Twitter Best Practices

You know what blows our mind over here at InsuranceSocial.Media? When we see a tweet that links to a Facebook Page. Honestly, what is that?

Well, we’ve given it some thought. Could be laziness, right? (We actually heard someone explain connecting their Facebook and Twitter accounts by saying that they didn’t have the time or the inclination to figure out how to use Twitter.)

Could be lack of Twitter confidence, or even fear of Twitter.

Well, don’t let Twitter dysfunction negatively impact your social media marketing. If your insurance agency has a Facebook Page and a Twitter account, keep in mind your goal for marketing on those platforms (to drive people to your agency website, or to get them to request a quote, to build your reputation as a trusted resource or to increase your agency’s digital footprint).

Remember that your Twitter audience is different from your Facebook audience (though there may be some overlap).

And above all, remember these Twitter best practices to keep growing your Twitter following—and your book of business.

  • The shorter, the better. You have up to 140 characters to use on Twitter, but if you want to make your tweets shareable (er—re-tweetable), you need to keep them between 100 and 120 characters. That will allow for the characters used up if someone “quotes” or re-tweets your post.
  • Get to know your neighbors. Remember, it’s called social That means it’s important for you to read other people’s posts, to reply to them, to re-tweet them, and to favorite them. This also plays into the next tip.
  • Honor the 80-20 rule: only 20 percent of your content should focus on marketing your products and services. The other 80 percent should be sharing content that’s valuable to your followers—and being social to your fellow tweeters (see previous tip).
  • Discern what resonates most powerfully with your followers. If you’re brand, brand new to Twitter, you may want to seek out some of your competitors and see what they’re doing out there in the Twitterverse. (Click here to search for them.) You can try using a similar tone, interacting with clients in a similar way, or sharing similar content to get started. The more you tweet, the easier it will be to figure out what your followers like—and how to give them more of it.
  • Take part in Twitter traditions, like #TBT (throwback Thursday) and #FF (Follow Friday). If you post a “throwback” photo—maybe from a volunteer activity your agency participated in, or (if you’re part of a multigenerational family agency) of earlier generations of staff, or a former office space—your followers are very likely to respond: after all, tweets with images get 18 percent more clicks and a whopping 150 percent more re-tweets than tweets without images. It’s a great way to put a face on your business, too. Same with Follow Friday: you can spotlight influencers with whom you’d like to have a stronger relationship, or even followers who you’d like to thank for their Twitter friendliness to you.
  • Speaking of #TBT and #FF: use hashtags. We’ve got some great tips here.
  • Determine when your followers are using Twitter. If your agency focuses on commercial lines, your clients are probably using social media during the week. Personal lines? Weekends are your best bet. (But the best way to understand when your followers are on Twitter is to try tweeting at different times, and see when your tweets get the most response.)
  • Create a Twitter strategy (and maybe a social media policy for your agency, while you’re at it). Consider:
    • If your area is hit by a disaster, how can you use social media to help your clients and your community?
    • Are there posts that you can create in advance, so they’re ready when you need them? Think about holiday wishes, thank-yous to new followers, #TBT or #MotivationMonday posts, and tweets on particular topics like life insurance, heart health, business disaster recovery plans, or other issues that will be of interest to your clients and followers.
    • Will you be attending any insurance or community events in the near future? How can you live-tweet some of the interesting information you learn? Does the event have a hashtag you can use so people will be able to find you as part of the conversation?
    • How much, if any, personal stuff will you share on Twitter? Agent birthdays or anniversaries? Your favorite hobbies? Your pet’s (or kids’) quirks?
    • How often, and when, will you typically tweet? Your timing doesn’t have to be identical every day of the week, but it could be helpful to your followers to know when to expect your tweets.

Reading a post like this is a great way to start feeling more comfortable with Twitter, which can be an incredibly powerful tool for your insurance agency. But the best way to develop a real understanding of Twitter is to click on over and give it a try. (What are you waiting for? Go on, already!)

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