Using Twitter for Business

At first glance Twitter may not seem like the best tool for marketing, but scratch beneath the surface of obscure hashtags and people compelled to tell the world what they’ve been eating and you’ll find it’s a powerful way of promoting a business. Below are a few tips to help you get started or adapt your existing account on this social networking site.

Initially you need to evaluate whether Twitter is the platform for you. Your time is valuable and you need to make best use of it. The Social Media Networks have differences in their audience and functionality. Use Twitter’s search tool to check out key search terms for your business – including your business name, your competitors, the products/services you offer and your area. If your search proves fruitful and you can see that your time on Twitter will be well spent, then off we go!

  • Your username – make sure it’s as close to your Business name as you can, think of people searching to find you. Keep it short and straightforward, using as few characters as you can without turning it into gobbledegook!
  • Make sure you populate the details Twitter asks for, especially your website’s URL. This will show on your account page and provide an easy link back to your own content.
  • Your bio – when someone takes the time to check you out, they’ll want to know what you do and why they should follow you. Make sure you make the most of the 160 characters with a well-crafted description that represents your company.
  • Avatar – choose a picture that represents you. People respond to people; therefore a photo is likely to be better received although it is acceptable to use a logo. The choice is yours.
  • Background – Twitter allows you to customise your background, giving you scope to upload an image or a logo and add to the information about your Business.
  • Who to follow – your initial research into whether Twitter was the right platform for you should have highlighted a few accounts to follow. Look for business connections, suppliers, clients and supportive, influential connections within your area or location. It will take a while for people to start following you, so don’t go overboard on following hundreds of accounts. The ideal is to try and strike a balance between follower/following, therefore you will need to gradually build the number of accounts you follow.
  • Tweeting – now you’re ready to join the conversation and start tweeting. As a rule of thumb, try and keep the length of your tweets to 120 characters. This, along with your concise username, will assist your followers in supporting you with retweets and mentions.
  • What to say – to begin with you will need to introduce yourself, although not just a quick ‘hello world’. Let people know who you are and what you do but please remember the golden rule – Twitter is not a place for direct sales, it is a platform for building relationships and developing your customer base. Be personable, friendly and approachable.
  • The 20/80 rule – you will build your follower base by being both informative and interesting. Only 20% of your tweets should be directly about you and your services/products. The remaining 80% should be used to point people to interesting relevant content in your industry or location, stimulate engagement and conversation, join in conversations with fellow tweeters, and also retweeting and sharing content from followers and those you wish to support in your Social Media Community.
  • Tweet with caution and common sense – it’s important to set the right tone. While Twitter can, and should, be fun tweets are archived, therefore it’s wise not to share anything unprofessional that may come back to haunt you later on.
  • Building a following – this is something that will come with time and good content. By following the right people and providing something of value through your tweets, people will start following you. By following the 20/80 rule you will be well on the way to increasing your followers – just remember it’s all about quality rather than quantity. 10 followers who are supportive and engaging are far better than 100 who do not interact at all. Make sure you publicise your presence on Twitter via email signature, button on your website, your Twitter name added to all offline marketing and anywhere else you can think of!
  • Manners – don’t forget to be polite, thank people for following you, retweeting you or mentioning you. Congratulate people on achievements.

This is just the beginning. Having grasped the fundamentals, there are many ways in which you can make a strategic use of Twitter’s opportunities and potential. Just remember Twitter doesn’t have to be taxing. Here at Optix we offer full Strategy Development and support and/or an on-going curricula of social media training. We can help you get up to speed with the platforms that are relevant to your business and make the most from them. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions or provide more information, just contact us.

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