skip to content

How to use Twitter for your small business

From pinned tweets to social listening, getting started on Twitter can seem complicated. Here are six tips to make the most of Twitter for small businesses.

With more than 145 million daily users, Twitter is one of the biggest social media platforms out there, offering access to potential customers around the world.

But when 500 million tweets are sent every day, it can be hard to find your footing as a small fish in a gigantic pond. From Twitter chats and pinned tweets to influencer marketing and social listening, there's a lot for new business owners to wrap their heads around. 

We've got you covered. In this post, we'll share six ways to make the most of Twitter as a creator, entrepreneur, or small business owner.

Before that, though, let's run through what makes Twitter such a powerful tool for small businesses. 

Why should small businesses use Twitter?

Twitter is a Swiss army knife of a social media platform. Depending on your goals, it has different uses. 

Done right, Twitter can help solopreneurs and small businesses:

  • Reach more people

  • Boost brand awareness

  • Promote their business

  • Launch new products

  • Discover new trends 

  • Connect with their customers

And your customers want you to connect with them on social media. Out of all communication channels, consumers point to social media as the best opportunity for brands to connect with them.

The popularity of Twitter doesn't hurt, either. 22% of U.S. adults use Twitter, and 42% of Twitter users use the platform every day.

If you want to get into paid social media advertising, Twitter ads are a solid beginner option, too. 

Twitter offers four ad types that are simpler than other platforms’ formats, plus demographic targeting tools to help you reach more people than your organic tweets alone. 

According to Twitter itself, brands that use Twitter for Business connect with more potential customers and boost brand awareness. 

Check out this article on the differences between paid and organic social media to learn more about social media ads. 

For now, we're going to focus on how you can make the most of your small business Twitter account without ads. Let's dive in.

6 Twitter marketing tips for small businesses

#1: Showcase your brand's personality in your profile

While it's not as visually rich as Instagram, Twitter still offers a real opportunity to showcase your brand's personality, especially in your Twitter profile. 

When you set up your Twitter account, make sure that your Twitter handle includes your company name. If your company name is already taken, you can add something like "HQ" to the end for a unique handle. Slack uses @SlackHQ

In your Twitter profile, add a profile picture and header image that matches your brand. Depending on your business, use your logo or your headshot as your profile picture. (The latter makes the most sense for bloggers, coaches, and the like.)

Your Twitter profile should use the same branding as your other social media accounts and marketing channels. Consistent brand presentation increases revenue by an average of 33%, and helps potential customers remember and recognize your brand.

But images aren't the only way to showcase your personality. Written copy can really shine on Twitter, and that can start with your Twitter bio and pinned tweet.

Let visitors know who you are and what they can expect if they follow you, but keep your bio short. While bios have a 160-character limit, Mention found that 91 characters is the sweet spot for profiles with the highest average Twitter follower count.

One of my favorite brands to follow on Twitter is Dictionary.com:

Who knew an online dictionary could be so interesting, right? Dictionary.com has a clear brand voice and showcases their branding and personality on their Twitter profile. As a certified #WordNerd, their branded hashtags make me feel right at home.

Dictionary.com also uses their header to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. 83% of millennials want companies to align with them on their values. Social media lets you show your audience what your company values and believes.

Pinned tweets are yet another opportunity to let Twitter users know who you are and what kind of content you share. Pinned tweets are tweets that stay "pinned" at the top of your timeline.

Because your pinned tweet is one of the first things a visitor sees when they click on your profile, it's a great way to grab visitors' interest or encourage them to take action.

Dictionary.com uses their pinned tweet to announce their biggest update ever, pointing viewers to an article on their website for more details: 

Some creators may make their pinned tweet one of their most popular blog posts, videos, or most important announcements.

Whatever you choose to pin, don't let your pinned tweet get stale. You can update it as often as you like, so pin relevant content as needed.

All in all, your Twitter profile should let viewers know who you are and what your brand is all about. 

Now, our next tip is the bread and butter of Twitter: interacting with your customers. 

