How to: Start tweeting for business

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get new interest in your business from Twitter because you’re not sure where to start. Start here!

Step 1: Go to Twitter, enter your name, email, and a password and click Sign up.
On the second screen where can select a username – the name by which you will be known on Twitter.
Try to stick as close to your business name as possible. You may find it’s not available. If so, try using _ somewhere (logical) in the name or incorporate other prefixes like, “the” or “real”. Use caps for each separate word if possible as this makes your name easier to read. Once you’re happy with your username, click on the “Create my Account” button.

Step 2: Read through the Twitter prompts explaining what a tweet is and take the opportunity to “follow” any friends the network might suggest. If your contacts are in a supported network like Gmail or Hotmail, Twitter will find your friends who are on Twitter. If you prefer to move on, skip these steps for now. You can always add your friends later.

Step 3: Tweak your settings using the Settings link under the Account tab. Set the time zone and make any other changes, for example, how and when you would like to receive updates/notifications via email etc. Click Save.
Under the Profile tab you can upload a picture/logo for your business. Don’t skip this step. Many Twitter users (including me) will not follow profiles without photos. Your photo can only be 700k in size so you may need to resize. Also under the profile tab, you can add a small biog for your business and link to your website or blog. Keep your biog short but informative so that people can easily see who you are and what you do. When you’re done, click Save.

Step 4: Start following in order to get followed. Start with family & friends who may be happy to follow back. You can use the “Search” bar at the top of your home page to find people by typing in a username or first and last name. Once you find the people, simple click Follow and their tweets will start appearing on your newsfeed. If you know no one on Twitter, try searching for brands or local personalities that interest you. Once you’re following them, you’ll see who they follow and the ball will start rolling. If you’re in a specific industry, eg. cars, you will benefit from following people and brands in your same industry, as well as publications relating to your trade. It’s here that you’ll make crucial connections, collect relevant links and interact with the people you need to.

Step 5: Learn the basic commands. Understand what it means to Retweet, Reply or DM (Direct Message) as well as the benefits and limitations of each function. Know what a hashtag is and how to use it. This seems like a lot to take in, but you can easily get up to speed with a little light reading over here.

Step 6: Join the Conversation. It’s all very well to just spout information and links to the universe, but unless anyone sees them, it can be a bit of a waste of time. In order to get followers you have to add your voice to conversations. Once people start to engage with you, they will follow you and start to share all your interesting links and tweets. Seek out people who you feel might be interested in a particular post or tweet and address them personally – but don’t overdo it, otherwise people will think you’re spamming them.

Step 7: Be wary. Twitter is a powerful tool to spread any kind of message, but it applies to positive and negative messages. One wrong word can send your brand barrelling head-first into the hater-brigade, as too many local businesses have found the hard way. Don’t use your business account to air personal grievances and remember that everything that goes out on the platform reflects directly on your brand. Try to find the balance between professional and personable.

Step 8: Remember, you’ve only got 140 characters. Use them wisely and try not to go over the limit. Twitter is an impatient place where people want to hear what you have to say quickly and clearly.

If you get stuck, head here for the ultimate Twitter Guidebook. 

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