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5 Top Tips on Using Twitter for Your Business

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Twitter can be an incredibly useful tool for any business. But it can also be off-putting for new users, especially when you're under pressure to deliver results. So cut through the clutter with our 5 Top Tips on Using Twitter for Your Business.

By using some simple tips, you can start getting more return on your Twitter time. And that includes raising awareness for your business, providing customer service, and keeping an eye on what's happening in your industry.

1. Get The Most From Your Twitter Profile:

It's important to make a good first impression. Your choice of username is likely to be your brand, but your profile information is a good place to mention relevant words and phrases to get yourself found. Twitter information is also indexed by Google for search results, so you want to pick the right keywords.

Twitter has recently removed custom backgrounds from some views, so your profile image and the main photo on your page need to be good. Make sure logos are big enough to be recognisable, and the photography you use reflects your brand appropriately.

Obviously you'll want to include your website address, so make sure it's the right one.

And when you've got some tweets to choose from, it can be worth 'pinning' a suitable example to the top of your feed - for example a current special offer or the latest product or project you want to share (Make sure you have a great photo to go with it!).

2. Twitter works best with a mix of content:

It's easy to get caught up in the pressure of constantly having to create something to tweet about. Or to fall into the trap of repeating the same sales message over, and over, and over again.

Don't be afraid to Retweet and share relevant content from other people related to your business. Industry organisations and news sources are great for interesting content which will help increase your standing and authority.

As an example, we share our latest projects and articles, but also include relevant information from marketing, design and technology sites which we think is useful for everyone.

Make sure you also share different types of content and see what works. Don't just rely on text, but add photos, animated GIFs and videos when it's suitable.

You can also send more than one tweet based on a single piece of content. Try sharing a text update first, then follow up later in the day with a tweet based around a photo from the article, for example.

3. Getting engaged on Twitter:

You need to put the social into your social media marketing. Hopefully you wouldn't turn up to a party and talk about yourself without at least asking about other people. And Twitter works in a similar way.

Don't be afraid to reach out to people publicly (via an @username message) or privately via a Direct Message. Use Twitter as a way to make connections with notable people in your industry and keep in touch with customers. The more approachable you are, the better response you'll get, including using it as a way to offer customer service quickly and easily.

When you want everyone to see your @username messages, make sure the username is at the end of your message, or include a full stop before it. Otherwise it will be hidden under the Replies tab on your profile.

Be aware of hashtags - using a # symbol before a word makes it stand out, and by following a topic you can see all the latest information from people you don't already follow.

And you can then apply the relevant hashtags to your own messages. Just doublecheck the tag means what you think it does, and it's appropriate, to avoid any confusion or issues.

4. Build your Twitter followers and lists:

To attract followers you need to be consistently posting useful or entertaining content. But you also need to be pro-active and find those people who are likely to benefit - but might not have heard about you yet.

The ways to find people include searching for relevant information in their profile, people following the relevant hastags, and those following similar accounts.

As you build the number that you follow, you might find that the stream of updates become harder to keep track of. Which is why Lists are so important on Twitter.

Part of your following process should be to create appropriate lists and add people to them to allow you to separate and segment your stream into something far more manageable. For instance, you might want a list for friends and colleagues, news sources, or suppliers. And by setting them up from the start, you save yourself having to go back through a couple of thousand profiles in the future.

5. Keep Track of the Best Times to Tweet:

The best times to update will depend on your audience. You can check the response to your content via Twitter Analytics or third-party Twitter tools, but aim to schedule or post updates at the right time.

In general you'll find tweets are more productive just before people start work at 9am, when they're on a lunch break around 1pm, and around 5.30pm. Whether or not weekend updates will work depends largely on your industry and content.

You'll also tend to find that news and information-related tweets work better during the start of the week - but the audience builds up as people begin to relax towards the weekend, and entertaining updates (quizzes, competitions and comedy pictures) work better on Thursdays and Fridays.

Those are just 5 simple Twitter tips to help get your started, or to improve your current efforts. We'll look into each element in more detail in the future, along with the range of Twitter tools and services which can make it easier to get successful. You can keep up with our latest posts on the blog by following us on Twitter, Facebook and G+.

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