Twitter For Business In 10 Simple Steps

Nov 23, 2010 View Comments by Steve

Choose a meaningful username

Keep it personal and real, don’t be afraid to use your own name or your name, but chances are your name is taken so mixing it with something that will distinguish you is a good idea. Using the company name shortened can work well if thats the brand you want to push. Steer clear from using your product description as the username, they just look spammy. Remember the brand you want to push, is it you, your company or a bit of both? Some examples below.

dragonjones, FoodSafariUK, SmartaHQ
PCDirect2U, Abbi234, cheap_books

Create a snappy profile

Try and distil who you are and what you do in 10 words or less. As we are talking about a twitter for business this should at least mention your product or service. A few good ones, simple and to the point…

Foodie events, experiences and life in Suffolk

A design and creative communications agency in Ipswich, Suffolk.

Add your company logo or a friendly, natural photo to represent you (aka avatar) and as a bonus add a background image reflecting the branding and design of your main website to enhance brand recognition and authenticity.

Start Listening (Following)

Once your signed up the best thing to do is start listening, just like you would if you joined a new club or group. So think about who you want to listen to in your industry or related industry. Follow a few non work/business related people too after all you want to have fun with twitter and you want your audience to know your human and interesting and just reading and writing corporate businessy tweets won’t show this.

Get Involved in the Conversation

A nice easy way into to building your confidence with Twitter is by retweeting other peoples tweets and replying to tweets you find interesting. This is all public but its a little less intimidating than having to think of something new and exciting to say, which will come with time.

Say something interesting (Tweet)

So you’ve been reading your followers tweets, you’ve started reacting to them by retweeting or replying now its time to do some proper tweeting. Content that works really well on twitter includes inspiring quotes, testimonials and links to interesting articles. For a business the end goal is probably to drive your twitter followers to your website so some of those interesting articles should probably be on your site or blog.

Get noticed by finding and following your target customers

Now you’re tweeting some real gems we need to make sure your potential customers are reading.  Once you have a good looking twitter homepage with a profile picture, brief description, website link, branded background and most importantly some interesting and useful tweets its time to start proactively getting some followers. The great thing about twitter is even without knowing other users you can get an idea of their interests by seeing who they follow. So think about who your potential customers would follow. Perhaps they would follow your competition, industry journals/websites/blogs, prominent figures in the industry. Take a look at some of their followers and if the profile and twitter stream seems a good fit as a target customer then follow them. This doesn’t mean they’ll follow you back but they’ll at least notice you and if you get it right then there’s a great chance they will follow you and then you’ve got their ear.

Retweet your mentions & build repour

Retweet people who mention you or your company in a positive light, not too much, but a a small amount of these act as authentic testimonials and carry weight. Don’t stop tweeting quality content and looking for those target customers on twitter. Engage with your target customers without a hard sell, perhaps on a completely different topic or offer information free, build rapport. Make sure your reciprocal follow rate is pretty good otherwise it’s possible twitter might think your spamming people and block your account. However, this will only happen if you try following several hundred people a day that aren’t well targeted. So do it gradually, do your research, but don’t worry if not everyone follows you back, they won’t. If you feel at any time like you are following too many people you can always start carefully unfollowing. Don’t aggressively unfollow though, it will make you unpopular with both your audience and twitter themselves who routinely freeze accounts of aggressive unfollowers (e.g unfollowing 100 people a day). Instead use lists to keep the noise out of your news stream.

Monitor twitter for conversations

Use the search functionality on twitter or better still try the fantastic Hoot Suite or Monittor to listen into conversations relating to keywords that are interesting to you and your business. When you think you’ve got something useful to input user the @recipient syntax to send them a tweet. If it’s useful to them they may follow you back and they’ll probably check out your site, or if they need more information they may come back to you and you can sell them something.

Show your personality, have an opinion and be responsive

I think the big charm with twitter is that its real people with informal, chatty messages. Make sure you don’t loose this when tweeting for your business. Keep it chatty and fun and have an opinion, because lets face it we’re all pretty opinionated and it just feels more real and worth remarking or retweeting if you go for it and don’t sit on the fence. If you’re responsive on twitter then potential customers will get the message that you have kick ass customer service.

Analyse, tweak and carry on

So you’ve tried all the things above and your getting some followers but perhaps you want more and it’s taking a lot of time. Well it’s quality not quantity that counts most of the time so its worth spending the time targeting those right people. But spend a little time analyzing which tweets get a good response by being retweeted or replied to. People easily miss your tweets so to get your important messages noticed try tweeting it a few times over a period of time but reword the message in friendly and creative ways so it doesn’t look repetitive and spammy. Also take a step back and try to determine where you have found your best target customers on twitter. Was it by following the competitions followers? By engaging in a relevant conversation? By following the followers of a famous person? Just have a good think about whats working and whats not and then rinse and repeat. Good luck and be yourself out there!

So tell us, what’s working for you?


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