How To Use Twitter: The Definitive Guide for New Businesses

Twitter seems simple enough from the outside, but it’s actually a fairly nuanced social media site with a distinct culture. For this reason, it’s essential to learn the ins and outs of the platform when you create an account for your company.

Here’s how to use Twitter to accompany your social media marketing program.

Know your audience

When you’re starting out on a new social media platform, it’s important to understand its user demographics.

Who exactly is using Twitter? According to Pew Research Center, Twitter users tend to be younger, with a higher level of education.

  • 36 percent of online adults ages 18-29 use Twitter, compared to 18 percent of people ages 50-64.
  • 29 percent of internet users with college degrees have Twitter accounts.
  • 42 percent of Twitter users are active daily.

This information can and should compliment your site’s tone, cadence, and content.

Understanding Twitter culture

Because Twitter has a unique demographic, it also has a distinct culture. Twitter is a site where an honest tone is appreciated, and where quirkiness, sarcasm, and offbeat humor are celebrated. Just look at the popularity of users like Chrissy Teigen, Dril, or even Taco Bell!

Does this mean that you have to be quirky or funny to be successful on Twitter? Not at all. But you should establish a brand voice that’s genuine, interesting, and approachable — this is how you’ll attract followers.

Curating your timeline

As a business, you face a tricky dilemma on Twitter: you want to be interesting and engaging, but you also need to promote your product or service. Balance is key.

One of the biggest mistakes brands make on Twitter is predominantly tweeting self-promotional content. To be frank, followers might find this boring and it probably won’t help you attract new ones.

Instead, you want to create engaging non-branded content. This might take the form of simple text tweets; however, memes, GIFs, one-liners, and puppy pictures are always helpful. It may seem counterintuitive, but these non-branded tweets should make up the bulk of your timeline.

Helena Langdon, communities manager at Innocent Drinks, explained her company’s social media success to Audiense. “It’s our goal to make our pages a place on social media where people want to visit and enjoy seeing in their timelines. Then people won’t mind when we try to sell them drinks every now and again.” Creating content that your followers want to see does more for your business than just talking about yourself.

Retweets

Retweeting is a useful feature, as it allows you to easily repost another person’s tweet. This is a great way to share information that your followers might find interesting or entertaining, but be careful not to retweet too much. Again, you want to find a balance between original content and retweets.

However, you can find some middle ground with the “Quote Tweet” feature, which allows you to add your own thoughts on top of a retweet.

Breaking news

Many business owners rely on pre-scheduled social media posts to save time. However, there’s also a big market for breaking news on Twitter.

“Our most shared posts are often reactive ones — ideas that have been turned around in half an hour,” Joe McEwan, head of digital and communities at Innocent, told Audiense. “If people are talking about an event, and we produce a bit of genuinely great, intelligent content that ties into that, people will share it.”

Twitter faux pas

Finally, there are certain unspoken Twitter rules that can make you seem disingenuous. Common Twitter faux pas include (but aren’t limited to) the following:

  • Spelling or grammar mistakes
  • Having a private account
  • Sending automated direct messages
  • Not interacting with other users
  • Having an unbalanced follower-to-following ratio
  • Making light of serious issues
  • Not researching hashtags before you use them
  • Purchasing fake followers

These guidelines for how to use Twitter will help get your business account up and running so that you can pull in new business!

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Camryn Rabideau

Camryn Rabideau is freelance writer specializing in digital lifestyle content, ranging from pop culture to smart home technology. Camryn has contributed to popular media sites such as InStyle, Taste of Home, Martha Stewart, Food52, USA Today, The Spruce and more.

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