Over the past month, we’ve received a number of questions about how to get started on Twitter. There is a tremendous opportunity to build up relationships with existing customers and to forge new ones with potential customers over this platform. However, Twitter is not for every small business owner and is a platform that takes a tremendous amount of time to build and grow. Unlike some other social media properties, Twitter is a real time engagement tool that if used properly can yield great results. But if the proper time and effort isn’t put forth from the beginning, there’s little point in signing up at all.
One of the most common questions we get is, “What is Twitter, and how do I use it for my business?” The answer is pretty simple. Twitter is a real time messaging platform that allows you to send, receive and respond to short messages through the Twitter website. As you build up followers (and those following you) you’ll be able to send out information about you, your business, your products, your sales and anything else you find pertinent. You can also interact with customers one-on-one and answer questions they might have.
In today’s post we’ll walk you through the steps to get you started on Twitter and offer some tips to help you get off on the right foot.
To get started head over to www.twitter.com and click the yellow “Sign Up” button. You can also check out Twitter’s video on the sign up page for more details.
When you land on the “Join the Conversation” page, you’ll be asked to enter your name, user name, password and email. Please note that you can only have one account per email address.
There is also a chance that your desired Twitter handle has been taken already; if that is the case, try to pick a handle that your customers can identify with. For example if you own Franks’ Pizza and the user name is taken try something like Frank_Pizza or FranksZaNYC
When all of this information is complete, click the “Create my Account” button to create the account.
Congratulations, you have a Twitter account! Now what?
To get started Twitter offers you the option to find friends by interest or by email address. If you have your customers’ contacts in a mail platform like AOL, Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail, you can click the icon on this page to see which ones are on Twitter and follow them. You can also look for people by common interest or location. You can follow this blog on Twitter here and Vistaprint here, for example.
Before you get started Tweeting you will want to make sure that you brand your page; to do this, click the setting button under the dropdown menu in the top right of the page. Once there click the design button where the site allows you change font color, links, background and also lets you upload an image to use as the background for your page. When finished, click the “Save Changes” button to complete this step.
After designing the layout of the page, click the profile link in the settings area to fill in your location, website, bio and upload an image or logo. Be sure to fill out your location with city and state as this allows you to be found easy in a local search. In your bio, be sure to offer pertinent information for your business as well as hours of operations. If you plan to only use Twitter during certain times, be sure to list those times to set customer expectations up front.
After adding in all of this information, you will need to decide between using a logo or a picture as your “avatar.” There is no right or wrong answer, but if the account will be manned by multiple people, you might want to add the company’s logo. If you will be the only person, you can add a photo, but in our experience using a logo for business purpose gives you some separation from the brand on your time. You can also create a personal account to interact with friends and network with other business owners across the globe. When everything is all set, you are finished and have a completed your Twitter profile.