Twitter Advertising tips
Project Ignite Podcast by Derek Gehl Twitter Advertising Tips From Katt Stearns
00:00:00 00:00:00
  • Episode  34
  • Katt Stearns


Katt Stearns is an authority in most social media platforms, but today we dive into one of the most rapidly changing and polarizing tools for communication: Twitter. Today we dive into her best Twitter advertising tips including getting into each of the most useful and cost effective Twitter ads, and talk about the most important aspects of your profile and how to optimize them.

Transcript: Twitter Advertising Tips From Katt Stearns

Welcome to the Project Ignite podcast–a podcast designed to skip the hype, skip the BS, and bring you real, actionable tips and strategies to help you grow your business and your income on the internet. If I’ve done my job, at the end of this podcast, you’ll have a list of actions, tasks, and steps that you can use to grow your business and your income.

I’m your host, Derek Gehl, and today we’re going to be diving into Twitter advertising tips. It’s a social platform that is misunderstood and misused by many online businesses. To help us understand the mystery that is Twitter marketing, we have a guest that has a wealth of real-world Twitter experience. She’s worked with numerous companies, government organizations, helping them to develop marketing strategies, and grow their businesses.

She’s the recipient of the 2015 digital marketer of the year award, and is also nominated in British Columbia for the 2014 small business entrepreneur of the year!

Without further ado, I’d like to welcome Twitter marketing expert Katt Stearns to the show today.

Katt, thanks for being here today.
Thanks, Derek. I’m really happy to be here.
Fantastic. Can you just take a moment to expand on your journey as an entrepreneur? What was your path to being the social media marketing expert and authority that you are today?

I joke around and say that it’s an accidental business that I’ve created here. I’ve been in the online space for around twelve years, in the music industry. I was working in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and had a great opportunity to work with a lot of great labels, artists, and organizations.

That was kind of my introduction to how the online space worked. Then, we had MySpace, and Facebook was just coming up. We were in the trenches and learning about what was happening in that space. A few years after that, I decided to move back to B.C., and switch hats into more corporate and governmental work.

During that time, I met a friend, Matt Astafan, and just started following what he was doing and learning from him. I realized that a lot of organizations get overwhelmed feeling like they have to be everywhere on social, and have been working at it for a few years, but they didn’t really see how it was helping their business.

So I started doing a little work on the side for a few small businesses, and about two years ago, I lost one of my uncles to cancer unexpectedly. It shook me up. I was working a corporate job, spending an hour and a half everyday on my commute–I was burnt out. So I decided to take my knowledge from everyone I’d been working with to step out on my own to help small businesses learn to run social in a way that was actually helping them reach their goals and objectives, not just to tick a box that says “I do social.”

So originally I stepped out and left my corporate job to have one or two clients, but two years later, I actually have a small team with me and we help businesses big and small to learn how to strategically use social in a way that grows their business. It’s been a really interesting journey, with lots of passion and lots of opportunities like this one, to share our networks and help businesses along the way.

I totally concur with your message there: so many businesses are doing social media just to check a box. There’s no strategy, or it’s not cohesive enough to align with their goals.

Today, I want to dig into Twitter. I know you work in social in general, and Twitter is only a fraction of that, but Twitter is one that I really do see businesses literally just checking the box. There’s zero strategy.

So explain how you work with organizations to use Twitter to help grow businesses.

Twitter has gone through a lot of changes in the past few years. Even in the last six months it’s adapted a lot to meet these changes. What we focus on usually is that Twitter is a great opportunitity for you to connect with anyone in the world.

Compared to Facebook and LinkedIn, you can remove a lot of the gatekeepers: you really can engage with anyone in the world on a one to one basis. We focus a lot of our strategies on connecting and building relationships with people in their sector, and to connect with experts.

A lot of people use it as a tool to get the latest news, updates, and to direct people back to their websites and blogs. We focus around connecting with people, building community, reaching out, and facilitating information that leads back to their websites.

