If you’re trying to figure out how Twitter can help your business, read on. We’ve covered the reasons why Twitter can be a useful marketing tool in Part 1 of this post, and now we’ll tell you how to take the next step.
How do I get started?
Begin with the basics. Get yourself a Twitter account and establish a presence for your brand. After all, it’s free!
Step 1: Go to Twitter.com and register your username.
Since this is for your business, your Twitter profile should represent your corporate brand, and should have a name that people will recognize if they see someone mention your business in a Tweet. For example, if I’m recovering from an intense workout @bendyoga, you know exactly which business I’m talking about, and my tweet will show up on their Twitter page because I’ve used their proper username. Likewise, if someone mentions @yourbusiness, that tweet will show up on your profile page. This is one of the key goals of your Twitter campaign: Have conversations with people about your brand.
Unfortunately, usernames on Twitter are similar to web site domain names. Most of the good ones are taken. For example, @thebulletin pulled off an amazing feat considering the vast number of newspapers across the world that use the same name. So hurry up, go get yours right now.
Don’t forget to fill in your Twitter profile with your website URL and an image that lets people know they’ve found the right place:
Ok, I’ve created my account. Now what?
Now that you’ve secured a username and have your profile built, you can begin drawing attention to yourself.
Step 2: Talk about what you do best.
A common best practice is to spend 80% of the time talking about what you’re interested in (opinions, thoughts, books you’ve read, interesting people, content you’ve found on the web, etc) and only 20% marketing your business. The key to building your brand on Twitter and gaining more followers is by giving people a good reason to listen to you. Who wants to hear you pitch your products and services over and over? Express your personality and share what’s happening within your company or industry.
When you do advertise, use the opportunity to offer discounts or other incentives that make it worthwhile for users to pay attention. For example, @DutchBros provides discounts that bring business to various locations when needed:
Step 3: Participate in the conversation.
Tweets that mention @yourbusiness will appear in your Twitter stream, so be sure to pay attention and retweet (RT) those who are supporting your brand. If you find someone criticizing your brand, do your best to engage with them to address their concerns. Sometimes critics can be converted into your strongest advocates!
Also watch for hashtags that associate #yourbusiness with events or other comments. For more information on how hashtags are used, see our post on How to Find #Bend on Twitter.
Step 4: Follow others in your industry.
By following other users, you’ll get a first-hand perspective of what others are up to, and they will often follow you in return. To find others who are discussing key topics and trends in your industry, you can use Twitter search or a more powerful app like HootSuite, which also does a good job of helping you schedule your tweets and monitor your brand.
Step 5: Tweet your corporate culture.
Sharlyn Lauby wrote a great article about how to bring your brand to life on Twitter through seven examples of what well-known businesses like Dunkin Donuts, Princess Cruises, and Marriott International are doing. In summary:
- Share your history
- Talk vision and mission
- Reveal industry insights
- Recognize employees
- Profile customer successes
- Be responsive
- Ask questions about the future
Finally, it’s worth reviewing the official “Twitter 101 for Business” slide deck (created by Twitter). It covers the basic terminology and a few case studies they thought worth sharing.