Twitter is a fantastic platform for businesses to connect with potential and existing customers, industry leaders and other companies. Simply speaking, Twitter is a real-time information network that lets people share information instantly and reach out to other users.
The statistics available about Twitter usage in 2014 make for impressive reading. The platform boasts 284 million monthly active users and 500 million Tweets are sent every day. Eighty percent of people access Twitter from their mobile phone, which means that it can be managed and used for active engagement no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
The 140-character limit to each Tweet makes for a platform that is focused, fast-moving and contains a wealth of information and potential.
Twitter has its own language in many ways and it’s worth spending a bit of time wrapping your head around Tweets, Retweet, hashtags and Twitter hours before you start using the platform because how you use the features of the platform will impact on how successful it is for your business. We covered the language of Twitter in a recent blog – What are they talking about? Social media jargon buster- Part One.
So, how can you get your business active on Twitter? The first step is to set up a Twitter account – we’ll be walking you through the process in this blog.
Setting up a Twitter account
Step 1: Understand your audience
Your Twitter profile shows the world who you are. When you’re using Twitter for business, it’s important that elements such as the profile picture, your username, bio and header image all reflect your brand.
Step 2: Create an account
When you go to https://twitter.com for the first time, you’ll be presented with a welcome screen and the option to log in if you already have account or to ‘Sign up for Twitter’. On this initial page, the sign up box will prompt you to enter:
- Your full name
- Your email address
- A password
Once you click on ‘Sign up for Twitter’, you will be taken to a screen headed ‘Join Twitter today’ which will prompt you to choose your username. This will be your Twitter handle, the name that everyone will see you as and that will appear in Tweets, Retweets and replies. There is an option to change it at a later date.
Once you have entered your username, you click to confirm you want to set up an account.
Step 3. Set your preferences
You will initially be taken to a Welcome page. Click on the ‘Let’s go’ button to be taken to Step 2 of 6 in the initial set up process.
On this page, you can choose one or more options from the list above and Twitter will show you recommendations of profiles to follow within these categories. This is the first of several opportunities to connect with profiles that relate to your sector or that might be followed by your potential customers.
Once you have ticked one or more boxes, Step 3 of 6 will give you a list of recommendations for profiles to follow based on your interests. If there are any profiles on this list that you don’t want to follow, simply click on the cross next to them.
Step 4: Upload your profile picture
On Step 4 of 6, you will be given the opportunity to upload your profile picture. If you want people to connect with you as a person, you might want to include a picture of yourself or if you feel it is important to present your brand, you may want to add your company logo here.
Twitter says that the ideal size for your profile picture is 400 x 400 pixels. You can either take a photo there and then or upload one you already have. Use an image that fits with your brand and has been professionally taken, if possible.
Step 5: Find people you know
At this stage, Twitter gives you the opportunity to find people on Twitter that you already know by searching your AOL, Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo address books. Alternatively, you will find the option to ‘skip this step’ to the bottom right of the screen,
Step 6: Confirm your email address
Twitter will send an email to the address you gave on the initial sign-up screen, asking you to confirm your email address in order to be able to access all of Twitter’s features. Simply open your inbox, find the email from Twitter and click the ‘Confirm now’ button in the email. Back on Twitter, you will see a message saying your account has been confirmed.
Step 7: Customise your profile
Before you send your first Tweet, it’s a good idea to make sure your profile is complete. To the top right of the screen, you’ll see a small thumbnail of your profile picture in between the ‘Search Twitter’ bar and the ‘Tweet’ button. Click on this thumbnail for a list of options and choose ‘View profile’.
Twitter will take you to screen which shows that it has composed a first Tweet for you (hold off sending that for now). In the sidebar to the right, you will see some more recommendations of profiles to follow and a list of hashtags that are currently trending. Above this sidebar, you’ll find the ‘Edit profile’ option.
In the ‘Edit profile’ screen, you can:
- Add a header photo – this large image at the top of your page is another opportunity to present your brand (the recommended dimensions are 1500 x 500 pixels)
- Change your profile picture
- Change your name
- Add a short biography of up to 160 characters – this is a great opportunity to tell people what you do at a glance
- Add your location
- Add your web address
- Change the theme colour
When you’re done, simply click on ‘Save changes’.
Step 8: Send your first Tweet
Once you are happy with how your profile looks, you are ready to send your first Tweet. You can either use one of the options Twitter has created for you or compose your own. Once you’re happy with what you’re saying, click on the Tweet button.
And you’re done! All that remains is to find people, businesses and profiles you want to follow and begin building up your audience and engagement. A good rule of thumb is to send at least three Tweets daily, making them a mix of business-related, promotional, fun and interesting, links to your blog posts. Aim to Retweet at least two Tweets from profiles you follow every day and to follow 10 new profiles per week.
Do you have a Twitter page? Why not share your handle and who you’re looking to connect with in the Comments below?
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