How to Use Twitter for Your Business

Using Twitter for business is easy. As long as you follow the guidelines below, you’ll have a legitimate business Twitter account. The hard part is gaining a big following. Patience, persistence, and consistent tweets will help you gain a following over time.

If you have a business, and are thinking about tweeting, try the steps below.

1) Open an account.

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Simply open an account under your business’s real name. Upload your logo to use as an icon. If your personal identity is tied into your business, use your real, full name and a headshot. Start tweeting.

2) Find people to follow.

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Image: CC Chapman/Flickr

Once you’ve tweeted a few times, start finding people to follow. Follow people in your industry, competitors, friends, colleagues, and people you admire (for business purposes). You can use one of many Twitter apps to find people by topic. Twellow—the Yellow Pages for Twitter—is an example. With time, people will start following you, too.

Note: Some followers are spammers. Whenever someone unfamiliar signs up to follow you, flag them for further investigation. Are they using a real name? What do their tweets look like? Avoid them if they only tweet spam.

3) Tweet away.

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As a business, your tweets will look slightly different from the life updates that most individuals share. Although life updates keep your tweets interesting, keep them business-related. For example, thank individuals for their help. Recommend people. Ask questions.

In addition, follow the tweet subjects below to maximize Twitter’s business utility:

–Link to news about your industry, sports, etc.

–Link to new deals and promos. Be sure to include the occasional Twitter-only promo. An easy way to do this is to offer free drinks to Twitter followers. Name the drink something unique that only your Twitter followers will be able to read. Then, when they come in, they can request the special drink by name—and get it free. You can also tweet contests—guess the winning team and get a free beer—or special codes that people can show on their cell phones.

–Ask your followers for feedback on their experience with your product, new ideas you have for events/ promos, etc.

–Job postings. Post short descriptions and a link to where followers can learn more.

–Live event feeds. For example, if you host a contest at the bar/restaurant, have someone tweet it live.

–Customer service. Encourage customers to tweet with questions, feedback, etc.

–PR firefighting. If something happens that could damage your reputation, post your defense on Twitter. Big companies do this all the time when faced with something potentially damaging.

–Reply to people’s tweets. Get in touch with them personally.

–Retweet.
Show others whose tweets you’re interested in.

4) Monitor your reputation.

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Image: DollAddiction

Periodically search for who’s talking about you using #hashtag searches. For example, search #yourbusinessname to see who is talking about you. Use other hashtag searches to follow industry news.

5) Promote yourself.

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Image: BlogsDNA

Make sure people know you’re on Twitter. Promote your Twitter profile on your website, email (footer), in your store, on your business cards, ads, and other social networking sites. Make your Twitter profile visible and clickable. The easier you are to find on Twitter, the more people will find you.

  • Good tips. Unfortunately I can’t run a search for my business name with the hash tags. Considering my business name is about as common as, well, my name!

  • Our Twitter collaboration app can help businesses with #4. Contact us for a beta invite.

    Web site: http://chatterboxhq.com
    On Twitter: http://twitter.com/chatterboxapp

    -Dave
    CoreBlox Co-founder

  • Jenny

    We just started a business twitter account for our nonprofit publishing business. what are benefits of identifying the tweeter to personalize the messages vs. tweeting under just the company name?

  • Drea

    Jenny: Identifying the tweeter gives your audience a greater sense of intimacy with you–and makes you more accountable. The net result is greater trust. You’re a human vs. a more anonymous organization. However, if you use the organization name, you have a better chance to perpetuate your brand. You can also, with time, convince your audience that you’re very human. It just won’t be on first impression.

  • Help required:

    Trying to set my business up on Twitter but the business name wont fit!! It only let’s me have 15 letters and our is 2 words in total 16 letters. I cant think of any way to shorten it without ruining our image.

    Any ideas?

  • Drea

    Kevin–what’s your business name?

  • Hi, our business name is Consult Solutions.

    We dont want consultsolution or consolution or csolutions. We want the exact name (ideally) cos anything else will take away from our actual name!!

    Thanks for your help!

  • Drea

    Kevin–What about shortening your name to Consult_Solns? If that’s still too much of an adaptation, you could always either use the real name of the person tweeting, or adapt your motto or tagline to your Twitter name. Eg. if your tagline is “We Help You,” your Twitter name could be We_Help_You. You could also replace one of the words in your company title with a call-to-action. Eg. Consult_Now or or SolutionsHelp or something like that.

  • Drea – Many thanks for this I’m sure we can come up with something now.

    A couple of other questions have since arisen. Firstly, how do you use Twitter for a business with multiple users. EG if it was myself and say a David. If someone was to tweet us how to we sync our individual names to the business. Also what would we put down as a general twitter address for people to use (or would they just have to follow us individually)

    Thanks

    Kevin

  • This is a Great Resourceful to gain twitter followers.
    Thanks for showing the love.

    http://twitter.com/FinePrintNYC

    Joseph @ Fine Print

  • What a post!!thanks a ton.Liked the way you presented your point.Without planning it’s difficult to succeed.I have bookmarked this page for future requirement.