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twitter-tips-for-small-businessIf you are a small business owner, chances are you might have already heard about using Twitter to help growing your small business. Many people have heard of Twitter as one of the social media applications, unfortunately there are not too many clear guides around how to use twitter to grow your business. We write these twitter tips for small business to help you getting started right away in the most practical ways.

What is Twitter?

From the site itself:

Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what you find interesting. Simply find the accounts you find most compelling and follow the conversations.
At the heart of Twitter are small bursts of information called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters long, but don’t let the small size fool you—you can discover a lot in a little space. You can see photos, videos and conversations directly in Tweets to get the whole story at a glance, and all in one place. See it in action.”

Today Twitter is used by millions of businesses and individuals all around the world as a media to monitor conversations about their brand, interact with their customers, promoting offers and competitions, and so much more.

20 Twitter Tips For Business

1. Get a Brandable Twitter username (if possible)
Your Twitter username is extremely important, as it will make up part of your Twitter profile url – the address you’ll put on all of your marketing material to direct them to follow you on the social network. As you will be publicizing it to the world, try to keep your username short, simple and memorable.

2. Leverage The Name box
Although Twitter says “Enter your real name, so that people can recognize you” when you set up your profile, there is a better practice for business twitter account. Instead, enter your brand or business name as it will appear right at the top of your Twitter profile in big, bold letters.

3. Add your website on your Twitter profile
Pretty obvious, this one. Twitter will display a link to your website address underneath your Bio. If you don’t have a website yet, you could type your other social media URL (facebook page for example).

4. Write an engaging Twitter bio
The Twitter Bio box gives you 160 characters to let you tell the world about who you are and what you do. It makes good business sense to include real name of the person handling your Twitter account here, as well as the @usernames of anyone else who tweets for you.

5. Use an effective Twitter profile image
Do not just use the default Twitter avatar. Instead, use a photo of yourself and/or brand logo. You could also combine the two. People will identify much more closely with a profile that displays a person’s smiley face rather than the dreaded default ‘egg’ image or something similarly infamous.

6. Create a branded Twitter header image
Use your Twitter profile’s header image to promote your brand. In September 2012, Twitter rolled out a new version of profile page to include something like Facebook header – a large banner at the top of your Twitter profile page that can be customized with any image. You should leverage this feature to promote your brand/business.

7. Design a Twitter background image for brand promotion
Use your Twitter profile’s background image to promote your brand. Be sure to list your website, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus and Pinterest accounts. You can also use this space to promote your brand and its products, or to picture the people who help run your Twitter page. Experiment with the width, height and alignment to ensure your image does not disappear behind your news feed or off the bottom of the page at the most common screen resolutions. Your Twitter background is valuable virtual real estate, and a great opportunity to promote your brand.

8. Separate Tweets and Facebook statuses

Your Twitter profile settings include the ability to send your tweets automatically to the wall of your Facebook page. Whether you decide to use this is personal preference, but my advice would be to avoid it, for several reasons. Chances are that you are going to be posting on Twitter much more regularly than Facebook, so you risk the chance of spamming (and upsetting) your Facebook fans. Secondly, you want people to be fans of you on Twitter AND Facebook, and to be able to offer both audiences a unique, valuable experience. They won’t come to Twitter if they can get it all on Facebook. And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, automated posts (whether written by hand or produced by a bot) are never received as well as a post that is individually crafted for its intended audience. The ways you communicate with your Twitter and Facebook audiences are different, so it’s best to keep them separate.

9. Don’t protect your Tweets
Unless there’s someone you really don’t want seeing your tweets, don’t use the option to protect them in Twitter Settings. You will only be hiding your business from the whole world, and that is not good.

10. Share your Twitter address everywhere
Publish your Twitter URL on all marketing material, including business cards, email signature, and email newsletters. Don’t forget to include a “Follow Us” button on your website to target potential followers too.

11. Use a consistent voice
Share content tweets and @replies using your brand’s own personality and voice, and keep it consistent. Ensure your tweets are positive and inspiring. No one likes a moaner, it will only reflect badly against your brand image.

12. Become an authority figure
Do you have an expertise? Engage with followers and other tweeters to become an authority figure in your niche, promoting your page and business in the process, and earning engaged followers along the way.

13. Share links to useful content
To help grow your number of followers, post links to useful and interesting content – whether your own or by others – that is likely to be retweeted. Use Google Alerts to be notified of fun, fresh, and relevant content for your Twitter feed and followers, and use “Tweet This” buttons to get it to them fast. While it’s good to share interesting content with your followers, make sure you know what’s in it before tweeting – i.e. always read it first! The last thing you want to do is upset your followers base.

14. Tweet your top content several times
Twitter feeds are dynamic and fast-moving, and people also check them at different times of the day, so make sure your top links aren’t missed by posting them, under different guises, several times a day. Unlike Facebook users who are likely to scroll through their news feeds and notice if you are posting the same information several times a day, the speed at which messages on Twitter is shared means that they aren’t likely to notice (or care) as much, so the protocol here is a bit more relaxed.

15. Avoid automated software
Twitter is all about short, genuine, interpersonal communication, something bots and auto-posters fail at miserably. Your followers will quickly notice if you are simply feeding an RSS feed or similar direct to your Twitter feed, and will very easily be turned off.

16. Shorten links with bit.ly, but make sure they work
Always shorten your links using a site like bit.ly – this will save you valuable space, and they can be customized to help brand whatever you are linking to. In most cases, Twitter will now do this automatically with a t.co wrapper, but using bit.ly also allows you to analyze the click-through rate of stuff that you share, which is great for seeing what kind of content resonates best with your followers. When using a shortened link on Twitter, double check that it works before posting. One broken link might mean a customer never clicks on your URLs again.

17. Balance tweets, replies and retweet, do not over-promote
Too much of one thing is not good where Twitter is concerned. So be sure to tweet, @reply, and retweet in a balanced manner. Just like Facebook, there’s nothing worse than simply promoting your own products/services and do nothing else. Also while this might sound counter-productive at first, promoting others’ messages more than your own is good for karma, and will sow the seed for reciprocal action later on down the line. Retweeting people you hope to build relationships with is a good strategy. If you have space, add your opinion too (programs like TweetDeck allow you to add to and edit a RT before sending it).

18. Share photos and videos
Do you know that you could share photos and videos on Twitter? Users need to click an extra link to display a drop-down to see the images in Twitter, so make it worth their while. In January 2013, Twitter acquired and launched a new app called Vine, which allows users to publish short, looping videos of up to six seconds in length. Vine allows businesses to easily and quickly produce dynamic marketing content that is perfect for sharing to their fan base on social media. Vine is available for free, worldwide, on the iPhone and iPod touch, with other versions in the pipeline.

19. Aim tweets for quality not quantity
Do not post tweets every other minute of the day. That is called spamming and doing them to your followers is the last thing you want to do. Twet sparingly – more than two tweets in an hour has been shown to decrease engagement.

20. Use hashtags to encourage engagement and group tweets
Use #hashtags to encourage group tweets and engagement of your audience. Top trending hashtags appear on Twitter’s home page, and can easily be found via Twitter search. Tweets that include hashtags have proved to receive twice as much engagement as those without, so their usage is vital. Don’t include more than two hashtags per tweet, as it could get confusing for followers. Use short hashtags as they work best. People who sees a hashtag tend to click on it, explore it, use it in their own posts, or even check out the person or brand that tweets it.

In the next Social Media article, we will discuss more advanced Twitter tips to improve your business. If you need a social media marketing services, feel free to contact us here.