How to use Twitter for Business
If you’ve been following my blog you may have already guessed that I’m a huge Twitter fan…
That’s right. Twitter is my No. 1 social media tool for building my online business. Why? Because it’s where I meet awesome likeminded people around the world, and it’s also my main source of traffic to my blog.
But while Twitter is now my favourite social media tool, turn back the clock 10 weeks and you would’ve seen me sitting at my desk – index finger hesitantly hovering above my mouse, heart pumping, willing for the finger to press down and send my first tweet.
Yep, if you’ve never used Twitter before it can be pretty scary. For one, how the heck do you know what to tweet? And secondly, you press ‘Tweet’ and your post is instant… there’s no retracting and your message is there for the world to see!
Well, I’ve been there, done that. And I can safely say that once you get tweeting – and you have the right Twitter tools to help you – you’ll soon realise how easy it really is to use Twitter. But don’t get me wrong, using Twitter does take time, effort and a lot of commitment. But for me, the rewards far outweigh the energy I put in.
So let’s hope I can convince you to give it a try. In this post I share with you:
Why you should use Twitter for business
There are currently 140 million active Twitter users around the world, with 400 million tweets going out every day. So if you’re not on Twitter you’re missing out big time!
Here’s why you should be on Twitter for your business:
- Endless opportunities to connect with likeminded people
- Ability to target potential customers in your niche or location
- Drives traffic to your website or blog and helps to quickly build a following
- Shows off your brand to the world
- Improves your customer service by enabling you to connect with your customers in real-time
- Enables you to build or participate in communities and networks that support your business objectives
- Keeps you up to date on the latest internet and social media news and trends.
Quite simply, Twitter is awesome!
And to make it a little easier for you to get started here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up a Twitter account for your business:
How to set up a Twitter account for your business
1. Sign up for an account.
Go to www.twitter.com and sign up, then follow the instructions. Twitter will take you through a simple process of setting up your account.
2. Choose your Twitter username.
Your Twitter username (or ‘Twitter handle’ as it’s also called) is the name that identifies you on Twitter – for instance, I’m @OMRookie. The @ symbol is used to call out your username in a Tweet and links to your profile.
It’s really important to choose the right username from the start because changing it after your account has been established can be a total nightmare – as I experienced when I first opened my Twitter account.
When choosing a Twitter username:
- Select one that matches your brand
- Make it catchy so it’s easy for people to remember you
- Avoid complicated or made-up words to prevent spelling errors (if your Twitter username is spelt wrong, you’ll miss out on messages and mentions (more about this below), as well as opportunities to be seen).
3. Start following people.
Following people in Twitter is kinda like ‘friending’ on Facebook, except you don’t have to ‘accept’ the follow – it’s instant.
When you follow people on Twitter you’re more likely to get followed back. So when you first sign up, Twitter will automatically suggest people for you to follow – usually celebrities or other famous people who may or may not be relevant to your business.
To find people in your niche or location, type your niche or location in the ‘Search’ field. Type it in as one word as Twitter doesn’t recognise spaces. For me, I’d type in ‘socialmedia’ or ‘internetmarketing’.
Then click ‘Follow’ for the people you’re interested in following. Try following 20-30 people a day to get you started.
4. Upload your photo and set up your profile.
Twitter will then prompt you to upload your profile and type in your bio. It’s super important to include a professional-looking photo and write a good bio as this is your brand, and it’s where people will go to find out more about you.
Then head to ‘Me’ on the top navigation bar to view your profile, click on ‘Edit my Profile’ on the top right, and set up the rest of your account and profile.
Be sure to include your website or blog address in your bio and profile, then set up your background so you’re not using the generic Twitter background. To set up your background go to ‘Design’ in your ‘Edit Profile’ settings. I had my background made through Fiverr.
5. Send your first Tweet.
Once your account and profile is set up you’re already to send your first tweet! Yep this was the scariest bit for me.
Twitter only allows 140 characters in a tweet so longwindedness is out! For your first tweet, try:Hi Twitter, it’s great to be on board!
You’re probably wondering what the point is of sending a tweet when you don’t have any Followers? Well, the sooner you get used to the idea of tweeting, the quicker you’re going to get the hang of using Twitter. It’s the first few tweets that are the most scary, and once you get over that fear you’ll be tweeting like it’s second nature.
For ideas on what to tweet, click here.
Congratulations, you’re now on Twitter!
But wait, there’s more… to use Twitter you’ll need to learn the basics of the Twitter language…
The language of Twitter
Here’s just some of the Twitter lingo you’ll be using on Twitter:
As mentioned above, this is your Twitter username (or Twitter handle), which is used to identify you. Mine is @OMRookie, so if you wanted to communicate with me you’d include “@OMRookie” in your tweet, and your tweet will come through to my Twitter page.
