Twitter is the most popular social media network in the world, beating the likes of Facebook and Google+ with 278,000 tweets being sent every minute. According to this slideshow by Fact Slides, a whole day’s worth of Twitter posts would fill a 10 million page book. But how do you make your mark on such a vast website? It can be hard to stand our from the crowd, especially now there are many marketers like us out there who are giving away tips on how to use it. Our very own manager Hermione even made a foolproof guide to avoiding Twitter fails back in January 2013. But times change and many simply don’t give enough or even the right advice for those who are new to Twitter. Just because there are 288 million monthly active users, doesn’t mean you’re one of them. So below is our very own guide on how to conquer Twitter, from the very start.
Signing up to Twitter might seem like a 30 second task, but it requires you to use an email you wish to login from and also a username you want to use. If you’re a business, you’re going to want to use an email from your website (i.e firstname.lastname@example.org). You can of course use a Gmail account or any other account, however using a company email ensures that your profile is only tied to the company and not a single person. If you don’t have a company email then you can easily change your email later in the settings, you’ll just need to confirm the new email address via a link sent to you via email.
The username doesn’t have to be perfect first time around, but it helps. Although you have the ability to change your username at any time, the more time you take to decide on one the less likely you are to be able to get it. Not only this but giving up your current username means another person can register with it, so be careful when changing. With so many users it can be extremely hard to find a username that isn’t taken, but there are ways around it.
What we would suggest to businesses is to sit down and make a list of all the usernames you could potentially use and agree on one. If the most most agreed upon isn’t available, move onto your second most popular. You’ll need it to represent your company, so make sure your name or company initials are in it somewhere. If your company is called We Sell Stuff you’re not going to want to put @WSStuff if @WeSellStuff is available. If you’re a UK company, and you have room, you can always add UK to the end of the Twitter handle (username) as it will be more likely to be available. You’ve only got 15 characters to work with, so make them count.
Profile Images & Description
The images you use are so much more important then you could ever imagine, most of us think with images before we read a single thing. The images you use need to not only represent you but also work best with varying screen sizes. Twitter, like many websites, is somewhat responsive and also has an app. This means your pictures will be used in varying sizes, on phones and tablets as well as laptops and desktops. So the best way to approach this is to use a profile picture that is either a logo (without letters) or simply the initials of your company. In a smaller size these will be just about visible, as you can see from our own Twitter page, we’d benefit from Using an “S” rather than “Surge” as it’s quite small. Make sure your image is perfectly square, is a high resolution and is no less than 300 pixels in size.
The same can be said with your header image (apart from the pixel size). It’s going to be used in various sizes, but it’s also going to be covered by your profile image and name/Twitter handle when in the app. To get around this you’ll want to choose a high resolution image that is fairly dark so you can still see the white lettering of your company name. You can choose a pattern or a simple image of something related to your industry. Avoid having any words in your header image as these can be obscured. We have Thor in ours as his hammer offers quite a powerful Surge of electricity, get it? Don’t worry, it will be changed. The size of your header image needs to be at least 1500 pixels by 500 pixels.
Lastly we’re left with your description and additional info. Many do not realise that you can actually use hashtags and tag people in here, you tag them by simply putting in their Twitter handle. This is fantastic for business as you can use a related hashtag to help aid those looking for similar services. So for example, if you sell make up, you can use #makeup in your description so when someone searches for that hashtag your company appears. Your description should be short and sweet, telling people who you are and what you do. You also need to add in a location and a website URL. If you don’t have a location, as you’re an online store that sells worldwide, you’ll need to put your location as “Worldwide”. If you’re a local business, you’ll want to put something more specific, we have put London & Essex.
I understand that using sheep to represent followers might be harsh, but it’s a serious reality. If something is popular, people will naturally follow it. But for those just starting out, you’re not going to have a following at all and need to build it up. Some turn to buying followers off of platforms such as Fiverr, this is the worst way to go when you’re a business as it’s usually fairly clear you have done this and it means that your Twitter Analytics won’t accurately portray your audience. It takes time, dedication and a little know how to get your feet off the ground.
We would suggest, as a business, to get all of your staff to follow you first then share your Twitter profile to your customers either via other social channels you may have or your website. Your staff can help you to actively tweet and also ask their friends and family to also like the page. Make sure you also have a link to your Twitter on your websites homepage, blog and contact page. You gain your followers by being interesting and helpful; so as long as you’re offering a great deal, service or advice you’re onto a winner.
