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How to use Twitter for business

The ultimate breakdown of everything small businesses need to get started on Twitter. Find your foolproof strategy for success here!

There’s no getting round it anymore – social media is a must for small businesses. And if, like many small business owners, you're keen to channel your social media presence into two or three core networks, Twitter is a great choice.

First, let's look at why you'll want to use Twitter for your business. 

Twitter is an ideal space for connecting customers with brands. According to a survey by YouGov, Twitter is the third most popular and the third most famous social media network in the UK. And according to Twitter's own study, 69% of those surveyed had purchased from a small business after following it on Twitter.

People are also there to discover new things – indeed, Twitter found this was the top reason why people go on its site. So, if your goal is to get more eyes on your business, Twitter is the place to be. 

But what is a Twitter business account, exactly? How do you go about setting up a business Twitter account? Why is it essential for your startup? And how much is it going to cost, whether you manage it yourself or outsource it to an agency?

Now, let's turn to the big question many small business owners will be itching to have answered: how do you use Twitter to promote your business effectively? 

We're about to reveal all with a step-by-step guide to setting up on Twitter, along with our top tips on how to market on the platform effectively. We’ll also look at the benefits of managing Twitter in-house and hiring an agency.

Why use Twitter to promote your business?

With almost four out of five people following at least one brand on Twitter, businesses big and small are at the heart of the tweeting community. This makes Twitter a dream for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Above all, Twitter will help you:

Get your message out

The Twittersphere is one of the fastest moving social media networks – sometimes stories break there even before reaching the news. And now that you can advertise on Twitter, the sky's the limit.

Sculpt your brand

As long as you're not just shouting about your products on Twitter, the platform is a great place to curate the sort of content you'd like people to associate with your business identity. And best of all, you get to shape it.

Grow your business

Tools, like those to help you boost your followers, are always an option to kickstart your Twitter journey if you're still finding your feet.

But in reality, there's only one way to build your business on Twitter – and that's through a super social media marketing strategy.

Provide top customer service

Airline lost your luggage? Nowadays, many customers pick up their phones to tweet about it, before dialing any helpline. And since 19% of consumers have messaged a brand on Twitter (according to 2018 research by Sprout Social), it's a must-have app for keeping you in the driver's seat.

Network

Having a Twitter account for your business opens its doors to people – both locally and worldwide – who you might otherwise never get to connect with. But most importantly, it's a great place to engage with your customers.

What are the benefits of using Twitter for business?

Here, we highlight some of the main ways your business could benefit from using Twitter, including:

  • Brand awareness – you can promote what your business does, demonstrate how it’s different from the competition, and explain why customers should connect with it
  • Customer service – respond to queries easily and quickly, and interact with your audience directly
  • Reach and engagement – with a global user base, Twitter allows your business to reach as many people as possible, including potential new customers
  • Website traffic – whether it’s in your profile bio or throughout the tweets you post, you can send people directly to your site, or other content you want them to see 
  • Flexibility – aside from the character limit, Twitter offers a lot of flexibility in the content you can post. For example, you can include links, images, and videos in your posts, as well as run polls

Who are Twitter’s users?

There are 13.6 million people who can be reached by advertising, representing 24% of the population in the UK age 13+, according to Twitter. 60% of Twitter users are male, while 40% are female. This is according to data published by Avocado Social

We mentioned that Twitter is a social network for people looking to discover new things, but it's also many people's go-to for customer service.

As a small business owner, it's useful to zoom in on the types of customers you are likely to find on Twitter. After all, how will you make sure your messages speak to the right people if you don't have a clear understanding of your audience?

How to set up a business Twitter account

Setting up a business Twitter account is a fairly straightforward process – here, we’ll show you how to do it!

Step 1: Sign up

Follow the points below to sign up to the site and create a profile.

  • Go to the Twitter home page
  • Click ‘Sign up’
  • Enter your email address and password
  • Input your business name

You can opt to personalise Twitter based on other Twitter content you’ve seen online. At this point, there’ll also be an option to allow people to find you with your email address and/or phone number. You’ll need to decide on your options, then click ‘Sign up’. 

Note that by signing up, you’ll be agreeing to Twitter’s conditions and policies, so it’s wise to check that you approve of them first.

