Twitter for business

Set up and run a Twitter account for business

Guide

If you've decided that running a Twitter account will benefit your business, set up a profile that communicates your brand. Plan regular, relevant content and interact with your audience.   

Choosing your name and customising your profile

When selecting your Twitter name you should choose your business name if it is available. Once you've selected your name, eg @nibusinessinfo, you should customise your profile. This will involve adding your introductory bio, which briefly explains your business.

A bio has a character limit, so it should be to the point. For example, the nibusinessinfo.co.uk Twitter page has the following bio: 'Official online channel for business support, information and advice.'

Complete your profile by adding your company location and web address. You should add a profile picture. This could be your company logo or an individual if it is for a member of staff. Finally you can choose a cover image. You might want to use something that strengthens your brand or represents what your business does.

Get started

When starting out on Twitter you may want to follow like-minded people or organisations. These could be:

  • competitors
  • suppliers
  • other local businesses
  • industry experts
  • influencers
  • customers 

You will find that these people will often follow you back. When you follow someone their tweets will appear on your timeline creating your online community.

You can also raise awareness of your Twitter channel by including your Twitter name on your website, business literature and email signature.

Posting content

A post on Twitter (a tweet) may consist of up 280 characters of text, an image, GIF, video, poll or link. You may choose to tweet a few times a week or up to several times a day. It may be useful to create a content plan to help you decide when and what to post. See content marketing

Remember to focus on content that your audience will find useful, relevant and engaging. A smaller portion of your tweets can be sales-focused with a call to action. It may be worth paying for extra promotion on your sales focused tweets.

Twitter's media studio tool [registration required] can help you easily share media content like images and videos.

Twitter interactions

An interaction is when someone engages with your Twitter channel - interactions include:

  • Follow - someone who follows you on Twitter. Your tweets will appear on their timeline.
  • Retweet - when another Twitter user shares one of your tweets  with their followers. This does not necessarily mean that they are endorsing your content, but it does suggest that you have posted something that is of interest to them and their followers.
  • Mention - when someone else includes your Twitter name in a tweet that they send. Mentions could occur if someone is referring to you or asking you a question.
  • Like - when someone likes your tweet. This can be an acknowledgment or support of your message. It can be used as a response from a person or organisation that you have mentioned in a tweet. It is a positive interaction and should be measured in this way.  

There are no set rules for who should be using Twitter, or indeed how to use Twitter. Some digital marketing experts refer to Twitter etiquette but it's about finding out what works for your business. The basic communication elements remain - be polite, be courteous, deliver clear and concise messages, and respond to questions people ask you.

Hashtags

Twitter was the first social network to use hashtags as a search feature. By placing the # symbol at the start of a keyword or phrase you can search for tweets relating to it. For example if you are looking for information on starting a business you could search the hashtag #startup.

When you are logged into your Twitter profile you will see the top trending hashtags in real time. These can often be specific to a breaking news story, a celebrity or popular television programme.

Use hashtags in your tweets to help them be seen by people interested in a particular topic. You can also start your own hashtags for events and campaigns.

Twitter polls

You can use polls to ask questions to your Twitter audience. Polls allow you to  add four answer options. Your poll's duration defaults to 1 day, but you can change this. The minimum amount of time for a poll is 5 minutes, and the maximum is 7 days. How each individual votes in the poll is not shared publicly. 

To create a poll you compose a tweet and select 'poll'. You then add your question and edit the choices. Once you hit 'tweet' the poll will start.

By using Twitter polls you can increase engagement by letting customers interact and engage with your brand. You can also use the data collected as useful market research.

Tools to manage Twitter

There are a number of tool available to help you manage your business' presence on Twitter. These tools allow you manage tasks that include, scheduling tweets, monitoring interactions and saving searches. Some examples include:

  • Tweetdeck (Twitter's own free tool)
  • Hootsuite (third-party, paid but offers a free trial)
  • Buffer (third-party, free basic account with options to pay for more features)