Getting More Out of Twitter for Business

Picture of Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

Getting More Out of Twitter for Business

While Facebook continues to dominate social media, Twitter remains a useful platform to build your brand. Twitter is also a good place to connect directly with customers to provide customer service as well as interact with the media since many journalists rely on Twitter as a rapid source of news and sources to quote.

As with any social network, setting up your Twitter presence properly and completely helps others find you and immediately understand who you are and what you offer. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your Twitter account enhances your company’s social media marketing.

1. Select the right images.

Because first impressions count, use images on your Twitter profile to help introduce your brand. Remember that all images on Twitter will appear in much smaller sizes on mobile devices so make sure they reduce clearly. Using the right dimensions helps keep your images crisp. Profile images should be 400x400 pixels and your Twitter header – the larger image across the top of your Twitter profile - should be 1500x500 pixels and in JPG, GIF or PNG file formats.

Some companies opt to use their logos as profile images. Other companies use cartoon characters in their logos or as part of their brand, so they place those characters as their profile pics. If you’re a company of one, consider using your own photo – one that reflects the professional image you’d like to project.

Take advantage of the larger header image by choosing an image that helps showcase more about you and your company. If you sell skincare products, a beautiful photo of the products would be appropriate. If you’re a retail shop and you’re known for your customer service, a photo of your friendly staff could work well. A sports equipment company could use an action shot of athletes. A florist could rotate in different images of floral arrangements depending on the season or holiday.

If you’re having a special sale, use the header to promote it. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your header but always make sure it complements your brand.

2. Compose a compelling bio with extra links.

On Twitter, you can add your website URL right under your bio. Instead of sending visitors to your home page where they could get lost or confused, consider creating a special welcome page on your website for Twitter users that directs visitors to take specific actions.

Write a bio that succinctly spells out who you are and what you do. In addition to the main website link under your bio, Twitter lets you insert clickable links within your bio. Add a call to action such as “Subscribe to our newsletter” or “Get in touch to hire us” and include an appropriate link so someone visiting your Twitter profile can instantly connect.

3. Try Twitter ads, including video.

Putting all your eggs in the Facebook advertising basket could be limiting your reach. Twitter ads can help you drive brand awareness and attract new customers. Like Facebook, Twitter offers a variety of ad types including gaining website clicks, building a follower base, or increasing engagement with a specific tweet. If you’ve produced an app, Twitter also offers ads to promote app downloads.

If you’re posting videos to Twitter, try the video views ad or, similar to YouTube, you can purchase a pre-roll ad that puts your video as a preview on high visibility video content. Keep in mind that at the six second mark, a “Skip Video” button appears so those first six seconds of your video should be compelling to keep people’s interest.

4. Schedule your tweets (carefully).

There are several ways you can schedule your tweets. The first is directly on a tweet as you compose it. If you’re using Twitter on a desktop computer, look for the calendar with a clock icon on each individual tweet as you compose it. Click it to open up scheduler, built right into the desktop version of Twitter.

Twitter also owns a tweet monitoring, scheduling, and posting tool – TweetDeck. Log into using your Twitter account credentials, then you’ll see a dashboard consisting of columns that you can modify to display your feed, your followers’ tweets, your DMs (direct messages), and posts that you can schedule within the TweetDeck posting tool. If you’re looking for a third-party solution to manage your Twitter account, Buffer, Hootsuite and Sprout Social are popular and reliable.

Using Twitter for business starts with making a good first impression that is professional and clearly explains who you are and what you offer. Use Twitter to get closer to your customer while building awareness to gain new ones.