Are you new to Twitter?

Already on there and wondering how best to use it for business?

More followers = more leads, right?

Wrong! Twitter isn’t the right place to try and get sales. In fact, approach people in that way and it could backfire.

Twitter is best used for the following:

  • Connecting / Networking
  • Researching
  • Customer service

Setting up your account

When you set up your account, it will ask you to choose a suitable ‘handle’ (this is the name that appears in the url: twitter.com/yourtwittername and what people engage with you by using @yourtwittername in their tweets) and name for your account (this is usually your name or company name). Choose these carefully, they reflect your brand and core values. If you’re a sole trader, use your name. Use what is best for people to find and recognise you in Twitter’s search results.

Before you start following other Twitter accounts, make sure you’re happy with how your profile appears. People will check you out if you follow them, and your profile needs to be informative and engaging. The ‘Edit Profile’ button at the bottom right of the header area accesses the following:

Twitter Profile

Profile photo

1

Use a decent profile photo, even if you’re representing a company, avoid using the company logo. People engage with people in business; an approachable, confident profile photo is much more appealing. Not only that, it helps build trust in your brand and services. A logo is too impersonal and can seem like a barrier. This is definitely trickier when there are multiple staff updating the Twitter feed, or the CEO is reluctant to have their photo on the social media account. This requires an internal staff decision, and I’d strongly recommend choosing the right person in your company to be the ‘face’ (and voice!) of the Twitter account.

Header

2

Utilise the header image area to showcase your business. If you run events, a photo of a recent event; if you sell products, a nice montage of products is ideal; or include photos of other members of staff; or the office, shop or place of business. You get the idea!

Bio, Location, Website & Theme colour

3

Use the bio text to concisely describe what your business does, including some personality! Include important keywords – this description is used by Google when displaying your Twitter account link in their results. Add your correct geographic location (this is especially important if your business is local) and your website address. Finally, change the default theme colour scheme to match your business’s visual identity.

Check, check, check – on desktop, and mobile (tablets and smart phones) – to ensure the images are clear and other account details look appealing. Adjust if necessary.

Then…

Getting started

Find some interesting Twitter users in your business arena or local area. See how they’re tweeting. What’s engaging, useful etc? Follow their lead.

Write a few tweets! Show people what you’re all about. These tweets should include anything that’s relevant to you and your business, but without the hard sell. Find interesting articles or blog posts to tweet about. Retweet other people’s tweets. Post links to your blog/website articles. Comment on news worthy events. Above all, keep it personable – show your interests. It’s often these that will attract other people, and form a mutual bond.

Connecting

Begin finding people you already know on Twitter, perhaps in similar business areas, see how they’re using Twitter. Do you find their tweets engaging? Follow those you’re interested in. Then see who they follow, and follow any that spark interest in you. People will start following you – don’t feel obligated to follow other people back. Check out their profile and tweets before deciding to follow them. Take it slowly – be selective!

Networking

Approach people who appeal to you – engage with something they’ve tweeted. It could be as simple as retweeting one of their posts, adding a short comment of your own. Be interested in them. Don’t try to sell your products/services – if they’re interested, they’ll ask. Search for relevant local networking events in your area, and follow their Twitter accounts. They’ll often tweet about upcoming events, speakers, or other attendees that may be of interest to you. Try not to be too scattergun in your approach. Think of Twitter as an organic process and build up contacts gradually on the basis of mutual interests and trust. It’s no different from networking in the ‘real’ world.

Researching

Regularly use Twitter to search for events or news items that are relevant to your business. See how similar businesses are conducting themselves. Use Twitter to keep up to date with your field. Bookmark interesting article links to read/revisit.

Customer service

Set up email or mobile alerts to receive notifications when someone has tweeted you. Twitter is often the place where people may raise positive or negative issues with your business. It’s essential to respond proactively. Thank (and retweet) any positive feedback. The best way to approach a negative issue is usually to reply and ask them politely to DM (direct message) the issue for you to address. Avoid getting into any public argument on Twitter.

Things to avoid

  1. Using automated tools to respond to new followers
    It’s obviously automated and gives a really impersonal impression. People don’t expect a personal thank you for following – if you do want to, do it manually and engage with them.
  2. Directly spamming people either via tweets or DMs
    You wouldn’t go up to someone in the street and ask them to look at your new product, without getting to know them a little first. Build relationships slowly and carefully.
  3. Automating tweets (via third party solutions)
    *Sometimes* these can be effective for strategically keeping your Twitter account interesting (or posting your blog articles on to Twitter), interspersed with normal tweets, but save learning about these until you’re used to Twitter.
  4. Getting distracted by the whole process
    Set aside some time daily and/or weekly for building your Twitter account and engaging with people, and stick to it. Twitter doesn’t drive sales, so be conscious of your time.

Please contact me if you would like support in setting up your account, or suitable images for your Twitter profile.

Coming soon to my blog: #hashtags, lists and other Twitter features. Sign up to my newsletter for monthly updates.

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