Twitter Bird IllustrationStarting a business can be harrowing enough although I hope it can be an exciting time for you too. One of the steps you will be considering is how to market your new company and maybe as a start-up you don’t have the funds to do very much. This is where Social Media is great as it is free, only costing your time, and can reach far and wide. In this post I’m going to explain how to get a relevant following with Twitter and how it can work for your business if done well.

According to recent Twitter statistics, there are over 465 million Twitter accounts and just over 100 million of those are based in the USA. Interesting content, personal connection, and humor are cited as the main reasons for people to retweet tweets and share with their followers. This is very important to consider as this is what will grow your Twitter network online quicker than anything else. Think of it like a spider’s web growing out all the time and each valid follower will therefore soon know about your business too.

So How Do You Achieve This?

  • Firstly never do a hard sell online. Don’t just tweet about how fantastic your business or product is all the time. I know you probably want to shout about it from the rooftops but imagine how off-putting that can be; so be subtle. An odd sales tweet a couple of times a day is acceptable mixed in with useful and engaging tweets to attract conversation.
  • Never beg for followers – that is just sad. If someone wants to follow you, you have to make yourself interesting to others and begging is not pretty. Write a good bio for your Twitter account and provide a link to your business. Depending on the size of your business you may want to keep it personal or as a brand. If personal use a nice picture of yourself; if a brand and a few people tweeting then use your logo but ensure everyone tweets from the same song sheet, so to speak.
  • Always be personable and approachable on Twitter. Never ignore someone who has tweeted you – that’s the same as ignoring someone who has just come up to you in a networking meeting and spoken to you. Be yourself and let the fun side shine through – people always gravitate to nice people with a sense of humor.
  • These days it is advisable to have a blog for your business (that is another post in the pipeline so please do check back). As Twitter is limited to 140 characters linking to a blog post is great to get your message across. Interesting and useful posts get retweeted so bear that in mind when writing. You could run a special offer or a competition and have that in your blog which is then simple to tweet. People will retweet special offers and competitions if they are worthwhile.
  • Retweet interesting content if you see something tweeted. Share it with your followers and your generosity may be reciprocated in the future.
  • If your business is a specialist in its field then offer free tips or even run an advice clinic every week using a hashtag that people will follow to find out what it is all about. Hashtags can be grouped together for discussions and clinics in this way.  Give people the option to DM (Direct Message) you get their questions but remember unless you are following each other you can’t DM back and forth so suggest they tweet you first to get the follow. Become the “go to guy” (or girl) who will happily answer questions. This could grow and lead to business and recommendations.
  • Find chats to get involved in on Twitter using hashtag searches and you will be networking with lots of new people immediately. A great example of a business chat on Twitter using a hashtag is #Kaizenbiz which runs at 12pm ET every Friday hosted by @3keyscoach. It is a different business topic each week and for an hour or so everyone gets to chat and converse with others about that topic just using #kaizenbiz in each tweet so those involved can see. On all Twitter apps you can group the hashtag tweets to see easily. It is brilliant for networking with like-minded people.
  • Another great chat is on Thursdays – Travellers Night In #TNI at 3.30 to 5pm ET. If you’re in the tourism industry then you must get involved in this but it is open to everyone and is great fun talking about holidays, places you have been, liked, disliked, nice hotels etc etc. It is great for networking on a personal level but remember everything on Twitter can start off personal and then move to business.
  • Be timely with your responses, especially once it grows, and run a Twitter app like Tweetdeck in the background so if you are tweeted directly or your hashtag mentioned you will get a pop up so you know to answer as soon as you can. Don’t relegate Twitter to a specified time each day or you’ll miss people. Pop in and out if you can. It’s on mobiles so handy to check when waiting for a client to arrive or on your work commute (if not driving). Obviously don’t let it take over your work time but sometimes it’s good to have time out and give yourself 5 minutes to just say anything on Twitter or “chat”.
  • Follow other people that are great tweeters with it working for them and see how it is done well.’s CEO Nellie R. Akalp is a great example for how to use Twitter for a small business but on a large and very effective scale.

From the above tips, you should start to see your following grow and therefore your potential customer base. My view is to most importantly be fun, personable, engaging and approachable online as you would be in person. Why would you want to be any different? If you have any good tips for Twitter interaction I would love to hear about them in the comments below.