Twitter for businesses is aimed at growing a targeted follower base, networking and making connections, creating engagement with target audiences, increasing brand awareness, and converting followers into leads, customers, or clients. The following document outlines basic Twitter practices and how to optimize Twitter for business.
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Username: Everyone on the service has a unique username. In order to talk to someone on Twitter, you have to address them by their username, preceded by an @ symbol.
Tweet: A public message posted on Twitter. Your message can be just text or include links, videos, or photos.
Retweet: When you repost a message from someone else, you're retweeting it. Usually these messages are preceded by RT, though sometimes you'll see them preceded by MT, or "modified tweet." A modified tweet isn't an exact duplicate of the original; it has been edited in some way, usually for length so the retweeter can add their own commentary or a link.
Reply: If you want to reply to someone who has posted an update on Twitter, just start your message with @username to direct it at them. Remember, though: this isn't a private conversation! People who follow you and the person you're talking to will see this message.
Direct Message: In addition to the public tweets, you can also send private direct messages to anyone who follows you (though they won't be able to message you back unless you also follow them). Do not use an autoresponder; feedback shows that people find these more irritating than helpful.
Twitter Hashtag: Words after a # symbol are hashtags, which can be used to track conversations or topics on Twitter. You can easily search for hashtags to find information or see which hashtags are trending.
Follow: You follow people on Twitter to see their updates (similar to friending someone on Facebook), but in this case you don't need their permission unless their Twitter account is set to private. You may see the hashtag #FF for "Follow Friday" on Tweets suggesting who you should follow.
Block: If someone is bothering you on Twitter, you can block them so they can no longer follow you or send you messages.
Trends: The most popularly used hashtags at the moment are considered to be "trending" on Twitter.
Lists: Lists of Twitter users. You can create your own lists or view lists created by others.
Twitter Chat: A conversation held on Twitter using a hashtag that is set for the chat. Ex. If Colibri Digital Marketing was leading a chat, the company could use #ColibriChat. People would click on the hashtag to participate in the chat. (More information: http://sproutsocial.com/insights/twitter-chats/)
OPTIMIZING A PROFILE
Profile Photo: For businesses, the profile photo is ideally the company logo. If the business is a personal brand, a quality headshot is recommended. Profile photo size should be 400 x 400 pixels.
Cover Photo: The cover photo should send a clear statement about your business and what your business represents. A company tagline, motto, or quote is a way to include brand messaging in the image. Cover photo size is 1500 x 500 pixels.
About Section: This section is found below the profile image and includes the company name, the username handle, description, location, website, joined Twitter date, birth (founding) date.
Twitter Bio: An optimized business description includes the main brand message and a hashtag (or two) that is relevant to the brand. A call to action (Ex. Visit our website!) may also be included.
Twitter Display Name: Twitter now allows for a longer display name. Take advantage of the expanded 50 character limit.
OPTIMIZING A TWEET
There are many ways to write a tweet, and not every tweet needs to be fully optimized in order to make an impact. However, the components of a fully optimized tweet include:
- Short, catchy text (Up to 280 characters as of 2018)
- An image (size 440 x 220 pixels)
- Relevant hashtags
- Call to action and/or a question
- Link to content
BEST TWEETING PRACTICES
Tweet multiple times a day. Twitter feeds populate much more content and much more quickly than Facebook, which means users must tweet multiple times a day in order to truly get noticed. Since this can be time consuming, a rule of thumb is a minimum of one tweet per day.
The 30/70 rule. A general rule across both Facebook and Twitter is 30% brand promotion and 70% other content. Other content can include industry news, resources, updates, tips, information, articles, retweeting strategic partners, and lighthearted content.
Keep it both serious and fun. Tweets should consist of both serious and fun content. An occasional #motivationmonday keeps a brand’s Twitter feed from being too heavy, serious, intense, etc. A bit of humor or lightheartedness also helps to humanize a brand.
Pay attention to trending hashtags. Use trending hashtags in creative ways and especially use hashtags that are relevant to your brand.
Always reply. In order to maintain engagement and endear people to a brand, businesses should always reply to followers as soon and as often as possible.
Be gracious. If someone mentions your company in a tweet, reply with a thank you.
Post video. Posting videos on Twitter is a great way to make your tweets stand out and drive engagement. Uploading a video natively to Twitter is even better, since it drives 2.5 times more replies, 2.8 times more retweets, and 1.9 times more likes than simply including a link to a third-party video in your tweet.
Pin important tweets. Ensure your feed has a pinned tweet to showcase one of your more engaging posts. This is also a good feature to highlight recurring questions or news about product or service updates.
Link Facebook to Twitter. By linking your Facebook account to Twitter (but the reverse is not recommended), any posts made on Facebook will automatically be posted to Twitter.
BUILDING A FOLLOWER BASE
Search and add valuable followers. You can also import followers from your email account, as well as send out a request to your database for people to follow your Twitter account.
Add the leaders in your industry. After you add industry leaders, send them a nice tweet with a request for them to follow you back.
Promote Your Twitter Across Networks: Whether it’s your website, a newsletter, paid advertising or other social networks, promote your Twitter across them all. Cross-platform promotion is a great way to get your handle out there. Your handle should be as important as your website or phone number.
Engage with people: Tweet to industry partners, clients, etc. Ask questions, comment on their tweets, and start conversations.
Ask strategic partners to RT. Making a request of a partner in your industry to retweet your content is standard practice. This helps build a relationship between your company and the partner as well as reach their audience of Twitter followers.
Participate in Twitter chats. Businesses and industry leaders host these events to get the conversation going with like-minded people. Try to enter a few in a month’s time to see your network grow.
Create and monitor Twitter lists. Twitter lists help you group together similar people or topics, so you can see everything in one place. Create a Twitter list for industry influencers, for example, or for your most vocal and loyal customers.
Tag people in photos. You can tag up to 10 people in a photo on Twitter, without affecting your 280 character limit.
Create a Twitter Follower Ad. These ads allow you to create a target audience and promote multiple tweets from your brand’s Twitter feed — for as low as $2/day.
THE BIG “DON’TS”
There are a few big no-nos on Twitter — a few of which can even get you banned. Here are the things NOT to do:
- Don’t buy followers, ever. This violates Twitter’s policies and can get you banned.
- Do not use an autoresponder for direct messages.
- Don’t engage in arguments. Even if you are in the right, being negative will hurt your brand.
- Don’t bash your competitors. Be as professional and courteous as possible.
- Don’t misuse trademarks.
- Graphic violence and adult content are not allowed.
- Don’t use unauthorised Twitter badges.
Twitter can be a great tool for gaining brand exposure and engaging with your target audiences and industry partners. In addition to Twitter for business practices, companies should also:
- Have a company social media policy in place that outlines brand messaging, guidelines, and rules for social media posts and engagement.
- Utilize a number of creative strategies for gaining followers and converting followers into leads.
- Have evolving strategies for posts.
Start with the basics in this guide, and then learn how to advertise on Twitter and use Twitter analytics.