Twitter Marketing: the Ultimate Small Business Guide [2023]

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Twitter is a powerful platform for directly engaging an audience, creating brand awareness, launching a new business, and helping grow your business’s customer base without needing a huge marketing budget or advanced expertise.

Twitter has high name recognition – 88% of Americans know about Twitter. And it’s a popular platform for marketers. 82% of B2B content marketers have used Twitter in their content marketing strategies in the last 12 months.

But, to succeed on Twitter, your company must stand out.

Putting out consistent content isn’t enough. You must enhance your customer’s experience online, encourage followers to purchase and help your brand connect more humanly.

To do these things and grow your business, you must create a successful strategy and learn to leverage Twitter’s powerful platform.

Over the past fifteen years, our marketing team has actively leveraged Twitter to market products and services for different brands. In that time, we’ve written dozens of articles on leveraging Twitter to promote products and services and grow a brand. And we’ve mentored thousands of entrepreneurs, sharing strategies and practices for building strong Twitter brands. We’ve even started businesses that focused specifically on marketing through Twitter. And we frequently discussed Twitter marketing strategies at webinars and conference talks. This guide shares the actionable insights, tips, best practices, and expertise we’ve developed after helping over one hundred thousand brands.

Fundamentals of an effective Twitter strategy

Whatever the platform, strategy is everything when it comes to online marketing. Your Twitter strategy should be focused on the content you create and deliver to your audience.

The following four tactics will help you develop a strong Twitter marketing strategy:

1. Watch and learn from competitors and others

Twitter is a powerful tool for research.

For example, you can search and follow your competitors directly on Twitter. Observe how they use content marketing and how they engage their audiences.

You can research related audiences and topics using the algorithm through Twitter hashtags.

By learning from your competitors’ strategies on Twitter, you can create your unique approach.

2. Audit your Twitter account

Most businesses forget to audit their social accounts regularly.

This is a problem.

To use Twitter effectively, you have to create and execute a strategy. And your Twitter account is a critical part of that strategy.

How you present your business online matters. The information in your Twitter profile must be concise, punchy, relevant, and updated.

Make sure your profile photo shows the correct company logo. Have a strong banner that visually explains what your business does. And make sure to link to your business website.

That’s just for starters.

Get familiar with Twitter analytics. Identify the following when performing a Twitter account audit:

  • Who is your target audience? What are the age, location, and gender demographics?
  • What types of content are you publishing?
  • What types of content does your target audience consume?
  • When are your followers active?
  • How often should you post content? On what days and at what time should you post?

And remember to perform an account audit every few months. Determine in your organization how often you conduct audits. Every company has a different sweet spot that works for them.

3. Identify and classify your audience

Content marketing fails when it doesn’t resonate with your target audience. So, consider audience personas before you create content and a social media strategy.

When creating strategy and individual pieces of content, you should have a distinct audience persona in mind to identify the best way to communicate with them.

  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What are their interests?
  • What are their pain points?
  • How can you capture and hold their attention?

4. Keep up with social media best practices

Social media is a dynamic and volatile landscape. Twitter is especially subject to such volatile changes with Elon Musk’s purchase of the platform in 2022. That purchase suggests that Twitter will see many changes in its operations. Moreover, algorithms often change, and these changes require companies to evolve their strategies on Twitter.

So, keep up with updates and best practices, such as the optimal image sizes and the best times and days of the week to post content.

Keeping a finger on the pulse of the Twitter algorithm will help you anticipate and adjust to changes and keep your impressions and brand health high.

How to use Twitter for business

Now that you know how to build a Twitter marketing strategy, let’s examine critical and more in-depth steps you need to take to leverage Twitter further:

1. Set up a Twitter profile that sets you up for success

Success is 99% preparation, some would say. The same goes when building your Twitter profile.

Profile name

If you can, pick a Twitter handle that matches your business name.

