A five-minute business guide to using Twitter


Date: 13 August 2010

There are all sorts of reasons your business might want to use Twitter. If you haven't tried it yet, here's a quick guide to get your business started:

  1. Why Twitter? Decide why you want to use Twitter in your business. For instance, is it to market your company, connect with customers, provide support or track competitors? Thinking about the "why" will drive how you use it.
  2. Pick your name. Keep it short; when people reply to your messages, your name will take up some of Twitter's 140 character message limit. Consider having more than one account - for news, support and so on.
  3. Fill in your profile. You can use your Twitter profile to tell people what your business does and what you use Twitter for. To fill it in, sign in to Twitter, then click Settings, then Profile.
  4. Design your page. You can change the background of your Twitter page to make it more interesting. Go to Settings, then Design and click Change background image. There are some good examples here, and you can use this PowerPoint template as a starting point.
  5. Connect with people. Start off by following any of your personal and professional contacts who already use Twitter. Then use Twitter search to find new people and businesses to follow. Search for people in your area, or who are tweeting about things relevant to your business. Many people you follow will follow you back.
  6. Start tweeting. It's as easy as typing your message and hitting return. Remember that tweets are public, so your messages can be seen by anyone. To send a private message, use the Direct messages option.
  7. Reply to other tweets. If you want to reply to something someone else has tweeted, you can get their attention by clicking the Reply option next to their tweet. Again, remember that replies are public too.
  8. Use a link shortener. If you use Twitter to share interesting links you've found, you'll probably want to use a link shortener like bit.ly or TinyURL. These reduce the length of website addresses so they don't fill all 140 characters!
  9. Use retweets to build a following. If you see a tweet from someone else you like, retweet it by clicking the Retweet link next to the tweet. This sends it to all your followers. People will thank you, and you're likely to pick up more followers as a result.
  10. Learn about hashtags. Hashtags are another way to build your profile. They help people find tweets which relate to a particular subject. They can be confusing to begin with, but there's a good guide to hashtags here.
  11. Get serious. Using the Twitter website can get frustrating after a while. Instead, it's easier to use a program like TweetDeck or HootSuite to manage your tweets. Doing this will give you lots more flexibility.

For a more detailed look at using Twitter for business, check out this advice to get started with Twitter from the Marketing Donut. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter too!

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