Step 2: Confirm

Next, you’ll be asked to enter a phone number. Enter the verification code that is sent to your device. 

Step 3: Username

Now, you’ll need to choose a username, which must be unique. When you type in a potential username, Twitter will tell you if the name is available. 

Once you’ve found one that your happy with, you can proceed to the next step. Note that your username can be changed at a later date.

Step 4: Interests

Select your interests – for a business, these could be based on your sector, as well as the type of products or services that you offer.

Step 5: Importing data

Twitter provides the opportunity to import information from Gmail or Outlook.

Step 6: Followers

Next, you’ll be presented with suggested followers. These will be selected for you – if you don’t want to follow those accounts, simply deselect them and continue to the next step.

Step 7: Notifications

Twitter will ask you if want to allow notifications – pick your option, then carry on to the next stage.

Step 8: Confirm email

You’ll be asked to confirm your email address. Go to your inbox, locate the email, and click ‘Confirm’ to fully access Twitter’s features.

Step 9: Profile

Now it’s time to get creative. This is where you can add your business logo to your page, such as by making it your profile photo. You can choose the background of your account page, along with the header image too. Ensure these are relevant to your business – think about the brand colours, as well as which product shots or other material you want people to see straight away. 

A bio allows you to explain your business concisely. You can also add a link to your business website, so that people know where to find out more about what you do.

Once you’ve completed these sections, be sure to save changes.

Step 10: Start tweeting!

Before you tweet, you’ll want to have an audience to tweet to! Find people to follow – this could be based on suggestions, or you can search for them directly. 

Now, you’re ready to craft your first tweet! This could be a brief introduction of your business, or a simple ‘hello’ to the Twittersphere.

How to market your business successfully on Twitter

We've given you the tips and tricks you need to get your small business started on Twitter. Now, we'll cover what you're really here for: how do I market my company as effectively as possible on Twitter?

When using Twitter for business, consider the following points:

  • Create content your audience wants
  • Know when to post
  • Use multimedia
  • Use Twitter video
  • Consider advertising on Twitter
  • Find influencers
  • Recycle content
  • Monitor activity
  • Just get tweeting

Just remember these strategies to give your small business the best chance of success:

Create content your audience wants

Of course, if this were easy, we'd all be marketing pros already.

But to start you off, you'll want to check your content is at least one of these three things:

  • Engaging
  • Informative
  • Shareable

Just think about giving your audience a take-away – something they didn't know before.

And to help you structure your ideas, it's helpful to share content that relates to three key areas of your brand:

Exciting business updates – Are you moving location? Or do you have a shiny new promotion to share?

Your company culture – What's your business about? What's it like to work there?

Select retweets – If you spot a tweet that resonates with your brand, share it!

Plus, Twitter makes it easy to expand your audience reach using #hashtags. That's because people who are following #hashtags can find you, even if they aren’t following you. There are even tools available which can help you discover the most relevant hashtags in your industry.

Know when to post

Tweets can be impactful. But they do have a short life span. That means the key to fueling engagement with your brand is posting at the right time.

It's a good idea to tweet regularly (about once a day for most small businesses), and the times to aim for are 12pm, 5pm and 6pm – that's when most people are active on social media.

But of course, it all depends on the day of the week, your industry, and the timezone of your customers. If you're keen to get it spot on, there are tools available that will fine-tune your posting times, based on your specific target audience. You can also look at audience insights in Twitter Analytics.

And most marketing tools will let you schedule your posts – after all, we know you've far better things to do. Because you can't always be online, scheduling your tweets will be a life-saver. Again, there are tools that'll do it all for you – and better still, they can tell you when your community is most active. Just be careful to keep an eye on them, so you can jump in if anything needs changing in the interim.

Or, if you’d rather use your time in other ways, you could consider outsourcing posting content and other aspects of your Twitter management to an agency, who can dedicate resources to this activity specifically.

Use multimedia

Multimedia is a quickfire way to drive more engagement. Indeed, 68% of people prefer to learn about new products or services by watching a short video. And given Twitter’s bite-size word count for tweets, you’ll soon find that images and GIFs are your best friend.

