Happy New Year and happy tweeting!

Firstly to introduce myself, as you won’t have heard from me yet: I’m Sarah and I’ve taken over from the wonderful Sophie as Hans de Kretser’s social media savvy sidekick. Pleased to e-meet you!

First of all, we’d like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a very merry New Year! As the new year is almost upon us, I wanted to share some thoughts and tips I gathered from a recent Twitter webinar on how to best plan for a successful social media start to 2016. Hopefully you will find them useful when tweeting in the new year…

The mobile age is finally upon us, and we are more connected than ever! 2015 saw smartphones overtake laptops as the most popular device for accessing the internet in the UK, with 33% of Britons naming their smartphone as their most important internet device. Our phones have become irreplaceable – on our commute, in the gym, before bed. 7 in 10 of us admit to taking our smartphones to the bathroom with us – even in our own homes!

With this in mind, along with the fact that 80% of Twitter users access Twitter on their mobile, our phones are providing an ever-present stream of content and so are proving to be the most powerful tool for organisations to connect to people all day, every day.

Now let’s focus on Twitter.

Tweets can be broken down into 4 major categories – we can break these down further, but for now let’s look at the big names.

The Everyday tweet – Tweets that reference the everyday moments that Twitter users express casually from day to day. These tweets provide engaging content and are a great way to engage with what audiences are talking and thinking about. Believe it or not, there are around 15 million tweets about coffee per week! And these are super effective.

The Event tweet – Tweets that focus on key events that people share and voice, for example the World Cup or the X Factor final. Advice here is to stay connected after big events. 77% of fans on Twitter think it’s highly important that brands are committed to artists/events in the long term, so bare this in mind if you set up a campaign for a particular event. One way remain in the loop is to throw back to past events or historical moments when it’s relevant. I’m sure you’ll be familiar with #ThrowbackThursday – use this to throw back to big events that will re-capture fans’ attention.

The Passionate tweet – Tweets that mention what people are passionate about on Twitter, for example exercise, music or gaming. If it’s relevant to your organisation, reference things that people are passionate about. It’s a great way to pique the interests of a larger audience. Did you know for example that 39% of people look for recipes on Twitter?

The Intent tweet – Tweets to drive direct response, which might include a link to a website, a product or a show. Have you tried using Twitter cards yet? This is something I’ll address in detail in a later post.

It’s quite common to find that organisations have a very high proportion of the Intent tweets, and not enough of the others. In particular, the Everyday tweet is underestimated as the most powerful way of contributing to everyday conversations online. People love to be reminded that behind every tweet is a human being.

In fact, everyday tweets can be broken down into the following 4 sub-categories: behind-the-scenes, questions (both rhetorical and direct), unique offers and news. It’s been recommended to consider these sub-categories in order to get a good variety of tweets and to keep audiences engaged and alert.

So how often should we be tweeting? There is really no right or wrong answer to this, but more often than not, businesses are tweeting less often than they should, or could be. What’s more important here is that your rate of tweeting, whatever it is, is kept consistent. 3-5 tweets per day is a good number, and don’t be afraid to tweet the same tweet twice. Twitter is frequently described as an online cocktail party – only a handful of people will hear what you have to say at any one time, so it’s natural to repeat yourself.

And finally, plan, plan plan. There is many a way to go about your Twitter scheduling. Tweetdeck is a powerful tool for scheduling tweets from a number of accounts at once, or Hootsuite if you’re looking to set up a number of platforms on one system. I would personally recommend constructing a social media calendar that works for you – this will help you to schedule tweets to go out at the most effective times, and will ensure your posts are kept consistent. The most powerful way to create excitement and conversation is to share content in real time, so if you’re super organised you can schedule tweets to happen in ‘real time’ when you know that events are coming up.

And one more tip! I said finally but wanted to keep you reading. Use more video. The most successful Tweeters of 2015 were tweeting videos left right and centre; we’re in the dawn of the mobile age now – embrace it!

So in a nutshell: plan ahead, tweet far and wide, and remember to be a human.

I hope you found today’s tips useful. Tweet us your thoughts, feedback or any of your own tips to @hdk_assoc. (Your tweet will be one of 6,000 sent out in the next second.)

Have a fabulous festive season and a smashing start to 2016!