What is Twitter?
There are plenty of social media sites out there, but Twitter stands apart from all by a very wide berth. It is a platform where you can share news, information, jokes, or opinions – near anything that crosses your mind, in ‘tweets’ of 140 characters at maximum.
It has made global communication measurable and cheap. Profiles are typically public, what you write is visible to everyone unless you choose to make your profile private. Twitter users (i.e. tweeters) will ‘follow’ one another to keep up with and converse with select people.
With more than 500 million users and 135,000 fresh users signing on each day, Twitter is an ideal place for connecting with your targeted audience. A Twitter account is part of the social media marketing strategies of many business startups and you’ll discover that many of your competitors are already in a race for the most twitter followers!
Before you get started, it is highly recommended that you go over to Twitter’s help website and go through the glossary of Twitter lingo, so that you’re able to understand whatever follows.
Why Twitter for business?
Setting up a Twitter small business account involves signing up for the account on their website, selecting a short and professional username, confirming the account, adding followers, updating your profile’s bio and photos, and then sending out your first tweet.
Creating a Twitter for business account is different from a creating a Facebook account. The former lets you gather and interact with your audience in a more personal way, whereas the latter makes the distinction between business and personal clear-cut.
Here are some of the biggest benefits of Twitter for businesses:
- Connecting with customers: This is the biggest reason for having Twitter in your marketing plan. You’ll be able to link with you customers since they’ll likely be using Twitter as well. The social media service has become a staple in many people’s lives – some will log into Twitter first thing as soon as they are awake. If your customer isn’t satisfied with your service, you’ll hear them through their tweets on Twitter, which will definitely ‘help you help them’.
- Branding: It isn’t necessary for you to be a big time brand like Starbucks, Nike or Dell to get branded on Twitter. Even if you’re a moderately sized startup, having a Twitter presence should be on your social media management agenda. If your company doesn’t have any kind of recognition, you might want to start with a personal account so that people can connect with you on an individual level, since no one likes talking to a bot.
- Customers’ Feedback: Once you have linked up with your clients, you’ll be getting feedback on how to make your product / service / customer service better – which will let you know exactly where you need to focus on to get more customers!
- Marketing: Twitter lets you market your service and products for free (unless you plan to hire a professional social media manager, of course).
- News: You can keep your followers (i.e. your targeted audience) up to date about the latest happenings and promotions at your business. You can tweet about new coupon codes and deals to boost your companies PR.
- Tweets will go viral: If you’ve managed to gain a following on Twitter, you’ll get a taste of the viral side of social media for businesses. A tweet you make will be retweeted by your followers – and their followers in turn might retweet it once more. This can set off a chain reaction and you’ll be right at the center, reaping the rewards.
- Spy on your rivals: You can use the free Twitter search to spy on the competition. Not only will you be able to read what your customers are saying about you, but also what they’re saying about your rival businesses.
How to create a Twitter business account
1. Start by heading over to the Twitter website and filling in your complete name, password and email address in the box that says ‘New to Twitter? Sign up’.
What you’ll enter as your ‘name’ depends on the nature of your intended use. Will you be setting up an account for the entire company i.e. a Twitter business page that will represent your startup?
If this case, you should enter the name of your business as the name. On the other hand, if you’ll be a representative of your company on a personal level, then you should name the account after yourself. After you’re done with this, click on ‘Sign up for Twitter’.
2. The screen that follows will ask for a Twitter login username, as well as whether you want to customise your Twitter based on the recent websites you have visited or not.
a. If this is a Twitter business page that will be representing your whole business, make the name of the company as the user name (or try to stick as close to it as possible). If this is a personal account, use a variation of your own name, your job post, or your own name combined with the abbreviation for your business – just make it sensible in the context. The username must be at most 15 characters.
b. The ‘Tailor Twitter based on my recent website visits” checkbox allows Twitter to analyse your recent browsing history to give you advice on the kind of accounts you should be following on Twitter. You should keep this box unchecked to protect your privacy, but it is good to know what it is there for anyway.
c. Click on the ‘Sign up’ button once you’re done.
3. Now, you’ll receive an email from Twitter that will ask you confirm your email address. Don’t click on the verification link just yet. Rather, stay on your browser as Twitter directs you to a set up screen. Click on the ‘Let’s go!’ button to begin.
4. You will now be asked about your interests and based on your response, you will be provided a list of particular topics to pick from. If you find a subject that is relevant to your business, click on the box next to it so Twitter can suggest some related Twitter accounts that you can follow. Click on ‘Continue’ to proceed.
5. Depending on your choices in the previous step, you will be suggested 40 Twitter accounts that best fit your criteria. Assess these suggested accounts and cross out the ones which you feel are irrelevant. Click on the ‘Follow & Continue’ button in the top right corner when you’re done.
