How to Use Twitter for Business

9 Tips on Using Twitter for Business Effectively

Businessman using digital tablet, close up
How to use Twitter for business. Bernhard Lang/ Stone/ Getty Images

Twitter can be an integral component of any plan to market your business on Social Media (others include Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest).

But haphazardly shooting out tweets is not going to do much of anything to promote your business or grow your brand. To use Twitter for business effectively, follow these tips:

How to Use Twitter for Business

1) Create a content strategy.

Content is key to using Twitter for business successfully. But not just any content - it's relevant, engaging content that your intended audience will find value in that you need to be posting. Regularly. That's where a content strategy comes in. Creating a plan ensures that your content satisfies your goals and the needs of your audience.

First decide what your content goals are. What do you want to accomplish with Twitter? Do you want to:

Then define your audience. Who exactly do you want your tweets to reach?

Once you've done that, you're ready to create the kind of content that your audience/potential customer will most appreciate and that will best accomplish your goal.

Worried about the challenge of being able to send out quality content every day? Read 7 Tips for Creating Engaging Content Every Day.

5) Incorporate photos and videos into your tweets.

Tweets that include images or video routinely get more engagement than tweets that are just text. So use relevant photos when you can, not just in your tweets, but in your replies, too.

Video is a great way of making your tweets stand out; the movement of video can arrest someone's attention as they're scrolling through their Twitter feed. Animoto advises to aim for videos of 30 to 45 seconds as Twitter users are used to short updates. Be sure you grab their attention quickly by putting your most eye catching image or clip right up front.

2) Stick to the plan.

I'm guessing that you don't care that I'm sipping a decaf coffee as I write this or have a doctor's appointment later today.

That's okay – I understand.

You're reading this article because you want information on how to use Twitter for business effectively, not because you have a burning desire to know what I do every minute of the day.

Twitter is the same.

When you choose to follow me on Twitter, you can tell from my account name (SmallBizCanada) and my bio (small business expert and writer) that I am going to tweet about small business. That's what you expect. So if I go off into rants about what a great band Led Zeppelin was or asking advice on how to keep rabbits out of my garden, you're going to be confused or worse, irritated.

If I did want to go on about this sort of thing, I would set up another Twitter account.

Keep your follower's expectations in mind and be sure you're meeting them.

4) Engage as well as tweet.

If you have a website with a RSS feed, it's easy to set up Twitter so it will automatically read and send out your feed - which is great. But don't just leave it at that.

Twitter is a virtual water cooler, remember, not a bulletin board. You need to be there, to be participating in the conversation.

So, yes, use a social media management app such as Buffer, Hootsuite or to get your RSS feed picked up and sent out automatically as part of your Twitter promotion strategy, but make sure you're also reading other tweets, responding to them, and sending out other tweets of your own.

2) Be helpful.

Don’t forget that you can reply to other people's tweets, too, answering their questions or commenting on their ideas.

Helpful people are people that other people want to converse with. People that you actually converse with are going to be the most receptive to your message.

6) Use Direct Messages.

Giving your potential customers the ability to contact you directly is another great way to encourage conversations and make connections. So make sure you're set up to receive Direct Messages from anyone, even people who don't regularly follow you. This will put a message button on your profile and let you reach a larger audience than you'll reach by tweeting alone. (Then make sure you check your Twitter inbox regularly. No one likes to be left hanging!)

7) Use hashtags.

When you put a "#" in front of an unbroken word or phrase like this: #unbrokenwordorphrase, it creates a hashtag, and when you use it in a tweet, it becomes linked to all the other tweets that include it. Two of the best ways to use hashtags to promote your business are:

  • to research and use hashtags people are already using to talk about your brand and/or products
  • to use hashtags to highlight campaigns by creating a unique hashtag for each campaign. For instance, if you were trying to generate excitement about a sale, you might append a hashtag such as #wuffysonedaysale on all your relevant tweets.

Don't go crazy using hashtags - one or two per post is enough.

8) Use Twitter ads.

Twitter ads can help you get more followers, website clicks and/or app downloads. Targeting features are available so you can choose the specific audience you want to reach and there's no minimum campaign spend. Note that the cost of your Twitter ads is determined by auction. If you're having trouble deciding how much you will pay for each interaction, such as a new follower or a click to your website, you can use automatic bidding, which will determine the best bid price based on your ad budget and goals.

Twitter recommends choosing four or five tweets to focus on in your campaign to start. Be sure your chosen tweets include strong call-to-actions, such as "sign up" or "start today", and avoid using #hashtags or @mentions in your copy. (You don't want people clicking away from your ad.)

Twitter also offers a Promote Mode option. For $99 USD a month, your first 10 tweets a day will be added to a Promoted Tweets campaign that targets your selected audience. Tweets that are promoted become Twitter Ads and appear with a small "Promoted" badge. Your Retweets, Quote Tweets, or replies will not be promoted.

9) Use Twitter Analytics and other tools to craft campaigns.

Like many other social media platforms, Twitter offers its own suite of free Analytics that you can use to learn more about your audience and how your tweets are doing. Currently, the Analytics tool includes your account home, which provides an overview, a tweet activity dashboard, where you'll see exactly how many times Twitter users have seen, retweeted, liked and replied to each tweet, audience insights, which shows information about your followers' interests and demographics, and a campaign dashboard, where you can track your impressions, results and cost-per-result for your Twitter ad campaigns.

Twitter has also partnered with Union Metrics to create a free Twitter Assistant that analyzes your tweets and makes recommendations to help you create tweets that will get more engagement.

How to Use Twitter for Business: The Bottom Line

Like any other social media application, the more you put into Twitter, the more rewarding you'll find using it. And if you use it wisely, Twitter can be an excellent promotion tool for your small business.