim to be helpful, whilst including your own opinion wherever possible. Lots of accounts are tweeting about tech news and ideas – putting your own spin on it will be what makes you stand out. Don’t be afraid to show a little personality, like Liron Segev.
If you need to explain or discuss a topic that requires a few more words, try using Twitter threads. They allow you to post a series of tweets but don’t annoy your followers by taking up their entire feed.
This can also work when you go to conferences and events. Live tweeting is a great way to show off your personality and give your followers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your day. You could include interesting quotes from speakers and photos of bits of tech that are impressing you.
2. Use ‘I’ rather than ‘we’
A great way to make your account more personable and relatable is to tweet from one person’s point of view, rather than speaking as the company, or at least have an obvious human presence.
This is easy for one-man-bands and bloggers but, for larger companies, this takes a bit more thought.
Will your account be manned by one employee, who tweets as themself? Will your employees have their own Twitter accounts linking back to your company account? Or, will you post personalised tweets from each of your employees?
There are many different paths you could take. One tactic that many companies adopt is to have a separate account for the ‘face’ of the brand, usually the CEO. Tim O’Reilly and Anil Dash have demonstrated this perfectly by tweeting using their own voice, which followers then see as the voice of their company.
3. Think about Twitter whilst writing your blog posts
When creating your content, you should already be thinking about how you’ll promote it. You’ll probably post your new blog post to Twitter a fair few times, and you don’t want to post it with the same accompanying text every single time. Your followers don’t want to see the same posts in their feed all the time.
Including short, snappy one-liners in your blog post can help you out here. Not only will it force you to make your posts more concise and interesting, but it will give you impactful text for your promotional tweets.
Think about film trailers – they often include the best bits from the film to encourage viewers to watch the whole thing. This is how you should approach promoting your blog posts.
4. Turn statistics into graphics
Aah, data. If you’re in the tech industry, chances are you’ll have to deal with a lot of it. It makes sense, therefore, that some of that data finds its way onto your Twitter account.
You could present findings and statistics to your followers in a really boring way. Or, you could put them into an interesting, colourful graphic that will stop your followers from just scrolling past.
Take the important bits of data, turn them into a graphic that is attention-grabbing but still communicates the message clearly, and post it alongside some short observations or opinions.
The thing to remember is not to share too much at once. Twitter is all about giving away little snippets of information. If you have a lot to share, that’s great! Just divide everything up into bite-sized chunks and share it all over a few weeks rather than in the same day.
5. Create Twitter lists
Once you have found people on Twitter who fit your target audience or just people who you’d like to interact with more, add them to a private list.
Growing an engaged following is all about interacting with others and taking part in discussions. Have a flick through your private list on a daily basis and try to interact with one or two every day.
In your normal Twitter feed, you can often miss tweets from people you want to engage with. With a Twitter list, you can create a more specific feed that reduces the chances of this happening.
6. Use relevant hashtags in your tweets
Before we go into finding and using hashtags, it’s important to remember not to over-hashtag. Within the tech and marketing communities in particular, many people have a habit of including lots of hashtags in every tweet, thinking that this will increase the reach of their posts.
While it will increase the number of impressions your tweets receive, your engagement rate will be poor as your tweets will appear spammy and unappealing. Your aim is to include as much of your own voice and content as possible within your tweets to encourage people to relate to you and what you’re saying. Don’t waste your precious character count on hashtags!
Use one or two hashtags to increase your reach, but no more than that. Academy Cube, for example, gets the balance right. You should also use relevant hashtags and avoid jumping on whatever is trending; there’s no point pushing your tweets in front of an audience that doesn’t care about them.
RiteTag is a useful tool that helps you find hashtags that are popular at the moment and relevant to the topic you’re tweeting about.
7. Share other people’s content
As we’ve mentioned many times already in this post, growing a following that will be interested in you and your blog is all about engagement. You need to be interacting with others on Twitter.
The best way to do this is by sharing content by other people. Flattery will get you everywhere and, by sharing content with a nice comment and your own opinion on the topic will allow you to start a discussion with them.
Make sure you mention the creator of the content when you share it, by using the ‘@’ symbol too. Then, they can see that you’ve shared their content, which everyone appreciates, and this will open the door for a conversation and maybe even earn you a follow. Steve Herrod, for example, does this quite a lot; his tweets mentioning others often perform best too.
8. Share photos and videos
Whether you’re in the office, at an event, or working from home, keep your Twitter followers updated with photos and videos that communicate your personality.
They can be videos that show your followers what you’re working on, diary-style updates, or even just a photo of the office dog. Humans are nosy creatures, and we love seeing glimpses into other people’s lives. Colin Dixon, for example, sometimes tweets about his home life and these tweets are the ones that gain the most engagement.
The tech industry tends to struggle with displaying a more personable side. Showing off the minds that run your company, therefore, will make you stand out amongst the competition. People will be more willing to hear what you have to say and interact with you if they feel that they know you and like you.
In addition to this, explaining complex topics in simple terms will also win you some followers. Cisco and HP both do this by creating videos that jazz up the subject at hand and make it easy to follow.
9. Use polls
There are a number of ways you can use polls to increase your account’s engagement. Polls are a good way of giving your followers an easy way to engage with you and even give them a chance to feel like they’re part of the company’s decision-making process.
Your polls could include asking your followers’ opinions on a topic or news story, what content they would like you to create next, or what could be changed about your customer service or product. It’s a really easy way of listening to customers and potential customers and allowing them to guide your content and improve your service.
If you take nothing else away from this post, remember this: engage, engage, engage! There’s no use just posting links to your blog post every day. You need to engage with your followers and give them a reason to click on those links.
Most of the time, no one follows an account just to see links. They want insights into your company and your personality. Twitter is for informal, chatty posts that bring you closer to your audience. Don’t drive them away by going for the hard sell in an environment where it isn’t welcome.
Aim to make your page the go-to page for your particular expertise, but avoid robotic updates and purely promotional content. Provide a personable commentary, give your opinions, and get involved.