From the early days of random egg-shaped avatars screaming into the void over 140 characters about why one celebrity’s dress was better than the other to modern election cycles. The cynic might view Twitter as nothing more than megaphone-assisted political diatribes without an edit button.
While this certainly exists to some extent, Twitter has grown to over 50 million accounts and as a top-five social media destination in the United States, maturity brings out additional use cases that brands should not ignore.
One big step in this maturation process has been the emergence of Twitter-specific influencers. Due to their relatively inexpensive acquisition cost comparative to professional networks like LinkedIn combined with a Swiss Army knife-like malleability similar to Google My Business influencers, there’s significantly more to the process than meets the eye.
Let’s explore seven different ways a business can employ Twitter influencers to solve a variety of use cases.
Use #1: Social shares
Why: Amplify existing content such as previously written blog posts and hosted videos that exist outside Twitter in order to drive more exposure.
Details: This is one of the easier of the use cases for most brands to grasp. Twitter’s share functionality in the form of Retweets, Quote Tweets (and now likes injected into activity feeds) feel more disposable in nature than the intimate sharing with friends that exists over Facebook. The lower barrier to activity results in higher campaign acceptance rates for brands reaching out to influencers looking for these shares.
Since the amplification use case is designed more to maximize eyeballs than specific audiences, the targeting aspects are more relaxed.
A rough equation used at Intellifluence and other influencer networks would be to suggest Exposure-per-dollar wherein Twitter audience size is divided by the amount the influencer is looking to charge for a simple click.
This use case works best with content targeted towards a broad audience to ensure later KPIs for activity take place.
Use #2: Social engagement
Why: Driving deeper engagement on a conversation can not only increase exposure towards a desired audience as the comments show in the target activity feed, but conversation amongst authorities and industry peers provides an air of legitimacy, acting as social proof.
Details: Much like acquiring social shares, a brand in this case is looking for activity surrounding an existing asset; the primary difference is the asset in this example already exists on Twitter.
Further, pricing can be a little higher as the influencer is being asked to apply some critical thinking and needs to be judicious in word selection when commenting for engagement’s sake (though not as much as a review, which we’ll get to).
Targeting for engagement is also a bit more focused than simple social sharing, as the engagement that matters most will be from individuals the intended audience will respect. One easy method to locate these individuals is via Twitter’s own search functionality for specific keywords, both hashtags, and plain text.
An additional tip is to draw in specific influencers to a conversation occurring on Twitter.
This requires more nuance to not appear spammy.
By comment mentioning @NameOfInfluencer in reference to something s/he posted or commented elsewhere, the probability of ego baiting said influencer into the conversation increases dramatically. Don’t overuse this technique as it will become obvious what you’re doing and never do it if you have already pitched monetary compensation to the individual and were turned down.
Use #3: Social review
Why: When the KPI you are chasing requires eliciting a specific action such as sale, newsletter signup, or other lead generation activity, it is necessary to provide a more detailed endorsement than a Retweet or comment can provide.
Details: The individuals needed for a product or service review on Twitter should be hyper-focused on what you are selling.
Celebrity aspirational influencers only make sense in the context of the product having broad geographic and socioeconomic appeal.
Start with the best of the best: the industry experts you might have wanted to target your social engagement campaign. Get these industry experts to act as proxy authorities on your offering as well as social peers to your intended buying audience.
Expect the prices charged by influencers to be higher as the work they are required to put in is more of a time investment in order to accurately describe their endorsement via Tweet.
In previous years, social reviews over Twitter were similar to a Quote Tweet with a few sentences acting as an endorsement with a link out.
While this is still part of the strategy, the effectiveness of the method has evolved somewhat to where the initial Tweet can be thought of as the primary call-to-action language complete with the necessary URL, backed up with a Tweetstorm explanation of why the endorsement is taking place, such as a list of reasons.
The Tweetstorm threaded formatting enlists deeper readership by the influencer’s audience and a stronger probability of comment-driven engagement to extend efficacy of the campaign itself.
Use #4: Video reviews
Why: It is extremely difficult to convey a complex matter over 140 characters; 280 isn’t much better. When dealing with complex explanations, a good video can go a long way.
Details: Before starting, pour a drink out for Vine. Now pour another out for Periscope.
Vine was a wonderful short-form video service purchased by Twitter that was subsequently shut down. The demand for the humor-driven short format service has since shifted to rapidly growing TikTok.
