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Making Twitter Work for Your Business

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With more than 500 million users and the ability to spread messages quickly, Twitter can be a valuable part of your social media marketing strategy. Your business may already be on Twitter—but are you seeing any results from your efforts, or just tweeting into the wind?

Whether you’re just starting to consider a business Twitter account, or your current Twitter campaigns aren’t going anywhere, these tips will help you step up your efforts and make the most of your Twitter marketing strategy.

Pump Up Your Profile

Your Twitter profile picture is an important branding tool for your business. This is the image that appears not only on your profile page, but also next to every tweet, retweet, reply, and message you send on Twitter. You’ll want to use a good image that is easily recognizable, even at the tiny scale it’s shown next to your tweets in your followers’ feeds.

Clean, close-up headshots are a good choice for business accounts looking to put a personal face on their marketing. Unlike Facebook, where photos of people are the most effective profile pictures, you can also achieve good branding results on Twitter with a company logo—as long as it’s simple, not too wordy, and easy to recognize at a small scale.

In addition to a great profile picture, you should also use your target keywords in the text of your Twitter profile.

Write Tweets that People are Looking For

When it comes to composing tweets, the goal is to get people to read them. Some of your followers will see your messages when they show up in their Twitter feeds, but you’ll also want people to be able to find messages through targeted searches. Choosing the right keywords and hashtags will make it easier to attract your target audience.

Keywords: If you’re not sure what the best keywords are for your business, use the free Google Keyword Planner (formerly the Google Keyword Tool) to research keywords for your market or industry. Once you’ve decided on keywords, work them naturally into your tweets.

Hashtags: On Twitter, hashtags (formed by placing the ‘#’ symbol in front of a word or phrase) can help to make your messages more searchable. Using a hashtag places your tweet in hashtag feeds—so that anyone clicking on that hashtag sees a list of all tweets containing the same one.

Limit your hashtags to a maximum of 2 per tweet. Twitter users get annoyed with messages that are stuffed with hashtags so #using #hashtags #for #every #word is a good way to lose followers fast.

To help you decide which hashtags to use, you can search for them in the Twitter toolbar to find out if other people are using a particular tag. You can also use tracking tools like Hashtags.org, Topsy, Social Mention, or Twitter Reach.

Be a Real Person

Social media is all about dialogue and conversation. The most effective use of Twitter is to let potential customers know that there is a real, live person (or people) behind your Twitter handle that will listen to them, interact with them, and reward them for doing business with your company.

So, when you’re using Twitter:

  • Be conversational. Use “I” or “we” instead of your company name, and compose tweets that feel like you’re talking to friends, instead of plugging a business.
  • Answer your mentions. When you see “@YourTwitterName” in your feed that means someone has taken the time to address you directly. Whether it’s a question, a compliment, or a complaint, make sure to reply.
  • Skip the automation. It’s easy to tell when a business is using a service like TwitterFeed to automatically post impersonal linked tweets—and it’s also a turnoff for Twitter users. Take the few extra minutes to personalize your messages and let people know you care about what you’re tweeting.

See Who’s Talking About You

Finally, make sure to monitor your mentions and references to your Twitter account, so you can find out what kind of impression you’re making, interact with people who are talking about your brand, and make improvements to your Twitter marketing efforts. Real-time searches with alert services, like Social Mention, are a good way to do this.

How are you using Twitter for your business?

Image courtesy of Rosaura Ochoa

Written by Megan Totka

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