HOW TO USE TWITTER FOR
BUSINESS PURPOSES

Design, Social Media and Business Marketing Blog

Design, Social Media and Business Marketing Blog

The web phenomenon that is Twitter is nearing it’s 4th birthday, and yet it’s still a fairly baffling concept to many small businesses that we talk to. Admittedly, when we first looked into Twitter ourselves, and envisaged the prospect of airing every single detail about our working and social day, we couldn’t think of anything more pointless.

After all, who out there is really going to care when we’re planning on having our next tea-break, or how long it took us to get to work this morning? And more importantly, how interested were we likely to be in what John from Glasgow was putting in his sandwich this lunchtime?

We’d already heard all about how the likes of Ashton Kutcher and P Diddy were setting the Twitter world alight with their personal insights, but as people who aren't necessarily fascinated by fame this didn’t really suck us further into the fold.

In retrospect of course, Twitter isn’t quite the waste of time we’d first thought, and could well be the first stepping stone to what will soon come to be known as the communication tool that started it all. Facebook can certainly lay claim to revolutionising the way we share our adventures and stay in touch with our friends and family, but Twitter is whole different ball game, with pure communication at it’s heart.

 

HOW DOES TWITTER WORK?

Twitter is a free service where users are given 140 text characters to answer the question, “What’s happening?”

When you join Twitter, you can use a number of methods to find other Twitter users and “follow” them – Twitter can check your email accounts to see if there are any people you know already using it, you can do a generic search from the entire Twitter community (usually by topic or theme e.g. ‘Design’) or once you’re following others you can look through their Follow list to see if there is anyone of interest to you.

The main outcome of this is that when the people you are following update their own status, their ‘tweets’ will appear on your home page. Of course, the idea of this is that they also follow you back so that they see your updates. In short, it’s a form of permission-based marketing.

Although primarily an internet based tool, there are now a huge variety of desktop applications and mobile phone applications available for download, all of which offer their own features and benefits such as easier ways to organise your followers⁄followees, and automated updates.

Inevitably, you’re going to end up following a few people that after a few weeks are going to become quite annoying, and these can be easily removed. There will also be people who you never hear anything from. And you’ll no doubt get follow requests from ‘unsavoury’ types who you can choose to block should you wish. Twitter have also recently added location based ‘trending’ functionality, which means you can see what’s being discussed specifically where you reside.

 

HOW DOES TWITTER HELP YOU WORK?

While many people use Twitter on a personal level, there is a growing number of users who are setting up business accounts and using Twitter as a marketing tool. Of course there are some extremely aggressive marketeers out there, using the site to bombard their followers with every single web update, blog post and all of their online activities in the hope it will gain them better recognition and better web rankings.

As Twitter ‘etiquette’ creeps in however (something we’ll touch on later), this sort of user is becoming increasing rare. More common however are the Business Professionals, who are now using Twitter as a communications tool in order to network more efficiently and in a wide-spread manner, develop relationships with potentially relevant contacts, and keep up with the latest news in their industry.

Twitter will allow you to connect instantly to your existing client base, so you can keep them updated on your latest information, and more importantly, keep you and your services fresh in their mind. You are also able customise your page to be consistent with your own branding, as demonstrated by our page below.

The PWD Design Twitter Home Page design

 

HOW TO FOLLOW THE RIGHT PEOPLE ON TWITTER

Twitter can be an fantastic networking tool, nevertheless, the problem most people face when they first sign up is they don’t necessarily know who they should be following.

As mentioned earlier, there are a variety of ways to find people to follow, however you’re most reliable tool will be the search feature. Using a relevant keyword you should be able to track down a few like-minded user’s who are posting relevant and informative Tweets. This only searches through a user’s ‘profile’ however, and not the actual tweets. A good way to find further people for your follow list is to see who others are following and check them out for yourself.

There are tools out there however which will further aid in the exploration of user’s to follow, but probably the most useful is ‘Who Should I Follow?’. This service analyses your current follow list, profile and tweets, and then goes about finding people it thinks you may find of interest.

The thought of connecting with major Twitter players can be mildly intimidating at first, but you’ll find it surprising how accessible people on twitter are, even those with thousands of followers.

To help make your transition into Twitter a bit more welcoming, we have listed a few profiles that small UK business Twitter beginners could consider following:

 

HOW TO GET PEOPLE TO FOLLOW YOU

Principally, the more people you can get to follow you, the more publicity, networking and communication opportunities you will have. At it’s core then, is the need to build a following, which can be achieved in a number of ways:

1) Follow others:

After you’ve used Twitter for a little while, you’ll discover that if someone follows you, you’ll be inclined almost automatically to politely return the favour and follow them back.

Of course, this can get out of hand, and if it appears as though you’re mass following people in the hope of getting Followers, the chances are that those people who will find your Tweets relevant will rebel against you and leave you hanging. Therefore we’d advise being a little choosy about who you follow. After all, if you’re using it for your own purposes, it’s you that will have to sift through the relevant information on your home page.

2) Complete your profile biography:

Many people are using the search tool to look for relevant users. If your bio doesn’t say anything interesting, there may be a lot of people choosing not to follow you because they can’t find out anything about you.

3) Try to fill out your URL:

Even if you don't have a business website, set up a ‘Fan page’ on Facebook, or a company profile on a third party business listing site so that a potential follower can find out a little more about your company.

4) Post good Tweets:

Relevant and interesting tweets will generally gain more followers. If your last Tweet is only talking about what your dog just had for dinner, the chances are that someone who’s found you for the right reason, may well choose not to follow you for the wrong ones.

5) Get involved:

Reply to people who have Tweeted or message new folowers personally. Show interest in what they’re saying, especially if they’re not following you yet and the chances are you can strike up a relationship. Some users may have way too many people on their list to reply to every person, but you stand more chance of gaining followers if you do this than if you sit and wait for people to come to you.

6) Diversify:

Add your Twitter link to all of your other online profiles, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Put your Twitter name on your business cards and stationery, and add it to your Blog feed.

 

GET THE MOST OUT OF TWITTER

Twitter etiquette is still evolving, but there are some general guidelines that you can use:

 Treat others with respect
 Tweet in a friendly, laid back tone
 Participate in the process - update regularly
 Don’t just promote your own services
 Don’t mass follow
 Don’t duplicate your posts
 ReTweet interesting things - share the wealth!

Here’s a few examples of how small companies can use Twitter for their business:

A Recruitment Agency…

could Tweet the latest job roles they have and the latest industry news for freelancers and contractors.

An Interior Designer…

could Tweet the latest industry or design trends to generate new clients, and links to showcase new works by themselves and others.

A Furniture Maker…

could Tweet about new ranges and current styles, or promote themselves with discount coupons and new products.

A Construction Company…

could Tweet recent industry news and project updates.

 

If you would like to have a more in-depth chat about Twitter or need help with the set-up and design for your profile, please get in touch and we’ll see how we can help you. When you’ve registered, we’d love it if you could follow PWD Design. We look forward to connecting with you.

Marketing and Social Media blog

If you would like to comment on this blog article, or suggest topics for the future, please leave your comments below. Thank you for reading.

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