Site   Web

January 23, 2011

How to Use Twitter for Business – 5 Tips For Twitter Newcomers

twitter-bird-white-on-blue

Twitter is a wonderful business tool, not least because it’s free. All it will cost is your time (and if that’s in short supply, you can hire a social media marketer to manage it for you).

Used well, Twitter can provide good exposure for your business, but you can also damage your brand with social media marketing if you’re not careful, so it’s worth learning the biggest do’s and don’ts before you start using Twitter.

Tip 1: Be Yourself and Be Human

The beauty of Twitter is that it’s a huge global community of human beings (mostly; there are spammer accounts but they’re easy to spot, block and report). So do show your human side, especially when using your business account. Talk about things that matter to you: funny things your children say, recent achievements, your favorite band or TV show, and so on. Join in with conversations that interest you – be friendly, show emotion, and use smilies if you want to.

On the other hand, don’t be too human. Don’t share anything you wouldn’t share at a real-world business networking event; keep intimate health problems and controversial or potentially offensive opinions to yourself.

Tip 2: Watch How You Write

Some people write well, others don’t – that’s true in all areas of life, not just on Twitter. You don’t need to be a bestselling novelist to use Twitter, but it helps if you have basic literacy skills (and if you use Twitter at the website instead of through a client, your Tweets will be spellchecked as you type anyway – which helps).

However good (or bad) your writing skills are, with Twitter’s 140-character limit you’ll need to be creative with your Tweets. Your Tweets need to be concise yet informative, and often you’ll be trying to squeeze in a URL too (URL shortening services like bit.ly and tinyurl.com are lifesavers).

One definite don’t is using text speak. Text speak is fine if you’re 13, but as a professional adult promoting your business you’re just going to look silly, and won’t communicate your messages efficiently – unless you’re targeting 13 year olds.

Tip 3: Share and Share Alike

If you have some good news – related to your business or your personal life – share it; everybody loves a good news story.

Do share links – to your website, your blog, your local news service, or anything else that interests your followers. This is a great way to get conversations going. But do remember to explain what the link’s about, or your followers will feel less inclined to click it. And don’t Tweet the same link over and over; people will quickly become bored and may stop following you.

Do retweet your friends’ links, too. They’ll be grateful, and so will your followers if the link is interesting and relevant. But here’s a very big ‘do’ – DO make sure you click the link and read the content before sharing it with your followers, or you could end up sharing a page that’s irrelevant or offensive, or which contradicts your usual position on the subject.

Tip 4: Be Part of the Community

Don’t treat Twitter as your personal billboard. It’s not. It’s a community, millions of members strong, and the community as a whole is not very tolerant of users who constantly advertise. Try to stick to the 80-20 rule when you use Twitter for business: no more than 20% of your Tweets should advertise or self-promote, and at least 80% should be non-promotional. If you can get the ratio down to 90-10 or 95-5, even better.

Listen to what people are saying, and join in. Twitter is a network of conversations, so it’s good practice to listen and respond to parts of those conversations that interest you. Don’t just stand in the middle of the room with a megaphone, shouting “I’m fabulous! I’m selling widgets at 20% off this week!” Again, if you wouldn’t do it at a business networking event, don’t do it on Twitter.

Do retweet your friends’ requests for help (for example, charity appeals and sponsorship requests), and do introduce friends that are new to Twitter and could do with some followers. And again – do retweet useful, interesting links from people you follow, but always check links before sending.

Tip 5: Mind Your Language

Don’t use offensive language when representing your business on Twitter; even mild swearwords can put sensitive souls off following you (and besides – cursing in public is hardly professional).

Use Twitter to answer customer questions and solve their problems by all means. Many organizations use Twitter as a customer services tool very effectively. But never, ever use an impolite or impatient tone with a customer. On Twitter, everything you say is out there for everyone to see, so leave your followers with the best possible impression of your brand at all times… the Internet has a very long memory!

Finally – consider this a bonus tip, since it’s not really connected to any of the previous ones. Try to enjoy yourself when you use Twitter. Try to embrace all that’s good about Twitter – the new friendships and business contacts you’ll make, the fun hashtags and trending topics, the strong community spirit – and before long you’ll be singing (or is that Tweeting?) Twitter’s praises to anyone who’ll listen.


Debs Williams is Managing Director of debbidoo Ltd, a marketing company in Caernarfon, North Wales that provides marketing, website design, copywriting and internet marketing services to organizations of all shapes and sizes in a variety of industries. Debs is a self-confessed internet addict and keen social media marketer, providing Twitter account management and Facebook page management services to clients who don’t have time to manage their own social media marketing activities.

13 Responses to “How to Use Twitter for Business – 5 Tips For Twitter Newcomers

    avatar Wood Flute Music says:

    Great article Debs. Please excuse my ignorance but what does text speak mean?

    Hi :)

    Txt spk iz wen u talk lyk dis az if u r an illiterate teenager 😉

    You’d be surprised how many adults write like this when they’re using Twitter to promote their businesses; I’m sure not everyone feels the same way as I do, but personally I find it difficult to take someone seriously as a business owner when they write like this while promoting their business.

    Like I said in the article: you only have 140 characters to play with on Twitter, so you need to be creative. If you’re really stuck, try a service like Tweet Longer, which gives you extra space to play with (don’t over-use, though!)

    Hope this helps,

    Debs :)

    avatar accident management says:

    It amazes me how business online don’t bother to consider the context of what they are saying and how they are saying it, twitter may only give you 140 characters to play with but to some people it’s 140 ways to destroy your online reputation.

    Also when you use twitter make sure you post informative information which helps people, not I am currently eating toast…one way to loose clients etc.

    A great article, thank you.

    avatar Bee says:

    Very nice and informative. What exact is text speak?
    Thanks Bee

    avatar Wood Flute Music says:

    Thanks for the explanation. That top line tells all.

    Hi :)

    Txt spk iz wen u talk lyk dis az if u r an illiterate teenager 😉

    You’d be surprised how many adults write like this when they’re using Twitter to promote their businesses; I’m sure not everyone feels the same way as I do, but personally I find it difficult to take someone seriously as a business owner when they write like this while promoting their business.

    Like I said in the article: you only have 140 characters to play with on Twitter, so you need to be creative. If you’re really stuck, try a service like Tweet Longer, which gives you extra space to play with (don’t over-use, though!)

    Hope this helps,

    Debs :)

    avatar Barbara J says:

    Great article Debs,
    The information is really helpful because it gives me a clear understanding of what to do,and not,as a person who is new to this social media.
    A lot of the ‘fear’ of tweeting was removed with the reading of this article.
    Thanks again! Barbara J.

    Site pro news has given us information that has helped us increase our business,and the tips we get are great
    we want to say thank you

    avatar radii shoes says:

    You write very detailed,Pay tribute to you.Couldn’t be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing

    As a niche site and company, sometimes it’s hard to get things across with twitter. It’s ok, but our core demo graph is possibly not on it!

    avatar HomePage says:

    I’m still trying to increase traffic from Twitter. I submit my blog posts to Twitter using AddThis automatically. Or, I should submit them manually so it’s more specific and personal? Thank you.

    Thanks for sharing a great point about twitter marketing.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *






You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Please leave these two fields as-is:

Protected by Invisible Defender. Showed 403 to 3,838,299 bad guys.

css.php