Twitter Tips


Question #1 – How would you suggest other small businesses get started on Twitter?
“With respect to a small business owner looking to build an audience of new customers…

When I get a new follower, I check their profile and decide within a couple seconds if I’m going to follow them back. In other words, first impressions are critical. Do NOT go on a follow spree until you set a profile picture and bio. You should have also sent out some tweets (that are preferably not relentless promotion of your business). I suggest lurking on the service for a minimum of a week”

“Many small businesses rely on local customers, so it’s imperative that they find and connect with local Twitter users. You can use these sites to do that:
Twitter Advanced Search –
ChirpCity –
Nearby Tweets –
Tweepz –

Bonus tip: Since you’re essentially trying to connect with complete strangers, before I go out and randomly follow local people, I make sure my most recent tweet says something like “I’m going to look for other Tri-Cities folks to follow on Twitter.” That way, when they get followed by me and check out my profile, the message explains to them why a total stranger is suddenly following them.”

“Mind your stream! When you first start using Twitter and start to follow more and more people, you’ll notice your stream fill quickly. Use Twitter search to follow your own company/name mentions, and leverage tools (Tweet Deck is great) to help you filter out the noise and focus on the most relevant users.”
“Use linked in contacts or your business card collection to look up and follow people in your field: vendors, peers, and, importantly, competitors. Then, browse through who they are tweeting with and add those people. Join the conversations and tweet questions of your own.”

“Find and follow a community of people having conversations relevant to your interests; listen to conversations, join in on the conversations and add value to the conversations.”

“Stay with it and build a campaign. I have too many associates that don’t get it right away and give up, criticize it, and don’t go back. Follow likeminded tweeters, they will follow you back, add apps like tweetdeck, tweetgrid, tweetlater, and search others that work for you. Tweeters are suggesting workable apps every day. There has to be something you need help with, right? Ask it and with the responses your network starts to grow!”


“Alternate between something relevant to your business and something irrelevant. I work in  the the accounting world, so I tweet comments on the budget, tax season, an opportunity that clients may like etc. I then will tweet about something positive, upbeat, but irrelevant to my business…my passion fruits have come into season and they are yummy…”

“Be visually stimulating! We have all seen that looooonnngggg URL on the back of someone’s car promoting their website but trying to figure out what http://www.seewhatmyconstructioncompanyis. com is hard on the eyes – same goes for your Twitter handle. Capitalize the first letter of your name/ business.”

“To gain followers, run a Twitter contest. @Mozy does a great job at this, by not only picking a winner, but offering everyone else a discount on their product. So even if someone doesn’t win, they at least get something out of it. To enter the contest, users should have to RT a specific message, chosen by the company.”

“Commit. Don’t just Tweet and neglect it, focus and commit yourself to at least a half-hour a day to discovering and Tweeting.”

“Identify keywords as well as the “experts” in your industry. Then, visit and search on those terms. Once you identify the right people, look at who they’re following and who is following them as your potential pool of people you should follow.”

“As simple as it may sound, don’t forget to ask others to “follow” you. Add “Follow Me on Twitter” to your emails, web site, and other communications.”

“A good way to start is “lurk & learn” using TweetDeck application. Available for download at You can have up to 10 columns that you can personalize and track what you want to follow. Example of different things to track include:
key users that you want to follow your company name (good to know the good or bad tweets about your company your competitor’s name
key search term or product term you want to track or be known by. In fact the last idea (key search term or product term) is a great way to start to engage a conversation with someone… a quick response with a helpful hint or suggestion and they figure out you may be of value. Nice way to start to engage and build a business relationship.”

“Use to find folks in your industry or your region. It’s like yellow pages for Twitter.”
“My suggestion for getting started would be to find twitters’ in different fields to follow. Everyone wants to talk to others in their field, but part of the beauty of twitter is meeting new people. It’s like a mixer, you don’t want to spend the whole night talking to the people you always talk with. Meet someone new.


“Follow the leaders in your field! Take time each day (or as often as possible) to stay up-to-date on what is new or up and coming in your industry. Take time for professional development using links tweeted by National Leaders if your line of work!”
“Best getting started twitter tip create a business account and personal account. By not mixing the two you raise the quality of your business tweets and lower the noise level for your followers, making your message easier to hear.”
“Focus on your niche by providing content that your followers will find valuable and engage with them.”
“Who better to follow than people who follow and RT your content? Build relationships with people who value what you do.”

