Twitter For Business: The Ultimate Guide
Twitter is a social media giant that can help you grow your small business. It’s like the town square of the internet: everyone comes here to see the latest news. You small business owners may already have a social media marketing plan, but using Twitter for business will help you contact potential customers quickly and easily.
How do I use Twitter for business?
Twitter is a great way to deliver short, instant messages to hundreds of thousands of potential customers. These customers regularly jump into Twitter to discover what’s trending. They are ready for personalized feeds that tell them what’s happening with their interests, news, and their favorite businesses.
If you’re familiar with Facebook, imagine Twitter as the kids’ meal-sized Facebook. Its posts are short and sweet and let you get right back to work. Users log into their profiles to see what’s happening in the world. Because tweets are so short, limited to 280 characters, it’s easy to keep up with dozens of sources on a daily basis.
Twitter enables small business owners and influencers to get their marketing out there regularly. The only way marketers fail at Twitter is if they don’t even try. Your consumer base will expand while it uses one of the biggest social media platforms out there.
How do I create an account to use Twitter for business?
If you already post on Instagram and Facebook, setting up a Twitter account will be almost the same. You choose a name, upload some photos, and put in some information—and it’s all for free.
There are a few key differences to remember when making a Twitter account. Here are three easy steps on how to set up your business’s Twitter account:
First, create your account. The first thing your account needs is a Twitter login, which is called a Twitter handle. Like Facebook posts, Twitter shows your name and profile picture next to every tweet you send. Your business name should have no spaces or underscores so that it’s easier to read on mobile devices (for example: JohnsonBrothersHomeCare). If your business name is already taken, try giving your account a similar name, or putting “real” at the front of it (like RealHughJackman, KevinHart4Real, etc.). If you’re a freelance businessperson, you might consider using your personal name instead.
Second, choose profile and background photos. Your profile photo is vital because everyone who sees your tweets has to recognize that they come from you. A good photo is like good writing: it gets your point across.
What photo should you choose? You have lots of leeway here. If you’re a freelancer or a professional individual, you should probably use a professionally taken headshot. People who can see your face are more likely to trust you, both online and in person. If you’re a small business, your profile picture can be a logo, but it could also be a personal photo. Again, people trust you if they can see you.
But here’s where photos get interesting: Twitter also allows you to upload a huge background photo. The background photo is not at all like the profile picture. The size difference is like the difference between a penny and a dollar, so you shouldn’t just upload the same photo for both your profile pic and your background.
Try to take a wide, landscape photo that represents your brand (image dimensions are 500 x 1500). Match the colors and theme of the picture with what’s happening on your page. Think about how to summarize your business in a single photo: how would you do it? Would you show a group photo of your amazing staff in front of your workplace? How about a deep-sea snapshot with your company name and logo off to the side?
Think less like a billboard and more like the awesomest desktop background you’ve ever seen (you can even make up words! I just did that with “awesomest” and my editor hasn’t scowled too much at me). And while your picture doesn’t have to be a professionally-taken custom photo, you may want to consider that.
You can even change the background design of your page. While the background photo changes what appears at the very top, the background design will scroll down your page as people scroll to read your tweets. Go to your profile settings, then “Design,” then choose one of the pre-packaged designs shown—or even create your own! Find what screams your brand!
Steve Jobs spent an inordinate amount of time designing the iPhone’s packaging. He knew how important first impressions are. Taking the time to review and re-review your profile and background photos will help you stand out from the crowd of boring, blurry rectangles that plague businesses’ Twitter pages today. It’s the little things that count.
Third, fill in your business’s personal information. As an individual, you may have avoided posting personal information on your Facebook page, and that’s all well and good. But on Twitter, the exact opposite is true: you want people to know everything about you.
You can add this information at any time under “Settings” in the top right corner. This information includes Location (put your business’s full address), Website (put your business’s web address here) and Bio, (describe your company in under 160 characters. It’s a short blurb that appears when people pull up your profile).
*Steps adapted from Social Media Examiner, at https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/
Why use Twitter for business?
Twitter is an obvious marketing choice for businesses because it’s a tool to communicate short, direct messages. As a microblogging site, Twitter condenses information in ways that other social media can’t compete with. It’s basically a highly-personalized string of comments about a user’s favorite topics.
“Because people are in a discovery mindset when they’re on Twitter, your brand or business is likely to leave a lasting impression” (https://business.twitter.com/en/basics/intro-twitter-for-business.html). This “discovery mindset” is where you can make SO MANY of your impressions. Remember the saying that it takes seven “impressions” or “points of contact” before a customer decides to buy from a company? Tweets are an effective way of making little impressions, one search result at a time. Having your foot in as many social media platforms as possible guarantees your audience will find you sometime.
