A Guide to Social Media Marketing on Twitter

  1. Chapter 1 – An Introduction to Social Media Marketing
  2. Chapter 2 – A Guide to Social Media Marketing on Facebook
  3. Chapter 3 – A Guide to Social Media Marketing on Twitter
  4. Chapter 4 – A Guide to Social Media Marketing on Google+
  5. Chapter 5 – A Guide to Social Media Marketing on Linkedin
  6. Chapter 6 – Planning for Social Media Success

Twitter styles itself as a micro-blogging platform allowing users to share short messages known as ‘Tweets’ of up to 140 characters. Launched in July 2006, Twitter has been one of the fastest growing social networks, and it now has more than 284 million active user accounts. Twitter is particularly important for businesses, not least because around 74% of users will follow their favourite brands for product updates and special offers.

In this chapter, we will learn how businesses are using Twitter to create a following, build brand awareness, and even provide customer support.

Why Businesses Use Twitter

While Twitter might not be as large as Facebook, it does have an extensive and constantly growing reach. Twitter also takes on a rather different approach to social media, placing an emphasis on newsworthy content and quick updates and exchanges. Both individuals and businesses use it extensively for making announcements, providing customer service and sharing online content.

Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of getting your small business on Twitter:

  • Free to use, though paid advertising opportunities are also available.
  • Users will follow businesses they have previously purchased from.
  • Allows you to answer questions, provide support and give news updates.
  • Highly news-orientated, making it perfect for promoting fresh content.
  • An invaluable platform for competitive research.
  • Increase brand awareness and find new customers.
  • Gain even more exposure with the use of popular hashtags.

twitter stats

Setting Up Your Twitter Business Page

Almost every small business should be on Twitter as it costs nothing to launch and maintain your account. The first thing to do is sign up for an account on the home page. During the process, you’ll need to choose a username up to 15 characters long. Once you have opened and confirmed your Twitter account, you’ll be able to start posting and following people right away. However, before you continue, you should complete your profile and upload a header image and profile image. Choosing the right username and profile image is extremely important, since other users will come to recognise it and associate it with your brand. At the same time, your username must be as short as possible so that it doesn’t take up too much space when someone mentions you in a Tweet.


On your profile settings page, add your business’s location and contact details, Web address and biographical information. Note that your bio is also limited to 140 characters, so write something short and concise that best captures the personality of your brand. For the profile image you will usually want to stick to using your company logo, while the header image provides you with an opportunity to get a little more creative. Headers that tend to work best are panoramic images that showcase your brand’s style and personality. For example, Time magazine uses its header to showcase some of the front covers of their most famous issues.

Understanding the Basics

There’s quite a lot of jargon associated with the Twitter. In this section we’ll take a look at some of the most important features and how they are used. Most importantly, just about everything on the network is limited to 140 characters, so you’ll need to make extensive use of URL shorteners, hashtags and abbreviations. This limit also prevents companies from using a lot of unnecessary fluff in their posts, so messages are short, sweet, and to the point!

Let’s take a look at some of the key terms used in Twitter:

  • Followers and following: When someone subscribes to your Twitter page, they become a follower. Your updates will then start to be displayed in their own news feeds. The more followers you have, the more exposure your business will have.
  • Tweets refer to the short messages that users post and read in their news feeds. When someone shares someone else’s tweet, it is known as retweeting.
  • Twitter makes extensive use of hashtags for categorising and promoting content. For example, when someone searches for a specific hashtag using the Twitter search function, every tweet that mentions the hashtag will appear in the search results.

Best Practices for Twitter Marketing

While some novice online marketers make the mistake of constantly posting special offers and other promotional content, success with Twitter marketing requires a little bit of creativity. Since you haven’t got a lot of space to work with, you’ll need to work harder to build up your follower base and increase the chances of your tweets being shared with others.


Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways to engage your audience and build up a following:

  • Twitter is more news and trend orientated than other social networks, and success can be built on posting and sharing timely content. Twitter is heavily reliant on good timing. When you have newsworthy content to share, you should tweet it as soon as possible. Waiting a few days or even hours could greatly decrease the impact that it has.
  • Given the 140 character limit, you should consider using such tweets as pointers to longer news stories and including a link. Use a URL shortener, such as bit.ly, to keep your links as short as possible.
  • When you have something to say, be sure to accompany your tweet with a hashtag. This will allow you tweet to show up in search results whenever someone searches for that particular hashtag. By generating interest through the sharing of exclusive content, small New York clothing retailer Alter saw a 250% increase in its follower base.
  • With its tight character limits, Twitter relies extensively on the use of images, photo and infographics. Images tend to lead to far greater engagement than sharing only text and links, as they are far more likely to stand out on your followers’ news feeds. Lifestyle and nutrition company Kill Cliff saw a 33.4% increase in its engagement rate simply by adding relevant images to their tweets.
  • Share your passion and educate people about it! By providing information that is related to your industry and is interesting to your followers you can quickly gain authority. Not all of your tweets need to be directly related to generating sales, and in fact, they should more often have a degree of passion behind them. After all, if you don’t have a personal interest in what you have to say, it isn’t likely that others will either!
  • Use hashtags extensively, but be strategic with them. You can use hashtags for promoting events, new products and services. You can also use hashtags that they are related to the content you’re posting. What you must not do, however, is hijack popular hashtags that are not related to your content in the hope of achieving more exposure in the search results.
  • Retweet content from other accounts that you’re following. Don’t forget that any kind of social media marketing is about sharing. Making sure that you have a healthy amount of shared content on your own Twitter page will encourage others to do the same. Of particular importance is retweeting others who mention you in their tweets, since this helps to portray the human side of your business.

Conversations on Twitter are real-life encounters with your customers and potential customers, albeit without the overly promotional tone. As soon as you include Twitter in your social media marketing campaigns, you should be listening, engaging and sharing content. Only once you have built up a degree of trust and rapport in your business, as well as established a large follower base, should you start focussing more on promotion. Even then, it’s a good idea to follow the 80/20 principle whereby only 20% of what you post is purely promotional.

An Introduction to Paid Advertising on Twitter



Twitter provides some paid advertising programmes for businesses to gain greater exposure in both the search results and on the page itself. Twitter advertising allows you to connect with the most receptive among your followers, and to reach a much wider audience that may be interested in your industry.

Let’s take a look at the three paid advertising opportunities that the platform offers:

  • Promoted Tweets allow your most important tweets to reach a wider audience. They rely on compelling content, such as the announcement of a special promotion, a new product release or an upcoming event. When you promote one of your tweets, the platform will use its targeting algorithm to help display it to the right audience.
  • Promoted Trends allow you to take advantage of trending topics. Trends that are related to your industry will be displayed at the top of the left hand column of a Twitter page. Promoted Trends are marked by a special icon, and they will remain at the top of the list for 24 hours. Promoted Trends are ideal for kick-starting a new promotion strategy and driving mass awareness.
  • Promoted Accounts exist to give your entire account a greater degree of visibility. When you want to quickly build up your follower community you can use this advertising feature to define broad categories related to your business and put your account in front of a far wider audience.

Final Thoughts

Many companies find that a healthy blend of interesting and engaging content combined with a small amount of promotion to be the optimal strategy for marketing on Twitter. Paid advertising opportunities can also help to give your business page a significant boost in followers and brand awareness, or to promote a special offer. One final note, be sure to make use of the Twitter Analytics tools to discover important impression and engagement metrics to track your progress.

  1. Chapter 1 – An Introduction to Social Media Marketing
  2. Chapter 2 – A Guide to Social Media Marketing on Facebook
  3. Chapter 3 – A Guide to Social Media Marketing on Twitter
  4. Chapter 4 – A Guide to Social Media Marketing on Google+
  5. Chapter 5 – A Guide to Social Media Marketing on Linkedin
  6. Chapter 6 – Planning for Social Media Success