BEST PRACTICES

How to promote content with Twitter in 2020

The Digital Publisher’s Guide to Social Media

Thanks to social media, delivering content to thousands of people at once is as easy as hitting the “Post” button. But it isn’t always easy to achieve the results you have in mind. That’s why we’re bringing you a new series all about making these channels work for your digital publishing needs. Our final entry: how to promote content with Twitter.

Why use Twitter to promote content?

As social media networks have evolved over the last decade, Twitter has taken on an increasingly complicated role. It began in 2006 as a simple “microblogging” platform designed to let users share thoughts of 140 characters or fewer, but tweeting has become especially popular among politicians, journalists and comedians. As a result, Twitter can be tricky territory for businesses in general and digital publishers in particular.

That isn’t to say businesses aren’t successfully using Twitter to communicate. The platform boasts 166 million monetizable daily active users that companies are eager to reach. However, achieving the elusive status of a brand that is “good at Twitter” may not be the most sensible goal for your business. In fact, unless you have a dedicated Tweeter on your social media team, you may find it challenging just to keep up with trending topics.

Instead, focusing on your audience provides a more practical option for digital publishers who want to promote content with Twitter. Customers are comfortable tweeting brands to ask questions, solve problems and offer feedback. Once your business’s account is set up, this kind of interaction makes Twitter a great place to have a conversation about your content. Read on for our best tips for including Twitter in your digital publishing strategy.

Embrace the format

First, consider the tweet. Although the text used to be capped at 140 characters, Twitter doubled the length of a tweet to 280 characters in 2017. But don’t be fooled by the extra room—any links you share in your tweet are included in the character count. In addition to being short, Tweets tend to have a short “lifespan.” Unlike the evergreen content of Pinterest or social posts on Facebook and LinkedIn, Tweets are usually seen by users for 15-20 minutes.  

This brevity might make it seem awkward to promote content with Twitter if your emphasis is on longer, more immersive digital publications. One common strategy to get around this issue involves sharing your content multiple times. Since your tweets probably won’t all surface in the feeds of your followers, it’s a safe way to improve your publication’s chances of getting noticed. (Just be sure to tweet about something different in between!)

But even the savviest Tweeters know that overall, the platform is rarely a strong source of referral traffic. Research estimates that under 20% of social referral traffic to outside articles comes from Twitter. While that doesn’t mean you should abandon plans to promote content with Twitter, it should inform both your expectations and your strategy. To make a bigger impact, invest time in finding the right audience and having a conversation.

Find your niche

Before you can go looking for your ideal audience on Twitter, you’ll need to have a pretty good idea of the target audience for your content. In other words, who is your content created for? For example, a white paper might be aimed at B2B managers in your business’s field. Or a video about new fashion trends could be aimed at young adults. Knowing your target audience is an essential part of any digital publishing strategy.

Next, investigate where your target audience is active on Twitter. Despite the outsized attention that a few high-profile users attract, there are lots of smaller communities having their own conversations. The discussions among start-up founders, entrepreneurs and professionals happening on Business Twitter may be a good match for your B2B digital publications, but with a little research you can find communities for all kinds of interests.

Hashtags are a simple tool to help you promote content with Twitter in the right places. (No surprise there—modern hashtags originated on tweets back in 2009!) Identify a couple of hashtags that appear regularly in your target audience’s Twitter community. Then use them in tweets to share your digital publications. But beware: your tweet’s hashtags and overall tone should always fit your content. In other words, trendy hashtags, jokey messaging and lead generation rarely work together.

Define your goals

In the end, the success of your strategy to promote content with Twitter depends in large part on having a clear idea of what you hope to achieve. Because of their format, tweets may not prove to be a huge source of traffic for your digital publications. However, Twitter is a unique channel for keeping in touch with your audience. You may prefer to prioritize followers, profile visits and interactions over the number of clicks your content receives.

An audience-focused strategy still provides plenty of opportunities to share your content. For instance, you can choose a single tweet to pin to the top of your profile. Simply select a high-performing tweet that links to the digital publication you want to boost. This easy step has big benefits. Any user who stops by your profile is guaranteed to see your promoted content first.

Ultimately, the fast-paced conversation that happens on Twitter makes it a flexible tool for businesses. You may use tweets to broadcast service updates, offer customer support, advertise or strengthen your brand. But for digital publishers looking to promote content with Twitter, establishing your presence and opening up a connection with your audience is the best way to start.

Ready to start?

Now that you’ve got all the details about how to promote content with Twitter, it’s time to turn your online documents into great digital publications. Sign up for your free Calaméo account today and explore what digital publishing can do for you!