However, what should you do if your brand name is already taken? One practical solution is adding an active CTA (call to action) to prefix your brand name. For example, instead of “@crowdspring,” you can use “@ChooseCrowdspring.”

Or, to inspire a more collaborative or tribe-centric approach to your Twitter handle, you can alternatively go with something that describes a group identity, such as “@WeAreCrowdspring” or “ThisIsCrowdspring.”

You could also attach the suffixes “HQ” or “Official” at the end of your brand name to convey authority and ownership of the account name. But we suggest you do this only if your brand name isn’t available.

Ultimately, your brand strategy should be focused on consistency and eliminating confusion whenever possible. And while it’s rare that you can have an identical profile name on all social networks, you can generally come close.

Profile images

Image is everything on social media, and the more your account conveys legitimacy and professionalism, the more a prospective follower or customer will consider following your account.

So, pick relevant but compelling images for your banner and profile photo. Most businesses use their official logo for their profile picture. But don’t neglect your banner photo. Look at your competitors to see their approaches to the banner photo. And then look at the Twitter banners of other successful brands that speak with an audience similar to yours.

The Twitter banner image is where your brand can show its unique personality and be more creative. So be strategic in picking images that stand out in color and overall visual impact. But be sure that these images match your overall brand identity. Otherwise, you’ll confuse your customers and prospects.

Profile description

Finally, this step is usually overlooked, but it’s essential. Refine your profile description.

In the description, come up with a compelling and punchy copy that encompasses what your brand is about. Include a functioning website link and provide your location.

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2. Publish actionable content to add value

When creating content, write directly for your target audience.

Adding value to your social media presence means publishing content that provides actionable solutions, shares unique ideas, or educates or entertains your audience.

And remember that the content should adhere to the purpose of the platform. Twitter is good for starting conversations and directly connecting with an audience.

If your content doesn’t inspire discussion, it’s probably not worth posting. This means being purposeful in crafting your message.

If words are not your forte, multimedia tweets can be another option. Not only do these differentiate your business from your competitors, but statistics show that tweets with images get more retweets, and tweets with video get more impressions.

Mixing up your content will keep your feed fresh and exciting.

You can also use Twitter live chats to add value to your presence while engaging with your audience. Twitter chats are a fantastic way to interact directly with your audience. Direct communication showcases a more human side to your brand. It makes the brand more approachable and genuine.

To build on this tactic, you can even make Twitter live chats a staple in your content calendar. This can tell your audiences that on every 3rd Wednesday of the month, for example, they should participate in a community activity.

3. Optimize content

Content is wasted if no one sees it. Therefore, thinking about strategies to optimize your brand’s content is also essential.

One way to do this is through hashtags. They are an easy and familiar way to distribute your content to a mass audience.

However, be careful about the number of hashtags you use. Try to use no more than two relevant hashtags per tweet. Too many hashtags can make your business come across as spammy.

Similarly, you can use hashtag research to get more impressions for your tweets.

Hashtag research helps you assess and see which hashtags are trending (if you want to leverage a global trend). You can also identify which hashtags your audience uses when discussing your industry and then use them in your content.

4. Talk to your customers and prospects

Brands need to engage with their audience on Twitter regularly.

Don’t just post links – ask people for feedback.

One way to do this is to tag followers on relevant posts and, most significantly, by consistently responding to comments.

Not sure if your audience on Twitter is active? The easiest way to find out is to ask. Literally.

You can post relevant, open-ended questions to your audiences and observe if they respond. You can preface a post with “Question Time” to prompt the audience that you are directly addressing them and are looking for an answer.

5. Listen to your audience

Social listening is understated in most social media strategies. But it’s essential.

Monitoring social sentiment can help businesses and marketers create the type of content your audience wants.

And when done right, social listening can be a powerful tool for interacting with your customers directly. Speaking to them and answering their inquiries on accessible platforms such as Twitter will help improve customer experience. You can use their direct customer feedback to inform and adjust your strategy to address and fit your audience’s needs.

