Twitter is one of the most powerful social media marketing tools around and in today’s market you can’t afford to ignore it. It’s the ideal vehicle for introducing new products and services, reaching out to new audiences and promoting your brand. Whether you are aiming for viral impact or focussing in on a local demographic, Twitter is a channel where you can make a significant marketing impact. If you haven’t set up Twitter for your business, yet, this post will show you how to do it and how to get started promoting your company.
Why you should consider Twitter for business
If you don’t quite get Twitter and don’t see the point, here are some stats to get you thinking:
There are 1.3 billion people with Twitter accounts worldwide. 74% of them use Twitter to follow SME brands that they like and 47% of those followers are more likely to visit your website after seeing your tweets. 52% of Twitter users also claim to have purchased a product that they saw for the first time on the platform.
On the other side of the coin, many people now use Twitter as a way to complain about companies they are not happy with. If you are not on Twitter, those complaints are just going to get shared. Clever businesses now use Twitter as part of their customer service – if someone complains, they deal with it there and then; and frequently turn potentially damaging publicity into a PR success.
So, here’s how to get started:
Open a Twitter account
The first step you need to do is to open a Twitter account. Signing up is easy to do: you just enter your name, business email and a secure password. Once this process is complete, you can begin creating your Twitter profile.
Choose the right username
One of the most important things you will need to do is to choose your username. Ideally, this should be the name of your business; however, if you have a very long business name, a shortened version might be preferable. Shorter names are easier to remember, spell and search for; @M&S is much easier for users that @marksandspencers.
The other thing to remember is that tweets are limited to 140 characters and if someone wants to communicate with you, they need to use your ‘handle’ in the tweet. A long username, therefore, reduces the number of characters they can use.
With 1.3 billion accounts, you may also find that your desired username has already been taken. Whilst there may be something you can do about this if your company’s name is globally trademarked, for everyone else, you’ll just need to think of an appropriate alternative. You can always change it later.
Completing your profile
Setting up your Twitter profile is a very similar process to setting up a Facebook profile. To do this, simply click on ‘Edit profile’ on the top right side of your profile page.
One of the first things you need to do is create your profile and header images.
A profile image is the most important of the two as it will appear next to all your tweets and next to your username in search results. For businesses, the ideal image is one which has your business name or logo or, preferably, both.
The size of the image should be 400 x 400 pixels, be a maximum of 2MB in size and be a JPEG, GIF or PNG file. For internet images, the image should be 72dpi.
When designing your Twitter page, the cover photo will play an important part in your branding so it’s important to upload an image that says something about your company and is strong enough to have an instant impact.
From a design perspective, it should complement your profile image and not have colours which clash – especially as part of the profile image will cover up a small section of the header.
The size of the header image should be 1500 x 500 pixels, be a JPEG, GIF or PNG file and, like the profile image, be no larger than 2MB.
Editing your profile image
To change your images, hover over the image, click or tap the camera icon and select ‘Upload photo’ or ‘Remove’.
Twitter will also let you show your Vine images if you have a Vine account connected to Twitter. Just choose to ‘Show my Vine profile’ on your Twitter profile.
Writing your bio
Unlike Facebook, where you can add a long description to your profile, Twitter is much more insistent on brevity and gives you only 160 characters to describe your business. This can make it difficult so summarise what your business does.
To make the bio user-friendly and interesting to read, rather than try to cram as much detail as you can into those 160 characters, stick to your core message and say it in an engaging way that sums up your brand. If you have used text on your header image, you can build on this in the bio. However, for both the bio and text in the image, you are looking for short, catchy sentences.
The other factor to consider is that, as a social media platform, Twitter users expect businesses to be less formal and corporate. People on there want to see the human side of your business and brand, so keep that in mind when you write.
Other profile information
The profile options in Twitter are quite limited. The focus is on what you tweet, not what’s on the side panel of your profile. The other sections you can complete are your location, your website address and the date your company joined Twitter.
Getting started on Twitter
Your primary aim as a newcomer to Twitter is to grow your audience of followers. When you first sign in to Twitter you’ll see what is known as your Twitter feed. This contains the most recent tweets of all the people or companies you have followed. If you want your tweets to appear on other people’s feeds, you need to get them to follow you.
The easiest way to get followers on Twitter is to follow people first. The Twitter community is generally very good at following back. However, as a business, you obviously want to target the right people, so here’s an example of how you could achieve this.
Let’s presume you’ve launched a new collection of t-shirts and want to promote them. To find people who are interested, search for a competitor, go to their profile page and click on their list of followers. You would then need to search through the followers and follow the ones who you think are most likely to be interested in your products. Hopefully, some of these would follow you back.
Do be careful with this method, if you follow hundreds of people every day just to achieve high follower numbers, Twitter will block you – especially when you hit the 2000 followers mark.
The best way to get followers is to tweet interesting content such as an image, a video or a link to blog post. To make sure it gets seen by the right people, you should find a relevant hashtag ‘#’ that people are following. So, taking our T-shirt brand example, you could take a picture of someone wearing a new T-shirt design and then post your tweet with the hashtag #newtees. Everyone who was following #newtees would then see your tweet in their feed. People who like the design might follow you and, even better, retweet your image to their followers.
The more tweeting you do, the more your brand will get followed and shared.
Twitter is not just there for you to advertise your products and services – it’s a social platform. Other users will send you tweets, ask you questions and comment on what you do. To make the most of the platform for building your brand, it’s important that you spend some time engaging with other users. Doing this will soon help you grow a much bigger audience.
Finally, Twitter is big and it’s busy. People often follow hundreds, even thousands of others and their feeds are enormous. Getting seen means creating striking tweets and posting them at a time when your followers are going to be online. This means making your content very relevant and tweeting often. To save time with this, you can write all your tweets at once and schedule them to go out at separate times.
From reading this article you should now have a much better understanding of how to:
- create a Twitter business account
- complete your profile
- find followers
- get your tweets seen