You’ll need to sit down and create a target audience, pinning interests and other criteria. So, keeping to my previous example, if you’re a make up business then you’re going to want to primarily follow women. You’re then going to want to drill it down further into an age range, then profession and interests. If they’re a beauty blogger, they’ll be a great one to follow as they’ll be sharing related news and may follow you back. You won’t get follows unless you follow others first, it’s what you have to do in your first few baby steps.
Retweeting & Favouriting Tweets
Retweeting can be quite confusing to those who do not understand them, as many make comments when retweeting posts. If you’re planning on just resharing someone else’s post with no comment then of course you can simply click the retweet button and that’s that. If, however, you want to add a small comment to your retweet you’ll have to go about it slightly differently. To do this you’ll have to copy the tweet (like you would copy any text) and create your own tweet, adding your comment at the start and adding “RT” at the end of your comment and before the start of their tweet. Make sure that all links still work and that Twitter handles go to the right places before confirming your tweet, as crediting the original poster will make you look better.
Retweeting is important when you’re trying to gain followers. It’s difficult to build trust with people you don’t know, so retweeting can help that. If you share someone’s content they’re more likely to follow you (especially if you’re following them). It goes back to the old saying “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”, if you do something nice for someone they’re more compelled to do something nice back.
Favouriting tweets has 2 purposes, you can either use it to favourite content you have seen that you wish to share later down the line or you can use it like a “like” button on Facebook. It’s rude to end a conversation abruptly, so liking a post you can’t really comment back on shows that person you have at least acknowledged their tweet. Favouriting content can be extremely helpful when you’re always on the go and not totally there. If you see something on a whim, it’s easier to simply favourite it than to try and bookmark it on the go. Also, like retweeting, if you favourite content shared by a person or company they’re more likely to favourite or even share something of yours back.
Sharing Popular Content
Sharing content regularly is essential to your Twitter account doing well. Who wants to follow someone who doesn’t share anything? What you do share also needs to be related and of interest to those who are in your target audience. The best way of doing this is to create yourself a weekly or fortnightly social schedule either within a spreadsheet or using a social scheduler such as Sprout Social. This allows you to create a basic schedule with helpful and promotional tweets, so you don’t have to check on it every day. This is perfect for those running their own business as there are of course not enough hours in the day to do everything!
The content you share must be hot topics, you can check Buzzsumo (shown in the image above) for top content being shared on specific subjects. Alternatively you can see what your competitors are sharing and do something fairly similar. You can learn a lot from keeping an eye on other peoples tweets. The tweets you create need to be a good mixture of varying subjects and include a vast amount of images. You can’t solely only share tweets on something specific like wardrobes, you have to look further outside of the box and share anything to do with home improvement as they’re still related but different enough that you don’t look like you’re spamming the hell out of your page.
Twitter themselves suggest sharing content with an image as it far outperforms those that only have a link. So, if it doesn’t automatically pull an image from the URL, you need to add your own. This can of course be an image directly from the link you’re sharing as you’re crediting it, but if you like you can find free to use images via Flickr under Creative Commons Only. The links you do share should also be shortened, as this makes your tweet look much tidier and stops it from looking jumbled. You can shorten links using the Bitly website.
Keeping Up To Date
Of course, naturally you’re going to want to share news related articles on your Twitter. But don’t use them in your social schedule, if you can help it. Why? Because news becomes old fast. If you don’t share the news within 24 hours of it happening, the chances are so many people have shared it you’ll get lost in the crowd and nobody will be looking to you for the scoop. If you’ve got a smart phone, spare 5 minutes of time every hour or so just to make sure you’re not missing out on top news stories. These can be shared on top of your usual social schedule, so if you’ve got a quiet news day you’ve at least got one tweet going out every day.
The news you share does not necessarily have to be always related to your business directly, you can share news that effects everyone too. So, for example, if you find a news story on something Twitter has decided to change (and it’s fairly major) you can share that as it relates to everyone who is on Twitter. If you find a news related story that talks about health in the workplace, you can share that too as you could be a business that has staff and there are thousands of office workers around the world who might want a tip or two. Of course these should be quite few and far between, you should still be mostly sharing related content with your followers.
