How to use Twitter for business – 14 simple principles you need to follow

Find out why Twitter is such an important tool for small businesses – and how you can use Twitter for business by following 14 simple principles. 

Since we started using Twitter for business it’s helped us to establish our brand, connect with influencers, attract over 170,000 readers and sell our training courses.

It’s also helped to land us valuable media exposure, with coverage on national TV and radio (including an appearance live on BBC2 and on Woman’s Hour), and in newspapers and magazines including The Sunday Times, Guardian and Telegraph, and Stylist and Psychologies magazines.

Trethowans

And we’ve achieved all this spending just half an hour a day on Twitter.

How to use Twitter for business

So it’s no surprise that we believe that Twitter is an important tool for many small businesses and freelancers. As we and many others have proved, it’s the perfect platform to:

  • Grow your brand.
  • Connect with new customers.
  • Build loyalty with existing customers.
  • Grow your sales.
  • Reach industry influencers.
  • Establish yourself as an influencer.
  • Send traffic to your website or sales page.
  • Launch products and offers.
  • Get valuable media coverage.
  • And much more.

But, and it’s a big BUT, you won’t achieve any of this if you don’t understand how to use Twitter for business properly. Indeed, we see too many business fail and give up on Twitter because they’re unwittingly making common mistakes.

14 principles you need to follow when using Twitter for business

We think that’s a shame. So, to help you avoid these common mistakes, we we’ve put together 14 simple principles you need to follow when using Twitter for business. Here they are.

1) Set up your profile properly

It doesn’t matter how brilliantly you use Twitter for business, if your profile is not set up correctly it’s unlikely you’ll see many results. As a minimum you need to:

  • Add your logo or a headshot as your profile photo.
  • Upload a Twitter header image.
  • Choose the right account user name.
  • Include a link to your website.

It’s also essential that you fill in your bio properly – here’s what happens when you don’t.

2) Work out why you’re there

Stumbling onto Twitter without a plan is a recipe for disaster. You won’t know what to tweet, when to tweet, why you’re tweeting, or who you’re tweeting to. You won’t know who to follow (and who to unfollow). And you’ll just waste a lot of time with frustratingly few results to show for it.

So it’s essential that you work out your Twitter strategy, and check it’s aligned to your greater business goals, before you get going. Here’s how we guide you through creating your Twitter strategy.

3) Start following people

Twitter is not the place to be a wallflower. If you want to get noticed by people and start engaging, you need to reach out to them first. So you need to start following the right type of people, based on your Twitter strategy.

4) Unfollow people

It’s just as important that you unfollow people when you’re using Twitter for business too. It’s not a vanity thing – once you reach a certain number, Twitter will stop you following more people if your following/followers balance isn’t at a certain level.

Again, this is why a strategy is so important – you need to know who you need to unfollow and why. (There are also some handy online tools that make this quick and easy.)

5) Retweet

Strategy comes into play again when it comes to retweeting. If you’re on Twitter for business you don’t want to simply retweet anything you find amusing or inspirational – if you want to see impressive results from your Twitter activity you need to have a retweeting plan.

Strategic retweeting is one of the things that made the biggest difference to our Twitter growth in our first year of business (and enabled us to grow to over 11,000 followers in less than 12 months). Read 25 easy ways you can get more retweets here.

6) Strike the right self-promotion balance

Of course you’re using Twitter for business – so at some point you want to talk about what you’re selling and get people to visit your website or sales page.

But if every tweet is me, me, me, you won’t find yourself very popular on Twitter. Remember it’s social media, so you need to be ‘social’. You need to be interested in others and interesting (while relevant to what your business does) and strike the right balance between self-promotion and being an interesting and useful account to follow.

7) Talk business

However, you will need to get down to business eventually; after all, that’s the reason why you’re on Twitter in the first place! So at some point you need to talk about what you do, and move people onto your website or sales page, or into your bricks and mortar store or cafe.

If you’ve spent time on your strategy you’ll know who you want to talk to on Twitter, and what they want from you, so you can plan your tweets accordingly – and share offers and messages they’ll respond to. (Find out how we teach you to sell on Twitter – without feeling uncomfortable!)

