Twitter tips and tricks for small business owners

Twitter is one of the world’s largest online news and social networking platforms, designed for both desktop and mobile interface. According to Twitter, as of May 2017 the monthly active users (MAU) were 328 million with an increase of 9 million users every quarter. A few of the most fundamental reasons why businesses around the world use Twitter is to drive web traffic through their Tweets (messages with a restriction of 140 characters), gain relevancy in terms of followers and drive mobile app downloads. According to Twitter, “People come to Twitter to discover what’s happening in the world right now, to share information instantly, and to spread their message to the world.” As a small business user, one important thing you would like to know would be, “Can Twitter get me more customers?”. Yes, you can use Twitter’s features to connect with your customers, generate leads, connect to influencers and tap into your local community. Twitter is a social media platform unique in its network and functioning. With inclination towards features like Twitter search, the 140 character tweets, advertising and hashtags, Huloo has carefully compiled together tips and tricks to get you started using Twitter for your small business.

Hashtags on Twitter

A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the symbol #, it serves to identify keywords pertaining to common interests or trends. This exists to easily serve content to people interested in the same thing and sometimes trends are created with Hashtags. In a nutshell hashtag equals social media grouping. For example: #wanderlust is a very popular travel and touring hashtag across a bunch of social media channels. Know your hashtags Hashtags can be used to reachout to specific target audiences. It is important to associate and identify appropriate hashtags. Checking out the native Twitter trending topics can give you the most trending and user associated hashtags easily. This information is also highly accurate and reliable. You will find this section right underneath your profile picture. You can also click change beside the “Trending Now” headline and get tailored trends orientated towards your location and preference. There is a downside to this though, Twitter only displays the most trending topics as headliners instead of displaying an array of hashtags within the topic. You will have to use a third-party application to achieve a thorough listing of trending hashtags within your desired topic, such as

Twitter trends example is a freemium based hashtag identifier service. (Some of its features are open as a paid service). The feature is not just limited to fetching out the most trending hashtags but also hashtags associated to them and influencers associated to each hashtag. Huloo Huloo is an omni channel social media management and analytics tool. It can source the most appropriate content such as blogs, articles and creatives to your business and also give recommendations concerned to your content’s theme and scheduling. The knowledge of trending topics and hashtags will allow you to have beneficial and impactful conversations with your audience. Creating your custom Twitter hashtag While the above mentioned tools are great to search and retrieve trending hashtags popular within an industry, if you want to create a niche and have your brand stand-out, you will have to have a hashtag of your own. It would surround either your business or something your business is advocating. In technical terms the hashtags are divided into two categories:1. Always on2. Campaign oriented ‘Always on’ hashtags are part of your business’ message and might include a tagline or a product. For example Apple’s #AppleWatch. Or Nike’s #justdoit.

Apple Watch example hashtag

If it is campaign oriented then it would be part of an event, promotional endeavor or theme. For example Coca Cola’s #ShareACoke.

Share A Coke hashtag example

These sort of hashtags can be pointed back to a specific campaign. Before locking onto a hashtag it’s best to search whether anybody is already using it. Also, try not to make the hashtag too long, usually hashtags are clearly ambiguous words or short phrases. Lastly, do not stuff your posts with hashtags. Twitter is not like Instagram where you would see more than 10 hashtags crammed in a post, Twitter is not very receptive to that. The best practice for hashtags is about 1-3.

Driving traffic on Twitter

If you are a small business, chances are that you will start out with rather low followers and reach. In a time where even celebrities have a hard time getting content reach due to Twitter being the noisiest social media platform there is, you will have to strategise in a manner where you would make your point or reach your target audience amidst the incredible competition there is on Twitter. Neighbourhood Approach One method of approaching Twitter would be to treat it like it is your neighbourhood locality. In this instance, neighbourhood would be your industry. It is a good idea to follow businesses within your neighbourhood, you should retweet them to your followers and these businesses would, ideally, return the favour. You should also follow local influencers and public personalities and engage in conversations with them. Keeping your ears open It is possible to search for certain specific phrases or things people tweet over Twitter using the social media platform’s Advanced Search option. It is a powerful tool on Twitter which allows you to, for example, specifically search for all the Tweets of someone within your city who said “I am looking to buy some clothes” on a particular day. You will get the results of everyone who said this and you can interact with these people or comment upon their tweet looking to link people looking to buy clothes with your clothing retail store and so on.

