Twitter is not a simple platform for business promotion. It counts 317 million users that post 6,000 tweets per second. Understandably, it’s pretty hard to cut through the noise and do the necessary: find your target audience, make them see your ad, make them engage with it, prevent them from ignoring the tweet among hundreds of other tweets. Simply having a brand presence on Twitter won’t get you there, and neither will Twitter Ads. So how do you make this channel effective for your business?

There are a couple of tactics that were tried by marketers determined to get the most out of the platform. The tactics have worked so well that I’ve decided to share them with you.

1. Boost Twitter Ads by uploading tailored audience.

While Twitter Ads lets you choose your audience based on multiple demographics, this is often not enough. For these cases, there is an extremely helpful option on Twitter Ads – you can upload your own list of Twitter users that you want to send ads to. Get to this option by starting a Twitter Ad Campaign and clicking on  +Add Tailored Audience.

Now that you are prepared, make a list of Twitter handles to upload. This list will consist of people that’ve used keywords that signal their interest in your product. Now take a moment (or rather an hour), and brainstorm keywords that one would use when looking for your business. For example, “flower shop Cambridge”, “Photoshop alternative”, or “room escape game London”. If you want to spend less time brainstorming, or if you feel like you are not covering some important keywords, use Rank Tracker. It will show you all keywords your brand ranks for and even list them hierarchically.

Once you have a list of keywords that best describe the interest in your product, you will need to find people on Twitter that have used it. To do this, use a social media monitoring tool, such as Awario, Mention or Brand24. It will go through all conversations on Twitter in real time, and show you every user that has recently mentioned your chosen keywords.

After you’ve found your people, import their Twitter handles in your Twitter Ads campaign.

That’s it! The ad, which I am sure you’ve crafted and perfected, will be shown only to these people. Your budget will be very thankful and your efforts can easily result in a 11X more traffic, as in this study.

2. Increase organic engagement by sending auto-mentions.

Automatic Direct Messages on Twitter almost always get ignored, and for two good reasons. First, they are spammy.

Second, they are private, so you don’t get any publicity by responding to them. No followers can observe you being polite, friendly and helpful. And what’s the point in that? Now bear with me, I am not just being sarcastic. Twitter is a public social platform, more like a news channel than your WhatsApp. And every interaction, especially a promotional one, is meant to reach as many people as possible, not sit in your inbox.

Sending auto-mentions to new followers works in a completely different way. Unlike Direct Messages, it is not a common tactics, so it doesn’t look spammy. And it’s public, so anyone can see the interaction and join in, which is in the nature of Twitter.

Of course, the effectiveness of this method depends on the kind of messages you auto-send. Don’t send any links or ask a new follower to buy or download something – that looks spammy! Ask a question instead. The questions should be targeted according to your follower’s bio. For example, “Are you working on any interesting projects at the moment?”, “What was the conference you’ve enjoyed the most recently”, or anything similar. A tool to help you deal with targeted auto-mentions is Audiense. Audiense’s format looks like this:

Auto-mentions help raise both number of followers and engagement. Engagement might not seem like an important factor, but the truth is that low engagement means people don’t care about the things you post, and if you’re expecting them to flood your website when you start a huge sale, this most likely won’t happen. So do increase your engagement in every way you can! Remember to respond manually to people who’ve responded to your auto-mentions – otherwise the interaction won’t start.

The concept of auto-mentions is described fantastically well in this article by Derric Haynie. The summary of the examples below (the screenshot is from the original article) provide an overview of the possible directions with auto-mentions.

As you can see, the example above is interactive, far from spammy, and customized to the person’s specific interests. And it worked perfectly!

3. Increase conversion by offering a deal in your promoted Tweet.

The basic rule for every promoted tweet, and a very well-known one, is to include call-to-action. The common ones are “Follow” and “Retweet”, which is fair. There are, however, ways you can get more creative and get more out of your promoted Tweets. First method is to offer a free download. Naturally, this has to be something worthy downloading. This could be a free/trial version of your software, a white paper on some burning topic, or an e-book on something relevant to your customer’s need, and so on.

Don’t forget to include the image! Whatever your product is, make it look solid. If you’re offering free tracks for downloading, include a picture of a CD. If it is an e-book, include a picture of a paper book. And so on.

And finally, offer a deal. A real deal, not something you offer everyone that visits your site. Your reader should feel like it’s the ultimate chance, the one they can’t miss out on. To boost the feeling, let your reader know the deadline.


Firstly, every method described above has to be tested a number of times before you find which option works best for your business. The keyword method will definitely bring you some customers, but surely you want to get the biggest conversion possible, and that means testing. Getting a hang of auto-mention isn’t that simple either – some might be ignored more often than the others, and some might even be considered spammy (do your best to avoid the spammy style!). Downloads, deals, calls-to-action – basically, every part of your tweet can bring out more or less engagement and conversions, so it is extremely important to test different ways you formulate your tweet as well. Unlike the previous methods, though, this can first be checked on the organic tweets, and only then transferred to promoted ones. Only testing will make your results truly outstanding!

Although the methods are pretty universal, it is still important to understand who your target audience is, and what they expect from your social media strategy. Besides, some groups of people will actually be more open to these methods being more pushy. For example, if you’re aiming for beginners in whatever field, you might find that sending automated tips and how-to posts works as well as sending questions.

Finally, always measure your results. That might sound obvious, but a very common mistake with social media marketing is that marketers just “go with the flow”, not very sure where the flow is taking them. Being aware of the good and bad steps, and knowing the reasons for your growth are as important in SMM as in any other marketing niche.