42 Twitter Tips for Small Business and Solopreneurs

42 Twitter Tips for Small BusinessYour social networks are only as good as the sales, referrals, or brand awareness they bring in to your biz. All other metrics are rubbish.

Do your Twitter followers have the P-O-W factor? Our friends over at Mediabox refer to the P-O-W factor as:

  • Prospective Customers
  • Online influencers
  • Word-of-mouth marketers

I’m a Twitter addict. It’s where I get my news about everything and where I meet prospects, partners and new clients.  As a solopreneur or small business owner, your time is limited and valuable. You need actionable Twitter tips you can apply to your business now.

Twitter Tips for Small Business42 Twitter Tips for Small Businesses & Solopreneurs

Twitter Tips for Small Business

  1. Minimize your tweet length. Keep your tweets to less than 100 characters b/c they get 17% higher engagement rate. (Source: BuddyMedia & Tracy Sestili for Social Strand Media)
  2. Use # hashtags. Include a hashtag with your tweet. Tweets with hashtags get 2 times more engagement than those without.  (Source: BuddyMedia)
  3. Don’t overuse hashtags. Keep hashtags to no more than 2 per tweet. Hashtags with 3 or more received 17% less engagement.  (Source: BuddyMedia)
  4. Best times to get your content clicked on is 1pm (your time zone) (Source: RadiumOne’s Po.st & AllTwitter)
  5. Optimize your tweet. Tweet the same tweet four times within a 32-hour period. (Source: Guy Kawasaki)
  6. Respond. Leaving remarks or questions unrequited or unanswered sends the message that you don’t care. Say thank you, answer the question, give them info, and do it promptly. (Social Media Today)
  7. Contribute to the story: Add an opinion, a pertinent fact or add to the conversation before hitting “send” on a link or a retweet. (Carnegie Mellon University study)
  8. Attend tweet chats. You should attend as many tweetchats as you can so it can put you in touch with your constituents and people who have similar interests. Click here for a tweetchat list for social media marketing.
  9. Mix it up. As a business people want you to engage with them. So follow the 4-1-1 or 9-1-1 (sharing 4 to 9 articles from other people, engage in 1 conversation for each 1 promotional tweet you send. (Michael Brenner, SAP for Forbes)
  10. Segment your Twitter followers. You should be segmenting your followers into Twitter lists to not only engage with them on things that they like, but also to curate great content that you can share. For example, ask for people’s Twitter accounts when taking event registrations and add them to a list.  Or create a list of great bloggers/media for your industry.
  11. Don’t just monitor your handle. Even savvy Twitter users don’t always take the time to find your Twitter handle. Sometimes they’re in a hurry or their app isn’t producing any results so they just tweet your company name but without the handle or a hashtag (@ or #). Try using brand monitoring tools like Topsy or see this list of 10 free brand marketing tools.
  12. Don’t schedule and split.  Scheduling is a huge time saver, but it’s important to pay attention to any responses your scheduled tweets may elicit — the follow-up conversation is just as important as the initial tweet, if not more. (Source: Mashable)
  13. Make it exclusive. If you encourage your customers to follow you on Twitter then why not give them an exclusive offer that’s not available on any other social network that your brand is on? Make them feel extra special with an exclusive offer or deal for only your Twitter followers.
  14. Use advanced search. Twitter’s advanced search is great for finding people who need what you’re selling. (Blair Ball from Prepare1.com)
  15. Give referrals via Twitter. What goes around comes around. Good karma too. (Source: The Telegraph)
  16. List your Twitter handle in directories. Register your Twitter handle in online Twitter directories like Twellow or WeFollow.
  17. Publish your Twitter handle on all collateral. Publish your Twitter handle on all marketing collateral, including business cards, email signature, email newsletters, web sites and brochures, so prospects can learn more about you. (Source: The Telegraph)
  18. Spread out the love. Spread your tweets throughout the day, INCLUDING your replies and thank yous. That way you don’t clog your followers Twitter feeds.
  19. Make the most of your profile. Use keywords on your profile and a fun fact to earn trust, add personality and enable you to be found. (Source: The Telegraph)
  20. Use Keywords.  Keywords have been and continue to be a relevant and driving force for web content (whether we’re talking about a website, blog post, Facebook update or a tweet) via Debbie Hemley @dhemley
  21. Feature Followers: Create a hashtag for your campaign and then use a widget to display tweets from followers on your website who used that hashtag.  (Tim Ware from @HyperArts)
  22. Events. Whether you’re hosting or attending, tweeting live from an event can be fun for your followers to get insider information.
  23. Tweet interesting photos. They can be from around the office, something you spotted on the way to the office, on travel, anything.
  24. Always tweet a link. Whether you tweet a link to an industry news article, your blog, your website, your Facebook page, or your Pinterest account, the fact is that tweets with links have an 86% higher retweet rate. (Source: Buddy Media)
  25. Be helpful.  Not everyone needs your offering right now. You want to provide information and solutions that keep them reading, so when they need what you have, they know you’re there for them. (Source: Sara Hawkins @saving4someday via Social Media Examiner)
  26. Ask a question. Don’t just put your Twitter feed on auto-pilot. Ask a question and engage your Twitter followers and be sure to acknowledge them when they respond.
  27. Try to post regularly. The rule of thumb is you should post 5-10x’s per day and only 1 or 2 of those tweets should be self-promotions. It doesn’t have to be your own content, you can retweet content from your followers or industry.
  28. Measure the ROI of your tweets. See what your tweet reach was, measure how many clicks your links garnered and how many times your brand was mentioned. And when possible measure your conversion rate with custom URLs.
  29. Use a 3rd party social media manager tool. Use a social media management tool like HootSuite or Buffer to schedule your tweets ahead of time and to manage and reply to your brand mentions.
  30. Integrate Twitter into your other marketing tactics. Twitter is just another tool to enhance your marketing efforts so there is no reason why it shouldn’t be included in your content/editorial calendar(s).
  31. Select your avatar. Small businesses should make their avatar a picture of the owner or whoever is going to be the face on Twitter. Big brands can use their logo. But small businesses’ logos aren’t recognizable enough to have that big of an impact. Plus, knowing that people can interact with a real person behind the brand is refreshing. Besides, there is plenty of space for your logo and branding on Twitter.
  32. Take advantage of the Twitter photo header and background image. They can tell a little bit more about your business. If you’re a restaurant, showcase some food.  If you are a woodworker, showcase something you’ve built. For background photo, there’s a lot of white space there you can use to your advantage, like letting people know what other networks you’re on.
  33. Use DMs cautiously. If you are going to set up an auto DM (direct message) to new followers through an autopilot Twitter service like TweetDeck or TweetAdder, then be sure to make it something of value like a whitepaper, or a how-to video, rather than “Connect with us on Facebook too”.
  34. Stay on topic. Developing your brand as a thought leader & go-to brand in your industry requires you to stay on topic when tweeting. But feel free to mix in some fun/personal stuff every once in a while.
  35. Use a URL shortening tool. Every character counts in a tweet, so be sure to use a URL shortening tool like Bit.ly or TinyURL.com or if you use a social media manager tool, most of those have built-in URL shorteners.
  36. Take complaints offline. If a customer has a complaint about your product or service, acknowledge them and ask them to email, call or DM you so you can better help them solve their problem.
  37. Have more than one person managing your Twitter account. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety. But be sure to stay true to the brand style guide. (Chris Brogan & Tracy Sestili)
  38. Develop a Twitter style guide. Every brand has a voice. Be sure to include Twitter in your social media style guide.
  39. Create a social media policy. You are responsible for your brand, so be sure that people understand what your values are and what they can’t do on social media channels.
  40. Provide tips in your industry. @jetblue provides daily travel tips, @pammktgnut provides daily marketing tips. Providing value is what will set you apart from your competition.
  41. Differentiate your content. Don’t tweet the same thing you’re posting on Facebook and expect your constituents to follow you on both networks because you are repeating yourself and whether you realize it or not, you’re boring!
  42. Be aware of context. Every social platform serves a different purpose and a different demographic. Different platforms require different messaging due to character constraints, platform lingo, and audience.

