The Big List of Twitter Tips for Businesses

Twitter is a fantastic tool to engage with your current and potential customers whilst increasing your brand awareness for free. If you can build a strong community of followers on Twitter then you will find them invaluable to provide product feedback and sharing your messages. Below is our list of Twitter tips for businesses. If you have any tips of your own then please leave us a comment.

Complete your bio and profile picture – First impressions are critical. Do not start following lots of people until you’ve completed your profile details, including bio and profile picture. Ideally set a custom background as well.

Get tweeting – The first thing people do when you follow them is check out your profile and what you tweet about. Ensure that whoever you start following will be interested in your top two or three tweets.

Finding locals – If your business relies upon local customers then you need to find local Twitter users. Twitter Advanced Search allows you to find tweets made from specific locations.

Filtering the masses – Once you start following lots of people you will notice that your Twitter stream gets very busy. If you are following thousands of people it becomes very difficult to spot when someone is tweeting about your company. At Fasthosts we use a tool called CoTweet which allows us to filter the stream to those who are only talking about us. We can then respond quickly and easily.

Get involved – Twitter is all about communicating. Find and follow people who share your interests and will be interested in your services/products. Listen to what the influential users are saying and join the conversation.

Mix it up – Don’t just talk about yourself. Retweet other users if you like what they have said and you think your followers will find it useful.

Picture perfect – If you have some images that you think your followers would like then tweet them by using twitpic or a similar tool. Perhaps you’ve just had a fundraising event, moved offices or at an industry event. Post these pictures on your Twitter account, people are always more responsive to images than text.

Thanks for the RT – “New Twitter” now gives you the option for an auto RT (retweet) but this does not allow you to add any text. Use the old fashioned RT to gain more followers. Many users will follow those that RT others in the hope they themselves will get a RT. When you come across a positive tweet about your company remember to RT it and add “Thanks for the RT”. For example – “Thanks for the RT @joebloggs just found this great @fasthosts article http://bit.ly/gR5O3Q”. This is not only a good gesture but will increase your followers.

Points mean prizes – Well not quite. In the world of Twitter it is normally RT’s that win prizes. A great way of gaining more followers is to run a competition. To enter, a user will normally need to RT a certain message, URL, username, and/or hashtag that is chosen by the company. Everyone who does gets entered into a prize draw or perhaps gets a discount off their product.

Keep at it – Try and commit to tweeting at least twice a day during the week. Through CoTweet you can schedule tweets so it will only require you to spend 10 minutes each day to schedule some tweets and check if anyone needs replying to.

Advertise everywhere – Remember to add “Follow us on Twitter @username” to your website, blog, emails, print ads etc.

Offer support – Twitter opens many opportunities for businesses to improve brand awareness and sales leads but it is important to look into whether you can offer some level of support via Twitter. We get asked lots of questions about our products and services on Twitter and it is vital that we are there to answer these queries.

People will talk – Potential, current and past customers will talk about your company on Twitter and not always positively. If you are on Twitter you can address their issues openly and honestly and help turn a negative conversation into a positive one. If you do this enough you may start to build brand advocates.

Do you blog? – We recently wrote an article on Why You Need A Blog and if you do have one then ensure that you share all your blogs posts on your Twitter stream and also provide visitors with a way of retweeting your posts.

Follow Friday –#followfriday is very popular on Twitter. Essentially it is people tweeting about others they recommend. You will endear yourself to your customers if you send a couple of tweets on a Friday including your new follower’s usernames. For example “Thanks for following @joebloggs @newuser @newfollower #followfriday”

Promote those you write about – We often write articles that will recommend Twitter tools or web design resources. When you tweet those types of articles to your followers check to see if those mentioned in the article have a Twitter account. If so include them in your tweet and they are likely to RT your message: “10 Brilliant Twitter Tools for Businesses – http://bit.ly/9MjtbG @twello @tweetdeck”

Twitter feed – If appropriate for your website or blog it is often a great idea to include a Twitter feed on your website. You can design the feed to fit in with the style and look of your website. You can either choose to show your own tweets or any tweets that mention you. We include a feed on the Blog Home page to help us keep our content fresh and updated.

Finding you – If you have a stall at a market or event then use Twitter to let people know where your located. Most events will have a specific hashtag that people will use during the event so add this to your tweets as well. For example: “If you’re at #eventname then come and try our great vanilla ice cream for free – We’re at stall 12!”

Don’t moan – No-one wants to listen to you moaning about something. Your Twitter account represents your brand, you wouldn’t use you billboard advert to talk negatively about a customer or problem so don’t use Twitter to do it.

Don’t talk about your day – When most non Twitter users think of the social networking site they think it is just people talking about what they had for lunch or what the weather is. This is not engaging or useful to potential customers. Give follower’s quality content in your tweets.

Shorten your links – We use Bit.ly to shorten any URL’s we include in a tweet. This tool also allows you to track clicks on those links which gives you a great way to monitor different tweets effectiveness.

Don’t sell – Don’t use Twitter purely as a platform to sell your product. Engage with other users; give advice, quality links and useful tips. If you are launching a new product then write a blog post about it and link to that. As soon as users see you constantly posting tweets that are trying to sell them something then they will stop following you.

Don’t send automated DM’s – A number of Twitter users will create automatic DM (Direct Messages) that are sent as soon as someone follows them. This is seen as spammy and is not a good practise on Twitter.

Set Goals – Each week you should have a target of the number of followers you want to gain, number of bit.ly clicks, and number of retweets, mentions and direct messages for that week.

Post job vacancies – Are you employing? Why not use Twitter to send a link to your job description and find potential employees? It is quick and easy and helps keep your advertising costs down.

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