The Small Business Guide to Optimizing Twitter

Make your brand’s message travel faster with a platform that makes an impact.

If you’re a small business wondering if Twitter is right for you, this guide explores the platform’s advantages, what types of businesses can get the most value from marketing on Twitter, and how you can optimize your account to actually extract this value.

What are the advantages of Twitter?

Twitter is one of the most widely used social media channels. It offers the potential to attract, engage, and grow your audience with minimal investment. Here are some of its distinct benefits:

Size:

Twitter had 330 million active monthly users in the first quarter of 2019. PewResearch also surveyed social media users and found that almost a quarter of all adults in the United States use the platform.

Sales opportunities:

When we think of shopping platforms, Twitter doesn’t always come to mind, but there are plenty of brands that advertise on Twitter.

In a 2016 Twitter report, almost 70% of users purchased a product after discovering it in their feed. And businesses active on Twitter and/or Facebook are known to experience more sales than those that aren’t on these channels.

Making connections:

Social media channels allow customers and brands to connect and interact with one another in fun and meaningful ways. Twitter is no exception, especially because it’s a great tool for cultivating a positive customer experience. In fact, nearly 80% of users feel better about a brand after a personalized interaction.

Is Twitter right for my business?

Twitter can have a positive impact on your business. There are some factors, however, that influence just how beneficial that impact really is. Some businesses may lack certain components to truly make their time and effort on Twitter worthwhile. These factors include:

An audience:

One of the first things you need to consider before trying Twitter is whether your customers are actually present on the channel. To determine this, you can survey your existing customers. You can also look at competitors’ profiles and see what sort of following and interactions they have.

Resources:

You should also determine whether you have the resources to effectively start marketing on Twitter. Because businesses are expected to respond to tweets quickly, it can be a time-consuming channel.

Your industry:

Some industries find more value in Twitter than others. The network can be an invaluable lead generation tool for industry-to-industry and business-to-business companies. Twitter’s user base is interested in discovering emerging trends, products, and other announcements. Some businesses might benefit more from these behaviors than others.

Goals:

Hopefully your business has already set some social media goals, such as increasing sales or improving brand awareness. Whatever your objectives, you need to think critically about how Twitter can help you achieve them—and if it can support you. It just might not be the right channel for you! (But here are some other platforms to consider.)

How to optimize your Twitter business account

If you decide that Twitter is ideal for your small business, the next steps are creating and optimizing your account. Pay special attention to the most visible areas of your profile, listed below:

Banner image:

When someone visits your page, the header image is the most dominant part of your profile. You want an image that showcases your business, and some brands even change their header to match their latest campaigns or product releases.

Profile image:

It’s best to use your company logo as your profile image. Be sure to double-check that the round portrait frame that Twitter uses doesn’t crop out your logo. Remember, this image is going to appear next to every tweet and interaction you have on the platform, so,make sure it’s sized correctly and recognizable.

Account name:

Your account name is your business’ name. Twitter limits it to 20 characters, so you may have to get creative in shortening your name if it’s particularly long.

Twitter handle:

This is your username and has to be unique to your account. If you find that your ideal Twitter username is already taken by another account, get a little creative. You can attach your industry, location, or other identifiers to help distinguish your handle.

Bio:

Twitter is known for its limited character space on posts, so it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the platform also limits the space you have to write a compelling bio to 160 characters.

There are 2 common approaches to writing your bio: The first is to compose a short description of your business and your products or services. Using emoji is also a great way to limit your use of characters while still delivering an engaging bio, but be sure it matches your brand’s tone. Alternatively, you can write it as a call of action (CTA) and use your website link as part of the pitch.

Website link:

Many businesses link to their website’s homepage. However, you might want to send people to your latest blog, a landing page, or a follow-up to the CTA you included in your bio. Wherever your link goes, be sure you track how much traffic is actually using that link.

Pinned tweet:

Being active on Twitter means posting frequently. Some of these posts and content updates are going to be more meaningful than others. This is where a pinned tweet comes in handy, which allows you to put your latest, most valuable tweet at the top of your feed. You should get in the habit of changing your pinned tweet on a fairly regular basis, especially when you have product launches or big news to announce.

How small businesses can use Twitter

If you’re starting to use the platform as a marketing channel, here are a few tips to remember:

Focus on engagement. Twitter determines what users see based on the content that they’ve engaged with before, so encouraging users to interact with your tweets is a great strategy. Relevant hashtags can help you find what’s trending. Plus, you can see how your content does with Twitter’s analytics.

Always tweet value. The fastest way to gain engagement is to post valuable content that educates or entertains your audience. All of your tweets should add value to your customer experience and make followers want to engage with your business.

Respond and interact with your audience. You can obtain a lifelong customer and serious brand ambassador with just 1 or 2 great interactions on Twitter. Keep this in mind as you operate on the channel, because Twitter is more about communicating with your audience than it is broadcasting your latest updates.

Develop a schedule for tweets. Find times and days of the week that your audience is active on Twitter and post content during those times to capitalize on those insights. Not only will this help ensure that your presence doesn’t go dormant, your posts will see higher engagement.

Consider partnering with influencers. An influencer is someone with a strong following on Twitter. Find an influencer that has a big following with your target audience because having them retweet your content can provide a big boost to your following.

Dive into Twitter

Now that you’re prepared to tackle a new marketing channel, you can take advantage of Twitter’s opportunities to grow your business, strengthen relationships with your customers, or whichever goals are most important to you.

While not every business has the time or resources to be active on the platform, if you do decide to harness the network’s benefits, you can start defining your strategies.

Written by Ashley Segura for Mailchimp. Ashley is an expert in social media marketing.