When we work with companies, we sit down and decide on our goals, and then we work our way out from there. Twitter has also just recently come to play a big role in the Google algorithm. That’s important for companies that are focusing on SEO too.

Okay. There’s a couple interesting things in there. So using Twitter to connect with individuals. I’d like to go a bit deeper on that, because most people set up a Twitter profile, and they tweet nonsense or unrelatable business stuff.

How do you use Twitter to connect with experts and authorities and businesses?

So a lot of people, when they start out, they’re concerned about what they’re going to say. They use Hootsuite, and they just push content out, and then when someone interacts with them, they use that as the opportunity to engage.

However, the job of a marketer is to stand out and to be different. You want to be at the top of the mind. The strategy we use is that we do want to have that engaging content, but we really spend time to build those relationships. Gary Vanderchuck, a marketing guru, used this strategy a long time ago as well.
twitter advertising tips
So instead of waiting for people to engage with us, we look for people that we would want to connect with. So little things like looking at people’s biographies that we can use when we respond to people. Engage with people first. Go look at your followers, click on people, read their bios, learn about them. And then, instead of just replying back with a generic message, respond with something about their location or their interests–be more personal and start the conversation that way.

It seems so simple and small, but it’s so effective. It’s one of the best ways that I’ve grown my business–looking at my followers, looking at their bio, commenting back, and growing our relationships from there. It’s one of the most powerful opportunities that I’ve had to grow my business and work with other companies to do the same.
Awesome. Okay, so, we’re talking about engaging with followers as people, and I love that strategy. Now, let’s take a step back. Where are those followers coming from? I put up a Twitter profile, how do I find followers?

A lot of people, when they start out, they’re not sure what to do. There’s a few things that you should do right away to get your house in order. Your profile picture, make sure that you have a great picture. If you’re an entrepreneur, you want a great picture of yourself. You want to avoid putting a logo as your profile picture. People want to connect with people.

Step number two is making sure that your bio is really strong. You need to articulate why people should follow you, and what people can expect from following you. So if you’re an entrepreneur, your bio should say who you are, what you can do, and what you’re interested in.

My bio on Twitter, it talks about me being a social media consultant, it mentions what services I offer, but I also have a little joke about loving wine and coffee and chocolate, and being a runner to work it all off.

More people connect with me over that chocolate bit than anything else, because they can relate to it. Millions of people can claim to be a consultant or an entrepreneur, but I’m talking about the person I am inside of that occupation. You want to talk about what you offer, but also show your personality.

A lot of people spend a lot of time writing their bios about why they’re so great. But the thing is, you should be approaching that from a place of what will offer the most value to your followers.

The next thing you want to focus on in your bio is your link! Ideally, it’ll go to your website, your blog. You don’t want it to go to another social platform. Once you have your bio together, and that really strong link, you’re on the right track.

Part of that strategy is being able to generate content that they’re going to be interested in, and making sure that you live up to your offerings in your bio. If you promise personality, be personal.

There’s a few key ways to find followers. Don’t ever get caught up in the numbers game, or in following back. Focus on quality over the quantity of your followers. Don’t look at other people in your industry and get hung up on how many followers your competitors have. However, looking at people that are already there, in your industry, and looking at who they follow, is valuable. Twitter has a tool built into it called Lists, where people can group similar interests and lists so you can follow those core groups of people.

You can see on someone’s header, they’ll have a category called Lists. You can use them to go in and find and follow people with the same interests. That’s the number one way that I suggest finding targeted people instead of just following other people’s followers.

That was great! I hope everyone was taking lots of notes. There was a ton of good stuff there. Let’s take a step back quickly. Who should be using Twitter? Is Twitter for every business?

You need to first understand why you want to be on social media at all. Each platform is a tool to help you communicate. When we work with businesses, we look at primary and secondary accounts. Primary are accounts you’ll use all the time, and that you’ll really be focusing on. Secondary accounts are places to test and update, but maybe somewhere that you don’t always focus all of your energies.

