The ultimate guide to using Twitter for business

Twitter is one of the most widely-used social media platforms for businesses, but with more startups popping up in the UK than ever before, the need to understand how Twitter actually works is still prominent.
This beginners’ guide to Twitter for business will give you all the information you need to get your account up and running, without any hiccups or common errors along the way.

Choose your twitter handle

Your Twitter name – or “handle”, as it’s referred to – is usually the first thing people will see, so it needs to reflect your brand. However, as Twitter now has around 336 million active users (and approx. 974 million accounts in total), you may find that your brand name has already been taken!

If your brand name or personal name has already been claimed, use characters such as dashes “-” and underscores “_” instead. If your brand name is too long, try shortening it with acronyms and nomenclature.
For example, if you owned an accountancy firm called “Coles And Company LLP”, you might have to settle with “@Coles&Co”, “@ColesLLP” or “@ColesAccnts”.

Upload Your twitter profile picture

Your Twitter profile picture needs to present your brand identity in a similar way to your Twitter handle.  Make sure the image is of a reasonable quality; you don’t want to have a blurry, lo-res image to represent your business! Your safest bet is to use your company’s logo. If your logo isn’t square, or if you upload it and it doesn’t all appear visible, get in touch and I’ll edit it for you!

Start following other accounts

Once you’ve got your account setup, you should start following accounts that are related to your industry, or are companies or influencers in your sector. It’s important to find a balance between pro-actively following as many relevant accounts as possible and not following so many that it looks “spammy”.
To avoid any potential issues, I’d recommend following now more than 50 new accounts per day when you’re first getting started. Give it some time – some users might follow your back straight away, some might take several days and some might not follow you back at all.

Engage with influencers

Getting noticed on Twitter by the masses is extremely difficult; whatever you’re tweeting about, if you don’t have a large following yourself then it’s tough to stand out from the other thousands of people also tweeting about the same topic!
One way to get noticed is to add key influencers in relevant sectors as favourites, so that when they post relevant tweets which you can relate to, you can then like and retweet their tweets. Don’t go mad though; stick to 5 likes and 1 retweet  per week, per influencer.
The important part of this exercise, however, is the fact that the influencer you’re retweeting will begin to notice you and, just maybe, they might retweet one of yours! This is the golden ticket to significantly more followers, using influencers for a boost.

Define your target audience

Before you start engaging with everyone and anyone on Twitter, think about the limited amount of time you’ve got to spend on Twitter and your other social media platforms. Be efficient with your time and focus on targeting a specific audience.
Your target audience on Twitter should consist of your:

  • Target market
  • Competitors (I’ll explain this later)
  • Existing clients
  • Employees/colleagues
  • Suppliers
  • Partners/other third parties

Write a list of sub-categories of the above; for example, if you run an accountancy firm, you’re likely to have local competitors (based on location), service competitors (based on service offering) and sector competitors (based on sector) so you may wish to search “accountants in Birmingham”, “cloud accounting” and “medical accountants”.
Segmenting your target audience will make it easier to ensure that your audience is of a high quality, which makes all the difference later on…!

Engage with your target audience

There are lots of different approaches to engaging with users on Twitter, but the easiest ways are by:

  • Following them
  • Liking their tweets
  • Retweeting their tweets
  • Replying to their tweets
  • Mentioning them in your tweets (tagging them by including their Twitter handle)
  • Using their brand hashtag(s)

Using a natural mix of all of these interactions will help you to get noticed by your target audience and lead to higher interaction rates on your own posts, as well as more new followers.

Use hashtags to build your audience & increase reach

One of the most effective ways to get your tweets seen by large volumes of relevant users is through the strategic use of hashtags. Hashtags are used to identify the topic of a tweet and often to summarise the tweet, so that users can search and follow a particular hashtag to see tweets on a specific topic.
It’s easy to get carried away with hashtags and the temptation to use as many as possible to get your tweet seen can get the better of you. Try and keep it natural and only use hashtags which are actually relevant to your tweet – it’s usually best to stick to around 3-5 hashtags per tweet.

Leverage data on your competitors

In the world of Twitter, your competitors are your best friends…
By monitoring your competitors, you can:

  • See who follows them (who are their clients?)
  • See who they follow (who are they targeting?)
  • Get inspiration from their posts
  • Spy on their conversations

That last point is key; Twitter is often used by individuals as a complaints line – just search “EasyJet” or “SouthernTrains” to see how disgruntled customers take aim at companies who fail to deliver to their expectations (sorry guys, I needed examples!).
The same thing can happen to any business, so keep an eye out for disgruntled customers of your competitors and leverage the situation to your advantage, but getting in touch with the customer and offering them an alternative.

Use tools to automate your Twitter account

Managing any social media account can be extremely time-consuming, so here are a few of the best social media management tools I would recommend using to help you save time and manage your Twitter account more efficiently:

Thanks for reading!

I hope you found this guide useful and even just a tiny bit interesting. If you’d like to speak to me about your marketing strategy in more detail, please contact me or submit your details below for a free consultation.