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The Basics: Twitter

Continuing my series designed to help you get your small business on social media, even if you can’t afford a social media manager just yet, let’s look at an often misunderstood network; Twitter.

As a micro-blogging platform, succinct needs to be your watchword. With only 160 characters to play with in your bio and 280 in each tweet, Twitter is not for the verbose! To find out if you should be on Twitter, check out my post about how to choose a social network for your small business. If you’ve already decided that Twitter is for you, here’s what you need to know:

Your Profile

Twitter profiles are very much a less is more situation, so keep this in mind when setting up your profile.

Username: Your username or handle is @_____. This should, if at all possible, be the same as on every other social network. Usernames can be up to 15 characters in length so shortening of business names is often required. Be creative, but not too creative; people still need to know who you are. You can change this later but remember that your followers may find themselves tagging the wrong user if you do.

Name: Your name, the bold text that appears next to your username, can be up to 50 character and may contain emojis and special characters. Using either your real name, if you are a solopreneur, or your business’ full name are both good options. You can change your name at any time and it will not affect people tagging or searching for you on Twitter.

Profile photo: This is the small, circular image that represents you, it will appear next to every tweet you send and in your profile. Remember this image often appears very small, especially on mobile, so logos may be difficult to see. I recommend a photo of a face, with or without your logo on it, which both engages others and is more easily identifiable on the feed.

Cover photo/Header image: This is the large, long image at the top of your profile. Ensure any image you upload is designed to be the correct size for this space and takes into account the location of your profile photo before being uploaded. This is a great place to add sales, seasonal events or a little more visual information about your business.

About: Use your 160 characters wisely! Be specific about what you do, allow your personality to shine, embrace emojis if they fit with your brand but do not ramble. This is your sales pitch to anyone considering following you; make it good.

Website: Ensure you link to your website or, if you don’t have one, a landing page, email sign up page, or even another social media account. If you are pushing something specific you can change your website URL for the period you are promoting that to make it easy for new followers to find your special offer or event.

What & when to post

With the speed of the Twitter feed more is definitely more but do not sacrifice quality just to keep up. You can re-share evergreen content from your website/blog, tweaking the phrasing and/or image in the Tweet, retweet and share other content you love from across the internet. Again, be creative. You can use nuggets from a blog post to top up your Twitter feed. If you want to be really radical, don’t link to the original blog post, just offer up that useful content as is!

Consider including your thoughts on relevant topics or news items in your Tweets, this is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field. What did you learn today? What went on behind the scenes today? Share your tips and tricks related to your business. Use the ability to post so often without it being spammy to offer a variety of content which can engage all kinds of people.

With that said, don’t feel you have to be posting constantly. Choose set hours on set days and spread your content out. The feed moves quickly but you don’t have to be in it all the time. If you can find 100 pieces of great quality content every day for Twitter, more power to you but, in my opinion, upwards of 5 tweets a day, 4 or more days a week is a winner, and remember to schedule time in your day to check and reply to messages.

As ever, remember that this is social media; engage, add value and forget the hard sell.

Twitter scheduling

I recommend scheduling your tweets. Unless you have time to sit on Twitter and manually post 5 or more times a day, apps like Buffer can save you a lot of time and also allow you to quickly re-schedule still relevant tweets, meaning less time scrambling for more content.

The Twitter basics tl;dr*

Be concise! Don’t feel you have to post every hour of every day, find a schedule that suits you. Try a variety of content and don’t be afraid to re-share things you’ve already posted.
And of course, get posting and see what works!

If and when you’re ready for someone to manage your social media for your small business, please get in touch so we can discuss how I can help you free up your time and take the stress out of social.

*tl;dr = too long; didn’t read. The key information from the post.