If you are an entrepreneur or a business that really wants to focus on community engagement and connecting with local media, Twitter is a great platform for that. A lot of writers, bloggers, and even news outlets are finding their information via Twitter. So being able to highlight all of those media outlets and connect with them their is really great.

If you want to be able to connect with a lot of people and maybe draw them all back to your website, Twitter is great for that too.

It’s also really helpful for finding news updates and information and being that kind of resource for you as well. You can stay on top of what’s happening in internet marketing or technology, and stay up to date with their tweets.

Lastly, if you tend to run live events, or you have a physical location and you want to engage with visitors, you can live tweet events. It’s a great way to have real time interaction with your customers, staff, and employees.

Those are kind of the key things that can make it into a really strong platform for you. Twitter is also really strong for SEO. If you’re focused on SEO, Twitter is a great way to get those authoritative links and rank well in Google too.

So there’s a few things I want to talk about there. Search and Google is definitely one of them. But before then, if I’m going to distill it down, as a business, I’m going to use Twitter to either engage with my existing customers, or bring new leads into my business.

So where do you see Twitter’s strength? In communicating with customers I already have, or generating new leads?

It can be good for both. It’s not a quick fix solution, though. You need to nurture it and spend time building relationships. Sending one tweet out there and hoping for a flood of interaction is highly unlikely.

It is a great way for you to build new relationships and nurture the current relationships that you have, and you can also use it to expand your reach. Twitter ads are also really great. There are some cool new functionalities that help you target in for say, list building, or finding great followers.

Let’s take a step back now and talk about Twitter’s effect on search engines and ranking in Google.

Over the years, I’ve heard that Twitter does play a part, or that it doesn’t–where do you stand on that matter? What are the results you see from links generated from Twitter?

You mentioned also that Twitter will help generate those high authority links. Can you talk about that?

Full disclosure, I am not an SEO expert. One of the ladies on my team always helps me with this stuff. So we know that no one except Google really understands the Google algorithm. There’s a lot of testing and seeing what’s going on. The research that we’ve seen is that it has a huge impact on businesses.

Using Twitter perfectly will still not put you on the first page of Google. If you’re using Twitter just to help enhance your SEO, or sending people back to your website, there’s a few things you can do.

If you’re putting out content that is original, and it links back to your website, that will have more weight when it comes to Google liking that. When you start to also pair those links with images, Google likes that a lot. When you send out that original content, the link, there’s a higher chance that Google will index that.

We see a lot more traffic honestly by using links, original content, and images when we work with our clients.

That’s very valuable insight there. Let’s talk a bit about Twitter ads, now. How are you using this with business? What are some of the ways you’ve been implementing it?

There are three distinct ads that we’ve found to be effective. So when you start out with Twitter ads, it can be hugely overwhelming and also really costly if you don’t know what you’re doing.

The first ad we like to focus on is a Follow Ad. It’ll help you connect with new followers, and target followers to become involved with your account. I recommend that you test this ad out to begin with, and it’s also one of the most cost effective.

It’s an ad that goes out to a distinct audience that you’ve grouped together that you’re targeting to add to your followers. Where this ad is really valuable, is that with the ad copy you write, you’ll have an opportunity to tell people why they should follow you.

In that 140 characters, you should tell people why they should follow you. So when the ad goes out, it goes to people that you’ve targeted. On top of that, you’ll only be charged if people see that ad, and click the follow button straight from that ad. You won’t be charged if they follow you from your twitter. You also won’t be charged when people reply or retweet your ad. It’s really cost effective.

So you can get a lot of additional engagement and additional followers without being charged.

What are you seeing for like an average cost per follow?

Twitter just installed a new relevance score. Twitter is now looking at how relevant your ad is. Depending on how many people interact, you’ll start to see a different cost. A lot of it pertains to how targeted you start to get with your following. The more narrow your niche, the higher your cost per click will be. With a broader audience, it’ll be a bit less.

You’d want to sit on average around $.30 per follow, but with that you tend to get one or two more follows that you’re not being charged for.

So you’re netting probably $.10 to $.15 per actual follow. So what was the next Twitter ad?

