Gone are the days when Twitter was a punch line. It’s true, your uncle doesn’t care what you had for lunch – but now most of us understand that’s not really what Twitter is about anyway, at least for businesses.
Today Twitter is an extremely important channel for connecting with both potential and existing customers.
Here are some Twitter tips for small businesses.
1. Invest some time making your Twitter profile look good. Make sure your small avatar is cropped correctly; it should be square and for the best resolution save and upload it at 300 x 300 pixels.
In terms of Twitter header size (i.e. the background behind your avatar), the recommended size is 1252 pixels by 626 pixels – a big horizontal rectangle.
The best brands on Twitter make sure their pages look sharp; it doesn’t bode well if your pictures are too big or too small and get cut off at wrong points. It looks, well, amateurish.
2. The Ratio is important. We all want more followers but that doesn’t mean you should go follow hundreds of people every day with the hopes that a few follow you back. Actually, that is not a terrible strategy except that after a few days you should go back and unfollow most of the people who didn’t follow you back. There are some good tools for seeing who never followed you – one is JustUnfollow.
The reasons for keeping your ratio of following to followers at or near 1:1 are mostly for appearances. But that doesn’t mean they’re superficial; conventional wisdom is that the worse the ratio the spammier the account. The more spammy the account, the less likely you are to get high-value, engaged followers (i.e. real ones). People are also less likely to “favorite” or retweet what you put out there.
3. Consider a vanity domain shortener. One of Twitter’s biggest functions — on top of connecting with your audience and boosting brand recognition – is driving traffic to your site. And of course the most direct way to do that is by putting down links in Twitter.
Sometimes links are too long and/or ugly for tweets, so we use url shorteners like bitly to make them fit and look tidy. What isn’t as widely known is that it’s fairly easy and super cheap to get rid of the “bitly” in your shortened url, while still using the bitly service. The best way to do this is to go shopping for a short domain related to yours on Domainr. For example, Kabbage used Kabbage.io – it’s just another way of getting our brand out there, by embedding it in every tweet. No need to spend a ton of money on Domainr, maybe $50 max. Next, follow these steps to get your custom url shortener up and running, and you should be good to go.
4. Follow accounts that follow your competitors. It’s not sneaky, just smart – these people are clearly interested in topics central to your area of businesses. Not only are they more likely to follow you back, they will be much more interested in your content than the general audience. They might even buy something!
5. Don’t tweet too much, or too little. Opinions vary widely here, but all Twitter users know an annoying account (or person) when they see one. And of course the best remedy for an annoying tweeter is a simple unfollow – try to avoid that fate.
You also don’t want to have a dormant account, which people can forget about. The humble opinion here is to tweet between 1 and 10 times per day – no more, no less.
6. Start tweeting as a hobby, not a profession. Your business is small. Your time is precious and valuable. The reality is you’re not going to make ten thousand dollars a week from Twitter, at least at the start. There’s no need to stretch the balance sheet to bring in a “social media” expert to a team of 2-3 people. Just learn the ropes yourself via experience and check in a few times per day when you have a free moment. Eventually, if you start gaining traction, re-evaluate your needs with regards to investment of time and money.
The most important thing is to figure out what your aims are, listen to the feedback of your Twitter community, and start conquering the world — 140 characters at a time.