Twitter Advanced Search

You can find the advanced search option by starting a normal Twitter search on the website’s top right corner and then clicking upon more options beneath the search results pertaining to your query.

Finding the advanced search twitter

All about engagement on Twitter

Let’s take a look at how you can boost engagement on Twitter for your small business: - Buffer has conducted a survey which shows a 150% increase in retweets on images. Image accompanied texts are quite in vogue on Twitter and all other social media platforms alike. These images can range from simple photographs, infographics to graphical depictions pertaining to your business. - Humanised personality can be exclaimed through the use of memes and GIFs. This adds a hint of humour and fun into your posts and livens things up generally. It is rather easy to add GIFs to your Tweet, you can either search for a specific GIF in the search bar or select through some of the popular ones given already. It is important to sometimes use personal photographs and statements instead of internet memes with context to your business, this adds a tad bit more humanisation. Memes are a great way of connecting to your audiences given the assets popularity and high engagement potential. - Almost everyone likes to give a piece of their mind or in polite terms, an opinion. ‘Polls’ are a great way of achieving this on Twitter. The outcomes of these can be valuable insights into what your audience is truly thinking, loyalty towards your brand and shining light on discrepancies within your service. On your Twitter page, simply click tweet, where you will find the add poll icon to the right. Once you click upon it you will prompted to enter your question, leave multiple numerical options as answers and adjust time. The default is set for 1 day. Your poll questions should be simple, short and easy to answer. The questions can be directed towards your business, services and products. It is also highly recommended to toss in some funny polls oriented towards debates in your office, controversies and trending issues.

Twitter poll post example

- Twitter chats are an efficient way of interacting with people interested in a common topic or business. Twitter chats are conversations that revolve around a common topic in the form of a hashtag. The particular hashtags allows you to follow the discussion and also partake in them. You should keep a lookout for Twitter chats pertaining to your business. This ensures that people who are not aware of your business get a glimpse and follow you once you actively participate and add value to the discussions going on around the hashtag. - Pinning your best content to the top of your profile is a great way to showcase content you do not want any of your followers or visitors to miss. Pinning posts which are eye catching in their value and visual appeal will enhance retweets and effectively get across your brand’s message to your audience.

Pinning post on Twitter

It is great practice to include a URL in your pinned post, you can pretty much consider a pinned post on Twitter to be similar to an ad that you do not have to pay for and has a high visibility range. - Responding back to mentions and acknowledging shares, follows and appreciation is an efficient process towards ensuring continuous engagement, brand loyalty and resolving discrepancies. According to Hubspot, 72% of the people with an issue on Twitter look for a response within an hour. This said, it’s pretty important to answer or resolve issues as rapidly as possible. You can use a third party applications like Mention to keep track of queries or updates involving your business and respond to them quickly. After all, your audience are more likely to post more comments when they know you are reading and responding to each. Responding right away would also include the extension of the conversation as chances are that they might still be on your page. Little gestures pave a long way towards retaining loyalty and appreciation. - Curating content on Twitter is a means to ensure you are not self indulgent and are savvy, appreciative and acknowledging of the work of others. According to Curata, 50% of marketers have claimed an increase in their brand visibility, SEO, industry expert persona, web traffic and engagement. You also ensure there is a slight deviation of monotony of content and a more diverse experience for your audience by doing so. This content should be relevant to your target audience and business nevertheless. Connecting with influencers and curating their content is one of the safest ways to curation. Tools like Huloo can help curate and schedule your content for your small business on Twitter, saving you a lot of time. It is recommended to plan the scheduling of your content in time to ensure consistency. - Videos are without doubt the most reach and engagement orientated content assets across Twitter and other social media platforms. According to Twitter, 82% of users watch videos on the social media platform. Research says that you have all but 10 seconds or less to capture the attention of your audience. This means you need to create compelling content about your brand, culture, people and sneak-peaks into your workplace’s behind the scenes.

Further reading

Further Reading Here are some links to social media platforms and their descriptions of their functionality and utility. Facebook YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Instagram Pinterest Snapchat