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Marketing - 9 min READ

How Small Businesses Can Master Twitter

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Author photo: Darryl Villacorta

Darryl Villacorta

Content & Community Marketing Manager

It’s no secret that social media trends come and go. That said, Twitter has managed to stand the test of time (13 years so far, to be exact).

And although Twitter is no longer a shiny new toy for companies and consumers, it still remains one of the staple social media channels for small businesses.

It’s hard to find a business that isn’t active on Twitter in some way, shape, or form. Meanwhile, a staggering 93% of people follow SMBs on Twitter which they plan on purchasing from in the future.

Worried that it’s too late to master Twitter as a small business? Think again. In fact, getting started and growing your Twitter presence for scratch is much easier than you might think.

In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about Twitter for small businesses, including:

Why Twitter matters so much for small businesses

At a glance, some business owners might look at Twitter and think “Why bother?”

Fact: 85% of consumers cite Twitter as their go-to channel for handling customer service concerns with businesses. Business owners on Twitter are empowered to connect with their target audience and interact directly.

Oh, and Twitter’s simple setup and upkeep is also a huge bonus for busy business owners. With minimal creatives to worry about and only 280 characters per post, Twitter is easy to get started and stick with.

How to set up your Twitter business profile

Unlike other social networks, taking to Twitter doesn’t require a separate business account if you’re a small business.

Below we’ll walk you through some key points to consider as you put together your Twitter profile.

Choose a branded Twitter handle

This might seem like a no-brainer—but it’s worth mentioning.

Ideally, your Twitter handle should be the same as your business’ name or whatever handle you use for other social media profiles.

Don’t panic if your business’ name is taken.

Many brands simply tack on “Inc” or “App” to their username depending on their business. For example, Copper’s Twitter handle is @CopperInc and Sparkmail’s is @SparkMailApp:

Make your profile photos count

Imagery is important when it comes to Twitter for small businesses.

After all, the profile images are likely the first pieces of your profile that your followers will notice.

For profile pictures, the majority of businesses on Twitter use sleek, minimalist logos as opposed to slogans or pictures of employees:

Given that your profile picture is limited to 400x400 pixels, you need something that’ll show up clearly on mobile without getting cut off or distorted.

On the flip side, your cover photo is a massive 1500x500 pixels which means you’ll need to find a large, high-res image that fits your brand. Many businesses use this real estate to show off their slogan or a picture of their team: as long as your cover photo isn’t grainy and is relevant to your company, you’re golden.

Tools such as Canva are awesome for creating cover photos and any other type of imagery you might need for Twitter. With pre-sized templates and tons of creative options, you can whip up a free cover photo in no time flat:

Put together your Twitter bio

With 160 characters to work with, your Twitter bio is a bite-sized space to highlight your business’ goals, unique selling proposition, and/or mission statement.

There is no “right” way to put together your Twitter bio, although you’ll see many businesses include any combination of the following:

  • A company slogan
  • A one-sentence summary of a product or service
  • Emojis
  • Industry hashtags (#smallbiz)
  • A call-to-action

Here are some examples for inspiration:

Bear in mind that you only get one bio link, so it’s important to make it count.

Although you can manually track website or campaign traffic from Twitter via Google Analytics, setting up a trackable Bitly link can make it easier to see how many customers visit you directly from Twitter.

Hey, that’s exactly what Copper does:

Figure out who to follow first

The first step to building out your own following is to follow other Twitter accounts yourself.

If you’re totally new to Twitter for small businesses and don’t know where to start, it’s okay.

Twitter will automatically recommend accounts to follow, although many of them are probably unrelated to your business.

That’s why we recommend following your customers first and foremost. Rather than manually search for each and every one of your customers’ Twitter handle, the easiest way is to get your CRM to do the legwork for you.

For example, Copper automatically sources information from business contacts in your inbox—social media included:

This makes it easy to find and follow your most valuable and long-term customers to follow. These are the same people who are likely to give you a follow-back and engage with your content in the future.

Additionally, here’s a quick breakdown of other types of accounts to search for and follow as you get your Twitter presence off the ground.

  • Industry partners
  • Competitors
  • Software solutions you use
  • Local businesses
  • Employees

Don’t worry about your initial lack of followers: they’ll grow in due time.

Pick a pinned tweet

Twitter allows you to pick a single tweet which stays “pinned” atop your profile. If you’re new to Twitter, this may very well be your first tweet.

This is a prime place to list a promotion or landing page relevant to your business, especially since it’s your single tweet “above the fold” (which is essentially the first post users will see) on your account.

