Thou Shall Tweet: 10 things The Pope can teach your business about using Twitter

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Easter is not all about the chocolate eggs and treasure hunts, we sometimes forget that its actually one of the most important dates in the Christian calendar. The leader of the Catholic Church Pope Francis, an avid tweeter. Not only is he the most influential man of the Catholic religion, Pope Francis is one of the most followed and retweeted leaders on Twitter. In honor of the Pope and his online congregation, weve created an eBook with 10 pointers on how the Pontiff can help you get the most out of social media.


<ul><li> THOU SHALL TWEET eBook - 10 pointers from the Pontiff </li> <li> 10 pointers from the Pontiff Hes one of the biggest players on Twitter and made it to the front cover Rolling Stone but hes not an A-list Hollywood celebrity and doesnt get papped on a regular basis by tabloids. Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, may not be the most obvious Twitter icon, but since his election in March 2013 he has surprised many by embracing Twitter as a valuable tool to communicate with his global congregation of followers and in 2013 he was named the most influential world leader on Twitter. Here at SocialBro weve been so impressed by the Popes work on Twitter that we decided to delve deeper into what makes his tweets so popular, offering some pointers from the Pontiff and showing you how to apply them to your business. </li> <li> From reaching his target audience to understanding what it is they want, the Pope has quickly realised that Twitter is the best social media tool to bring the Church into the 21st century. Weve created a list of 10 ways the Pope is getting it right on Twitter along with our suggestions on how they can work for your business - were convinced that if the Vatican can, so can you! Up first is our look at how the Pope compares with another member of Twitter royalty, Justin Bieber The official @Pontifex Twitter accounts, at the time of writing, have more than 12 million followers. Whats more, the Popes regular, informal tweeting style has made him the single most re-tweeted world leader! </li> <li> What can we learn from Pope Francis? </li> <li> THE POPE VS JUSTIN BIEBER how do they compare? Joined Twitter No. followers No. tweets First tweet Typical tweet Lessons learned? The Pope @Pontifex March 2013 12+M 300+ Dear friends, I thank you from my heart and I ask you to continue to pray for me. Pope Francis In the Gospel we can hear Jesus speaking to us every day: may we always carry with us a small copy of the Gospel! Offering insight and words to live by can quickly gain you a large following. Justin Bieber @justinbieber May 2009 50.8M 26.5K Check out my single "ONE TIME" on my myspace and spread the word for me. Thanks. www.myspace. com/justinbieber The #BelieveMovie is now out on DVD in the US/Canada &amp; other countries! Make sure to grab your copy today! Tweet me @shots with your copy! Self-promotion can lead to financial success if you have a loyal fan-base.. From world leaders to pop stars, Twitter is truly the great leveller of social media, allowing anyone to broadcast their message to the world and receive instant feedback. We decided to compare the Twitter accounts of two of the worlds most popular tweeters to see how they use them and what we can learn... (Source: Twitter, April 2014) </li> <li> 1Pointer no. Get yourself seen </li> <li> The Pope reaches his followers online With a recent study showing that around 62% of US Catholics - thats just over 36 million people - have Facebook profiles, it seems Pope Benedicts description of social media as a digital continent isnt too far off the mark. Some conservatives in the church may have initially questioned the use of social media by the Papacy, but Pope Francis belief that a multi- faceted digital profile (including Twitter) is required to reach the young people who represent the future of the church, is bearing fruit. </li> <li> Business Takeaway GO WHERE YOUR FOLLOWERS ARE Its vital to take your message to wherever your target audience can be found. Find out where they are and what theyre interested in and youll have a better chance of successfully engaging with them. </li> <li> 2Pointer no. Speaking your followers language </li> <li> The Pope is overcoming the language barrier According to a recent survey, 9 out of 10 European internet users prefer browsing in their own language. To increase his online followers, the Pope tweets in several languages. His Spanish- language account is the most popular with over 5.3 million followers, with the English-language account coming in second with 3.8 million. Official Papal Twitter accounts have also been established in Arabic, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish and, perhaps most interestingly, Latin, the latter gaining more than 230,000 followers to date despite it being a dead language. Twitter account/language No. followers No. tweets @Pontifex_es (Spanish) 5.36M 299 @Pontifex (English) 3.89M 301 @Pontifex_it (Italian) 1.64M 299 Table: The Popes top 3 Twitter accounts (Source: Twitter, April 2014) </li> <li> Business Takeaway THINK OUTSIDE YOUR OWN LANGUAGE Don't assume that all your customers want to be spoken to in English, even if they speak the language. Tailoring tweets for other languages (either on separate Twitter accounts or on a single account) shows you're responsive to customers and willing to go the extra mile, something that's always welcome in the business world. </li> <li> 3Pointer no. Develop a routine </li> <li> Pope Francis is a regular tweeter Studies have shown that by tweeting regularly, users are more inclined to follow an account. While Pope Benedict XVI was the first Pope to establish a Twitter account, his tweeting momentum was sporadic at best, sometimes leaving weeks between tweets. Pope Francis, on the other hand, tweets on a regular basis, normally at least once every day. </li> <li> Business Takeaway MAKE TWEETING A DAILY TASK Creating regular tweets provides followers with an incentive to check out an account more often, increasing engagement and loyalty in the process. Consider scheduling tweets (its simple with SocialBro) through the day or over a weekend if you know you'll be away from your computer for a prolonged