Eighty-three percent of Fortune 500 companies have Twitter accounts. Brands with the largest followers include Google, Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, Walt Disney, Verizon Communications, Coca-Cola, American Express and Nike. Do they need to work to increase their Twitter following? Of course they do. Otherwise other brands would be on top. As a small business, however, one needs to strategize and take smart steps to build your brand.

If you are wondering why you should bother having a page on Twitter, then consider the fact that these brands are on Twitter even though they are popular throughout the world. It is worth the effort of building your brand on Twitter, no matter how popular or unfamiliar your brand is.

Make sure you take a look at the checklist below before you start promoting your brand on Twitter:

Check the demographics of your audience. If your demographics are on the younger side of the population, then you need a Twitter presence. A recent study shows that Twitter is used most by people aged 18 to 24, while the second largest category of Twitter users are aged 30 to 49. The male and female Twitter user ratio is almost equal. Check your user demographics in Google Analytics under 'Audience', as shown below:

User Demographics on Google Analytics

Keep an eye on your competitors' Twitter strategy. If your competitors are good at building their social media audience, learn from their Twitter pages. Luckily you do not have to follow them to see their tweets, just look at the Twitter pages that your competitors follow and the pages that follow them. Go through these Twitter pages to see if there is anything you could do differently from them to woo your audience. Come up with ideas to set your brand apart from your competition on Twitter.

Choose an appropriate tool to schedule your Twitter updates. Tweeting a very intriguing update at a bad time means that your efforts are futile, as the majority of your audience will miss it. Here is a post that talks about how to time your tweets. If you are too busy to tweet manually, maintain your tweeting schedule with these social media management tools.

Now that you are all set to start your Twitter promotions, here are some tips to help you achieve maximum brand exposure on Twitter and earn customers.

1. Enhance your Twitter Page's Appearance:

Your brand is a reflection of your business ethics and your brand page appearance on Twitter contributes to this in many ways.

Quick Tips:

  • Use a high quality picture of your logo as your profile picture. NOTE: You can also use your face as your profile picture to give it a human touch. For instance, if you have given public appearances in conferences and seminars or appear in local TV ads, it is best to use your own picture as a representative of your brand. If you do use your picture make sure it is a headshot so that your face is seen easily in the profile picture thumbnail.
  • If your logo contains words, make sure they are readable in your thumbnail profile picture.
  • Grab the attention of your followers with a stunning header image. The ideal dimensions of the header image should be 1252px x 626px for optimal viewing on all devices. Take a look at the WooRank Twitter business page header image below:

Customized Twitter Profile

  • Personalize your Twitter background design with the color and theme of your brand. You can use custom designs available on Twitter.

2. Write a Compelling Twitter Bio:

If you want to gain followers on Twitter in order to grow your brand further, you need to convince people to follow you based on the content in your Twitter bio. The space is restricted to just 140 characters, so Twitter allows you to post a web link in your bio. You can post a link to your website, your blog page, an author bio page, or a custom Twitter landing page.

Quick Tips:

  • Twitter bios appear in search results. Make sure you insert the right keywords in a readable form.
  • Your keywords must be popular search terms and not technical jargon (check our our post on keyword research tools
  • Make your bio a short explanation of what your company does, as in the sample screenshot above.
  • Do not make it a sales pitch.
  • Make sure there are no spelling and grammar mistakes.

3. Know Your Followers:

Unless you know who your target audience is on Twitter, you cannot build a successful Twitter promotion strategy. So, here are a few tools that help you detect who your followers might be before you build your brand on Twitter.

Quick Tools:

  • Followerwonk: In the free version of this tool, you get to see and compare who follows your competitors and who your competitors follow. You are required to tweet about the tool for a free sign up.
  • Mentionmap: A free tool that helps you track your brand or keyword mentions on Twitter.
  • TweetReach: This free tool lets you analyze who mentions your competitor's brand the most.

4. Crafting Tweets:

You do not have to plan every tweet in advance but to kick start your Twitter promotion you will need a strategy to tweet certain messages in a certain way in order to garner follower attention.