6. You will now be offered the opportunity to put up a profile picture. If this will be a business account, upload your business’s logo. If it is a personal account, you can upload your own picture or an image related to your job, etc. Click on the ‘Upload Photo’ button and ‘Continue’ to proceed and move to Step 8. Alternately, don’t click on ‘Continue’ just yet and move on to Step 7.
7. Twitter lets you import contacts from AOL, Yahoo, Outlook and Gmail. This makes you able to discover the Twitter accounts of your contacts on other services, and follow them. When setting up
a Twitter account for your company, you may want to skip this step, depending on how you want your company to interact with your contacts. Click on ‘Skip this step’ to do so, or on ‘Upload your Gmail contacts’ (mail service name depends on the email ID your Twitter account is linked to) or ‘Use a different email service’. A pop-up window will appear, instructing you to sign into your email account, after which you’ll need to give Twitter permission to access your contact list.
8. If you did not skip over step 7, you will be presented with a Twitter account list comprising of contacts that Twitter discovered through your email ID. Cross out the accounts you don’t want to follow and click the ‘Follow & Continue’ button to go ahead.
9. You will now be redirected to your homepage on Twitter, where you will see a list of recent tweets made by the accounts you are following. You can also make a tweet of your own by clicking on the ‘Tweet’ button on the top right corner of your screen.
10. You can now safely confirm your email address by clicking on the verification link sent to you by Twitter via email.
How to create an eye-catching Twitter profile page
Your Twitter profile page will be what visitors to your account see – which is why it crucial to make it as captivating and interesting as possible, while staying true to your business theme.
Here’s how you can make your Twitter page stand out:
The upper right corner of the Twitter home page has your Profile Photo (or a picture of an egg avatar if you haven’t uploaded a picture yet). Click on the Profile Picture and click on View Profile.
Click on the Edit Profile button to the right.
- Upload a photo – try to put up a picture of your business logo preferably 400px by 400px.
- Upload a header photo – this should be a picture which blends well with the background of your Twitter page. Its dimensions are 1500×500 in pixels. The image you choose should be in harmony with the profile picture instead of distracting away from it. You can choose a background colour or upload a custom background image as well to create a perfect match for the header and the profile picture. Examples of good headers for a business profile are photos of your business, of your employees at work, of your products or a collage of various work related photos. Header photos should be 1500px by 500px
- Write a brief description of your company and what it offers in the Bio field. Include keywords which people on Twitter may use for searching businesses in your niche.
- In the ‘Location’ field, enter the location of your company.
- In the ‘Website’ field, enter the URL of your company’s website.
- When you’re done, click on ‘Save changes’ to proceed.
Refer to the chart above to get a visual idea of the sizing of your profile picture. A Twitter profile picture template is attached in Photoshop format for your convenience.
If you would like to do this yourself here is a an easy to use Twitter profile page template below that can help you create fantastic profile pages for your business (or personal account)
If you don’t want the hassle or aren’t into Photoshop then please be sure to contact us and we will be happy to help.
How to use twitter for small business
Once you’ve setup a Twitter account, it is time to gain Twitter followers. There isn’t a single answer to the question of how to get Twitter followers, as you’ll see below:
- Follow others on Twitter: Following others can gain your more followers. When you follow people within your industry, it brings you on their radar and provides you with a platform from where you can communicate with them. It raises your exposure and if you say (tweet and retweet) the right things at the right time, you’ll definitely gain followers.
- Interact with followers: Interaction makes your followers believe that they are personally wanted.
- Be a resource: If you’re serious about being followed and followed continuously, add constant value to your tweets and make them as interesting as possible. Link out to an informative article or give a well thought out opinion in a broader discussion.
- Target Power Tweeters: Start targeting popular and well respected people in your industry via your tweets. Grab their attention and forge relationships with them to drastically gain popularity in Twitter circles. If they like the content of your tweets, and see you interacting with people, they may even follow you back.
- Utilize Good Karma: Make a list of the authority tweeters you wish to be followed by. Take a week to recce their profiles and be as helpful to them as you can through tweets, retweets and mentions. You may feel like you’re selling yourself out, but the rewards more than make up for it.
- Use hashtags: Use the ‘#’ symbol to create trends or become a part of a trending topic. For instance, if you’re making a tweet about office supplies, use #officesupplies to make your tweet reach those who are interested in the topic.
- Use Twitter ads: Twitter advertising was recently introduced in two forms: Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts, even though many small businesses forego this form of social media advertising in favor of organic growth. The former is more suited for getting tweets out to a wider audience to acquire more clicks / engagement with regards to an event, promotion or product launch. whereas the latter is ideal for growing a loyal follower base. You can set a daily budget to control your expenditure – a bidding system is in place to determine the price you pay for a new follower through ads.
There are plenty of other answers to how to get more followers, but these are enough for you to get on with.