How to use Twitter for Business: Expert tips from Cathy Larkin
I wanted to make sure we where covering how to use twitter as a business here on GigCoin so I caught up with her on using twitter for business.
Here’s what we discussed:
How to brand your twitter account if you are a business? Name of business, person behind the account?
For larger businesses, business name as username (if it fits, tells what the company does etc) with the person running the account’s name as the real name ( or put their @username in bio). For smaller businesses, often a memorable username that says what you do, & put your real name in the real name spot (to help people search/find you). Many businesses waste that opportunity and have biz name or real name in both spots.
Tips for maximizing your twitter bio description?
You need to balance sharing who you are with what you do and still make it interesting. Make sure you have personality in the bio. I think @shashib is a good example because he clearly says what he does and who he is.
Importance of investing in a branded twitter background?
I wouldn’t waste time or money on this – with smartphones and third-party tools – you hardly see it.
How much time/content does it take to build a presence on twitter?
I’ve started some clients with just four tweets a day – two personal and two business, and follow two new people or accounts a day, then once they are comfortable add two retweets and two interactions daily, and follow a few more people. 10-15 minutes is a place to start for the busy small biz owner. The more time you invest wisely, the more useful connections you can make, and community you can build. Set up Twitter lists to help you group people you interact with, and to quickly find content to retweet. As your following gets larger, having lists gets more and more useful. Here are lists of mine that might be useful: @CathyWebSavvyPR/small-business or @CathyWebSavvyPR/branding-marketing-pr
Sharing your content versus others content? Recommended ratio?
I am less focused on ratios now, but I do give guidelines for those new to twitter. After identifying who your intended audience is, and what their needs/interests are – then work on serving up content that meets their needs and is useful to them. I suggest shooting for 60/20/20:
- 60 % Other people’s content – retweeting others tips, blog posts, links etc (after having first read them, and maybe even commented on them in a way that ads to the conversation, not in a spammy way); Setting up Google alerts, and subscribing to selected blogs to pull (and tweet) content from them that is fresh – on the 3-5 topics you think your audience wants to hear about.
- Then 20% your own content, your blog posts; guest blog posts; your tips, tricks and helpful ideas, and an occasional sales pitch.
- 20% interactions, conversation, engaging your audience. Participating in chats can fill this component if you find it hard to do at first.
You want, over time, to become a helpful resource in your area of expertise.
Can you provide examples of the type of tweets you do?
This is an example of my own content: it’s a tip that I tweet every few days – when I am leaving twitter for a while – it is something useful to my followers and almost always gets a few retweets:
This next one is an example of a retweet. I selected 3-5 topics that my audience wants to hear about form me: PR, blogging social media, small business and tech trends:
Tweeting occasionally about my personal interests – gardening/the outdoors, non-profits, the Philly area, photography & pottery- is natural, and shows that I am a real person. I’m not just another PR hack.
I also try to help people and answer simple Twitter, PR or small biz questions when I see them. People buy from people they like, not from logos or companies; especially via social media.
How about Twitter chats?
Chats (people use selected #hashtags like #BlogChat to talk about the same topic at a selected time) is a great way to meet other professionals in your field and potential client. To find a chat you are interested in try this Twitter chat list.
Which twitter accounts would you recommend a small biz follow?
Do tweets convert into sales? Got any examples?
Yes. I have gotten clients from my Twitter activity, and from my Twitter activity combined with my blog, and LinkedIn activity. If your customers and prospective clients are active on Twitter, they will look at the interactions of you and your company. I also know that @SmallBizLady created a community and sold the initial printing of her book, “Become your own Boss in 12 Months”. The platform I helped her start and that she built on Twitter through #smallbizchat (Weds. night 8 pm ET), along with the launch of her blog, definitely helped her sell books.
I was involved with a very creative promotion run by a larger company, they showed a 500% increase in sales of the specific product being promoted during a one-week intensive social media promotion; engagement of Twitter fans was one of the main promo vehicles.
Any DO NOT DO on twitter advice?
- Beware of sending bad auto DMs (some services let you set up an automatic direct message to all new followers – DON’T do it. It’s SPAM)
- Do not link all of your twitter activity to Facebook or Linked-In; be selective.
- Don’t tweet about stuff that will come back to haunt you.
- Do not use @replies to sell. Use to engage.
Tools to make twitter easier to manage?
Hootsuite, Seesmic, Tweetdeck (although I prefer Twitter’s own web app, although Twitter just bought Tweetdeck so the jury is out on its future), smartphone apps, Bit.ly ( to shorten links and see stats). For participating in chats – Tweetgrid (party mode) and Tweetchat.
How should twitter integrate with your other social accounts?
DON’T hook all of your accounts Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter so that all messages you send to one, repeat on the others. What works one place does not necessarily work in others. However, integrating your activities is a crucial thing that people don’t do enough. DO talk about different aspects of the same topics on different sites. When I write a post about blogging for business, I spend some of my social media activity that week talking about aspects of blogging for business, I answer questions about blogging on Twitter and LinkedIn, and I often get business from those combined activities.
My top takeaways:
Be human and personable: Spend most of the time sharing others content and engaging: Twitter is not the “me show”. Add personality to your bio and your stream. Spend more time engaging than selling. Avoid using @replies and DMs to sell.
Customize your approach to twitter and to each social network: You need to figure out what content and topics work for your business (and customers); you want to become a trusted resource. Be consistent and strategic on the topics you focus on but customize for each social network you target.
Automate and use your time wisely: use tools to schedule a small percentage of your tweets and focus on topics that are related to your expertise and business.
Make sure to follow Cathy (@CathyWebSavvyPR) and if you have any questions on how to use twitter please ask!
Is your business using twitter? Share what’s worked for you!