The basics of Twitter for business

You may have seen the blue bird or blue ‘t’ icon. But how do you use Twitter? This guide will explain the basics of Twitter and give you some pointers of how it could work for your business.

Did you know?

  • 72% of daily Twitter users publish blog posts at least monthly
  • 48% of Twitter users share deals and coupons online
  • 23% of Twitter users follow businesses to find special deals, promotions, or sales ComScore
  • B2B spending on social media is expected to rise 67% over the next three years
  • 43% of B2B marketers prefer to use Twitter to LinkedIn and Facebook when it comes to social media marketing. iMedia Connection, 2010.

Millions of people, organisations, and businesses use Twitter to discover and share new information. On Twitter, anyone can read, write and share messages (tweets) of up to 140 characters. Twitter users view your messages in their timeline by following your account.

Businesses can use Twitter to share information, gather market insights, and develop relationships with people who have an interest in your organisation or market. Twitter can be a powerful, real-time way of communicating to customers, potential customers and key influencers.

8 tips for using Twitter for business


1. Have a clear aim
If your business has a social media strategy, then it’s likely that Twitter is part of it. But it has to be for the right reasons. Using Twitter for your business is a way to talk to your customers in the arenas that they’re listening in. You can then respond to matters that are important to them, with the aim to build relationships that lead to loyalty for your brand.

2. Incorporate your brand identity
Twitter needs to be seamlessly aligned with your brand. It needs to reflect your identity, corporate colours, tone of voice, and your Twitter name should include your company name.

3. Personalise your profile
When you sign up to Twitter, head for the profile panel and upload your company logo, or a relevant image, as your profile icon. Also, think carefully about your 160 character company bio and use keywords if possible because these can be recognised by search engines. And finally add your website address to direct traffic back to your website.

4. Learn the Twitter glossary
There’s quite an art to getting to grips with the terminology for Twitter, but once you do they’ll be no stopping you. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Mention – once you’ve chosen a Twitter username, you and others can mention an account in your tweets by preceding it with the @ symbol, e.g. I’ve found a great marketing agency @marketingz1. This will appear in your timeline and in the timeline of all your followers.
  • Timeline – this is the feed of all the tweets from the accounts a follower has subscribed to. • Tweet – the 140 character message you write for your followers. • Retweet – if you see a tweet by another user that you want to share, click the retweet icon below it to share it with your followers.
  • Message – a private tweet to a particular user who’s already following you. Start your tweet with DM or D to direct message them, e.g. DM @marketingz1 your brochures are ready for collection.
  • Hashtag – users often add # to words in their tweets to categorise or theme them for others e.g. see what’s new in social media #googleplus. Users can then click on a hashtag to see other similarly themed tweet.
  • Trending – if enough people use the same # theme, Twitter will spot this as a trend and this will appear on every user’s homepage. If your business or an event you’re running can be listed as trending, it can greatly increase visits to your Twitter page and number of followers.
  • TwitPic – this function lets you share media on Twitter. You can post photos or videos to TwitPic from your phone, from your website site, or through email. You just need to install the TwitPic application to your profile.
  • #followfriday – every Friday it becomes a tradition for users to recommend other profiles that they think their followers should also follow. It will be seen as #followfriday or #FF. It’s a great way to make new contacts.
  • URL shorteners – such as or let you shorten long urls for free so you don’t use up all your characters when referring to a web page.

5. Be professional but friendly
Twitter is a social forum so discussions should be in a friendly tone. But keep in mind that you’re still representing your organisation, so stay professional.

6. Follow back
Twitter builds a relationship so remember to have good manners. If someone took interest in your business by telephone or email, you would respond and thank them. The same goes for Twitter. If someone retweets one of your posts then thank them in a tweet using their @ name. If someone follows you, follow back, and watch your network grow.

7. Become a source of information
Make reference to external articles and news you think will interest your profession and those following your organisation. It shows you think about the wider picture, not just tweets about your own company.

8. Share, listen, ask and respond
This is advice directly from the Twitter organisation themselves. Twitter is the perfect forum to share photos or snippets from behind the scenes at your organisation to give followers a glimpse of developing projects. To encourage loyalty you should listen to what your followers are saying and regularly monitor, ask questions and respond to their comments.

Further information

To delve deeper into Twitter for business, take a look at these sources.

Twitter for Business
Optimise your activity on Twitter
Start advertising with Twitter

Last words

This is a basic guide to help you understand how Twitter can be used in business, but to have the maximum effect it needs to be seamlessly integrated into the social media strategy for your organisation. Marketing Zone can provide the full management and content generation needed to allow you to connect with key influencers and enthusiasts on Twitter to drives up your sales

We can:

  • Create a Twitter account
  • Manage your Twitter account
  • Act as your spokesperson or handle the content you provide
  • Source and present content as tweets and links
  • Search for important influencers, manage and flag up opportunities from followers making contact through Twitter
  • Help you cement relationships with important customers or distributors by re-tweeting and recommending, ensuring you have a positive online presence.

Twitter can be a great tool and a key part of a wider social media strategy. If this is something you’d like for your business then we can help. Take a look at how it’s helped Polaroid Eyewear increase traffic to its website.