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How to get started with Twitter

October 6, 2011

Love it or hate it, Twitter – the latest social media phenomenon – has grown at an astonishing rate in recent years.

Twitter allows you to post small SMS-size bits of information about yourself or your business on to your own dedicated page. To achieve ‘success’ on Twitter, you need to encourage other users to become your ‘followers’, which will the propogate your messages to an ever-growing audience (that’s the plan anyway).

So, here are some tips to help small businesses get started on Twitter.

Top Twitter tips

1. Sign up for a new Twitter account using a sensible, future-proof name. Either your business name, or something related to it. As with all naming ideas, it’s best to avoid trademarks or names associated with famous people or brands – just in case.

2. You can tailor the look and feel of your page, even adding a graphical background which could include your business logo. Or, keep it simple like we do at Bytestart.

3. Search for other Twitter users in a similar industry-area to yours, people who will be responsive to your business messages. These are potential ‘followers’ of your messages. One way to encourage someone to follow you is to initially ‘follow’ them. If they are interested in your message, they’re likely to follow you back.

4. Try to post on a daily basis, perhaps a few times per day. You can even use various Twitter ‘add-ons’ including twitterfeed which will simply extract any headlines from your business site and such them into Twitter to save time.

5. Post concise and interesting messages. Fortunately, the whole premise of Twitter forces you to compact anything you want to say into small, meaningful chunks.

6. Post links to other useful resources in your area of business or interest. Although the Bytestart team are ‘moderate’ users of the service, we often find links to useful news items and business guides via Twitter, which might otherwise not surface on Google right away.

7. The more fanatical Twitter user may enjoy applications such as TweetDeck, which makes posting, messaging, and keeping up-to-date with Twitter and other social networking sites a breeze. It may also seriously eat into the amount of time you actually spend on work!

8. Always reply to ‘direct messages’ from other Twitter users. You’d be surprised by the amount of people in your business area who may in touch – this can lead to future business opportunities.

Good for business?

Like Facebook, Twitter can provide useful branding and contact opportunities for small businesses, but if you spend too much time on social networking sites, they can seriously detract from your business health – especially if you end up competing with other users for the largest number of ‘friends’ you can attract!

We tend to view Twitter, and similar sites as one single marketing strand you can exploit to your business advantage, best used in association with other web marketing efforts (including the essential task of climbing up the Google search engine rankings).

If you’d like to follow our daily site updates, simply ‘follow us’ at http://www.twitter.com/bytestart.