When it comes to advertising on Twitter you have a handful of options you can opt for. If you want to do something quick and simple you can use Twitter Analytics (which we’ll get onto next) to select a specific post of yours to boost (much like you can on Facebook) for specified amounts. If, however, you’re looking for something that’s going to be ongoing and run in the background, you can use Twitter Ads to create your very own campaign. To create a new campaign you’ll need to log into your Twitter account, via the Twitter Ads URL.
Once you’re logged in, you’ll be taken to your dashboard where you can see a button in the top right hand corner that says “Create New Campaign”, click this and you’ll be met with a lovely drop-down menu. From this menu you need to choose the aim of your advert, so whether that’s to gain more followers or get more clicks on your website. For our example we’re going to select website clicks, as that’s usually the aim for a business. You’ll then be taken to a page to add in more details. You’ll need to name your campaign, this doesn’t have to be too specific, just specific enough for you to know which campaign it is. You can opt for website tags for conversion tracking, but when you’re just starting out you may want to skip that and revisit later.
You’ll then move onto when you want to run your campaign, you can choose to run it continuously (if you’re just advertising your business) or you can choose custom start and end dates (which are good for deals and competitions). Next you’ll move onto the creative side of your advert. You can select an existing tweet if you like, but it’s better to create a new one that’s fully optimised. You may only have 140 characters, but you can still add in a keyword or two. With adverts you’re given the choice of adding a URL and an image. Do not skip this! You’ll want to link back to your website in some way and have a high resolution image to display.
The headline needs to be short and catchy, so remember to be to the point as this is the first thing someone will read in your advert. Generally you want to leave them wanting more, so questions and bold statements do very well as headlines. You’re far more likely to read a post titled “You won’t believe what this make up can do to your face!” than a post that says “We sell high quality branded make up to UK residents”. The last part of this section is a drop-down menu for a call to action button. Have a look at them, if you think one of them is relevant to your post then do use it. Calls to action are a great way of getting people to click through with little to no effort.
Next we move onto targeting, which is very important when you’re just starting out. If you’re a local business then you’ll want to target the areas you operate in. If however you offer services across the UK you’ll want to put United Kingdom as your location. If you’re a worldwide company and want to aim all over, then you won’t need to target a location. You can select a gender if you wish, this is for businesses that sell specific products such as men’s clothes or make up. You can also select languages, but it’s better to leave this as English as it’s the most common language. You’ll only want to change this if you’re targeting non English speaking countries. You’re given the opportunity to select specific devices for your ads, they should all be ticked as this gives your advert the best possible chance to be seen. You can drill down further here, into mobile carriers and new devices, however you won’t need to worry about this just yet.
You can add extra criteria for your audience, including keywords and interests. This will make your advert very specific, something which you won’t want to start doing until you’ve fully optimised your profile and reviewed your audience in Twitter Analytics. Last but not least you’re left with the budget, which is set as a daily budget. If you’ve only got a set budget for the week, and you’re only running your ad for a week, then you can add in a total budget right at the bottom of the page. If you’re happy with everything you’ve added in you can click save campaign and away you go! You will need to set up billing information, but it will step you through this.
This nifty little tool can really help you to understand your audience and tailor your Twitter in a way that benefits your business. You need to login to this as soon as you create your Twitter account, as it will not start tracking any data until you do. After a few weeks you can come back to your analytics account and you will see a wonderful dashboard showing you your impressions and drill down into every tweet, showing you impressions, engagements and give you an engagement rate. In the side bar on the right, it gives you snap shots of various statistics for your account. You can use this tool to see which posts do better than others, whether there are specific times of day that work better for your tweets and also how well any promotion is doing.
The tool also allows you to see your audience, at a glance. If you click “followers” at the very top of the page, you’ll be taken to a page that shows you your follower growth as well as your followers general interests, locations and gender. These statistics can help you to see what you should be sharing to those who follow you, but also the locations in which you could be aiming your ads. Information from here can help you to further tailor any adverts you make in Twitter Ads, it’s a total win win situation. The best part is that this is absolutely free and doesn’t require a signup, you just need to use your existing Twitter account to login.
And there we have it! All you need to know about Twitter and how to conquer it 100%. If you liked this post, why not share it? We’d love to hear any feedback you may have! Thanks for reading.