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Twitter: How to set up a business profile

Right now around the world, millions of consumers are engaging with businesses through social media. If you're not involved in those conversations, then you're really missing out.

Whether its arguments between celebrities, so-called "trolling" or libel cases, to the untrained eye, Twitter can seem pointless, frivolous and most of all confusing. But if that's the case then why do so many companies sign up?

Twitter and Facebook create a platform where businesses and their audiences can become interlinked, through posting content, sharing pictures and ultimately by influencing buying decisions.

With the top corporate Twitter accounts like Burberry and Victoria's Secret boasting almost 5 million subscribers (followers) between them, it's time you got tweeting!

  1. Twitter terms
  2. Getting started
  3. Choosing a handle
  4. Timeline building
  5. Profile basics
  6. Sending a Tweet
  7. Interaction
  8. Replies

Twitter Twaddle: The language of social media

For someone new to social media, terms like news feed and hashtags can seem intimidating but once they are given some context they can quickly become clear. In this guide jargon words will be highlighted in orange, so if something confuses you then simply refer back to here for a clearer explanation.

1. Twitter terms:

@ Reply:
the @ symbol is used to reply to tweets and to tag users in tweets
# Hashtag:
mark keywords in tweets to easily search for related topics
Twitter allows you to private message other twitter users that follow you back
the act of following a twitter user
someone who subscribes to your tweets
where tweets from all the users you have subscribed to appear in real time
every Friday a huge amount of twitter users will tag friends in a post encouraging other users to follow them using the hashtag #ff which is short for follow Friday.
a twitter username e.g. @DBSInternetMktg
followers can be sectioned into lists so you can see only tweets from selected people instead of all of them
forwarding a tweet to your follower's news feeds
by using the @ symbol in your tweet and typing a selected handle the user will receive a notification and know the message was meant for them Tweet: a message that is posted to the news feed.

2. Getting started

Twitter profiles can help businesses, organizations and brands to share content and connect with their audiences. We'll show you all the basics of making your own profile - using our fictional friend Tommy as an example.

Tommy runs a MOT garage and sells used tyres. He has a handful of loyal customers but is struggling to attract new ones. Tommy's friends suggested that he sets up a Twitter account so he can interact with potential customers, promote special offers and so his more loyal customers can recommend his services to their friends.

Let's get started with setting Tommy's Tyres up on Twitter.

First of all we need to sign up to Twitter by visiting the website or mobile app. To fill out the form, we use the company name, enter Tommy's email address and create a memorable password.

3. Choosing a handle

The field for choosing a username is very important. On twitter your username is known as a Handle, when someone is trying to tweet you they will type @ followed by your username. As a business it makes sense to use your company name, maybe followed by a geographical term like UK or Lincolnshire. Don't make your username the same as your Full Name and Title if you are aiming to make a business account as presumably, for example @VirginMediaUK not @RichardBranson.

TIP: Twitter handles (account names) can get snapped up very quickly. If you're dream handle has gone then just try a different variation.

4. Timeline Building

To populate our news feed with tweets we need to follow some accounts. Twitter suggests Joey Essex and Philip Schofield. For businesses Twitter is all about networking and those accounts aren't very relevant to Tommy's Tyres, location, interests or industry. Let's try narrowing down the search to local accounts by typing in "Lincolnshire."

TIP: When creating a Twitter account, you will be asked to follow a minimum amount of people to get started. You can go back and un-follow these later, if you wish.

Following a local news source can be helpful. Especially if you re-tweet occasional traffic updates or share information that you think might benefit your customers. Just click follow to begin following an account.

Now we need to make Tommy's Tyre's stand out from the crowd. Let's add a photograph of Tommy hard at work.

5. Profile basics

Be smart and put a face to the name, it pays to have a photo, as twitter users are more likely to follow back a user they can identify.

Your Twitter Bio is limited to 160 characters, so think of it as your elevator pitch.

The method of setting up a personal account and a business account are pretty much the same but the devil is in the detail. Compared to a personal account, branding should be at the forefront of a company profile design.

Tommy's Tyre's bio should be informative but also needs to give potential followers a sense of the personality behind the company, try and find something unique to say.

Your USP could be that you are a reliable company, you always get the job done or just that you make a good cup of tea but whatever it is remember you need to fit it into 160 characters!

Now let's send a tweet!

6. Sending a Tweet

You can send a tweet by using the dialog box below or by clicking the blue button in the far right hand corner of the taskbar.

Twitter has a limit of 140 characters in a tweet and includes any URL's you might be inserting. Photos can also take up space, but don't let this put you off as, much like Facebook, photographs are more engaging than a simple text tweet.

This tweet has 141 characters, one too many to be posted as indicated by the red -1 on the right. Reduce the text in your tweet until the button turns blue then click tweet !

Twitter is a micro-blogging service which is a kind of short-form content. It might seem annoying at first that you can only fit in a certain amount of characters but it's far less time consuming to read (which is half of the appeal.)

Now that the tweet has been posted it will appear in Tommy's news feed and in his profile but also in the news feeds of anyone who happens to follow Tommy.

Twitter revolves around conversation so the more tweets you make the more chance you have of attracting followers who are interested in what you have to say.

Now that the tweet has been posted it will appear in Tommy's news feed but also anyone who happens to follow Tommy.

TIP: You can also add photographs to tweets by clicking the camera button on the left hand side of your dialog box.

7. Interaction

People who follow you will be able to see your tweets, Tommy's Tyre's doesn't have any followers yet so no one will be able to see the tweet. We're going to help Tommy out by following his profile.

Click follow to register for any tweets made by a user to start appear in your feed.

Once we've done this Tommy can see who has followed his profile by clicking on the connect tab at the top of any page. New followers, favourites, replies, RT's and favourites will also show up here.

TIP: New followers, favourites, replies and re-tweets will also be notified to you by email.

Now that we've followed Tommy's Tyre's were going to send him a welcome tweet.

Tommy's Tyre's can interact with our tweet in a number of ways including re-tweeting it and making it a favourite, but for now let's just focus on how to reply to it.

8. Replying to Tweets

After we click the reply arrow, a drop down box will appear and we can post a reply which will be fed through to both recipients and will appear in both parties feeds.

The tweet will appear on Tommy's Tyre's twitter profile like this:

and in the feeds of both users like this:

Twitter is a two way relationship, so you should be mindful that sharing only your own content and only talking about yourself will result in a lack of interaction.

With over 100 million active users on Twitter every day, it's easy for lack lustre posts to get forgotten about. To win over potential customers you need to add value to their experiences. Create content that intrigues, informs and offers help and guidance.

That kind of sustained and carefully planned approach takes a lot of time and planning, which is why 62% of companies decide to outsource their content marketing efforts to external businesses. With so many customers choosing to learn about brands through social media, isn't it about time that they learned about yours too?

Click here to read more handy tips from DBS Internet Marketing, including:

Facebook: How to set up a business account

For more information on how to turn social media and content marketing into enquiries; call DBS Internet Marketing on 0800 988 8366.

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