“It takes a long time to build up a following and develop trust, but it only takes one Tweet to alienate every one of your followers.” ~ Twitip.com via @mark_hayward

Have any business Twitter tips to add? Follow us on Twitter @socialstrand or @tracysestili

About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is a social media consultant, strategist, and analyst.

Comments

  1. Excellent tips! I found this to be very helpful. Thank you!

  2. Thanks, Traci. You did a lot of good research here. Some people are selling Twitter tips for at high prices, but this information comes from reputable sources, and is probably better than what they’re selling.

    I have one question though, with regard to #5 and #27. I copied them below:

    #5 Optimize your tweet. Tweet the same tweet four times within a 32-hour period.

    #27 Try to post regularly. The rule of thumb is you should post 5-10x’s per day and only 1 or 2 of those tweets should be self-promotions. It doesn’t have to be your own content, you can retweet content from your followers or industry.

    Suppose I post 6 times a day and 1 is self-promotion. If I “optimize” each tweet, I am posting 6 x 4, or 24 tweets within a 32 hour period. This exceeds the 10x per day limit. On the other hand, if I optimize only the self-promotional tweet, I am sending 4 self-promotional tweets and not enough of the other tweets.

    My purpose is not to point out the seemingly self-contradictory advice. I would seriously like to develop a plan for sending interesting tweets, keeping my followers, and optimizing my best tweets, especially the self-promotional ones. I wonder if you could provide any suggestions or clarification in this area. Thanks in advance!

    • Tracy Sestili says:

      Hi Martin,
      Thanks for your comment. Sorry for the confusion, it’s not meant to be contradictory. The 5-10xs per day is a minimum, not a max. So if you have a self promoting tweet, you could tweet that 4xs over a 32 hour period as long as you had the right amount of tweets for the other stuff. They say 4-1-1 (tweet 4 pieces of content other people have written and RT 1 relevant piece for every self promo, so… That would be about 24 tweets or so per day and if spaced out, the chance of the same people seeing that set of tweets more than one is really really small. Does that answer your question?

      • That helps. I need to learn more about self-promoting tweets to know how to avoid looking like a spammer. Direct links to my book on Amazon can look like spam to some people.

        • Tracy Sestili says:

          Hi Martin, I think if you can link to a review in your Amazon listing or say you’re excited about the release or # of downloads or sales, I think that’s fine. I just wouldn’t do it more than once a day and you’d definitely need to intermix it with a lot of other content. Maybe, consider excerpts from your book with a link to it on Amazon? Best of luck to you!