Tweeting Your Way to the Top: How Twitter Can Help Build Your Business

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“The qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked are what makes it so powerful.”

-Jonathan Zittrain

While Twitter isn’t as massive as Facebook or Youtube, it is still one of the world’s most popular social media websites, boasting over 330 million active users every month. And though many younger internet users are moving on to Instagram and Snapchat, 45% of Twitter’s audience falls between ages 18-29, making it a valuable resource for business owners with a younger target demographic. Every social media platform attracts a particular audience, and it is important for entrepreneurs to go where their prospective audience goes. Barbara Caine recently held a class covering how to enhance your Twitter profile and find potential customers with just 280 characters.

One of the reasons that Twitter is so popular is that it’s a bit more casual than other social media platforms. Whereas sites like Facebook and Linkedin only allow you to follow people you know personally, on Twitter you can follow anyone. Twitter is less about personal contacts and more about building an online community. This is likely why the site is so popular among celebrities, as they can build a massive social media audience that would not be possible if their followers were strictly people they knew personally. It’s also helpful to businesses, as they can directly interact with their customers and strengthen brand recognition.

Twitter is also very “in the moment” compared to other social media platforms, as your Twitter timeline is a chronological record of everything the users you are following post, with the most recent posts at the top. Couple this with the 280 character size limit for posts and it is clear that the platform encourages people to post more often, share their daily experiences and any interesting ideas that pop into their heads. This means that you’ll have to post more often than you would on Facebook or LinkedIn if you want to keep your users engaged.

The first step towards developing a Twitter following is building your profile. Consider the following ways to make your Twitter profile stand out:

  • Name: Unlike Facebook, you don’t have to use your personal name for your Twitter account. You can also choose to use your company name or your personal name depending on what your business is and what you plan on posting.
  • About Me: Brief (this section is character limited as well) description of who you are and what you do. 
  • Website: You can only list one website, so choose the one that matters most to you and your business.
  • Location: Some people are wary about this, as it can occasionally lead to unwanted contact from local businesses, but it also opens up opportunities to find potential clients. It’s up to you if you want to include this.
  • Birthday: You can exclude this if you like, but if this is a personal account, there’s no harm in including your birthdate (you can leave out the year if you prefer).
  • Profile Photo: While your profile can be personal, professional, or both, let’s state for business purposes, you generally want to use a professional looking photo of yourself or your company’s logo, but it definitely doesn’t need to be formal like LinkedIn would be. Make it relatable to this 18-29-year-old audience.
  • Header Photo: This can be an image of anything (within reason), so long as it fits your theme and looks nice. Pick something that stands out. The current ideal size should be 1500 pixels wide by 500 pixels tall, but things like this change in the social media pretty often.

It’s worth noting that you CAN have multiple Twitter accounts, as some people have separate Twitters for their different businesses, or have a personal account that’s separate from their business account. However, Barbara doesn’t recommend doing so; Twitter is faster paced than other social media websites, so maintaining one account is hard enough, let alone two or more.  

Once you have completed your Twitter profile, you find some people you want to follow, whether they’re friends, companies or websites you like, or just people posting interesting content. However, Barbara recommends reigning in your follows: try not to follow more people than you have followers. If you only have 10 followers but you follow 500 people, it can make you look unimportant and not worth following.

Also, it pays to promote other Twitter accounts that you like. A semi-regular event on Twitter is Follow Friday, where people make posts recommending their followers check out their friend’s Twitter accounts. It’s an opportunity to engage with worthwhile accounts, and they might promote you in return. Just like any social media platform, it’s all about networking, and this can be a fun and effective way to do it.

Not every social media site is right for your business, but it is important to keep in mind who your target audience is and what sites they tend to frequent. With these tips, you can build your Twitter following and maybe find that ideal customer.

If you’ve just started a Twitter account, or just think that it could use a little sprucing up, consider taking these steps: 

  • Complete Your Twitter Profile. If there’s anything missing from your profile, fill it in. If it’s already finished, update your Profile or Header Photo.
  • Find Some New People to Follow: Making new connections can be fun and potential build your audience.
  • Make a Post Using a New Hashtag: Hashtags are a great way to attract like-minded followers, so think of some hashtags that your ideal audience might use and use some in a future post.
  • Participate in Follow Friday: Promote some of your favorite Twitter accounts. Share the love. Feel free to include @BarbaraCaineNWI to your Follow list!

If you need any additional advice for building your fan following, Barbara teaches more advanced courses on Twitter, as well as other social media platforms. Check out the FUSE Business Training event calendar or the FUSE Facebook page for details on future classes and events!

Mark Buckner

Mark Buckner is a freelance writer and editor from Hammond, Indiana. A recent graduate of Purdue University Northwest, he has edited two books and written on topics ranging from social media to science fiction film. At this time, he is open to other freelance writing and editing opportunities.