Most businesses use this space to highlight new products, launches, and pieces of content they consider must-see:

How to build a small business Twitter marketing strategy from the ground up

Let’s say that your Twitter business profile is set up.

Now what?

It’s time to come up with a marketing strategy.

But before you do that, we recommend spending some time navigating the platform. If you’ve only ever seen Twitter in the context of celebrities or memes, you might not have a full view of what Twitter for small businesses is all about.

Look at what brands in your space are tweeting. Note how they interact with customers. What sort of content do they post? How often are they posting?

Once you have a feel for Twitter as a platform, you can start focusing on the most important elements of your marketing strategy to build a following, interact with customers, and make your presence known in your industry.

Listen for customer questions and concerns

Twitter is such a popular channel for customer service (and its more modern evolution, customer success) not only because it’s easy for customers to tag businesses, but also because the communication process is transparent.

When someone @tags your business, your response can be seen by any Twitter user in your replies. That’s why it’s important for businesses to mind how they respond to criticism and praise alike.

The first step to monitoring questions and concerns is paying attention to your notifications. Each time someone @tags you, you’ll receive a notification. To make yourself more aware of interactions, you can likewise set up your Twitter notifications to appear on your smartphone or email if you choose:

For the sake of providing customer service and making a positive impression on customers, make a point to reply to customer tweets that come your way. Doing so signals yourself as a helping hand and active listener that wants what’s best for your customers. Here’s a great example of customer support from Gymshark:

Discover industry trends and news

Part of the beauty of Twitter for small businesses is the fact that you have a constant pulse on breaking industry news and happenings.

For example, let’s say you’re in the SaaS space. Following the #SaaS hashtag can clue you in on the latest news and articles related to your industry:

Clicking through hashtags can also introduce you to news outlets and other accounts to follow who might be relevant to your product or target audience.

Uncover customer success stories and social proof

As part of listening to your mentions, make a point to be on the look-out for customers who share positive experiences with your business.

These moments, whether in the form of shout-outs or customer photos, represent forms of social proof you can use to market your business. For example, many consumer brands like Glossier retweet customer photos to show off their products in a real-world setting:

Similarly, the Bear App will respond to and retweet customers who give them kudos:

This again speaks to the importance of monitoring your mentions and capitalizing with moments that bring you closer to your customers.

Provide updates on new products and promotions

New product or promotion? Let your Twitter followers know about it.

From upcoming webinars and events to your next big launch, a simple tweet can keep your followers in the loop:

Although you don’t want your Twitter feed to be overly promotional, you also shouldn’t let your offers and deals go without mention.

Much of mastering Twitter for small businesses is about finding a balance between the various types of content you publish and not sticking to a single type of post.

Humanize your business

One of the biggest benefits of social media for small businesses is the ability to put a face to your brand.

Whether it’s behind-the-scenes photos of your team or philanthropy, don’t be afraid to show off the human side of your business. Doing so is a low-hanging way to fill up your content calendar while also highlighting that there’s more to your business than dollars and cents:

Distribute content

Twitter is a powerful platform for content distribution, especially top-of-funnel content.

Educating your audience is a brilliant way to position yourself as a leader in your industry, as is showing off your company’s accomplishments. Brands like Moz have made a name for themselves by doing both:

Below is a breakdown of some of the various types of company content you could share:

Having a diverse content calendar keeps your feed from becoming repetitive while proving that you’re an active participant (and maybe even expert) in your industry.

Interact with customers and outreach targets

As noted in our guide to social selling on Twitter, there’s a good chance that your customers and outreach targets have a Twitter presence.

Twitter empowers you to engage with your target audience without annoying them—a simple “like,” comment or shout-out can make them aware of you and even make you stand out in their minds without coming off as pushy or salesy.

As I mentioned earlier, Copper can actually uncover the social handles of colleagues, customers, and outreach targets in your inbox.

Thanks to FullContact and EverContact, Copper can automatically populate contact information beyond just an email address—like a Twitter handle. This allows you to get in touch with relevant users on Twitter without having to search the internet for their information manually.

As long as your contact’s Twitter profile is public, Copper can find it and you can add it to your records:

Don’t be shy about following prospects and current customers alike. Nurturing customer relationships through Twitter allows you to familiarize customers with your brand and make a positive impression when it comes time to close a deal.

Promote your Twitter account

If you want to grow your Twitter presence, make sure that you put your account front and center throughout your marketing campaigns. This includes the following as a sort of starting point:

  • Your other social accounts (think: if you’re active on Facebook or Instagram, let those followers know that you have a Twitter, too)
  • Your homepage header/footer (see how ours looks below on
  • Your email newsletter and signature

Twitter best practices for small businesses

With an understanding of what Twitter marketing looks like, it’s time to review the platform’s best practices (and some common mistakes that small businesses that are new to Twitter make).

