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Social networks are only as good as your ability to use them – and for some brands, that’s a problem. It’s not enough to know your audience is on Twitter – if they are; you’ve got to be able to connect with them. Here are 5 ways to do that.

1. Find Your Tribe

Twitter can feel like a free-for-all. Everyone’s there, anyone can chime in at any time – so you don’t need to tailor your efforts, right?

Wrong. Like all social networks, you want to find your audience on Twitter – and that takes social listening with sentiment analysis. There’s no other (efficient) way to learn what your audience loves and wants from you.

And it’s important to surrender assumptions and replace them with facts. For instance, according to Twitter, 80% of their users are affluent Millennials. But what does that mean? Does that make them stuffy, or serious, or only interested in luxury experiences?

Not according to this tweet:

There’s a fair number of Millennials representing, in addition to some Gen Xers and Boomers (hi, Meryl!)

Ellen’s epic Oscar selfie was the most retweeted tweet of all time, until a plea for chicken nuggets ousted it. Depending on how you look at it, Carter Wilkinson falls into the younger edge of the Millennials spectrum.

Think about that. And don’t make any assumptions about your audience – or the influencers you find there.

2. Retweet, Smartly

Speaking of retweets, it’s worth noting the above examples as we talk about how to approach what to share. It’s a waste of time to carefully identify your audience if you’re just going to spam them with content they don’t care about – or are sick of seeing.

The retweet button is an easy one to press, but you never want your shares to be that mindless. Carefully curate the content you share so your audience is delighted by what you’re putting out there – versus feeling like they’ve seen it a million times, or that it doesn’t line up with what they want to hear from you.

Social listening tools help on this front as well – so use them to find out what’s trending, and whether your audience cares.

3. Show, Don’t Tell

Image posts are always more engaging than those with text alone – so be sure you’re using images in your tweets whenever it makes sense. Even Twitter suggests it:

But again, you don’t have to – and shouldn’t – guess what works. Image analytics can tell you what your audience responds to most enthusiastically, making you their hero when you post exactly the right photo, and do so in an authentic, relevant way.

4. Use Twitter for Global Outreach

There are more than 47 million Twitter users in the U.S. – and collectively more than 108 million Twitter users everywhere else in the world. That means there’s a global audience out there just waiting for you to find them and connect.

Twitter has made this a brand initiative, offering Twitter Lite in more than 45 countries to make the social network “accessible, fast, and data-friendly” for all.

Use geofencing to understanding global audiences at the local level, to uncover the same sentiment-inspired insights to direct your messaging and content – and grow your brand around the world.

5. Be Service Minded

Social customer service is imperative across any social channels your brand is on – so if that includes Twitter, you need to be aware of any complaints coming through.

However, be advised that most consumers won’t tag your brand in their rants – only 3 percent of tweets referencing customer service issues will.

Here again, your social analytics tools – particularly social monitoring tools that alert you to spikes in sentiment, or brand-defined keywords – are your saving grace.

Not just because they let you nip potentially viral issues in the bud, but because “when a customer Tweets at a business and receives a response, they are willing to spend 3–20% more on an average priced item from that business in the future.”

That’s worth taking the time, isn’t it?

Twitter isn’t all that mysterious when you get down to it – it’s just big and fast-moving. AI-supported analytics tools deliver precise, timely insights so your brand can keep up and keep moving forward. Use them to put these strategies into play, and you’ll be ruling the roost in no time.

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