Guide to Twitter for Business

Although an incredible 74 percent of online shoppers follow small and medium businesses on Twitter to get product updates, only 65.8 percent of U.S. businesses use Twitter for marketing purposes. According to SocialDraft, 66 percent of Twitter users have discovered small and medium businesses on the platform. Of that 66 percent, 94 percent plan to make a purchase from one of the SMBs, and 69 percent already have. Twitter’s user base have a fair to high degree of education, with 29 percent of U.S. users having a degree, 25 percent some college education, and 20 percent having a high school diploma. It therefore follows that the financial demographics indicate that Twitter users tend to have a higher household income than users on many other platforms, with 30 percent of U.S. persons with an online presence, earning in excess of $75,000 per annum using Twitter.

Image from Flickr user greyweed under CC BY 2.0

With stats like these, it’s plain to see why your business needs a solid Twitter presence and that you’re missing out on without one. However, if you’re just using your Twitter account to dump links and promotional content on, you won’t get much benefit from it. The key to Twitter, and any other social platform, is understanding how users prefer to engage, and building a solid social media strategy.

Reach Out to Twitter Followers Directly

While using Twitter as a mass-reach bullhorn has its place in your social strategy, with Twitter’s updated algorithm and the ever-growing list of brands making competition for screen time continually more competitive, it’s tough to get those mass Tweets seen. Twitter is the fastest-paced social media platform out there — only Instagram comes close. That means it’s tough to get your Tweets seen. So leave room in your schedule for personal Tweets that tag a few of your followers and give them relevant content, like a video of gif that may appeal to them, or ask their opinion. While this may seem a little cumbersome and not easily scaleable, it is an exceptionally effective way of getting your content seen by your followers.

Engage

Don’t just post hundreds of Tweets — although obviously that’s an essential. But engage with your audience. Twitter isn’t just a mass messaging channel, it is a conversation network. So engage in conversations with your followers by responding to their posts. You can find new followers this way, too, by using Twitter’s advanced search feature.

Search for phrases related to your industry and use the positive/negative/question options, along with any other relevant features, to find Tweets you can respond to meaningfully. For example, if you run a produce company or a green living company and search for the phrase “expensive grocery shopping”, “grocery shopping” (with the negative filter checked, or “fresh produce goes bad”, you’ll find a number of tweets from users with problems surrounding the cost of grocery shopping, food spoliage, and those who just hate going grocery shopping. You then have the opportunity to engage with them by offering help. Depending on the nature of your business, you could provide a link to an article on your website with tips on how to save money on grocery shopping or ways to keep your fresh produce fresh, or you could offer them a coupon for free grocery delivery or money off their next shop. These kinds of helpful interactions will quickly help you gain trust and build followers.

Tweet and Repeat

With nearly 6,000 tweets posted every second, it’s no wonder that it can be difficult to get your tweets seen. The half life of a tweet, according to come estimates, is just 12 minutes. And with only 46 percent of Twitter users checking the platform at least once a day, getting your followers to see and absorb your tweet is challenging. Here are the statistics that show just how quickly Twitter moves:

— 5,787 tweets per second

— 347,222 tweets per minute

— 20,800,000 tweets per hour

— 500,000,000 tweets per day

So, to compete with these hordes of posts and to give your content the best chance of being seen, you need to tweet and repeat. With such a short half life per post, and the speed at which user’s Twitter feeds update, to get the most from your content, the key is to post regularly and to repeat your tweets at regular intervals.

It’s not enough to just tweet a link to your blog post once and hope a few people see it. Instead, repeat that tweet a few times a day, every day, for a week, then periodically throw it out there over the course of the next month. Yes, tweeting the same thing every 30 minutes will annoy people and cost you followers, but gentle repetition is perfectly acceptable. Because of Twitter’s pace, providing you’re tweeting your repeated content at different times each day, it’s unlikely that anyone will see it more than once and, if they do, it’s doubtful they’ll remember it.

Use this strategy with every piece of content you post. There’s no point wasting time creating the perfect, funniest GIF ever if you only tweet it once, and only 3 people see it.

The Golden Ratio

Twitter users, like all other social platform users, like value. They want to be educated, enlightened, entertained, or enriched in some other way. What they don’t want to see is continual self-promotional tweets. It’s a huge turnoff. The golden ratio is 80:20. That’s 80 percent of non-promotional content, including links to interesting articles, videos, GIFs, and photos that aren’t from or about your business. Then 20 percent of self-promotional tweets, which include product/service offerings, coupons, blog posts, and similar. This shows your followers you value them and they’ll respond more favorably to the one in five promotional tweets you post.

Use a Scheduling App

Choose a scheduling app like AgoraPulse, Hootsuite, or Meet Edgar. Use your chosen application to get ahead. Trying to tweet day-to-day is a nightmare, and is so time-consuming. So devote one day a week to building up your tweet schedule and get yourself a month ahead, if possible. You can also set these tools up to monitor your account and the entire Twitter platform for mentions of your company, new conversations, and instances of your predefined key phrases. This maximizes your opportunity to engage and build followers.

Offer Twitter Support

Make it clear on your profile that you offer company support from your Twitter account. Having a separate Twitter handle for customer support increases your success by a factor of 10, according to Forbes. Businesses that use Twitter as a means of customer care have a 19 percent increase in customer satisfaction. Resolving customer issues on Twitter is a great way to show your audience you care and helps you build trust.

Make Tweets Visual

Twitter users tend to like and respond to visually engaging posts. Use videos, GIFs, and large images to capture attention and stand out from the tweet hordes.

Be Mobile-Friendly

A whopping 82 percent of users go on Twitter via their mobile devices, while just 39 percent log in from their desktops. So, make sure your tweets are mobile-friendly. Images need to be clear enough for use on mobile screens and any fonts need to be large enough to be easily legible. Make sure videos are properly integrated into your Tweets and that they are mobile-compatible. This last one is particularly important, as 90 percent of all video views on Twitter occur on mobile.

While Twitter is challenging to master, it is possible for businesses of all kinds to be successful and incorporate this platform into their social strategy. All it takes is persistence, a willingness to engage, and the right strategy.