At the beginning of writing this article, the video review solution for using influencers on Twitter resided then on the hope of Periscope. Unfortunately, that will now be sunset in March of 2021.
So how can brands get video reviews on Twitter?
The main concepts of Periscope have been adopted into the core Live product. Live reviews are objectively the same as regular social reviews in terms of influencer compensation and needs, with one caveat: timing.
As Live implies a time constraint, the timing of your influencers’ content needs to be managed to coincide with the time when a brand’s prospective audience is most likely to be on Twitter.
For specific use, Live content is ideal for both explaining complex matters and providing time-sensitive offers to spur the desired action.
Use #5: Contest/Giveaway for account growth
Why: Sometimes the best way to get attention is by giving away attention. When the KPI is to increase Twitter accounts following legitimately, contests and giveaways are the best way.
Details: The concept is relatively straightforward. If a brand is looking for a more authoritative account, the last thing you want is to purchase low-quality bot traffic and fake followers.
Instead, allow for self-selection of followers by periodically running contests and giveaways that somehow tie to the core product or service.
In the case of Intellifluence, the desire was to increase the number of influencers paying attention to the CEO’s account and the main brand account. To satisfy that, a simple giveaway was created to offer cash in exchange for a minor hoop-jumping activity.
The result was the positive lead generation of new influencers and a lot of additional attention.
For brands that are looking for specific paying users of their site, the giveaway could be a free subscription.
For brands selling a physical product, the giveaway could be the physical product.
The Retweets and comments in the example above were all from influencers recruiting more influencers, a virtuous cycle of activity.
If the contest is remotely successful, interview the winner like we did and re-run the contest again with a larger audience baked in to share your message.
Use #6: Press relations
Why: In short, influencer marketing is having someone tell your story for you.
Details: The PR world has been on a collision course with most mediums in the digital world since the advent of the Internet.
Influencer marketing is simply the latest collision.
For a brand’s purposes, the Twitter press relations game can be thought of as a multi-step process.
Keep in mind that the real power of press releases from an influencer perspective is to get the attention of those journalist contacts for the purposes of generating media interviews and garnering follow-up attention.
How to do this?
Step 1. Hire an authoritative influencer in your niche to write a positive story about whatever milestone you are looking to promote. This influencer doesn’t necessarily need to be Twitter-specific, but it helps if they have a strong Twitter following.
Step 2. Employ Twitter-specific influencers to Quote Tweet this content, utilizing mentions to the specific journalists you want to get in front of.
Step 3. Have your active listening customer service team (more on that below) comment positively in the thread that mentions the journalist and casually mentions being open to discussing what you’re building or doing.
It. Really. Works.
Use #7: Sneaky sales and customer service
Why: A happy customer might tell one person. An unhappy customer might tell ten people. An anti-vaxxer will probably tell ten thousand.
Details: All jokes aside, the premise is outreach with speed. When a prospective customer, current customer, or former customer is venting on Twitter, it is a prime opportunity for you as a brand to interject into the conversation and redirect.
The faster the response, the more appreciated and effective the outcome.
Anyone on Twitter has seen how angry frequent travelers can get at their airlines for poor customer service and take to put them on blast.
What’s the outcome? In most cases, if the Twitter user is prominent enough, a representative will jump into the conversation and try to make the problem right.
If you pay closer attention, the airline wasn’t always mentioned in the complaint, so they’re employing active listening. It is not enough to pay attention to brand mentions, but also the relevant hashtags and keywords used to know when a customer service nightmare needs to diffused before it explodes.
The same comes into play with sales.
A frustrated prospect might complain into the void about the need to solve problem XYZ, which just happens to be what you do! By having a small group of engaged influencers working on your behalf via active listening, compensated by a mix of hourly wage and per acquisition, they can redirect the prospect’s pain into your solution.
It’s sneaky because not only are you growing your sales, but you might be directly doing so at the expense of your competition.
Are there more use cases for Twitter influencers? Absolutely.
As with any advanced medium, there are far more use cases for Twitter influencers than the seven listed above. The limitations are constrained only by a brand’s imagination.
Guest author: Joe Sinkwitz is the Co-Founder and CEO of Intellifluence. Joe has close to 20 years of experience in SEO, leading several successful marketing companies, and providing expert consultation. Joe recently published The Ultimate Guide to Using Influencer Marketing, available in print or ebook.