period. </li> <li> 4 Be timely Pointer no. </li> <li> Keep an eye on the calendar Pope Francis often tweets on topical or timely matters, increasing the potential of the tweet to be shared by other Twitter users and picked up by the wider media. For example, on Valentines Day this year, the Pope tweeted the following: Dear young people, dont be afraid to marry. A faithful and fruitful marriage will bring you happiness. As a result of the timing of this message, the tweet was almost instantaneously covered by every major news provider on the planet. </li> <li> Business Takeaway KEEP A DIARY TO HAND Be aware of key dates in the global calendar and ensure you're ready to tweet relevant messages. Use Twitters new calendar that provides information on key events from around the globe, allowing you to pre-plan your content. Major sporting events and celebrity weddings generate millions of tweets but remember that dates such as Mother's Day are different everywhere, so don't focus on your home country and neglect followers in other countries. </li> <li> 5Pointer no. Get the hashtag habit </li> <li> Be part of the wider community Since September 2013, Pope Francis has issued a series of tweets asking his followers to pray for a speedy and peaceful resolution to the civil war in Syria, which have included the hashtag #prayforpeace. Creating a hashtag that can easily be adopted by Twitter users encourages the sharing of thoughts on the subject. </li> <li> Business Takeaway DONT MAKE A HASH OF HASHTAGS There's no harm in using established hashtags to get your message across, but be wary of being seen to be jumping on bandwagons. Consider creating your own hashtags for special events such as sales or product launches and encourage followers to use them. </li> <li> 6Pointer no. Keep it short and sweet </li> <li> Fewer characters = better results While a tweet can be a maximum of 140 characters in length, a recent report suggested that tweets with fewer than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate. Pope Francis avoids complex language in his tweets and uses each individual tweet to make a single point, clearly and succinctly. Not only does this approach encourage engagement from a wider range of readers, it also aids the accurate translation of each tweet into a range of different languages. </li> <li> Business Takeaway KEEP IT SIMPLE With only 140 characters to play with, it pays to keep your message succinct and to the point. The more space left in a tweet, the more likely it is that followers will retweet it and add their own comment, another reason to be brief. </li> <li> 7Pointer no. Reach for the stars </li> <li> Believe in the power of the re-tweet While many people consider the total number of followers to be the key benchmark of success on Twitter, an important statistic is the total reach of your tweets, i.e. the number of times your tweets are shared by others. For example, while US President Barack Obama has almost four times as many followers as Pope Francis, Obamas tweets are re-tweeted on average 2,300 times, while the Popes Spanish-language tweets are re-tweeted an average of 11,100 times and his English-language tweets are re- tweeted an average 8,200 times. </li> <li> Business Takeaway UNDERSTAND WHATS POPULAR Businesses should closely track how often individual updates are re-tweeted, so to better gauge what is important to their followers and what sort of content they will actively engage with. </li> <li> 8Pointer no. Multi-platform minded </li> <li> The Pope is on numerous social networks With an estimated 200 social networking sites in existence, its sometimes difficult to know where to start. Having shown enough insight to create a strong Twitter presence, the worlds first digital-savvy Pontiff is now shrewd enough to be keeping an eye on the rest of the social media market and establishing a presence on new influential social networks as they rise to prominence. In October 2013, Pope Francis created an official account on Instagram, which has since racked up around 18,000 followers. </li> <li> Business Takeaway KEEP AN EYE ON NEW DEVELOPMENTS Social media never stays still, and neither should your social media presence. Keep an eye on what networks are on the rise and consider being a part of new platforms. There's no harm in creating an account on a new platform to guarantee your name isn't taken by a cybersquatter, even if you don't use it. </li> <li> 9Pointer no. Make it universal </li> <li> The Pope thinks outside his traditional audience The fact that the Pope's tweets are inspirational in nature and contain many universal truths means they're not just relevant to Catholics. Spreading useful messages that are relevant across the globe means the Papal Twitter account is followed by both religious and non-religious people and often reported as news by the media in many countries. </li> <li> Business Takeaway THINK GLOBAL Whether a business is appealing to a local or global audience, chances are it can always do with attracting new customers. Keep your tweets relevant to as wide an audience as possible and try not to be too niche. </li> <li> 10Pointer no. Be spontaneous </li> <li> The Pope keeps his tweets varied Reacting to world events and personal experiences means nobody knows what the Pope will say next. By being unpredictable and spontaneous his followers are kept guessing about what he'll tweet next, though they're confident that the style and tone will stay roughly the same from tweet to tweet. </li> <li> Business Takeaway TWEET THE UNEXPECTED Businesses can keep their followers engaged and curious by giving them the unexpected, from exclusive previews of product launches to behind the scenes gossip that can't be found elsewhere. </li> <li> While its unlikely that your business will break the 11 million follower barrier, that doesnt mean that by following some of the lessons laid down by the Pope you cant become a popular and well-respected member of the Twitter community. Being creative and understanding what your followers want can lead to a fantastic experience for all involved and youll soon see results from the time and effort you spend on Twitter. Start your free trial of SocialBros powerful analytics and marketing tools, and to sign-up to our free newsletter, visit us at START YOUR FREE TRIAL </li> </ul>