#2: Interact with your customers

At its best, Twitter is a platform for communicating and connecting.

And consumers want brands to be a part of that connection. 64% of consumers want brands to connect with them, and 70% of consumers feel more connected to brands with active CEOs on social media.

One way to engage your customers on Twitter is by chatting with them -- literally. Twitter chats are recurring conversations hosted by the same account each time and focused on a specific topic.

Each Twitter chat has its own branded hashtag and happens at the same time every week or month. 

When brands create, participate in, and host relevant conversations online, 44% of consumers feel more connected to them. 

One example of this is Michelle Garrett, who builds those connections through her weekly Twitter chats. 

Michelle is a PR and freelance writing expert whose chats cover common freelancer obstacles and questions. 

She uses the same hashtag -- #FreelanceChat -- for each week's chat, but focuses on a different sub-topic every week. 

Through her weekly Twitter chats, Michelle has built a strong community of freelancers who participate in the chat and support one another. She showcases her expertise as a writer and freelancer and provides a ton of value to her audience. 

On the reactive side of things, many brands use Twitter as a customer support channel.

Offering real-time customer support on Twitter has its pros and cons. On the one hand, customers expect it.

57% of customers who reach out to brands have a question, and 45% have an issue with the product or service.

And those customers expect a speedy response -- in one study, 31% of respondents from the U.S. stated that they expect a response from brands on social media in 24 hours or less. 

For solopreneurs and small business owners, though, using Twitter for customer service can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially if you're trying to avoid entrepreneur burnout.

If you decide to make Twitter one of your customer service platforms, check out these customer service chat templates for handling customer service via your direct messages (DMs).

And if you choose not to offer customer support via Twitter, that's OK. Just make sure to use your bio or pinned tweet to let people know how else they can reach you, whether that's a contact form on your site or your email address.

Maybe most importantly, know that not every interaction on Twitter is going to be a positive one. That's the nature of posting on such a huge platform and running a business.

But sometimes, you can turn the negatives into positives -- or even into sales. Take a look at this guide to dealing with negative social media comments to learn more.

Another great way to engage customers is by sharing interesting or valuable content. I’ll explain more in the next tip.

#3: Share your best content

Not sure what to post from your business Twitter account? You can start by sharing your existing content. All you need to do is write up a line or two of copy and then link to your content.

As you put out new content on your website or blog, share that to Twitter, too. The marketing podcast gurus at Marketing Showrunners share new blog posts on Twitter with a super-quick quote and summary: 

They also include a graphic with a preview of the article content. People are less likely to scroll right past without reading like they might with a text-only tweet. 

Graphics are a great way to grab your audience's attention, and infographics work extra well here. Infographics are liked and shared on social media three times more than any other type of content.

Infographics are also almost 30x more likely to be read than articles, making them a great tool to have in your content marketing arsenal.

If you already have an infographic on hand, cropped infographics make great social media content. These mini-infographics can stand alone or serve as previews of the full infographic.

To crop your infographic, Venngage offers templates for every social media channel under the sun, including Twitter.

Videos perform even better than graphics, with a 38% higher engagement rate on Twitter than image posts.

Instead of creating brand new videos for Twitter, you can repurpose video content by creating shorter, "snackable" video clips or gifs to share on your social media pages.

For video clips, Twitter has a length limit of 2 minutes and 20 seconds, but it recommends brands keep their videos to 6-15 seconds long. And that's good advice. 68% of viewers will watch a video to the end if it's less than 60 seconds.

Learn more about making the most of your content -- on social media and beyond -- in this guide to repurposing your content.

But you don't have to create all of the content for your Twitter page yourself. That's the power of user-generated content (UGC).

UGC is content created and posted by your customers featuring your product or brand. People trust their peers' recommendations more than they trust brands, which is one reason why potential customers who look at UGC convert at a 161% higher rate than those who don't.

When you see high-quality UGC, retweet it onto your Twitter feed, like Ramit Sethi:

Your customers will feel recognized and appreciated because you engaged with their content, and you get to share a piece of social proof onto your feed. Win-win.

