New to Twitter? 5 quick tips to get you started

Twitter is a valuable marketing tool, which allows businesses to build meaningful connections with a relevant audience in real-time. If handled correctly, these connections can lead to a new network of loyal customers.

Twitter has over 320 million active users worldwide and over 7.2 million in South Africa 61% of these South African users visit Twitter every day and more than 30% engage several times a day. That’s a lot of opportunity to reach new customers.

Want to learn more? Here are 5 tips to help you get started.


To Tweet or Not to Tweet


New social media apps are launched constantly and deciding which channels to feature your business on can be somewhat overwhelming. Before blindly signing up for a multitude of social media accounts you may not have the resources to manage, first ask yourself which are the right platforms for you.

To tweet or not to tweet, that is the (business) question. The answer? That depends on whether it will have a direct benefit to your business. Consider where your target audience spends time online; these demographic statistics are widely available across the Internet. Consider, also, the age of your target audience. In South Africa, 53% of Twitter users are between the ages of 25 and 44. 29% are aged 16-24, and the remaining 18% are over 55.

If your target audience isn’t on Twitter, you shouldn’t be either.


Creating an Attractive Twitter Profile


First things first. If you’ve decided that tweeting is the right way to go, you need to sign up for a Twitter account. This is easy enough but the tricky bit comes in when choosing a handle or @username because you’re limited to just 15 characters. Every element of your profile should aptly reflect your business identity.

Your handle is your business’s unique identifier and should be your company name or relevant to it. If your audience searches for you on Twitter you certainly want them to find you!

Next, upload a profile photo which should be a good quality company logo 400×400 pixels in size.  Then comes your bio which has a 160 character limit so you need to be creative with how you describe your business.

You can also add a header image (recommended size 1500×500 pixels). It’s a great way to visually advertise your business to users visiting your profile.


Understanding the basics


Before diving straight in, it’s important to understand how to construct a tweet and the different types. Twitter is not just about following people and pushing brand messages out to your audience, it’s about engagement. Well-crafted tweets have the power to draw your audience into a conversation that goes both ways and convert them into customers.

A tweet can contain no more than 140 characters. Here are the different types:

  • Normal tweets:  a message posted to Twitter.
  • Mention:  a tweet containing another user’s Twitter username using the “@” symbol.
  • Replies:  a tweet that begins with another user’s @username and is in reply to one of their tweets.
  • Retweet:  a re-posting of someone else’s tweet which is easily done through Twitter’s retweet feature, with the option of including a comment.


Build a content strategy


Conversations on Twitter are very much like the face-to-face encounters you have with clients on a daily basis. You wouldn’t just tell them about a new product or service and immediately walk away; in the same way you want to establish and maintain an ongoing dialogue on Twitter.

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your Twitter efforts it’s imperative to devise a content plan to steer you. Make a list of what you want to say and craft tweets that best promote this while encouraging engagement.

Use Twitter to:

  • Promote new products, services or offers
  • Answer questions about your products or services
  • Share news about your industry
  • Let people know what’s happening in your company


Grow and engage your followers


Once your Twitter profile is up and running it’s important to drive your audience to your Twitter feed. Include a Twitter follow button on your website, or include the icon in your email signatures and on your business cards.

There are over 500 million tweets a day worldwide, so to grow your following it’s vital to post relevant and engaging content to make you stand out from the crowd. People will also take notice of you if you join existing conversations by searching for industry hashtags (#); and being generous with retweeting others is a sure-fire way to garner both favour and followers.



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