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HOW TO// Twitter: A Beginner’s Guide for Business

SMPerth // 29th November 2017

We love our social media in Australia, and although Facebook is still ranked number one, Twitter use is on the rise.

According to this year’s Sensis Report, consumers and businesses are getting back on board, and with good reason too.

Twitter can be a great place for brands to get noticed with the ability to reach international and domestic audiences. It also works really well as a place for brands to provide customer service.

Is your business a good fit?

As with using any social platform for marketing you need first to decide if Twitter is going to be a good fit for your brand. Look at everything from demographics, to management and content resources.

70% of 18-29 year old Australians use Twitter. [Sensis Report, 2017]

Ask yourself; Who is our target audience? Where are they located? Do they use Twitter? What about the influencers in our industry? Can we connect with them easily? What resources do we have to allocate to managing and posting on Twitter? What is our strategy for being on Twitter? How will our brand contribute to the conversation? What content will we share?

Rather than taking a leap of faith, do your research and find out. The 2017 Sensis Report is a good place to start, but there are lots of other sources of up to date information on social media use.

If you’ve found that Twitter is a match, then read on to find out how to get started. We’ll take you through the steps for creating a profile and how to get the most out of the platform.

The basics

Sign up for an account

To sign up to Twitter, you will need to enter your full name, phone number and a password. A code will be sent to your phone which you will enter at the next step to verify your number and create your account.

When prompted enter a username no longer than 15 characters. This is the handle (@brandname) that is seen publicly in Tweets and allows people to find you, so make sure it is easily identifiable and as close to your business name as possible.

Create your profile

Now the fun begins! People coming to your Twitter profile will want to know about your brand so give them the best impression possible.
First, add a bio. You have a limit of 160 characters so only include the most important information. This will vary depending on your business; you can tell people what your business does, your tagline or mission statement, the topics that you will tweet about. Some brands will include their opening hours and physical location while others will link to a website.

Now you’re ready to add the visual elements. Twitter has both a profile image and a header image. When adding a profile photo choose something that identifies your brand, such as your logo. It will be seen in every tweet you send, so it needs to be clear as a small icon.

The header photo is only seen on your homepage, but it is still a valuable piece of real estate for your brand. Use the space to your advantage by adding text or graphics to showcase products, events or specials.

Get the app

Twitter is all about real-time interactions, so it’s a good idea to download the app from iTunes or Google Play on your phone then you can be involved in conversations on the go.

If you have a personal Twitter account you can link the two accounts on your phone app, see Twitter’s help page for how to do this on both Android and Apple.

Make connections

Now that you’ve got your profile looking great you will want to start following other Twitter accounts. Begin by following the accounts of people and businesses you’re connected to already. Then expand your network by using the search tool to find people and businesses related to your industry.

Most importantly, tell your connections that you are on Twitter! Add the link to your profile on your website and in your email signature, mention it when you talk to people.

Another great place to find accounts to follow is in the ‘who to follow’ feature located in the left-hand column of the web version. Here, Twitter will give you suggestions of who to follow based on your interests and industry.

If you have made an effort to present your brand well and added all the elements to your profile, you will find that people you follow will generally follow you back. But it also helps if you have some Tweets in your feed.

Tweeting best practice

Twitter is about having two-way conversations and with the content you tweet you will want to invite these conversations. The topics you tweet about are entirely up to you, but they should support your overall business strategy. Think about adding relevant hashtags to make your content searchable and eye-catching images to attract attention.

Known for its brevity, Twitter recently introduced a 280 character limit for tweets, double the previous amount. But don’t take this as an opportunity to write a novel. Instead, aim for short, relevant messages that your audience will find interesting and want to engage with. Provide links to your website or blog posts for more in-depth information.

Vary the content you share and avoid constant self-promotion by sharing interesting articles from other sources. When you see relevant content from other users be sure to acknowledge it – this can be done by retweeting, liking and commenting on it.

Pinned Tweets can be a good way to highlight your most engaging tweet or important information to visitors of your profile, but make sure you don’t leave them there too long, and they begin to get stale.

Tools

Twitter works best when you nurture it and are active on the platform. Being idle for days and weeks on end makes it difficult for people to engage with you.

But, constantly posting and checking can be time-consuming, so that’s where automation tools come in handy. Scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Buffer allow you to stay on top of the content you share on Twitter so that you can focus on interacting with your audience and joining some of the other conversations.

Twitter is a great platform for social listening. You can learn about your audience, monitor what is being said about topics, your brand and the problems faced by people and then apply this knowledge to your marketing and business strategy. TweetDeck and Hootsuite also let you set up different streams on your dashboard so that you can follow specific profiles or hashtags. This can be very useful if you are wanting to follow what is being said about an event.

Twitter strategy

So now that you know a bit more using Twitter effectively for brand marketing what strategies are you going to use? Will you focus on customer service, or as a tool to increase your reach? Let us know in the comments below.

As always, make sure you set objectives and measure measure measure!

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