You can also encourage customers to submit UGC using a branded hashtag, so you and interested followers can find it easily. That's how apparel brand Aerie does it:

Aerie created the hashtag #AerieREAL to encourage shoppers to share images of themselves that have not been retouched. Aerie's social media accounts often interact with and share those posts. 

The hashtag and campaign also focus on body positivity and self-confidence, two of the brand's central values. 

The two examples of UGC above are far from professional photography, and that's exactly what makes UGC so powerful. Retweeting real content from real customers and followers makes your brand feel even more authentic.

Want to take social proof to the next level? Go beyond UGC with our next tip -- influencers. 

#4: Partner with influencers to build brand awareness

We hear a lot about influencers these days. But what exactly is an influencer?

Influencers can include celebrities, bloggers and vloggers, and even dedicated Instagram influencers. People follow and listen to influencers because they aspire to be like them -- but that doesn't mean that all influencer marketing is focused on aesthetics and celebrity.

At the end of the day, influencers are simply experts or leaders in their niche. They usually have a targeted, engaged social media audience -- sometimes even small ones -- with specific interests in common. 

Endorsements from influencers hold a lot of weight, which is why so many brands make influencer marketing a part of their digital marketing strategy. In fact, 80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective.

Influencer marketing can help you reach more people in your target audience. Videos, photos, and tweet threads from influencers can help get your brand in front of more of the right people. 

Plus, word-of-mouth marketing from a trusted expert can give your brand more credibility. 61% of consumers aged 18 to 34 have been swayed in their decision-making by digital influencers.

Before you can leverage influencer marketing on Twitter, you need to find the right influencers to partner with. Look for influencers within your niche who are well-respected by your target audience.

There are plenty of tools you can use to find influencers on social media. SocialBlade, for example, can tell you the follower count, engagement rate, average number of likes and comments, and many other metrics for Instagram, Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube influencers.

Keep budget in mind as you research influencers, too. Many influencers charge $100 per 10,000 followers, plus additional fees and considerations. But not all influencers follow that formula, and prices for working with influencers can vary wildly.

Fortunately, many influencers -- especially those with smaller, niche audiences -- offer pricing plans to work with brands' budgets.

As you’re comparing fees, decide whether you'll work with one influencer or several for your Twitter campaign. 37% of marketers worked with one to 10 influencers in an average influencer program:

Partnering with multiple influencers lets you target multiple small -- but highly engaged -- audiences. However, if there’s an influencer charging a higher fee who has excellent engagement in your niche, it can make sense to work with just them.

Once you figure out which influencers you want to work with, you need to put together an influencer outreach plan. 

Before you reach out to an influencer, start to build a relationship by sharing their content and interacting with them on social media. This strategy helped Eugene Mota get an 80% response rate from the influencers he pitched as part of his influencer outreach campaign.

When you’re ready to pitch an influencer, check if they have guidelines for working with brands on their website. This can help you determine how to contact them and what kinds of campaigns they're looking to participate in. 

Send an initial outreach email -- we like these influencer marketing email templates from LeadFuze -- then follow up later via email and the social platform where they’re most active.

For even more influencer outreach, best practices, metrics, and more, check out our guide to influencer outreach.

Whichever influencers you partner with, make sure that your Twitter campaigns, with or without them, build excitement and enthusiasm around your products. That leads us to our next tip.

#5: Build excitement for a new product launch

If you're launching a new product, Twitter is a great platform to build hype and get customers on board early.

59% of Gen Z and 55% of millennials discover products on social media.

That may be why so many creators and entrepreneurs use social media to sell digital products

Take web designer and marketing guru John D Saunders, for example. In May, John announced a new course with a video on Twitter, then pinned the tweet to keep the promotion going:

John's video let his audience know what to expect from the course and netted great engagement, with 28 retweets and over 100 likes.

Engaging his audience on Twitter and beyond has also helped John earn $10,000 on his first day of selling using Podia, too. As of October, he’s earned $100,000 on Podia since his online course launched.