@username is also a link so anyone who clicks on @OMRookie would go through to my profile. Which means the more tweets your @username has, the more you’ll get seen.
@username can also be used to:
- Communicate with other users
- Reply to someone
- Mention someone, like if you’re sharing a blog post written by that person
- Retweet someone else’s tweet (more about this below).
In the image below you’ll see where people have either mentioned, replied or communicated with me. These have all appeared on my Twitter page.
Hashtags (# symbol)
The # symbol is used directly before a keyword or phrase (no spaces) to categorise a tweet so that it can be found easily in Twitter search. So for example, if the topic I’m tweeting about is social media, but I haven’t used the word “social media” in my tweet, then I’ll use the hashtag “#socialmedia” to categorise it.
If you click on a hashtag, it’ll also take you through to a page about that specific topic.
Retweets – or RTs – are basically tweets that have been forwarded by someone else.
If you see a tweet your followers may like, you can retweet it to your followers. Simply cut and paste that tweet and add to the beginning of the tweet: “RT @username (name of person who tweeted it)”, followed by the tweet itself. Then the person who originally sent the tweet gets acknowledged and you’ve got a relevant tweet to send to your followers.
Direct Messages (DM)
Direct Messages – or DMs – are private messages sent to people who are following you.
Every Twitter user has a private Twitter inbox where the DMs go. It’s just like a standard inbox except you only have 140 characters to play with and you can only send to people who are following you.
You can send a DM in two ways:
- Via the Twitter Direct Messages Inbox, or
- Using the Tweet box by adding a ‘d’ before the @username, like the example below.
Woohoo! So now you know how to use Twitter. You’ll love it! Okay here are my 7 top tips to help make your tweeting experience even better.
If you’d like more ideas on what to tweet, check out my article that includes 13 great Tweeting ideas.
My 7 Top Tips to help you tweet better
1. Take note of other people’s tweets.
When you’re starting out, it’s hard to know what to tweet. Once you’re following a few people, take note of the kinda stuff they tweet.
I’m a huge fan of sharing other people’s stuff (called ‘curation’) because I’m forever coming across cool tools and articles, and sharing them with my followers is a great way to help others, while connecting with them at the same time.
More about how to curate in point 4 below.
2. Tweet relevant stuff.
Always remember your audience and only tweet stuff that’s relevant to them. For instance, if you’re in the health niche, there’s no point tweeting about fashion is there? If you’re unsure what’s relevant, check out what others in your niche are tweeting.
3. It’s not all about you.
People are generally only interested in what’s in it for them, not what you have to sell, so keep selling to a minimum. Twitter is about building relationships, not selling.
4. Shorten your links.
When you’re curating (sharing other people’s articles or blogs) you’ll need to include a web link in your tweet so people can read the article. But because Twitter only allows 140 characters per tweet, it’s a good idea to shorten the URL: 1) to save space, and 2) because it’s cleaner.
To shorten links you can use one of the free online link shortening tools, like bitly or tiny.cc. These tools not only shorten links, but give you analytics on your links as well. I now use Buffer and Hootsuite, which have their own automatic link-shortening, but when I first started I used tiny.cc.
5. Always thank people for RTs or mentions.
Twitter is about building relationships with others, so if someone takes the time to mention you in a tweet, or to retweet your tweet, then take the time to thank them for it.
Not only is this common courtesy, but it’s also an opportunity to connect with them. Try it, I’m sure you’ll love the interaction!
6. Join Follow Fridays.
Follow Friday is kinda like a custom on Twitter. It’s a fun way to recommend people to your followers and a great way to thank your supporters for engaging with you during the week.
To participate in Follow Friday, include the #FF hashtag in your tweet along with the @usernames of people you want to recommend. You can recommend as many people as you can fit into 140 characters – or do a few Follow Friday tweets if you like, but spread them out over the day so you’re not bombarding your followers with irrelevant messages.
7. Tweet as often as you can.
The more you tweet, the more people will see your tweets and the more followers you’ll get. I tweet about 10-15 times a day, or more if people are interacting with me.
To keep your tweets going out regularly, it’s a good idea to automate them using an automation tool like Buffer or Hootsuite. I use both as they each have their own unique features. More about these tools here.
But remember, automating your tweets doesn’t mean being impersonal. You still have to add your own personal touches to your tweets to show that you’re a real person, not a robot.
So there you have it… How to use Twitter for your business. I hope you enjoy using Twitter as much as I have.
==> Click to Tweet
Over to you…
I’d love to hear how you get on with your new Twitter account so please let me know by leaving a comment below. Or if you’re a seasoned Tweeter I’d love to know what your top Twitter tip is.
Thanks again for visiting.
Until next time
– The Rookie
By Lillian Leon