Editors note: This post was originally published in March 2017 and has been completely updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Twitter can be an incredibly powerful and useful tool for your business but it can be a difficult thing to grasp at first glance. Getting started with Twitter might seem a tad difficult.
This goal of this article is to give you an overview of how to get set up and use it for your business.
Getting started on Twitter doesn’t need to be scary. Follow this step-by-step guide to getting started on Twitter.
The first step in getting started on Twitter is creating your account. When creating your account, it’s important to remember that your username—or as it’s called on Twitter: your “handle,” is outward facing and will be what the public uses to identify your business.
Hopefully, your business name will be available (Itchy Fingers Design's handle, for example, is @itchyfingersweb), but if not, you’ll want to come up with something that will still make sense to your followers. For example, Social Media Examiner had to use @SMExaminer.
You want your handle (@ItchyFingersWeb) to be around 10 – 15 characters so your customers can “mention” your business without using too many of the 280 characters they now can use.
Twitter is widely recognised as one of the most open social networks, in that, most of the communication on the site takes place in front of people in the news stream (rather than on individual pages or groups). Keep in mind when creating your bio, more people will find you on Twitter that have no previous knowledge of who you are or what you do than on any other network.
If you had just a few seconds (or in this case 160 characters) to explain your business to a complete stranger, what would you say? That will be your bio.
Don’t underestimate the importance of picking the right picture or image for your profile and please, please, please don’t send a tweet until you have uploaded one. For businesses, the perfect profile image will be one that your customers already know and associate with your business—like your company logo. For individuals, you’ll want to use a professional close-up.
For businesses, the perfect profile image will be one that your customers already know and associate with your business—like your company logo.
For individuals, you’ll want to use a close-up headshot and make sure you are the only person in the photo. (You do have the option to change your profile picture in the future, but I don’t recommend it, at least until you’ve established yourself.)
A great tool for creating header images is Canva. It has a free plan and you just select the Twitter header template, upload your logo and use some of their other design elements to create a header image that's right for your business.
Some people may disagree with me here, but I think now is the perfect time to send your first tweet. It’s not going to be anything earth-shattering, and you won’t have any followers (yet) to see it, but it will let people know you are a real person or business and not a robot or spammer.
Make the tweet something simple; your introduction to the Twitter world.
Here are two examples:
Welcome to our Twitter Page. Why not call in for some delicious food in our warm and cosy cafe. #myfirstTweet #cavan #cavantown #cafemana pic.twitter.com/VYBvzhxDDg— Café Mana (@Manacoffeehouse) February 28, 2017
Who you follow on Twitter will dictate the type of content you have access to and the quality of the relationships you’re able to establish.
For this reason, you’ll want to set up some criteria, based on your experience, your industry, and what you’re trying to accomplish.
People you want to follow could include: friends, professionals in your industry, industry publications, other local businesses, colleagues, and even current or potential customers.
When you’re starting out, the key is to follow businesses, similar to yours that are doing it well—don’t mimic everything they tweet, but pay attention to how they are engaging and the type of content they share.
Keep your eye on Twitter’s “Who to Follow” feature (in the right column) for recommendations for people and businesses that fit your interests.
Before we go any further, I need to tell you something you need to know: growing your following on Twitter is not easy — especially if you’re starting from scratch.
However, lucky for you, your business already has a following and many of those people that shop at your business.
If someone has already joined you email list, they most likely would love to connect with you on Twitter too.
Send out an email to your contact list, inviting people to follow you on Twitter.
Like anything else, if you want to be successful on Twitter you want to make sure you have the right tools. These can be considerable time-savers and make scheduling tweets very efficient.
There are a number of tools out there but here are three you’ll want to have access to from day one.
Twitter Lists are a really useful feature provided by Twitter to let users organise the people they follow into specific groups based on industry, relationship, expertise, etc.
When you’re first starting out, Lists won’t need to be a top priority because you’ll still be growing your community. However, I do recommend creating at least one List to let yourself get accustomed to using them. It’s much easier to keep your contacts organised from the beginning than to try to organise them later when you really need them.
Learn how to set up your first Twitter list here.
Similar to Lists, Saved Searches, let users organise their content, but do it based on a specific topic rather than on specific users.
Saved searches work exactly like they sound. You find a topic of interest or relevance to your business, search for it in Twitter’s “Discover” tab, and then save it for future reference. After saving it, you can easily go back and see results as they appear in real-time.
Some ideas for searches to save include; your business name, your name, the city/town that you’re in, industry-related topics, popular hashtags, etc…
Learn how to set up a saved search.
A recent study found that 80.5% of small business websites do not link to social media networks.
Please do not make this mistake.
Connecting your website to your Twitter profile will help drive traffic and organically build your social following. An article from CoSchedule goes into great detail of where is the best position to place your social icons on your website.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re inserting a link into your email newsletter and email signature with a strong call-to-action.
Never miss an opportunity to share what social networks you are on.
We hope you've found this article beneficial and useful for getting started with Twitter but most importantly..
Don’t forget to have a plan!
Let’s rewind quickly to the point when you first decided to sign up to use Twitter for your business.
Just being on Twitter won’t be enough to accomplish those goals, even if you follow these 10 steps to getting started.
What will allow you to achieve those goals is having a social strategy about the way you plan to engage on Twitter, the type of content you want to share, and the milestones you hope to achieve.
Your strategy probably will change once you get started, but without having one before you launch your first tweet, you won’t make it much further than these first 10 steps.
Are you on Twitter? How has it helped your business? Let us know in the comments below!
I must admit, being a highly visual person and never being able to turn "off", when I first joined Pinterest I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough of those gorgeous idea inspiring photos.
