Twitter isn’t merely a social media phenomenon, it’s a valuable small business marketing tool. The service provides an opportunity to interact with customers on a more informal level, crafting a personal relationship and image. As with all social media, being mindful of social user expectations can make your Twitter account more enjoyable and engaging for followers. Since Twitter conversations are public, they are a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate your responsiveness and commitment to customer service.

1. Always Build an Experience

From your account profile graphics and imagery to your tone and tweet content… EVERY aspect of your Twitter account activity should be aimed at creating a positive, engaging and memorable experience with your company’s brand.  Ask yourself, does this share (retweet, image, quote, etc…) help build a great brand experience or will it diminish a great brand experience?  Post what builds.

Your followers can be your most ardent fans and promoters, reward their social engagement with great content, fresh insight, generous thanks, special offers and other goodness that will build a positive brand image and help their total brand experience be one that makes them smile (and share!)

2. Post Frequently & Informally

It’s important to tweet enough to remain relevant without overwhelming your audience. Tweeting is a balance – some Twitter users are considered noisy because they tweet so much, while others can be regarded as standoffish when they don’t tweet enough. Since tweets have a short life cycle, it’s wise to post frequently. A good rule of thumb when starting out is to post at least five tweets a day. You’ll probably find yourself tweeting more frequently over time as you engage in conversations around topics, trends, brand experiences and customer feedback, but 5 a day is a good place to start.

Have some fun engaging with customers, friends, and industry colleagues.  Use the informal short conversational medium to answer shopper questions, say thanks and share good news and special opportunities.  Keep their overall experience in mind as you tweet and grow your follower base.

3. Remember it’s for Them (not You)

While it’s important to be heard from regularly, talking with your Twitter followers is far more effective than talking at them. Self-promotion is sometimes necessary, but it’s important to limit the number of marketing-toned tweets you send out.  It’s more effective to add interest by including something beneficial to readers.  This might be a sneak peek video, an advance look at a new product line, or inspirational or humorous content. For every link of your own that you tweet, consider sending out at least five tweets that inform, engage, and entertain your audience. If you only produce promotional tweets you’re unlikely to build a large audience or keep them for long.

4. Be Positive and Professional

Don’t use ALL CAPS (ever).  Skip the sarcasm (I know it can be hard!).  Use #hashtags, but search them first and make sure you know what you’re really saying.  And be prepared to be kind, patient, positive and professional when your customer is upset.

Handling criticism improperly can result in a permanent bruise on your brand.  If you’ve made a mistake, apologize and make it right.  Even if you believe the negative comments are unjust or unfounded, extend a polite offer to make it right. Be willing to investigate and make sure you know what happened.  A customer complaint can be an opportunity to improve.  Ask the customer to call you and discuss how you can make it right.  In some cases, that level of personal service turns an upset customer into a very big fan.

5. Investigate Twitter for Business Tools

When you see what resonates best with your followers and have something that’s doing well in actions and engagement, stretch that reach with some promotion through Twitter Ads.  Take steps like developing Twitter Cards for your business website, app or content.  Learn more about how Twitter for Business tools can help you increase your reach and returns.

Twitter is continually rolling out new features and training to help businesses be successful.  A little time learning can really make your social impact greater on Twitter’s platform.
Twitter is a community, and to be a full member, you need to participate. Instead of simply tweeting posts daily, join in on conversations relevant to your business.  Follow others, respond to questions, and engage in discussions on a regular basis by making thoughtful contributions. If you’re building followers and they’re responding positively to what you’re sharing, you’ll know you’re on the right track.


Cindy is the founding President at 17blue Digital Marketing. She's passionate about helping businesses reach their goals and impact their communities.