September 26, 2013 | Casey Owens

Twitter 101: Getting Started on Twitter

Twitter 101: 4 Easy Steps to Get Started on Twitter

Using social media to promote yourself or your business can seem difficult and frustrating, especially if you’ve never used social media before or you don’t understand how greatly it can affect your influence in the marketplace.

Whether you like it or not, people are talking about your business online. Wouldn’t you like to join in on the conversation? According to a recent Pew report, 72% of online adults use social networking sites, and nearly one in every five Internet users is now on Twitter. Twitter isn’t for everyone, but if this is where your target market is, you need to be there too!

Used properly, Twitter can be a great tool to your online marketing strategy. As on any social media platform, the key to connecting with customers is to create engaging content. Follow these basic steps to begin gaining new followers and interacting with them.

Step 1 - Set Up Your Profile

When setting up your profile, you want to make sure all of the fields in your bio section are filled out with the proper information, and that the profile is styled so that it is recognizable as your company, using images that reflect your branding. Include keywords in your bio to help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization – which helps the search engines find you). Don’t overload the section with all the keywords of what you do, just pick one or two words to include that will help to drive traffic to your profile.

When picking a Twitter handle, make sure you pick something that is close to your business name. Do not use numbers or underscores, because search engines will not know if it is really your company. Stay away from random names that have nothing to do with your business.

Even though the temptation is there to start sending invites to everyone you know, wait until you have your profile set up and you have your first tweet to start following people and inviting them to follow you. It will let your connections know that this really is your company and not a spammer trying to gain followers.

Step 2 – Branding Your Profile

When users visit the Twitter profile for a business, they expect to see your branding; if they don't, they may suspect it's not really you. Start by uploading your logo as your profile image. Then, as a banner image, you want to brand it as your company by either uploading a photo of the business, employees or products to make it more personable and recognizable. If you’re not comfortable with creating your own custom background, pick out a simple color that goes along with your branding but isn’t overpowering.

Step 3 – Building Your Reach

Your first tweet should introduce your company and briefly state why you’re on twitter. Here is a great example:

Example of a good first tweet for your new twitter account.

You can then share the link to your profile on your personal social media profiles, your website, blog, or other company social media outlets. Okay, now you’re ready to start following your contacts, industry professionals, and so on. A key component to following is when someone follows you be sure to follow them back. You want your customers to know that you care and that you’re not just out there for people to follow you. This also allows your follower to send you direct messages if they have questions about your company. Don’t just start randomly adding people and companies; search engines check for this when scanning your profile. They not only look at whom you’re following but who your followers are to validate your profile.

Step 4 - Reaching Your Audience

Now you’re ready to start tweeting. The maximum length of a tweet is 140 characters, but you want to make sure your tweets fall into the Retweet (RT) safe zone, which is 120-130 characters. This way, when someone decides to share your tweet, it will not cut off any information or keywords you want to share. Don’t only post about specials, deals, and products. While Twitter is a great way to advertise those things, you want to connect on a personal level with followers, by sharing relevant information about your business, your industry, and helpful information for your customers.

Following these steps will help you on your way to using Twitter as a marketing tool for your business and helping you connect with your customers. Just remember, tweets only have a 48-hour life span. If you’re not tweeting on a regular basis, it will not be effective for your business. On the other hand, tweeting too much could upset your followers and cause them to no longer follow you, so try to keep your tweets spaced out and engaging. A sweet spot that seems effective is between 15-23 tweets a day. While not all of us can reach this on our own, it is a goal to strive for to help your business grow. If you're ready to dive in more, you can read Twitter 101 from Twitter’s business site.

If you're ready to get going, you can also check out the other parts in this series:

Twitter 102: Marketing on Twitter
Twitter 103: Using Twitter Analytics

You can also download our social media templates to make sure your profiles not only match your branding, but look amazing!

Social Media Image Sizes Guide and Templates

Casey Owens

Casey Owens

As a UI/UX specialist, Casey was responsible for consulting on the user interface and user experience elements of all of VIEO's web designs. He also managed PPC campaigns for our clients, working directly with a Google representative to get the best results with the client's budget.

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