8) Learn how to tweet

Admittedly, we’re at an advantage here. With over 20 years as an award-winning advertising copywriter behind us we’re able to craft tweets that people respond to – even developing a foolproof three-part formula for writing a tweet.

But even if you don’t have a copywriting background, it’s no excuse for badly written tweets – tweets that are flat, don’t arouse curiosity or interest, don’t make sense, or are grammatically incorrect.

Don’t make make the mistake of thinking that tweets are less important because they’re short or apparently fleeting. When you have fewer words to use, each one is even more important. So learn how to tweet well!

9) Use automation

You can’t be on Twitter every minute of your working day – after all, you have a business to run! But, at the same time, you need to make sure that you’re present on Twitter when your customers are.

That’s why you need to automate some of your Twitter activity. Automation allows you to use Twitter smartly for business, getting maximum results in minimum time. It’s how we’ve managed to grow our followers by an average of 10,000 a year while spending just 30 minutes a day on Twitter!

10) Engage

That said, if all your activity is robotically automated and you’re never human, people will soon switch off from you. So you need to balance out your automation with targeted engagement.

What do we mean by ‘targeted’? Simply this: using your strategy to understand who you want to engage with, what time they’re on Twitter, and what they’re interested in. The more you know about the people and businesses you want to connect with on Twitter, the more imapctful your engagement will be.

11) Have a personality

There’s one word in the past point that is absolutely essential on Twitter. And that’s human. You see, while you may be using Twitter as a business, and possibly even talking to other businesses on Twitter, behind all those Twitter accounts is a real person.

And people have emotions. We like some people and businesses more than others, and we respond to genuine engagement. So bear in mind your business brand and tone of voice, and be appropriately human on Twitter. Trust us, you’ll see much more engagement when you do.

12) Measure and adjust

Like any business strategy, you need to measure and adjust your Twitter strategy – and check it’s meeting the aims you set for it.

There are a number of ways you can do this:

  • Use URL shorteners to track what traffic comes from Twitter.
  • Use unique offers for Twitter.
  • Set up goals in Google Analytics.
  • Check your Twitter analytics.

It doesn’t matter how you measure and track your success on Twitter. Just make sure you do! Otherwise you could be wasting valuable time and seeing no results.

13) Be patient

If you’ve got all of the above right, then you should see impressive results from Twitter for your business. But those results may not happen overnight.

So don’t give up after two weeks, or tweak your strategy weekly. Be patient and consistent in your activity (while tracking and measuring to check what’s working and what’s not) and you’ll be rewarded.

14) Be nice

And finally, this may sound trite, or obvious, but you’ll be surprised at how many businesses overlook this simple tip.

Social media karma is a real thing. And the more you’re nice, the more you’re helpful, and the more you make an effort to connect with others, the more of all that you’ll receive in return. So bank yourself some social media karma and be the kind of tweeter everyone wants to follow.

How to master all this and more in just a few hours

We’ve seen too many small businesses struggle with Twitter – wasting a lot of time making basic mistakes.

So we created Twitter Tune-up, an online course that guides small businesses and freelancers through establishing themselves on Twitter, devising a strategy and tweeting with confidence as they grow a profitable following.

In Twitter Tune-up you’ll master everything you need to use Twitter for business, and turn it into a powerful sales tool – from properly using your profile, tweeting, and hashtags, to building your following, planning your strategy and automation. We even have an entire module devoted to selling on Twitter.

Here’s what other businesses are saying about Twitter Tune-up:

“Wow, I’m two weeks in and the change to our Twitter followers and feed is amazing. The new understanding and knowledge has been an eye-opener. Having the course to fall back on later is very useful too.”

“Twitter Tune-up showed me how to use Twitter for my business without having to go through a social learning curve. The course completely refined my view of what Twitter actually is and what it does. I was trying to match it to a Facebook or LinkedIn model when in fact, Twitter is completely different.

I now realise how amazing Twitter is for creating a network of contacts in both very niche and widely general business sectors. I also have an online retail business and am now using Twitter to reach consumer influencers and awareness of the brands I sell.”

So if you’re ready to start seeing proper results and finally do business on Twitter, join Twitter Tune-up now and let us show you how.