It didn't matter what category I was looking at, my boards and pins grew at an alarming rate. After a while I found myself having to allow myself small periods of time on the platform - seriously, it was getting out of control. I felt like I needed my daily fix.
I understand not everyone is NOT like me (thank God, I hear my friends say!) - I'm a keen DIYer, photographer, marketer, web designer, cook.... The list goes on but I don't want to scare anyone off, so I'll leave it at that.
The point I'm trying to make is, Pinterest is awesome and, if right for your business, can be a powerful marketing tool.
Don’t just sign up to Pinterest and start promoting your brand.
Important questions you should are:
I use my personal Pinterest account with Itchy Fingers Design as I have built up a huge collection of inspiration boards which really helps when looking at designing a new site or developing a client's logo.
It's wonderfully visual and continues to help and inspire me every day. I use this in conjunction with Instagram which is my favourite social platform - more about that another day.
In a post by Kissmetrics they shared the fact that a University of Minnesota’s Pinterest study shows the most popular categories by gender because, yes, while 80% of users are female, men are starting to catch the Pinterest bug. In the past year, the number of male users has DOUBLED, making them Pinterest’s fastest growing demographic.
Adding existing blog or product content to your new Pinterest page is likely to draw in a new audience, and possibly new customers.
Pinterest is all about the visual so images need to be eye catching!
There is no point in using an image based platform if you are sharing things that aren’t pleasing to the eye. You are selling imagery on Pinterest! “This looks SO good, you want to buy it”
Also, don’t stick to the same format, there are many formats you can post:
Easily create stunning graphics for free using Canva - a free online tool that allows you create stunning images for use on many platforms. Canva have over 100 layouts designed for Pinterest or start your own design from scratch. Choose from more than 1 million stock photographs, graphics and fonts, or upload your own.
With Canva you can create templates for your Pinterest posts. All your designs in Canva are saved online, and it's easy to duplicate and edit your posts. Create templates for quotes, announcements, images, special offers and more. Doing this will give your images and pins a consistent look and feel, which is important in branding.
Make sure your Pins are found by the right audience by using relevant search friendly keywords - include these in your caption. Don't stuff them in either, make sure they use natural language and are relevant to the image or subject.
It's also vital you time your posts right. There's no point in doing 10 pins in one sitting then nothing for a week. You should space them out, say one every three hours or so. According to Bit Rebels, the best time to share on Pinterest is between 2PM and 4PM in the afternoon and 8PM to 1AM in the night. Make it a point to place your most important pins at these times. If it is not possible for you to manually share the pins at those times, you could use a scheduling tool to help you. You could try Tailwind or Buffer.
Not every user spends the right amount of time on the description of a pin and this ultimately affects the chances of having it repinned.
Pinterest favours the pins that provide a specific and thoughtful description, one that helps the users find the image they are looking for when performing a search. Add all the details that describe your image and create a natural flow of text that will favoUr your pin’s discovery towards others.
Have you ever been browsing and come across an image you wanted to pin straight away? I know everyone isn't like me and has a tonne of chrome extensions installed (get the pin it chrome extension) so having a pin it button appear on an image hover on your site makes it easy for pinners to pin your images. It's easy enough to do. Follow the guide here.
Allow customers to share their purchases/projects with your audience by creating a board to which they can add their own images. This is customer feedback in a visual age.
You should also join other Contributor Boards relevant to your industry and contribute there. Contributing to a guest board which has already built a loyal audience can help increase pin exposure too. So make it a point to actively search for popular group boards under your niche and get invited to contribute to them. Once you are on these boards regularly contribute a lot of pins.
Don’t just share pins from your own website, but pins from other websites too.
Chances are you are already active on other networks so spread the word. Compose a network specific message inviting them to join you on Pinterest. You could hold a competition or feature them on the platform.
Here are some ideas you can use to let fans or subscribers know your brand has a Pinterest profile.
- Tweet about Pinterest 2-3 times a week.
- Post on Facebook once a week to once every two weeks.
- Send an email mentioning Pinterest and feature a Pinterest profile widget at least once a month.
- Add a (free) Pinterest app to your Facebook account.
In addition to social media promotion, optimise your website with a profile widget, ‘follow us’ buttons, and ‘pin it’ buttons on your images. And don’t forget to take advantage of offline tactics like putting Pinterest promotional content in store if you are in retail.
This is a golden rule no matter what platform you are on, your whole goal is engagement so be sure to respond when people interact. Be friendly and responsive. Build a reputation as being friendly and give them a reason to come back.
Social Media is an extension of your brand and every interaction counts. Your brand should be something your customers want and like to keep them coming back for more.
Turn Your Customer’s email inbox into a pinbox by including a few of your best Pinterest pins in your weekly newsletter or your regular email. Okay, Pinbox isn’t a real word, but the idea and execution are simple.
Include a screenshot of your Pinterest Pin(s) in your newsletter. Place a clickable link on the image that links to the Pinterest Pin. When newsletter readers click on the image they’re taken to that pin on Pinterest where they also browse your pinboards to see what else you have. It’s a win-win.
Are you on Pinterest already? How have you found it benefits your business? Drop me a line in the comments below.
If you need any help with your Pinterest marketing, please get in touch. You can follow me on Pinterest where you can witness the extent of my madness !!!
Social media marketing is an important aspect of promoting your small business. In order to set up an effective social media marketing strategy, a basic understanding of the relationship between business and social media is needed.
To help you learn the benefits of using social media for your small business, the masters of social media, Hootsuite have created an eBook, Top 10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Businesses.
This eBook provides you with all the necessary tools to build a strong social media marketing presence for your small business.
If you still need assistance with your social media, we are here to help. We can provide as much or as little assistance as is needed - whether you need help setting up and linking all your social sites to your website or in need of strategy development.