Respond to @mentions in a timely manner

Twitter mentions from customers aren’t something you should sleep on.

60% of Twitter users expect a response within an hour of reaching out. Failure to react in a timely manner could result in further complaints—or, worse yet, a lost customer.

Although it’s unrealistic to be available to customers around-the-clock, there is an expectation to at the very least reply during business hours. Companies like Publix prioritize tweeting their customers throughout the day, for example:

To keep your mentions in check, you might need to go beyond Twitter’s native platform. Tools such as Mention have free plans that notify you of mentions across all social channels, Twitter included.

With all of your company mentions in one place, there’s no need to scramble between inboxes or platforms to ensure that you're giving your customers the attention they deserve:

If you’re interested in other ways to step up your Twitter game, check out our list of social media tools that can help.

Don’t be afraid to move customer communication beyond Twitter

In the case of angry customers or in-depth discussions that require some back-and-forth, sometimes it flat out makes sense to take your customers off of Twitter.

Whether it’s an email address, phone number, or customer service page, provide your customers with the appropriate direction to get their problems solved ASAP (and potentially prevent them from leaving):

Find your brand voice

Sounding like every other company in your space isn’t going to do you any favors.

In fact, letting your personality shine through can make you seem more approachable to customers.

Loosen up. Crack a joke (when it’s appropriate). Again, social media represents a place to show off your human side.

For example, we aren’t afraid to drop some emojis and sneak a bit of humor into our tweets:

Take note of other brands’ tones on Twitter, including competitors and companies you admire. The more time you spend on the platform, the easier it is to find your voice.

Think “less is more” when it comes to hashtags

Hashtags are essentially what make your content discoverable on Twitter.

However, that’s no excuse to stuff a ton of them into your tweets.

Doing so can actually backfire and make your posts look spammy.

Conventional wisdom tells us to take a ”less is more” approach to hashtags, with Twitter themselves recommending two hashtags per post.

When in doubt, post at least once per day

What’s considered “optimal” in terms of timing and frequency on Twitter is hotly debated.

According to Sprout Social’s best times to post on social media, most businesses are tweeting multiple times per day and maximizing their engagement in mornings and early afternoons:

To use Twitter for your small businesses, you need to use your time and energy wisely. Rather than bend over backwards trying to fill up your Twitter feed, think “quality over quantity.”

Daily posts will help you stay fresh in your followers’ timelines without putting you on the path toward burnout. You can also hit on these times and save yourself some stress by scheduling your tweets in advance.

Free tools such as Twitter’s native Tweetdeck can do the trick, allowing you to queue up posts en masse. This removes the pressure of having to post in real-time and also lets you plan your content calendar days or weeks in advance so your followers don’t miss your most important announcements and promotions.

Make touchpoints with customers a priority

Whether in the form of a “like,” retweet, or reply, you should strive to interact with your customers as frequently as possible:

And again, CRM is a fantastic tool for doing just that. You can likewise take notes and keep interactions with your customers documented with the help of tools such as Copper’s activity log. In short, you have your customer relationship laid out in front of you including social questions and comments:

As part of your social selling strategy, these notes can help you better understand how to approach customers based on their history with your product.

For example, let’s say someone reached out with a service complaint or shipping problem. Were you able to fix it? Was the customer experience positive? These moments shouldn’t fall by the wayside, which is all the more reason to track them in your CRM.

Monitor your growth via analytics

Twitter’s native analytics are surprisingly robust, allowing to track everything from your follow growth to your top-performing tweets. These data points can help you guide your Twitter presence as you discover which types of content click your followers and what your sweet spot is in terms of posting frequency:

Get your colleagues and coworkers involved

Finally, growing your Twitter following long-term shouldn’t be a solo project.

Through employee advocacy and encouraging coworkers on Twitter to share your company content, you can expand your account’s reach significantly.

Publish a new blog post? Get featured in a new story? Empower your coworkers to spread the word:

And with that, we wrap up our guide!

How are you using Twitter for small business?

No matter what you’re selling, your business should have some sort of Twitter presence.

It’s an intuitive network that doesn’t require too much investment upfront, and building up your presence isn’t rocket science.

With the tips above, you can start using Twitter as a business, well, pretty much right now.

And with the help of tools such as Sprout Social and Copper, you can use your Twitter presence to nurture and win over new customers in the near future.

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Instant activation, no credit card required. Give Copper a try today.

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