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Setting up a Twitter business account: what, why, how and when?

Twitter is a seriously fast-moving social networking platform; blink and you’ve missed it – literally! With more than 228 million monthly active users (MAU) and more than 500 million tweets sent every single day, that’s a lot of noise to try and fight your way through. Half of the battle for many businesses is just turning up. After all, if you don’t have a presence on Twitter, you can’t expect it to work for you.

Even with the super-strict 140 character limit, you can express a lot of emotions in a single tweet; from sheer joy to utter hatred. For businesses, if you’re not delivering your customers exactly what you promised, then you’d better bank on them having something to say about publicly. Likewise, if you’ve treated your customer’s right, then you can also expect to see some lovely praise coming your way. Just make sure you know how to manage it.

Don’t think that your social media can be handled by just anyone – it’s just a part of your company as your website or your printed marketing. Putting your social media in the hands of someone who is familiar with using social media networks for personal use but has never experience managing a business presence could end in disaster. One wrong tweet and all it takes is a single screen grab to light a thousand flaming torches in your direction. Don’t believe us? Econsultancy’s 19 Horrific Social Media Fails from the First Half of 2014 will have you triple-checking everything before you hit send!

Not that we want to scare you away from using twitter for your business. In fact, when used correctly twitter can help to raise positive brand awareness, drive clicks and conversions, find leads and even promote your apps and services. When it comes to twitter the pros seriously outweigh the cons so today we’re going to run you through how to set up a profile for your business as well as offering a few hints and tips for getting the most out of this social media platform.

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Step One: Sign up for twitter by visiting and filling in the form with your name, email address and chosen password. Don’t worry, you can always change these details later on if you need to!

Step Two: Fill out the rest of your details and choose your username. Remember your @ username is how people will contact you and mention you on twitter. Your username uses up precious characters and there’s a 140 character limit on tweets so try to use the shortest form of the name of your business or brand.

Step Three: Once you’ve filled in all your details it’s time to verify your account. Twitter will send you can email to the address you provided with a link to confirm your account so keep an eye out for it and click the link when you receive it.

Step Four: It’s time to start building your profile. Twitter will give you a helping hand here as it prompts you to make five new connections. Without connections your feed will look pretty bare.

Step Five: Make your profile look great! Hit “edit profile” and upload a profile picture and header photo.

Your profile picture should be clear, even when it’s tiny – many businesses and brands choose to use their logo as it’s instantly recognisable.

Your header photo can be a bit more adventurous – whether it’s a shot of your team, your super-cool office, a nice shot of your products – make sure it’s high quality and looks great! For the best results choose an image which is 1500px x 500px.

Step Six: Time to optimise! Add your location, your web address and fill in your bio. Try to be as succinct as possible and get across what your business or brand is about – you only have 140 characters so now isn’t the time to be coy!

Step Seven: Send your first tweet! You can use Twitter’s #myfirstTweet template, or write your own. Don’t forget that once you’ve got your twitter account set up to link it to your site so that people know you’re on social media.

Some businesses will even embed a ticker in the footer of their site or the sidebar of their blog so that browsers can see their latest tweets without having to leave the website.

Tips for creating engaging tweets

Twitter is such a fast moving platform that if you blink, you literally will miss it! This means that you need to post more frequently than you would on Facebook in order to be seen. Those tweets also need to be eye-catching and something which your audience can engage with, rather than something that they just read and move on from. Our top tips for crafting engaging tweets are:

  • Post consistently – You should be posting multiple times a day. Not all of these need to be scheduled as you’ll more than likely be responding to customer enquiries throughout the day. Using tools such as Tweetdeck or our personal favourite, Hootsuite (where you can manage multiple accounts across several platforms as well as allowing multiple people to manage the same feed), will allow you to publish more general tweets in advance so that your feed always looks nice and full and people will know that you’re active.
  • Want something? Ask for it – Whether it’s product or service feedback, suggestions for what seasonal product you run next, ideas for blog poses, answers, questions, retweets, follows, if you don’t ask for it, you’ll never get!
  • Be visual – Tweets with images and videos are more eye-catching than standard text-based tweets.
  • Promote others – Acknowledge your sources and show your followers some love. Hashtags such as #FF (which means follow Friday) are a great way to promote other local business or brands you respect – showing love to others means you can expect some love in return at some point. At the very least you’ll get a nice “thank you” tweet which all of their followers will see! Just don’t go overboard – it doesn’t feel special if you #FF every business under the sun. Choose wisely – perhaps pick a theme each week to help you keep things neat and tidy.
  • Show your personality – People trust people. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and show a little compassion every once in a while. Where appropriate, use humour. When Tesco Mobile got involved with a little light-hearted banter it wasn’t long before Jaffa Cakes, Yorkshire Tea, Cadburys and Phileas Fogg all engaged in a hilarious debate. Those social media managers definitely deserve a pat on the back for their carefully thought out, but not overly corporate, tweets.

When to Post?

By now you’re probably sick and tired of hearing that things move fast on twitter. Despite the rapid turnover there are better times of the day to schedule and post your tweets:

1pm – 3pm Your tweets have a higher chance of being clicked between these times

Friday after 3pm Don’t bother posting after this time, traffic on Twitter dies over the weekend

9am – 3pm The peak traffic time for Twitter actually falls before the optimal time to post

So there you have it – a whirlwind guide to setting up your business twitter account! For more advice, hints and tips, we highly recommend giving these a read:

Twitter for Business: < Twitter’s own guide for helping your build up your company or brand using its services. This page is full of resources and you can even filter the advice by what you want to get out of twitter whether that’s growing your followers or driving clicks and conversions.

12 Most Effective Ways to Engage on Twitter: < A nice little bullet-point article for Ekaterina Walter, social media strategist at Intel Corp. As the title of the post suggests, Ekaternia offers 12 tips for engaging with your followers on twitter, and even ways to snag a couple of new ones!

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