While Twitter is a great way to promote products that are already on sale, you can also use it to pre-sell your products and attract early customers. That’s what our next example did.

Developer and entrepreneur Ryan Kulp tweeted to his network to gauge interest in a potential course.

He included a brief bulleted list of curriculum details and asked if the course was something people would be willing to pay for.

It was.

After validating his product idea, Ryan announced the launch of his new course on Twitter and shared a discount code for early customers. He linked to his Podia site, where he hosted the course.

Ryan offered 25 coupons for 50% off of his course. All of them sold out within the first hour, bringing in $1,875. Over the next 23 hours, he sold over $10,000 in enrollments.

Overall, pre-selling his online course on Twitter helped Ryan bring in a total of $20,739 in sales on Podia in just two weeks. 

If you're selling digital products or online courses like John and Ryan, check out Podia's all-in-one platform. Try it for free with a 14-day trial today.

OK, we're ready to move on to our last tip -- using Twitter to learn more about your customers and competitors with social listening.

#6: Stay ahead of the game with social listening

Social listening means tracking keywords and phrases relevant to your brand. Social monitoring and listening can help you learn more about your audience, gather intel on your competitors, and get ahead of trending topics in your niche. 

In fast-changing times, social listening can be particularly helpful. Half of worldwide marketers have turned to social listening to understand consumers’ changing preferences during the pandemic.

It may feel like eavesdropping, but knowing what your customers say when they don't tag you directly can be a great form of customer research.

When you know what to look for -- like specific topics, hashtags, and communities -- social listening helps you figure out what your customers want and need. You can also get an idea of how your competitors are (or aren't) meeting those expectations.

Twitter offers some helpful built-in tools for social listening.

You can use Twitter's advanced search function to find relevant hashtags, conversations in your niche, and mentions of your brand. Twitter Lists can help you keep tabs on specific Twitter accounts, industries, and communities.

For example, integrated marketing strategist Berrak Sarıkaya compiled a #SmallBiz Resources Twitter list featuring 33 relevant Twitter accounts in the small business niche:

But for busy solopreneurs and small business owners, a social media marketing tool can help you get all of the above done without outsourcing your tasks to a social media agency or having to spend every waking moment looking up hashtags. 

There's a wide variety of social media management tools, but most of them feature:

  • Tweet scheduling and content calendars

  • Social listening

  • Twitter analytics and metrics

Some of our favorite social tools are Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and CoSchedule

To figure out which tool is the best fit for you, check out our full list of the top social media management tools.

At the end of the day, whether you use a social media management tool or handle it all on your own, Twitter is a powerful tool for getting to know your customers, launching new products, and building your brand.

Newsletter

Join our newsletter

Join thousands of creators receiving our weekly articles about launching, growing, and thriving as a creative entrepreneur.

The road to small business Twitter success

With all of these Twitter tips under your belt, you'll be well on your way to making the most of Twitter for your small business:

  • Use your Twitter profile to show off your brand personality. Your bio, profile picture, header, and pinned tweet are all great opportunities to showcase your brand.

  • Interact with your customers, whether it's through Twitter chats or customer support. Find the right balance of interaction for you -- you don't have to be available 24/7.

  • Share engaging content with your followers. Repurpose existing content, like infographics and videos, or retweet UGC to leverage social proof. 

  • Consider using influencer marketing to grow your reach. Partnering with the right influencers can give you credibility and help you hone in on your target audience.

  • Use Twitter to launch or pre-sell your products. Build excitement through previews and ask your followers for feedback.

  • Keep track of what's going on with your customers, competitors, and niche with social listening. Social media management tools can make this -- and every piece of social media marketing -- quicker and easier.

Twitter can be an intimidating place, and sometimes it feels like you're posting into the void. But building your audience community takes time. Be patient -- it's well worth it.

A portrait of Rachel Burns

About the author

Rachel is a content marketer for Podia, an all-in-one platform where online courses, digital downloads, and membership websites – alongside their creators – thrive. When she’s not writing, you can find her rescuing dogs, baking something, or extolling the virtue of the Oxford comma.