Aside from improved customer experience, social listening can help you develop fresh ideas based on global or industry trends. You can look at “hot topics” or the latest topics people are discussing, assess which topics are unpopular, and avoid broaching that topic yourself.

6. Refine your content to fit the platform

Twitter deals with fast-paced and short-form information.
This means that your text and images should be able to capture attention and convey a message quickly. So, it’s critical to identify which specific types of content do well on Twitter:

  • Pop culture trends and news. Being on top of pop culture trends and current news is a great way to break the ice with your audiences. The upside to this is that your brand will be viewed as “in the know” and therefore connected, updated, and relevant to the content it is publishing. The possible downside to this is falling into the habit of being too reliant on trends, even when they do not resonate with your audience. So if you ever think of using trends and current events for your content, be discerning about which ones you leverage.
  • Humor. Using wit and humor in your content is a great way to engage your customers. Being able to dole and take a joke will make your audience feel seen and make your brand seem more approachable. But when dealing with humor and jokes, ensure the content somehow connects to your business. After all, your goal is ultimately to promote your brand, not to become a comedian.

7. Don’t copy-paste content from your other channels

For a customer to value your social media presence, you need to consider that if they already follow you on multiple social networks, your brand would need to provide a unique experience for each of them.

Find creative and fresh ways to convey the same message. This means not using the exact copy across channels. Experiment with the length or even in the use of emojis, for example.

Give your audience a reason to still look you up on Twitter, even if they’ve already seen you post on Instagram or TikTok.

8. Don’t buy followers. Earn them

It is tempting to buy followers to boost Twitter metrics.

But this is not a smart idea. Doing so won’t help your business in the long run.

Bought followers aren’t going to read or interact with your content. Furthermore, should your customers find that you’ve beefed your following through means generally considered unethical (and most of them will, especially if your audience is internet savvy), you’re guaranteed that they will not view your company in a good light.

Instead of these shortcuts, focus on engaging content that draws in new audiences. Invite existing audiences on different platforms to follow you on Twitter. Add your Twitter handle to your email campaigns or post-purchase postcards.

Twitter will broadcast promoted tweets to a bigger audience. You can also pay Twitter for promoted tweets and Twitter ads to grow your audience. Promoted tweets will have more impressions than organic tweets. They look just like regular tweets and function the same way.

Twitter ads can let you promote multiple tweets or content or run a campaign. But because ads are marked as advertising, many users have learned to ignore them. So experiment in small batches before investing in advertising on Twitter.

And if your business has the financial and organizational bandwidth to do so, consider an online contest such as a raffle or a limited-time-only discount made available to those who follow your brand’s Twitter account.

9. Schedule your posts, share consistently, and monitor results

Lastly, businesses and marketers will want to determine how active you will be on Twitter. How often should you tweet?

92% of companies on Twitter tweet more than once a day. 42% of businesses claim to tweet one to five times a day, while some 19% say they tweet six to ten times daily.

You’ll need to find a sweet spot that makes sense for your business and target audience. Remember that your audience isn’t on Twitter solely for your brand. So allow breathing room between your tweets to let your audience consume other content.

And to make it easier to schedule tweets and not overwhelm followers, use a Twitter scheduling tool like Buffer.

You might also want to take your initial tweets to experiment with posting times for your tweets. Typically, follow and observe audience behavior during your first three months on Twitter to get a clearer picture of when your target is most active on the platform.

This is where Twitter’s default analytics are helpful. Twitter’s reporting shows you which content is popular, and you can use the conditions of your most popular tweet, from content type to when it was published, as a jumping-off point in testing content posting times and days.

It will take time to build an audience; sometimes, it may feel like no one is responding to your tweets. But that is just the nature of the game. You need to keep at it. Be consistent with your posting schedule and the quality of content you publish. Sooner or later, your audience will find you.

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