How to set up Twitter for your business

Set everything up on Twitter in nine easy steps and get going on effectively promoting your business through Twitter

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Ok, so you know about Twitter, but you’re not sure exactly where to start. We want to pass on some tips that helped us turn Twitter into our key social networking platform. This article is all about putting your startup on Twitter, but you can apply the same steps to building up your personal brand on the social network.

Related: A new character limit for Twitter

1. To Twitter or not to Twitter

The first thing to ask yourself is: does my startup even need Twitter? The answer is simple. If your target audience is on Twitter, you should definitely be joining the tweeters.

A good place to start is by looking at your competition. Find out where your competitors are active on social media and have a look at which of these channels seem to work best for them. Also consider other companies in your industry, or companies that have the same target audience, even if they offer different products or services to what you’re offering.

Before you get started with Twitter make sure you are thinking about the ROI. Consider how much time you think it is going to take you and what the outcomes should be for the hours invested. It’s not easy to measure ROI and even harder to predict it, but you need to keep an eye on it, so you maintain the balance that adds the most value to your business.

2. Know your Twitter purpose

Once you’ve decided that Twitter is right for your startup, you need to be clear on what you want to get out of it. Just aiming for a large Twitter following isn’t going to get you very far. You need to be thinking about how you want to connect with your audience.

Are you on Twitter to build your brand and online presence? Do you want to use Twitter to push marketing bursts or to sell your products? Do you want to use Twitter as a way to address concerns or feedback? Do you want to create exciting content to engage your audience?

In most cases, a combination of questions will get you the right mix for your ‘purpose’ on Twitter. Just make sure you’re always conscious about your objectives, so each 140 character blurb adds value to your target audience.

3. Brainstorm a content strategy

Content is king. Your users want valuable, engaging, informational, and most importantly ‘re-tweetable’ tweets. You have 140 characters, make them count!

Long, long gone are the days where you could just create billboard ads on highways to build your brand loyalty. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why startups have such a good shot at competing with established companies. But you have to embrace that content comes first! This means, focus on serving your audience with free useful information they will like, before asking them to care about your company.

Again, you can look to your industry and your competitors to get inspired on what to tweet about. But try to go a step further and find a unique voice for your company’s identity. How can you share the content that your audience likes a little differently? Can you think of a combination of content that makes more sense for your niche?

4. Find those influencers

Every industry has its gurus! These guys are the wise-tweeting influencers with a big Twitter following. You want to be following them and interacting with them for three reasons:

  1. you can learn from the best on what works with your target audience
  2. re-tweet their tweets of wisdom to start giving your audience relevant and valuable content
  3. get your brand out there to their following with every re-tweet

5. Be on time and tweet often

Not all tweet times are made equal.

Statistics suggest Monday to Thursday from 13:00 to 15:00 is a very good time for Tweeting. Do keep in mind that this is the average. Depending on your niche, your audience may actually be online at very different times. Do your followers work late? Do they have free time when other people are working? Make sure to ask the right questions, so your tweets arrive just when your groupies want to hear from you.

Oh, and you’re going to want to avoid these times: any day after 20:00 and Fridays don’t go past 15:00. Check this article for an infographic of the do’s and dont’s of Social Media timing.

If your target audience is in more than one time-zone, you’re going to have to find a time that makes everyone happy, or tweet similar content at different times.

6. A picture is worth more than 140 characters

Enough chit-chat. Here are the facts: pictures generate 41% more retweets and 48% more favourites

Use pictures that draw attention to your content. The more interesting (funny, beautiful, engaging) the picture, the more likely it is to grab a viewer’s attention, but make sure the pictures are aligned with your branding too.

7. 140 characters are too much anyway

Engagement is statistically higher with tweets that have 70-100 characters. You also want to be leaving some extra characters for your followers to re-tweet you without having to change the content of your tweet. It also leaves a bit more space for you to add a few hashtags. A good hashtag strategy can really impact your Twitter success and get you seen more by the right people.

8. Follow to be followed

The concept is simple. Every time you follow someone, they get notified. They’ll be curious, maybe thinking they’ve made a new online friend, and probably have a quick, excited look at your profile. If you’re relevant to them, they may follow you back.

There are some great tools out there to make this process quicker get it done ‘en masse’. For example, Tweepi lets you put in Twitter handles of the big influencers in your industry and you can start following their followers.

9. Have a personality

We’re in the age of information overload. Every day we have to dig through piles of junk to get to the bits of information that we really want. We also receive similar information from different sources and on different platforms. Creating brand loyalty for where people decide to get their information from needs more than content. You have to think about the delivery too. Be unique, have a character, have a voice they will remember. People interact with people.

Related: 10 European tech entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter