As an “oldie but goodie” social network, it’s easy to take Twitter for granted. In recent years, the network has hosted heads of state, journalists, creatives, and ordinary people. However, nowadays it’s more than just a good place to hang out. Instead, Twitter is a great place to do business, mostly through marketing and updating people with brand affinity. With that in mind, here’s how to use Twitter for business.
1. Create A Twitter Marketing Strategy
Learning how to use Twitter for business begins with planning your objectives and how you will measure success. For example, some businesses Tweet about sales or special offers in the hope that people will take them up on the offer. In this case, the measure of success is how many click through and make a purchase, which is a relatively simple thing to track with cookies.
On the other hand, for many companies, there’s more than one reason to be on Twitter, and that’s arguably the way it should be. Some goals, like brand awareness, are a great choice in a forum where there’s massive distribution and engagement. And, using a social media dashboard it’s relatively easy to measure.
2. Build A Profile That Stands Out
No matter how good your Tweets might sound, if your Twitter profile is poor, you’ll have less of an effect. Twitter is a very competitive forum despite the recent controversies around free speech and other issues. Therefore, it’s critical that your profile stands out from the competition.
To that end, your Twitter profile should always have a good profile picture. In most cases, for a business, this is a logo, but make sure it’s a crisp image. Also, make it easy to find relevant keywords and hashtags. As a bonus, these additions will help with SEO, both for your profile and your website. Which, by the way, should be linked to your profile.
Further Reading: 14 Twitter Bio Ideas to Attract More Followers
3. Find Your Brand’s Voice
Ask yourself what will distinguish your tweets and what personality will they have. In marketing, we call this a brand voice and it’s a very important part of how to use Twitter for business. For instance, some companies leverage tasteful or offbeat humor to get attention. On Twitter, your business’ brand voice will help build a following and differentiate you from the competition.
4. Research and Monitor Your Competition
Everyone in business should stand on the shoulders of giants by learning from their competition. For some companies, there’s a crowded market with lots of competitors, while others have relatively few rivals. Either way, take the time to see what your competitors are doing and learn from it. If you can, use a social media dashboard that also performs ongoing monitoring to ensure you don’t miss anything. Over time, it’ll become easier to edge out the competition.
5. Know When and How Often to Tweet
Knowing how to use Twitter for business requires that you understand when your audience is online and how often they would like to hear from you. You can learn desired frequency for a particular niche by analyzing how often your competitors are tweeting. And while there’s some trial and error in terms of Tweet times, one company did a study on the hottest times for each day of the week that you should check out for some guidelines: When To Tweet For Higher Engagements?
6. Add Value to Your Content
In other words, make your content something that people look forward to reading. Almost all companies need evergreen content that remains valuable over time, and which can be used over and over again. In other words, they never go old. For Twitter, though, you do have to make minor changes. I’ve gone over this in more detail here: Why Evergreen Tweets are Critical to Twitter Marketing Success
7. Use Photos, GIFs, and Polls
A major part of how to use Twitter for business is getting attention and earning engagement. These days, you can include photos in your Tweets, and you can use the same ones as you might’ve put up on other networks. In addition, Twitter now lets you create and insert GIFs, which allow for some humor or exaggeration that makes people laugh. Lastly, consider Twitter polls. These are useful for market research or just for some fun.
Further Reading: 11 Ways to Use Twitter Polls for Marketing (with Examples)
8. Use Hashtags
Similar to personal twitter use, hashtags on business accounts help you, and your Tweets, get found. As with other social networks, you should always do hashtag research before you launch a marketing campaign. However, because Twitter is more hashtag-intense than other social networks, you should always have relevant hashtags on your posts. This lets people find you, but it also enables your Tweets to be part of Twitter conversations. As part of a well-rounded social media strategy, these dialogues can be very valuable.
9. Follow Other Accounts
Consider following back relevant people that follow you as well as reach out to proactively engage with potential customers. One of the great things about Twitter is the way in which we can have dialogues with each other. However, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of other accounts that are interested in the same thing. By following other accounts, you can build rapport with their owners. In turn, the rapport can open up opportunities for sales pitches, influencer marketing, and much more.
Further Reading: Twitter Followers vs Following: What is the Ideal Ratio?
10. Engage with Your Audience
In the world of social media, engagement is king. And on Twitter, this is truly more than some other places because engagement is literally the heart of the social network as part of a conversation-focused forum. There are several kinds of engagement on Twitter, and you can use several different strategies to boost engagement. But perhaps most important for business users is the fact that Twitter engagement often results in sales leads, conversions, or other desirable outcomes. And if that isn’t awesome enough, engagement exposes your account to other users through the news feed.
Further Reading: 9 Ways to Increase Your Twitter Engagement Today
11. Identify and Engage with Influencers
As with other social networks, influencers on Twitter are valuable contacts. In fact, influencer engagement is arguably a major example of how to use Twitter for business. That’s because influencer marketing is valuable and, even if you aren’t compensating an influencer, low-level engagement such as “likes” from them can help your profile get found or followed.
Also, because influencers hear from a lot of businesses that want to work with them, it’s important to engage with them for a while before you ask. Otherwise, there’s a significant chance that the influencer will say “no thanks.” If you get a response at all. Therefore, once you’ve identified a relevant influencer you should spend time engaging with them. In business, personal connections are highly valuable.
Further Reading: Twitter Influencers: How to Find and Connect with Them
12. Provide Timely Customer Service
Customer service isn’t an immediately obvious example of how to use Twitter for business. After all, most of us consider customer service to be a phone, email, or on-site chat phenomenon. However, a lot of people use Twitter for real-time customer service so ride the wave if you find clients asking you product and post-sales questions on Twitter. While I’m not sure I recommend this, there are some companies where Twitter is one of the few places to reach out to corporate. At the end of the day, being where the people are is a great place to foster goodwill.
13. Understand Your Performance with Twitter Analytics
Twitter analytics help you understand which content is performing better than others, what days and times give you more engagement, and much more. You can find some Twitter analytics in your business dashboard, but you should also keep track of your social media dashboard. And, as you read and analyze the data, be sure to pivot your practices and strategies. Double down on the things that work, discontinue the ones that don’t and fine-tune what has promise. Over time, this will improve your analytics numbers themselves.
14. Learn How to Use Twitter Lists
While most people only have a single feed on Twitter, where everything is grouped together, this isn’t appropriate for most business accounts. If you properly understand how to use Twitter for business, you’ll find that the amount of information in your feed will quickly become overwhelming. Twitter lists help you organize your following and better engage with influencers, customers, and other subsets by entering them into separate lists. This way, you can view Tweets by different categories separately, which also makes it easier to process the information you get.
15. Venture Into Paid Ads
If you want to achieve more than what organic efforts can provide you, consider spending a little $$$ on Twitter Ads. While this might not be necessary for small, local businesses, most brands find that paid advertisements are helpful as they grow. There are several types of Twitter ads available, but one of the best for beginning advertisers is boosted posts. Here, you pay money to sponsor the Tweet and put it inside the feeds of people who may find them relevant (as identified by Twitter and your campaign settings). The beauty of boosted posts is that you don’t have to create special content-just select your best Tweet for promotion.
Since most of us are used to social media for personal use, the idea of how to use Twitter for business isn’t necessarily intimidating. However, Twitter’s business functions-and enhanced free functions often used by businesses-are somewhat different. Fortunately, by following the tips in this article, it’ll be easy for you to master the differences between personal and business use. Plus, you’ll learn a lot about marketing at the same time.
Hero Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash