How to use twitter for your business - blue twitter logo

'Twitter' isn't just for celebrities - you can use it to help your business - read these top tips to find out how

The Twitter strategy that works.

This time two years ago, after reading about, hearing about, and being asked about Twitter I finally caved and set up a Twitter account – but I’d posted just one tweet in twelve months.

That tweet read “Okay so I have a twitter account – now what?”  Not an overly inspirational start to my early steps into the world of social media.

But it got better. I’m currently up to 281 tweets and 306 followers – not exactly a record breaker, granted, but it‘s working for me. Almost every day I receive an email update telling me I’ve got another follower or three (*smile to self*) and I’m beginning to see rewards from my Twitter strategy.

So what am I doing to get results from these small numbers?

Here are some tips that I’ve picked up along the way:

1. Think before you follow
The most useful people you can follow are those who work in your industry, and those who fit your target market.

I write copy for small businesses and offer marketing consultancy, so I follow other marketers all over the world, as well as local businesses and local media.

This helps me keep up with breaking stories that may impact on my clients, gives me the opportunity to network with fellow social media marketers, and shows me what topics are front of mind among my target audience.

2. Make the most of automated systems
Many Tweeters set up an automated follow, so when you follow them they automatically follow you back.

If they do follow you (hallelujah!) , your tweets will show up on their homepage and your shared wisdom begins to spread throughout the world (don’t forget to set up auto follow for your own account too).

Another great system is Future Tweets, which enables you to set up your Tweets to publish at different times through the day.   This is perfect if your business is international, as you can Tweet the same message 5 times a day to cater to different time zones.

Plus you can get tweets ready to go as you write them, then spread them out over a week. Little and often is more likely to get results than a massive tweet-fest once a month.

Life is tweet - twitter tips for business3. What to tweet
“It’s raining and my feet are cold.”

Hmm, thrilling stuff; not the kind of tweet that’s going to change lives and wow followers.

Even if your feet really are cold, and it’s absolutely tipping it down outside, don’t share that on Twitter (not unless your business is hot water bottles, podiatry, weather stations or umbrellas).

Keep your tweets relevant to your followers and your niche, whether that be finance, parenthood, healthy eating or celebrities.

4. How to find tweet fodder
Very few of us can be witty and entertaining for a full 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 12 months a year. Sometimes even Stephen Fry needs a break from being a genius. So how do you keep your tweets exciting and useful all day every day?

Your blog posts are an obvious source of content – you can tweet the title and a shortened link (using www.bit.ly or similar) to the post, and you’re done. But you may also tweet about your own business: a new project you’ve recently taken on, a meeting with a client, or the publication of your work.

Some call it plagiarism, some call it copying and others (me included) call it ‘sharing‘.

When you read a news story online, whether it’s the latest current affairs, the results of an industry survey, or just some gossip about who said what to who at last night’s celeb party, there is often a little ‘share’ button at the end. Click this, and you can tweet the web link on your Twitter page. This gives you a whole world of resource for your Twitter feed.

How to use Twitter for your business

Tweet Tweet - thank you

5. Be nice
Manners cost nothing, and they make a big difference to online relationships. Thank followers for ‘retweeting’ your content.

If you look at the page of anyone who uses Twitter a lot, you’ll notice plenty of tweets like this:

‘RT thanks @thinlizzy, @geoffb, @bananarepublic and @thorntonlucy.’

This is a little nod to the four Twitterers mentioned, acknowledging the fact that they’ve passed on a tweet.  Nice.

Still with me?

Many celebrities are masters of Twitter. Lady Gaga, with 8million followers, uses the social network to talk to her fans, give them insights into what she’s doing while they wait patiently outside her hotel, and to reveal dates of her latest tour. She gives them a reason to follow and rewards them when they do.

You ready to get tweeting?
What little nuggets can you share with your followers?  Perhaps you can give them a first peak at your new product range, invite their feedback or give them exclusive discounts.   Some even use it to organise impromptu gatherings, by tweeting a venue, a time and an invitation.

So if you haven’t yet got a Twitter account, but have thought about it, now you’re ready.   And you’ve got no excuse for tweeting “Okay so I have a Twitter account – now what?”

If you have any problems getting set up, or queries about how to use Twitter for your business, ask anything you like in the comments and I’ll answer as best I can (or point you to other resources).