Not to mention, Google can give you a hand, too. With search engines customizing search results so much, people and influencers who share things in common with your audience are much more likely to see your brand in the first place.
Let’s say you run a pet adoption clinic. First of all, congratulations on all your adorable animals! Second, the way your business tweets can drive home messages to animal lovers who are likely to come by your clinic. If I’m an animal lover who enjoys watching silly cat and “doge” memes on YouTube (true story, by the way), then my YouTube feed will give priority to videos about cute animals.
Search engines do the same thing. Google will see your adoption clinic’s tweets about all those abandoned puppies you just found, and the next time I search for “puppies,” “cute animals,” or “octopus and grizzly bear are best friends” (not a true story…though that would be cool) Google will put your tweet higher up on my feed. In other words, whether your customers are on Twitter or not, they are almost always online, which makes them very likely to see your tweets.
Twitter consistently shows at the top of any search result on any topic. That means regular tweets give your business the chance to rise above the other voices and deliver a clear invitation. Every tweet your business sends could be a home for Puppies 1 through 101.
And another thing: tons of Millennials use Twitter. The Financial Times recently cited Millennials as “the world’s most powerful consumers.” Whether your brand specifically markets to a Millennial audience or not, they have a lot of buying power and pay close attention to social media marketing. You may have some future sales with them. Sometimes you don’t have to jam your foot in the door. Maybe your business simply needs to find the right door to knock on, and for Millennials that door is social media.
How to get followers on Twitter?
A meme I saw recently said the following:
“Is four followers a lot?”
“Depends on the context. On social media, no. In a dark alleyway, yes.”
Four followers (on social media) may not be a lot, but it’s a good start! Here are some ways you can build your page’s presence. The first and easiest step to getting Twitter followers is to tweet often. How often? Shoot for a few tweets a week. Find ways to spread the news about your business: polls, retweeting positive interactions with people, sharing and re-sharing news about popular events, and much much more.
It may help to think of your Twitter page as a news outlet (there are several on Twitter anyway). Keep your followers up to date by informing them of what’s going on in your business. This can include simply announcing a new product, showcasing the employee of the month, or announcing promotional sales.
Twitter is a platform that allows a two-way conversation between you and your target audience. Because Twitter is so instantaneous, the things you talk about will have the weight of relevance attached to them. And again, find other businesses on Twitter and take inspiration from them.
Once you start making regular tweets, users will check back on your profile to keep up with what your business is saying. This will increase post engagement, which in turn will increase the number of people who see your post. Experiment and see which posts get more attention. The average account on Twitter follows five brands (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/twitter-for-business), so people are used to seeing business tweets. Find great quotes and images to go along with whatever you’re trying to say. Pictures make great content for just about any social media post.
You may also consider using tools like Hootsuite, a site designed to help grow your business by managing all your social media in one place. (https://hootsuite.com/)
Bottom line: If your tweets share an idea, entertain, or educate your target audience, then you’re doing great! (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/twitter-for-business)
Second step: hashtags. We’ll talk more about hashtags later in the article, but these are those keywords with # in front of them. Add hashtags to your tweets that are relevant to your business, and Twitter’s feed algorithm will sort your tweets with others that are talking about the same thing. I like to think of hashtags as links to other pages: if you put hashtags on your tweets, they’ll link what you’re saying to larger Twitter accounts, and you can piggyback off their momentum.
What can Twitter give me that other social media platforms can’t?
Twitter’s structure has one major thing going for it: attention span. With Twitter’s character limit at 280, and with most tweets hitting around 33, Twitter users love bite-sized pieces of information. They go to Twitter to follow celebrities, news flashes, and sports updates because they want brief summaries from multiple sources, as opposed to one long post that goes in-depth on a single topic. It’s a useful tool for people in a hurry.
Imagine if someone knocked on your door and tried selling you a thousand-page book. If you’re like most rational people, you would say something like, “Of course not! I don’t have the time for books that huge! Who do I look like, Leo Tolstoy?”
The lesson here is that customers don’t want to reinvent the way they live their lives to conform to what you’re proposing. That’s not good content marketing. However, it’s easy to encourage people bit by bit. Now pretend someone wanted you to read the first ten pages of their book—or even just the first page. Imagine if those pages had big, visible headings that talked about things you enjoy. Now you know exactly what the book’s about and you don’t have to spend much time reading it.
Almost everyone has a few seconds to look over something that interests them, and that’s the magic of Twitter. And that’s all that a tweet asks for: a few seconds of your time in exchange for “sample size” bites of information. Here’s another example: would you eat an entire block of cheese in one sitting? Not if you love your body. But would you eat a tiny cube of cheese like the ones they serve at the front of grocery stores? For free? You might, if you liked the flavor.
How do I use Twitter in my overall social media marketing strategy?
“What about just posting stuff from another social media onto Twitter? My business already has a Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest page. Can’t I just repost the stuff I’m already doing on Twitter?”