If you do want to include videos and other media, you’ll need to know how to shorten your links. Twitter is known for its bitesize posts – these used to be 140 characters (the size of a standard text), but they're now 280. Still, if you want to pack as much into your tweets as possible, shortening links help you go that extra mile. Bit.ly, HootSuite and Buffer will all do this for you. Twitter also has its own link shortener.

Use Twitter video

Social media video marketing exploded in 2019, to the point where Twitter now hosts two billion video views each day.

Whereas most people use YouTube as a search engine, they turn to Twitter for video discovery. This means you’ll always have a chance of being seen on Twitter, even if you're still growing your followers.

And you don't need to have any video experience to get some out there. There are free apps available like Lumen5, and other options like Wotchit, which can do the work for you. Alternatively, Twitter's live video is another effective option.

Consider advertising on Twitter

Of course, the goal is to create content that's so dazzling, everyone gives it the attention it deserves. But that's not always possible.

That’s why Twitter gives you three advertising options to suit your budget and aims: 

  • Promoted tweets – these tweets have been paid for and are labelled as promoted. You can find promoted tweets at the top of certain relevant search results on Twitter, along with user timelines and profiles, if relevant
  • Promoted accounts – these are accounts that are suggested to users as part of a followers campaign
  • Promoted trends – allow you to take over the Trends list for 24 hours 

If you’re interested in promoted tweets and promoted accounts, you can learn how to get started with Twitter Ads here. Contact your Twitter account manager if you’re interested in using promoted trends.

Twitter Ads

Twitter lets you stay in control of your budget – there’s no minimum campaign spend required, and you can set a daily budget for Twitter Ads. Read more guidance on Twitter Ads campaign and budget pricing here.

Since running advertising campaigns on Twitter is a step up from everyday tweeting and sharing, you might consider using a digital marketing agency to help you with this aspect of your Twitter strategy. An agency can assist with managing the amount of time, resources, and budget that you dedicate to your strategy.

To be matched with digital marketing agencies based on your specific business requirements, fill in the form at the top of the page and compare quotes for digital marketing agencies.

Find influencers

In order to turbocharge your marketing efforts, it's vital that you start talking to the right people. That means reaching out to industry influencers, so you get to piggyback on their huge followings. Just remember: as many as 49% of Twitter users say they rely on influencers for product recommendations.

Here's how a little web comic called The Oatmeal got Elon Musk talking:

Twitter influencers Elon MuskSimilarly, you could consider @ing and interacting with people that you’d like to collaborate with. However, be sure to conduct research to find out who the influencers are in the sector that you operate in, such as by Googling or searching on social media. 

There is also software available specifically for finding influencers – an example is Klear. Or, you could hire an agency to help you in this process and make contact with potential collaborators, especially if you’re wanting to work with more high-profile influencers.

Recycle content

This strategy might seem counter-intuitive, but remember: tweets don't quite have the organic reach they used to. The average Twitter user has around 700 followers, so there's a good chance they missed your tweet the first time round.

So, rather than sounding like a broken record, tweeting the same big news a few times a week or month is now considered best practice to give you a better chance of being heard.

Similarly, if you’ve spotted an important tweet, or something that your followers might enjoy seeing too, then share it. Retweets (RTs) are perfect for giving members of your community a pat on the back, and benefiting from the great content already out there. You can either click the retweet symbol under the tweet (two arrows in a circle), or if you'd like to edit the post, just start your tweet with: “RT @username: …” Although it’s now more common to embed tweets and comment on them. 

Monitor activity

Being active on a social media channel like Twitter can do more for your small business than you might expect. There are a number of tools that will let you measure how you're doing, who's engaging with your business, when your audience is most active, and much more.

These insights will not only help you hone your tweeting skills, but can even inform your whole marketing strategy – and your Twitter account is a free source of all this invaluable data. We'll explain more below.

Just get tweeting

Like any new toy, Twitter will take some getting used to, and the best way to learn how to use it is to simply get started. Now you know the basics, you'll find what works for you as you go along. And for some rules to follow while tweeting, here’s our advice on Twitter etiquette and guidelines.

Joining Twitter is like joining any community – there's a set of best practices to follow in order to be successful.

