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Using Twitter for Business


I. Introduction

This guide serves as an overview of what Twitter is and how it can help a company reach their business objectives.  The appeal of Twitter and one of the reasons why it has become very popular is that it is extremely simplistic yet personal (provides a human element) when comparing it to other social media websites. Building up the popularity of a Twitter account requires a substantial amount of effort and maintenance, but the results that can be achieved by utilizing this social media website are extremely significant.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a micro-blogging website that allows a user to write about pretty much anything.  The user has a 140 character limit when posting (or “tweeting”) and is able to include links to particular articles / webpages of interests.  A user can “tweet” about anything ranging from what they had for breakfast to a website that provides valuable SEO advice.  Twitter allows each user to follow other users and interact with these individuals by sending them direct messages or by replying to one of their “tweets”. Other features of Twitter include the creation of a profile (name, website, “about me”), a profile picture, an easy to use internal search engine, custom background design, and the ability to “tweet” via a mobile device.

II. Benefits

If used frequently, Twitter can offer a variety of benefits for a business including:

III. Process

  1. Creating a Twitter Account
  2. Building Up Your Account
  3. Guidelines of “Tweeting”
  4. Interacting with your Target Audience
  5. Tips and Tools

Creating a Twitter Account

  1. Select a username and profile name that represents your business.
    1. The username becomes part of the Twitter URL (i.e. twitter.com/companyname).
      • Twitter often shows up among the first page of Google for brand-related searches.
    2. Allows people who are looking for your account to easily find you.

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  1. Create a profile that provides information about your company.
    1. Cater to people who might not know what your company does.
      1. Increase brand awareness and potential consumers
    2. Include a link to your website.
      1. Increases total referral traffic.
    3. Include a profile picture
      1. Increases the chances that a user will view your account
      2. In most cases, should be either a company logo or your actual picture.

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  1. Do NOT protect your updates
    1. Decreases the number of followers to a particular account.

Building Up Your Account

The key to building up a successful Twitter account is obtaining a large amount of followers who are relevant to your business.  Simply following a bunch of random people will decrease the probability that you will obtain a large number of followers, not be effective in reaching your target market, possibly result in a banning of your account if enough people report you, and is a complete waste of time. The following is a step by step approach of successfully building up a Twitter account.

  1. Use Twitter’s “find people” search feature to locate people relevant to your industry
    1. Select the “Find on Twitter” tab

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    2. Search for individuals relevant to your industry.
      • If you offer tech advice, search for “technology” or “tech”.
    3. Locate the users’ followers

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    4. Start following their followers

Businesses often make the mistake of following Twitter accounts that are pertinent to their industry.  The key to building a successful Twitter account is by following their followers. The reason? Using the tech example again, if you’re “tweeting” about tech news / advice you are more likely to obtain followers from users following a similar account, not from accounts that are “tweeting” about the same information that you are.  Target your competitor’s followers (who are your consumers), not your actual competitors.

  1. Don’t Overdo it

Twitter considers it “suspicious activity” if your account tries to follow a lot of different users in a short period of time.  Because of this, it is imperative to air on the side of caution.  Follow about a hundred relevant users at a time, take a break for a couple of hours, and then continue the process.

Guidelines of “Tweeting”

You might be able to build a large amount of followers, but how you are actually utilizing Twitter will determine whether these users will continue to follow your account.  There are many methods that can be implemented that will help to ensure your Twitter account continues to grow on a regular basis.

  1. “Tweet” frequently
    1. Your account should not go longer than three days without a “tweet”.
    2. The longer you go without “tweeting”, the higher probability that people will stop following your account.
  2. Keep your “tweets” relevant
    1. If your Twitter account is supposed to provide industry-specific news / advice, ensure that your “tweets” reflect this.
    2. If you’re creating an account as a representative of the company it is okay to “tweet” about your personal life.
  3. Don’t include links with every “tweet”
    1. Makes an account look “spammy”
    2. Reassures the followers that an actual human is running the account.
  4. ReTweeting
    1. If an individual has tweeted something relevant to your industry/company, you should “ReTweet” the post.
    2. To “ReTweet” a post, type in RT @username tweet you wish you repost.

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  5. The individual whose “tweet” you are “retweeting” is more likely to post about your account / “tweets”
    1. Additional exposure to your Twitter account.
  6. Offer an incentive / deal
    1. Promote a discount that will benefit your consumers.
    2. People often respond to “tweets” that will benefit them in some way.
  7. Promote a new product / service well in advanced
    1. Generate buzz / word of mouth by discussing a new product or service well before its launch date

Interacting with your Target Audience

  1. Direct messaging
    1. Send a message to all of your new followers.
      1. Thank them for following your account
      2. Include a “Call to Action”

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  1. Reply to “tweets”
    1. Hover over the right side of a “tweet” to find the reply button

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    2. Replies should be directly correlated with the particular “tweet”
    3. Type your reply after the @username

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    4. Effective account building method
  2. Start a Conversation
    1. Asking a question is a great way to draw attention to your account
      1. Example: A discount travel website asking “How has the economy affected your ability to go on vacation?”
    2. Incorporate the user’s response with your business.
      1. Using the economy question, if a user states that they are no longer able to go on vacation because of the associated costs, you can reply telling them all about the great travel deals your website offers.
    3. It may take multiple questions to obtain a large amount of responses.  Do not give up if your first attempt does not yield the results you desire.

Tips and Tools

There are many different methods that a person can use to achieve great success on Twitter.   Make sure you frequently test different strategies to see what works the best for your particular account.  The information below serves as additional tips that will aide in meeting your marketing objectives.

  1. Join the WeFollow Directory

The WeFollow Directory is a website that lists different Twitter accounts by various categories.  These categories are determined by the Twitter user when submitting their account to the WeFollow Directory. Each category sorts the listed Twitter accounts by their number of followers.  This website provides a great amount of exposure to your Twitter account.

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  1. Become part of the Mr. Tweet network

MrTweet.net is a website that recommends your Twitter account to relevant users.  Your account can gain a substantial amount of followers by simply joining this free network.  This website also contains valuable user data such as total updates / day, percentage of “tweets” that contain links, and the number of recommendations that your account has received.

  1. Frequently test different strategies

Not every strategy works for every Twitter account.  Make sure you measure the results relating to every strategy that is implemented.

  1. Do not neglect your account

It is extremely easy to go a week or even longer without logging into your Twitter account.  It can take two months (or more) to restore the popularity of your Twitter account just by going two weeks without “tweeting”.

  1. Download Applications

Twitter provides many free downloadable applications that can be viewed here: http://twitter.com/downloads.  Many of these will you allow you to “tweet” when you are away from your computer.  Find the appropriate application(s) that best suits your needs.

  1. Read your Direct Messages and @Replies frequently

Make sure your messages and replies are checked on a daily basis.  You might miss a great business opportunity by neglecting them.

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