Guide to using Twitter for business start-ups

With 310 million monthly users, over 550 million tweeters, 500 million visiting the site without even joining, it’s not hard to see why Twitter is a key marketing channel for many businesses. 

Like all social networks, of course, Twitter has its own unique characteristics and there are a number of things you’ll need to bear in mind when using it to promote your company through social media.  With that in mind, here’s our guide on using Twitter for business.

First things first: you must add value on Twitter

Adding value is the golden rule in any marketing.  Remember, users are bombarded by advertising messages all day, every day.  The last thing they want is to engage with more of it. 

What’s the answer?  As we said above: add value.  Benefit the lives of other Twitter users. 

You can do this in a number of ways:

  • You can share content other users have created.
  • You can retweet and favourite the work of others.
  • You can market content that mentions them and then share it with them.

If your Twitter campaign genuinely helps other people, they’ll begin to help you too.  However, there’s a pitfall here that you’ll need to avoid:

Be the most consistent business on Twitter

Don’t offer a single retweet or mention and then expect other users to be sold.  Remember, established voices in your space will nearly always be happy to work with other value-giving accounts. 

However, you’re going to need to prove you’re the real deal first.  The key to this is consistency. Use the network at least once every day, whether that’s to mention someone, reply to any questions you’ve been asked or simply to offer a few nuggets of advice.

Again, there’s no perfect formula to this, it’s just a case of reminding other accounts in your space that you’re there and doing your bit for your social community.

As Woody Allen said: ‘Eighty per cent of success is just showing up.’

Demonstrate that you’re there for the long haul and you’ll reap the rewards.

(If you know in advance that you simply won’t have time to do social media promotion every day, various tools are available that’ll let you automate and schedule the output of tweets).

If you’re a Twitter business, you have to specialise

Those stats we mentioned at the beginning are very telling. Twitter is a pretty big space: the key to getting noticed is to drill-down to different niche areas within your industry.

Now, it may be that your business is already very niche – i.e. you’re a bowling alley, or a trophy engraver – in which case you’ll find this comes naturally.  However, if you’re running a small business with a more broad approach – a marketing agency, say, or an app developer – then begin your campaign by focusing on specific areas.

E.g. if you were an online store selling baby products, you might choose to create content focusing on sleeping aids, or buggies, or clothes.

The more niche you can be, the better chance you’ve got of both connecting with other niche businesses in the sector and potential customers searching specifically for products in that area.

(Remember, you can always cover different niche areas one at a time – focus on building up relationships in one area, and then move to the next once you’re happy with your results).

Using Twitter for business means remembering to promote your work

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when using social media in general is not doing it properly.  They have a Twitter account, sure, but they barely touch it. 

Here’s the reason that’s a problem: if you visibly don’t care about your Twitter, why would anyone else?

The solution is pretty simple: take the time to actually advertise your Twitter handle. Have links to it in as many places as possible:

  • Your e-mail signatures (if you have company e-mails)
  • Any other social accounts you might have (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc)
  • Your company’s website
  • Any flyers or direct marketing materials you send out

The aim is to demonstrate that you put time and effort into your Twitter account, and that – as a result – customers will consider it worth their time to check it out.

Have a real voice

In a way, this is almost the most important tip of all: be real.

Whenever businesses are ridiculed on social media – something that does happen – it’s nearly always for the same reason: they’re faking it. 

Either their ‘customer service’ account is a bot offering automated responses or they’re simply churning out tweets for the sake of it; without any concern for how they might actually benefit potential customers.

If you’re a small business, genuine customer service is one of your greatest weapons, so use it.  When chatting to people, talk like a real person.  If you do this, you’re already setting your business apart from the hundreds out there that are just going through the motions.

(Yes, we did say you can automate some of your process above.  However, there’s a difference between automating posting content and automating customer service replies: the former’s acceptable, the latter’s very much not a good idea.)

If you’re interested in learning more about Twitter and the various other social media channels available to your business, we’re hosting a workshop on all aspects of social media marketing for businesses and you can click here to find out more.  We look forward to seeing you!

We’ve also got a range of guides on using the other major social networks to help promote your business, which you’ll be able to see at our hub page here.

See also

Plan to start your business

Plan to grow your business

Protecting your ideas