Here are the three golden rules of Twitter:

  1. Don't spam – This is rule number one for social media marketing in general, and just as important for Twitter. Spamming is the quickest way to get unfollowed. You'll want to make sure you're sharing content your target audience will want to see. 
  2. Twitter isn't a megaphone – No one likes spending time with people who only talk about themselves – and it’s no different online. Think of Twitter as a telephone, not a megaphone. The best way to promote your small business is to add valuable content to conversations that draw potential customers to you, rather than scaring them off.
  3. Use Twitter handles – Twitter handles are the names people give themselves on Twitter. Whenever you're talking about someone, it's good practice to use their @username. Not only is it polite, but it encourages the people you mention to reciprocate with your posts, and help build your community.

How to measure the success of your page

Here we outline how you can tell if your Twitter efforts are working, and where to find helpful ways to assess this effectively.

Define your success metrics

There are a number of ways of measuring how successful your Twitter page is. These include:

  • Referral traffic – how many people end up on your website from Twitter
  • Engagement rate – this encompasses everything from retweets and link clicks to replies, favourites, and more; essentially, it tells you how ‘well’ people are interacting with your business profile
  • Performance – this includes how well each tweet is performing, as well as the overall Twitter content
  • Followers – watching the number of followers on your account increase is one of the most easily recognisable measures of success
  • Impressions – this refers to how many times your Twitter account is seen on a daily basis

The success of individual tweets can be measured in the following ways:

  • Impressions
  • Total engagement
  • Likes
  • Retweets
  • Link clicks
  • Detail expands
  • Profile clicks

Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics refers to the platform’s own analytics tools, which let you measure and analyse data about your profile’s performance.

For a top level overview, visit the Account home section for month-to-month statistics, as well as a summary of the best performing tweets and who is influencing your network. To drill down into the data, go to the Tweet activity dashboard to see data on individual tweets. This dashboard also offers the Quick Promote option, to quickly and easily share your best tweets. 

Google Analytics

Google Analytics offers information about your business’ online profile. It offers analysis, intelligence, and detailed reporting to hone in multiple aspects of online activity, along with the option of using data from other Google platforms.

You can use Google Analytics to measure Twitter performance in comparison to other social media profiles, as well as to track audience behaviour beyond Twitter, such as how many users ends up on your business’ website.

Should I outsource my Twitter business account management?

In this section, we’ll discuss what you can do on your own on Twitter, how an agency could help you, and how much it would cost.

Benefits of in-house management

  • Brand understanding – internal team members know the brand from working on it everyday, and as a founder, you’re likely to have built the brand yourself. Both of these combine to give you a thorough awareness of your company’s tone of voice, style, and image
  • Quick responses – snappy replies are key when it comes to social media, especially on Twitter, which is known for its fast-paced interactions. By managing your account in-house, you can quickly and easily respond to customers without having to wait for any other processes
  • Direct relationship – following on from the above, in-house management allows you to cultivate connections between your team and your customers directly, on your own terms
  • Cost-effective – in-house management can be cheaper as many aspects of Twitter are free to use, so it’ll just be your time you need to account for

Benefits of outsourcing

  • External support – as Twitter is likely to be only one aspect of your social media strategy, managing multiple accounts and strategies can feel overwhelming. An agency offers support and expertise, so you can focus on other areas of your business
  • Long term development – while it’s easy to get caught up in the immediate, day-to-day nature of tweeting, sharing and liking, you’ll also need to plan for the future. An agency can offer an overarching view of your social strategy, along with the knowledge and resources to plan for what your business needs – both now and in the future
  • Campaign management – if you do decide to run paid content on Twitter, an agency can help manage the campaign through its lifecycle, from initial idea through to execution 

Next steps

From reading this guide, you’ve learned more about how your small business can make the most out of Twitter, both in terms of strategy and how to maximise the content that you post. 

Twitter can help to grow your business, get it found online, and help you to engage with both new and existing customers. With a user base that consists of a global mix of people looking to discover something new, Twitter offers a big opportunity to promote your small business. If you see Twitter like a telephone, not a megaphone, you're in with a good chance of connecting with and communicating to your customers. 

And if you're still feeling shaky, remember you can consider hiring an agency to help you. If you want to learn more about how a digital marketing agency could help your business, fill out the form below or at the top of the page to compare quotes.

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