Twitter is a game changer. No other social media site has done so much to disrupt the status-quo for business, whether large or micro. In the ‘old days’ customers had to write to a business if they had a complaint or query about a brand, now they simply tweet their favourite or most hated brand and expect a response today.
So how do you get on board the Twitter-wagon? First things first, you need to create an account: just pop over to www.twitter.com and create a new account - remember to use your business name as the account name. Once you’re done you’re ready to head on to the next steps.
New or existing business?
Before you set up your account first ask this simple question: “Are you doing this to support your existing customers or are you looking to gain new business?” - You can do both, but make sure you separate these accounts (more on this later.)
Once you’ve created your account you’re going to need to edit the egg logo to your own. A lot of business owners use their own face for their Twitter logo: this is completely fine but I think if you want to give an air of professionalism then using your business logo is the way to go.
Once you’ve set up your account you’re going to want to gain new followers. There are several ways of doing this: tell your friends and family about your Twitter account, add the Twitter account to your business cards or even get customers to tweet you instead of calling you - all these things help to gain new followers.
The key to being noticed is to be different and offer people a reason to follow you such as great, free content (see point 7 for more on this).
Voice is key
Keep in mind that any communication is visible on Twitter unless you do a DM (direct message) - make sure you’re aware of this when talking to customers and giving out details such as phone numbers or account numbers.
Also: your followers and customers will expect you to reply to their questions - make sure you respond as quickly as possible as you risk gaining a negative, non-responsive image as a result!
Don’t expect thousands of followers overnight and certainly don’t expect a huge jump in your website traffic! All this work takes time (we have over 24,000 followers but that took nearly seven years!) so you just need to persevere - the work is worth it in the end.
If you decide to set up more than one account on Twitter (as we mentioned earlier) it’s worth looking into applications that will make your life easier - both HootSuite and TweetDeck are great and free to use (HootSuite does charge for the premium model but can be used fine on the normal model.)
These applications are great as they can split different feeds such as incoming messages, sent messages and even different Twitter and Facebook accounts. If you’re serious about your tweeting, make sure you check at lease one of these applications out.
Edit: in the video I mentioned an application called Tweetspinner - this has now been discontinued.
If you’re looking to get your followers to visit your website either for SEO or sales reasons, then consider creating a business blog or writing articles on your site. If you’re a plumber think how useful it’d be to tell your followers how to keep their drains clear or how to stop their pipes from freezing. Are you an electrician? Why not have a nice, simple chart showing people how to re-wire plugs.
They may seem simple but people really do enjoy and appreciate work like this and this may ultimately turn your followers into loyal customers - it’ll also help you to gain a reputation of helping out in the business community. If you need some inspiration, why not take a look at some of the content we produce?
This is the start of a series of beginners guides but if you feel we've missed anything please let us know in the comments below!