The next ad is the Engagement ad. The lifespan of the average tweet that goes out is somewhere between fifteen to twenty eight minutes. The ability for your ad to be seen by your entire audience is really unlikely. So using engagement ads will up the lifespan of your tweets.

First you need to make sure that you have a really strong tweet. If you find something that people really start to interact with, then put a bit of money behind it. It’s better to test that way rather than just toss something out and risk annoying people with something that they don’t want to see. You’re ensuring that you’re spending your money wisely.

The last kind of ad is the lead ad. This is starting to be tested on Twitter that say if you’re trying to grow an email list, or you want people to opt-in to receive a freebie, you can actually embed the opt-in right in Twitter. So people don’t have to leave the Twitter platform anymore to get your download. So that’s a really easy way to grow that list and not have to frustrate people with leaving the platform.

That’s great. With those types of ads, is there any kind of tracking mechanism to track through to an action of some sort? Have you used them yet? Do you know what the average cost per conversion might be?
We’re actually just testing it right now so I can’t say yet.
Looking at the targeting capabilities. With Facebook, we can get incredibly specific with our targeting. What about Twitter?
They’re trying to make it more like the Facebook platform. You can get into location, industry, some demographics, keywords, interests–it’s still a bit broader, but you can get into some of those interests.

These lead ads, that’s the magic. As a direct response marketer, I want people off of Twitter and onto my list so I can market to them directly. Giving people the option to opt-in from that platform is absolutely massive.

I want to talk about Twitter as the big picture of your social marketing strategy. How do you utilize Twitter in conjunction with other social campaigns?

We always start with that overall plan. The biggest thing we make sure we avoid is linking your Twitter to your Facebook or your Pinterest or anything like that, so that when you post on one account, it posts to all of your accounts.

We really recommend not doing that, and taking the easy way out. It’s important to actually focus on the platform and decide what we want to do with it. If you can’t put the effort in, it’s better to not do it at all.

With Twitter, you have to get in there, build those connections, share links and connections back to your websites, using the lead ads, and making sure that your focus and strategy are in line.

how to market on Twitter

You do social media consulting. I get asked all the time: can I outsource my social media? Obviously you can, but how do you do it successfully? Where do you find someone that matches your voice?

It’s a huge time commitment to help make sure that the person you hire understands your business, your voice, and your strategy. You have to have really great communication. We also have weekly checkins to make sure that everyone is on the same page in terms of local events, local atmosphere–stuff like that.

If you’re outsourcing, the number one thing you need is that ongoing communication. From our perspective, that is the number one thing.

For everyone listening, you cannot just outsource it and walk away. I know that’s the dream, but there needs to be involvement. This is my caution, I suppose, that if you do hire someone to run your socials and they say, “don’t worry about it,” and they don’t engage very much with you, you’ve probably hired the wrong company.

That being said, we’re running out of time–if people want to find you, where can they go?

If anyone wants to connect, you can find me on Twitter @KattStearns, and on On there, we have a social media 101 section which takes businesses through some of the first steps in crafting a strategy and helping you decide which platforms to focus on. We’re always updating our tools and guides there.
Fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing so many valuable tips and strategies for our listeners to leverage Twitter.
Thank you, it’s been an absolute pleasure to chat with you.

Awesome. That was Katt Stearns. As always, the transcript and show notes will be up at If you haven’t done so already, you can subscribe on iTunes–just look up Project Ignite, Derek Gehl, or Internet Marketing and I’ll show up! If you’re an Android user, just get us on Soundcloud!

Also, if you like what you hear–leave a review, tell us what you think. Your feedback is what gives me the momentum and motivation to keep creating this podcast for you.

Now it’s time to take the tips, tools, and strategies that we’ve learned from Matt here today, and apply the final essential ingredient to make this all work for you: that ingredient is action. Go forth, take action, and stay tuned for more info-packed episodes of the Project Ignite podcast–a podcast designed to simplify marketing and online business.

This is Derek Gehl, signing off.

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