Twitter is up there with Facebook and Instagram as one of the most popular social media platforms worldwide. In today’s digital world having an online Twitter profile is a must for small businesses, as this will help them reach out to an even larger audience. Currently, Twitter has around 330 million monthly active users, this is a huge amount of people to which your business has the potential to reach out to. People tweet about everything from their favourite coffee to current affairs and you could even create your own personalised hashtag which relates to your business. Therefore, Twitter really does have something to offer all small businesses.

By being witty with your responses or creating tweets that show your personality and that of your business can help you build your online presence and make your brand stand out from the crowd. Remember to stay within your business ethos and always think about who your target audience is and look at speaking to them directly, so make it personal. Another point that you need to focus on is your customer service and remember to always be professional, especially when you are dealing with complaints online. Get some inspiration from some of the big names out there and look at the accounts of Starbucks’ which has 11 million followers, so they are obviously doing something right. Look at how they deal with complaints and awkward customers and take note. Always make sure that your team also know how they are expected to deal with complaints, so you are all singing from the same hymn sheet.

Signing up

For your business to sign up for Twitter you will need to provide them with a name, email address and create a password. Remember to try and use the same business name across all your social media accounts. This will help with your business branding and make you look organised and customers will be able to easily find you across platforms.

You will also be asked for a mobile number, this is just in case you need to reset your password and it does add another layer of security.  When creating a username, you might find that your business name has already been taken. If your business name is already taken, try and add another word, like John Lewis had to, as John Lewis was taken so they went for John Lewis Retail. Just try and make it as similar to any other social media handles you have. Make it memorable and remember once it is set you can’t change it, as this will become part of your branding.

Setting up

Once you have signed up and your account is ready to go you then need to look at the visual aspects of your page. Your profile will need a photo and a header image. When selecting the pictures for your profile, ensure that they are in keeping with your brand image. Many businesses use their business logo, although others find putting a face to the name personalises the account more. Iconic companies like Apple use their logos for their profile pictures, as people can identify with this. Your header image can be changed regularly to keep in line with events and marketing campaigns. Make sure that it looks eye-catching and professional.

Once you have all the visuals done you then need to write your Twitter bio. Within a few words, you need to explain what your business does and who you are. Look at giving people an insight into what your business does and believes in. Next is filling in your location, which is important for a small business to fill in. It isn’t a mandatory field, but it will show potential customers where you are in the world and it will help you be found more easily. As with many other social media platforms, Twitter allows you to add to your profile a link to your website or blog. Also, instead of adding your birthday you could put in the day your business started up.

Promoting

Once you have managed to complete your Twitter profile and it is looking professional you need to start promoting it. To get it off the ground ask family, friends and colleagues to follow you. It is easier to get more followers if you already have some followers. You could also ask them to share a link to your profile and get their friends following too. You also need to let your existing customers and clients know about your Twitter profile. Look at following other relevant businesses, suppliers and people who meet your target audience criteria to increase your followers.

To promote your social media accounts further look at adding a Twitter widget to your website. If you have leaflets or business cards put your social media names on there and on any other promotional material that your business uses.

Be engaging

The key to social media from a business perspective is consistency. You will need to regularly spend time updating and interacting with your social media accounts. It can be time-consuming and you will need to make time regularly or delegate the task out. You will find that the content that you can put on Twitter is different from that of Facebook as you are limited to 240 characters, so you need to keep your posts short and to the point, you will also find that attaching visuals to your posts will help.

The positive thing from a business perspective about having a Twitter profile is the analytics that you can access. You will be able to find out which of your tweets are most popular, and what people are interacting with and what just isn’t working.

Here are some top tips to remember when you are tweeting:

  • Keep your posts to the point, the shorter the better.
  • Post links to your blog articles or posts that you are mentioned in.
  • Visuals are important, so add pictures and videos to get people’s attention.
  • Use relevant hashtags when posting as this will help you reach the correct people.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions and run a poll. These are great ways of engaging with your audience.
  • To get noticed by others re-tweet relevant tweets and post content that you think is worthy of being shared.