A 5 Step Guide to Using Twitter for Business
While more recent headlines have not been flattering, Twitter has earned its spot as a leading social media platform over the past eleven years.
Those 140-character snippets can provide tons of organic growth, engagement and brand recognition for businesses of all sizes. Users latch on to the conversational and up-to-the-minute nature of the platform. If you're running a small business, incorporating Twitter into your marketing plan is likely a wise and cost-effective idea.
Today, we'll review the essential steps to get your Twitter for Business account up and running - and most importantly, generating the positive results you want.
1. Create a business profile
First things first; select your username (or handle). If you have other social media presences, such as a Facebook Page, Instagram account, check to see if those handles are available on Twitter, and if so, claim that name immediately. Consistency across platforms is incredibly important for establishing brand equity and authenticity, however, if your perfect match is already taken, iterate and find a username that is as close to your other handles as possible.
Tip: Usernames are limited to 15 characters, so you may have to shorten your existing social media handle to make it fit Twitter's requirements.
Once you have a username, your next step is to fill out of your profile.
There are three critical pieces of your profile that must be completed before you start tweeting - your profile picture, bio, and header image.
Much like your username, utilize as many of the same components from other social profiles into your Twitter profile. Upload the same profile and header images, and include similar bio text, along with a link to your business website to maintain a consistent online presence.
After you've checked these boxes, you can get into action and begin tweeting.
2. Promote your profile
Now that you have an active profile, you need followers.
Make it as easy as possible for people to find and follow your Twitter account - add social media widgets or icons everywhere. On your website, include links to each social media account in the header or footer area. If you have a business blog, position your social media icons in a prominent location so they can't be missed.
You should also insert a Twitter icon into your email marketing campaigns. These emails are going to your existing audience, and giving them direct access to your growing social presence is a great way to add followers and gain exposure.
Additionally, you can reference your Twitter account on other social media profiles so people can link to your account directly from there.
3. Set Twitter-specific goals
Creating goals for your social media helps keep your efforts focused on your larger marketing objectives. Goals also enable you to evaluate your campaigns in an impartial way.
Pick a few metrics that matter to you, such as a percentage increase in followers and engagement rates and monitor them to see what's working and what's falling short.
Having a clear idea why you're engaging on social enables you to create content and discussions that work toward your core goals.
4. Establish a posting schedule
Posting consistently helps build your online presence and establish credibility.
Decide on a schedule that feels manageable for your small business. Select specific times for your posts, such as 8 am, 11 am, 3 pm, and 9 pm, so that your followers come to expect new content around those hours.
Because of the fast-paced, real-time nature of tweets, posting at a higher frequency is generally more acceptable, so feel free to post between 7 and 20 times per day. If you're a one-man team, using a social media management tool will save you time as you can schedule posts in advance.
Once a schedule is set, develop a tweet template. The most effective tweets contain a short caption, a visual component, a linked URL, and two to four relevant hashtags. It's great to jump into trending topics and use those hashtags, but having one standard hashtag you use for the majority of your tweets can also help catalog your posts and build your online reputation.
Varying your tweet content is the key to keeping your audience engaged. Of course, you should tweet your original content and promote your products and services. However, asking questions, running polls, and re-tweeting and replying to accounts you follow adds depth to your Twitter feed. This recipe for tweeting provides a nice balance between promotional content from your small business with informative information and opinions from other trusted sources.
When in doubt, remember the 80/20 rule: for every one post about your small business, you should publish four posts that feature other people and business's content. Social media is all about give-and-take, and adhering to this kind of tweet schedule will garner the greatest engagement for your account.
5. Connect with your audience
Lastly, to successfully utilize Twitter for Business, engage with your audience as much as possible.
Users are responsive, and real-time conversations at the norm. Thank your customers for sharing your content, like their posts, and reply to all messages - either tweeted or through DM (direct message) - in a timely and professional manner.
A way to manage your followers' expectations is to be transparent and communicate proactively. Include information regarding support availability within your profile, either directing users to DM you or through a designated customer service email address. Being honest, friendly, and open to conversations will help grow your brand's awareness and humanize your organization, which are all wins for any small business that's getting started on Twitter.
Twitter can be an amazing resource for small businesses, but understanding how to use the platform and what its implications are for enhancing your online presence and brand awareness are critical before posting your first tweet. Use these five tips to get your business on Twitter as quickly as possible.
Follow Julie Chomiak on Twitter