Quick Tips:

  • You must not sound overly promotional on social media. This is easy to say but difficult to deliver. Tweets can be both promotional and non-promotional and a smart and organized mixture of the two will help keep your followers' attention. So, if you are promoting a coupon, an offer or simply new products/services, go ahead tweet about it. However, make sure you also offer some useful information in your tweets, like a tip of the day. Plan the ratio of promotional and non-promotional tweets that you would like to deliver in a week.
  • Use appropriate hashtags on your tweets. You will learn more about hashtags in the following tip.
  • The time of day you tweet is important to keep in mind. You do not want to miss an important category of followers that may retweet you because of bad timing. If these followers are available when you are not able to tweet, use one of the social media management tools here to schedule your tweets.
  • Follow others in your industry (preferably ones with many followers) and retweet them with a mention of their name. Start your tweet with RT @username. You can find these influential tweeters in your niche by doing a Twitter search for keyword hashtags or through social media management tools such as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or other tools such as Listorious.

Below is a sample screenshot of a retweet with @username.

A Sample @username Retweet

  • Handle your customer complaints, feedback, questions and suggestions by addressing them on Twitter, as shown in the sample below:

Handle Customers on Twitter

  • Plan the number of tweets you want to deliver on a regular basis. Tweeting too much looks like spammy behavior, while tweeting inconsistently may make your profile inactive. We suggest tweeting a few times throughout the day.
  • It is found that Tweeting for business is not effective during weekends, unless it is a holiday-related tweet. Schedule your tweets accordingly.
  • If a trending topic on Twitter has to do with your business, grab the opportunity to use the trending hashtag and tweet a relevant message with it.
  • Funny and witty tweets can go viral instantly. Add some humor to your tweets whenever relevant.

5. Use of Hashtags:

The use of hashtags (#) in tweets is equivalent to the use of keywords for SEO. The hashtagged keyword features you in search results for that particular tag. Take, for example, the hashtag #WooRank that brings in the following results:

Using Hashtags on Twitter

Hashtags have become so popular that they are being used in places other than Twitter, such as seminars, conferences, email signatures and so on.

Quick Tips:

  • Find trending hashtags using tools such as whatthetrend, twubs and hashtags.org. Use them whenever relevant.
  • Do not stuff your tweets with hashtags. Below is an example of a hashtag-stuffed tweet. Since the tweeter is popular in his niche, it does not affect him much. However, it is certainly not recommended for business page tweets.

Example of a Hashtag-Stuffed Tweet

  • Use hashtags that are relevant to the content in the link you post in your tweet.
  • It is not compulsory to use hashtags every time you tweet, so if you are tweeting important information to your followers and want to keep it straightforward and neat, avoid hashtags.

6. Use Twitter for Sales:

You can offer incentives or prizes to your followers for retweeting or mentioning your brand on Twitter.

Quick Tips:

  • If you are promoting sales use popular hashtags such as #coupon, #deals and #bargain.
  • You can earn followers via your tweets by advertising that the next 30 followers will receive a 50 percent discount on your products or services (or whatever you want to offer).
  • Ask for a retweet in exchange for a coupon.
  • Ask your followers to post pictures of their visits to your physical store. Post them with a particular custom hashtag you provide and choose the best photographs to reward people with incentives.

7. Twitter Contests:

Twitter contests happen every day. From small businesses to bigger brands, contests are held in every nook and cranny of Twitter business pages in return for retweets and brand mentions.

Quick Tips:

  • Set up a hashtag keyword for your contests, for instance #woorankcontest. Include them in every tweet about the contests. Promote the hashtag to your existing or new customers with other forms of media communication.
  • Create a page on your website that explains the prizes and rules for any contests. If you have a blog, write about them and redirect traffic to that page.
  • Announce a sweepstakes and pick winners at random. This is the easiest form of Twitter contest, where you can ask your followers to retweet your tweets and pick a winner randomly.
  • Ask for a Twitter follow in order to enter your contests, as shown in the sample screenshot below:

Example of Twitter Contest Requesting a Follow

  • Ask your followers to post pictures of your products. For instance, if you sell specialty cupcakes, request pictures of the cupcakes they bought at your store. This way you will ideally get real customers flocking to your physical store. The prize for the best photo could be something like a months supply of free cupcakes.
  • Post a question and look for a creative answer. Ask your followers to mention your brand along with hashtags related to your contest.

These are some of the many ways you can promote your brand via Twitter. Having a prominent social presence and utilizing the various opportunities Twitter offers can bring valuable visibility to your brand, your services and your products. Let us know if you have any other creative ideas to promote your business on Twitter.