Many B2B businesses struggle with thinking of Twitter as a viable marketing tool. “My customers don’t use Twitter.” “Twitter is for consumer brands.” “Twitter is for teenagers.” Excuses. I’ve heard them all. The truth is, Twitter is an excellent addition to your marketing mix.

Twitter knows you’re skeptical, so they partnered with Market Probe International in 2013 and fielded a study of 500 adults who follow small and medium-sized businesses on Twitter. Here’s what they discovered:

  • 72% of followers are more likely to buy something from a business they follow.
  • 86% of followers are more likely to visit a business if a friend recommends it.
  • 85% of followers feel more connected with businesses after following them.

So what are you waiting for? Here are 10 things you should be doing on Twitter right now.

1. Position your company as a thought leader

If you have any employees who are considered industry experts, give them some Twitter love when they speak at conferences, publish an article or blog post, or get recognized for an award. Tweet links to current news in your industry. This shows you stay up-to-date and know what’s going on outside your own four walls. Tweet content that makes you look smart and well-connected.

2. Engage with your audience

Twitter is not meant to be your personal megaphone. It’s a two-way conversation. Gone are the days when you can just post links to content and call it good. If someone on Twitter mentions your company in a tweet–good or bad–you need to respond in real time. It’s a chance for you to show there’s a human behind the tweets, and that you care. And you can get extra points for authenticity.

3. Give your brand some personality

Nobody wants to read a bunch of dry robotic tweets. Find the personality in your brand and give it a voice. You can bring the personality without being personal. If you have multiple people manning your Twitter feed, make sure they know what persona the brand is going for, and that they are consistent with that voice.

4. Drive traffic to your content

If you’re not using Twitter to drive traffic to your content, you’re really missing the boat. You can promote the same piece of content multiple times by changing the text in the tweet and scheduling posts in different time zones. Try using the #ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) hashtag on recycled posts so people know they’re not new.

5. Check out your competition

Your competition’s Twitter stream is like a free pass into their marketing plan, so why wouldn’t you pay attention? Companies post links to their latest press releases, eBooks, blog posts, acquisitions, and product announcements. You can also see what other people are saying about your competition by searching on their brand name and any hashtags they use regularly.

6. Tweet at 120 characters or fewer

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to retweet a tweet that uses the full 140 characters allowed by Twitter. You do realize that Twitter adds your Twitter handle, an “RT”, a space, and a colon to the tweet when someone retweets, right? Keep your tweets at 120 characters or less to maximize your chance of a retweet.

7. Don’t make it all about you

We all know your company and your products are awesome, but please don’t tweet about yourself ad nauseum. Your Twitter feed needs to tell a story when someone reads through a day’s worth of tweets. Make sure that story isn’t all about you.

8. Mention your customers

Everyone likes a little public recognition. If one of your partners or customers has a paper published or speaks at an event, give them a shout out if it’s something that relates to your business.

9. Schedule for all time zones

Just because you’re awake at 7am on a Friday, doesn’t mean the rest of the world is. Be conscious of who will see your tweets, and at what time. Use a good scheduling tool to help you schedule tweets in all relevant time zones, and for goodness sakes don’t schedule five tweets at the exact same time. It’s a dead giveaway that your posts are automated. People want to know there’s a human behind the feed.

10. Have fun

Cartoon copyright John Atkinson, wronghands. See the rest of this “Alphabet of the Obsolete’ (and a whole lot more) at (or just click this image).

All work and no play makes your Twitter feed a dull read. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun. Try a weekly impossible quiz, a photo bomb, employee-of-the-week photo, customer-of-the-week, a weekly poll, fill-in-the-blank, etc. The possibilities are endless. The key is to be consistent. If you start doing a customer-of-the-week recognition tweet, you have to commit to doing it every week. Get creative!

If you’re already doing all of these things, that’s great! You’re a Twitter star. If you’re at a loss for how to engage on Twitter, your homework is this: try one of these 10 ideas each day for 10 days and see what happens. My guess is you’ll see more engagement from your current followers, gain more new followers, and get more retweets and replies. And all of those things put together lead to greater reach, expanded brand recognition, happier customers, and maybe even some new prospects.

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“Tweet Me!” by TPorter2006, used under Creative Commons license.