Of course you can do that, but you should also post things unique to Twitter as well. Twitter gets the word out about your other social media sites, so try and reach out. Connect your audience on all your social media platforms. But you need to plan for Twitter’s tools when making tweets. Remember, your audience comes specifically to Twitter to learn about what’s trending. That’s your gimmick. Pick it up and run with it.
Also, if you’re running multiple social media platforms, remember that you can’t automatically share things from one platform to Twitter. I’m running a small business’s social media page, and I have to make separate posts for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I can use the same picture, text, and hashtags for all of them, but I can’t just ask the Facebook gremlins to magically share everything to other social media.
If you haven’t already, your first step is to create a social media action plan. This plan should involve several major platforms, not just Twitter, and have specific goals such as “We will post on Facebook twice a week, publish two blog posts every month, and schedule tweets four times a week.” You should also include goals for the number of new followers, likes, etc.
Then, make sure the content is relevant and isn’t all business-related. Putting up social media posts only when you have a new product to sell is like calling your friends only when you need something from them. Tweets like that don’t nearly get as much action as regular ones that give little updates on your business. Did you just meet a new subscriber goal on your YouTube channel? Did you just hit the one-week mark before a major conference? Find any good quotes from Steve Jobs? All of these little things can make for great tweeting—especially when promoting events.
Look at other businesses’ pages for inspiration, too, as well as social media influencers. Find ideas for what your page should look like, what type of background to choose, or how often to post. What is their customer service like? Excellent customer service should send direct messages to people who have questions. How do they handle complaints and engage in conversations? What kinds of things do they talk about in their tweets? Pay attention and take good notes.
How and why should I use hashtags in my tweet?
Ah, hashtags. Yes, we still use those, and they are still a great way to show up in search engines’ recommendations for viewers. Hashtags not only increase how high your tweets show up in search results, but they also associate your business with other things related to it. It’s easy to add hashtags to your tweet. Once you’ve written your tweet, type the # sign and write a word/phrase after it.
As an example, let’s say you’re a lawn care business looking to advertise big at the beginning of April. What things go with the current market? With the time of year? You could put hashtags like #spring #springcleaning #lawn #lawncare #[businessnamehere] #aprilshowers, etc. A tech company that writes reviews about the latest products should include company names and products relevant to whatever they just reviewed: #iphone #apple #plus #ios #smartphone #airpods, and so on.
Also, don’t separate words when writing hashtags. #march #madness may be grammatically correct when separated, but your tweet won’t find other users who are tweeting things like #marchmadness #bballbracket, etc.
So how many hashtags is too many? Or too few? You should have at least five hashtags on each Twitter post, and probably no more than ten. More than that, and it looks like you’re spamming, and the likelihood of reaching a relevant audience decreases. Focus on a handful of really well-used hashtags and your tweet will do just fine.
Having trouble coming up with ideas for hashtags? There’s a website that can help you out called best-hashtags.com that does exactly what the name says. It pulls up trending hashtags, organizing them in order from most used to least used. It even shows the total number of tweets with that hashtag. All you do is type in a subject, and it will pull up what other people are hashtagging when they talk about it. “Business” pulls up #business #entrepreneur #marketing #success #motivation #entrepreneurship #money #startup, etc. Sites like this are a great way to narrow down your brand marketing to your target audience (http://best-hashtags.com/).
(PS: Hashtags work on Instagram and Facebook, too! Hashtags don’t add your posts from other pages as tweets to Twitter, but social media sites’ algorithms also use hashtags to sort data).
A Success Story
I’ll wrap up with my own experience of a small business’s social media. I’ve been working at Leading Edge Magazine for about four months now. When I got there, we had a blog as well as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages, but everyone was so busy with their other assignments that no one had the time to post on these pages regularly. Our online content growth had stagnated.
I was hired as a Social Media Director, and one of our big goals was to market regular, relevant content to our audience. We drafted ideas, made a schedule, and didn’t let the small number of followers discourage us. We collaborated with other people on the team (we’ll soon publish an article with four different authors) and kept at it as we worked.
Perseverance was key to our success. And so was humor. And so were posts asking for engagement: polls, opinion pieces, and a successful “Flash Fiction Crossover” contest. For us, the answer was to regularly post or tweet thoughtful content. Now our pages are growing with two posts a week, and our blog site is publishing more amazing articles. Nothing at the magazine itself has changed—but the way we present ourselves is more optimized. Here’s a link to our blog as an example of a small business with a growing social media presence: (https://www.leadingedgemagazine.com/).
In summary, regular posts, a great profile page, and making relevant content (with hashtags!) is what small business owners and influencers need to take their online presence to the next level. Your business plan for Twitter doesn’t have to be grandiose—but it has to start today.