“I think the best thing to do is find influencers in your market then lurk & listen before jumping in.”
“I say sign up, follow people of interest ONLY, don’t just follow anyone who follows you or get desperate—be focused in selection.”
“Find related biz and see who they follow. Listen first few wks b4 joining conversations.”
“I’d recommend starting out by see what you can contribute to those followed/followers. Give first – get later.”
“Listen carefully first before joining the party, then offer information that is valuable and helpful.”
“Slowly follow people with common interests. Don’t follow too many more people than follow you, or you risk looking like a spammer.”
“When your company first gets started on Twitter, find other companies that are similar to yours or offer something that your customers will like, follow them. Their customers will start following you and you may be able to get a whole new clientele from this practice.”
Question #2 – What’s the right way (or wrong way) to promote your business on Twitter?
“One of the approaches I’ve found effective, in finding a valuable blog post referenced on Twitter, leave a comment on the post itself, and then re-tweet it. This further endears you to the author, while making a more meaningful connection with your followers.”
“Always keep up with your business branding! This means creating a custom Twitter background that shows your brand. You can get tips and a free template in a recent blog article that I wrote “Brand Recognition: Creating a Custom Twitter Background””
“Keep it to business and do not mix business with pleasure. I’ve been following some of the top bloggers on Twitter only to find them talking about unrelated stuff.”
“The right way to promote your business on twitter is to participate! Talk about what you’re doing… new happenings at your business…mention your clients and people you are collaborating with… pay attention to your followers and what they are doing and engage in conversation with them. The wrong way — talk about yourself and only yourself. People don’t want to be spammed about all things you. It’s true, people don’t care about what you know until they know that you care… so stop posting about only your business…Constantly tweeting the same exact phrase like “John Doe Event Venue is a great place for weddings” will get you nowhere.”
“The right way to promote your business is to post a link to a recent Press Release OR blog post daily, mixed in with several links to some great resource articles, and blog posts. I also suggest that a portion of them have nothing to do with your type of business. Just link out to some great and interesting content. Add some value, folks!”
“The right way to promote your business on Twitter is to reference them with high quality content about your business and actively communicate with other Twitter users too. Do not just focus on tweeting about your stuff alone, tweet about something else that is interesting, show some love and re-tweet others’ tweets as well and connect to people that are of the same interests as yours. If you’re selling software for small businesses, then connect with other small business owners not with those tweeting about entertainment alone.”
“At Palo Alto Software, we generally use Tweetdeck to monitor what people are saying about our products, our company, and topics that are core to our business. Since we focus mostly on business planning, what we don’t do is spam every person who tweets about writing a business plan. That just seems too intrusive. Instead, we only reach out to people that ask questions and do our best to provide good answers without simply promoting our products.”
“My favorite tip is how to use Twitter to find new customers. I first use Google and type “Twitter for ” and fill in the blank with a vertical that might use Twitter – for example, restaurants. I typically get a few articles that are round-up articles of all restaurants in a given city using Twitter. Then I follow these restaurants and engage in conversations with them – we’ve gotten one customer so far this way and I expect we can generate many or even most of our new customers in the next six months this way.”
“Our #1 tip for smart marketing on Twitter is to start by NOT talking about yourself all of the time. Spread some love. Retweet others and talk about yourself a *little*.”
“Like all marketing tactics, be sure you think about your strategy before jumping in the deep end of the Twitter pond. Twitter can become a black hole if it does not advance your marketing strategy, which is why I think so many people drop off of Twitter after a short time,according to studies. Who is your audience? What do you want them to do? How will your twitter content help them solve a problem or meet a need? Once you have a plan, develop content thoughtfully, not just in high volume. Whatever your strategy is, don’t be boring!”
“Be as interesting as possible and always mean what you say.”
“Submit articles with great content, unique and quality.”
“Don’t only tweet about what’s new on your site. It’s important to interact with the community of followers that you should become a part of. Create relationships. Business is personal.”
“The smart way to market on Twitter: Don’t. Instead, provide value to others. People do business with people they know, like, and respect, and Twitter is a terrific tool for building these relationships.”
“If you have a website (as any business today should), make an area to highlight your Twitter feed updates. This will also encourage people that you already associate with to join and follow you, thereby adding to your ecosystem of champions and evangelists!”
“For small business owners who primarily sell at local markets, use Twitter to let your interested customers know where you’re setting up your booth on any given day (i.e. Farmer’s Market at the Embarcadero Center, SF).”
“Probably one of the simpler tips is to ensure Twitter is linked up with Facebook. I have successfully driven relevant traffic to my blog and found new opportunities through this basic tip.”
“My advice is to always be positive. The quickest way to get me to not listen to you is to always complain or be negative.”
“One of the best things you can do is to participate in Follow Friday. Many people make the mistake of just listing people, but if you just take the time out to stay why you would like other to follow a specific person – it does wonders! It really helps to build that relationship and shows that you actually know a thing or two about your followers.”
“The wrong way to promote your business on Twitter is by having the owner or whoever tweet a lot of boring info about their day. Followers of businesses want useful info or links not knowing that you had a hot dog for lunch.”
“Participate in popular group Twitter chats (like this). Exposes you to new people/followers.”
“Sharing expertise, sharing tips, answering questions to help others is a great use for Twitter.”
“Use current topics to bury your marketing messages, and when you link, shorten it and put link in the middle of the sentence.”
“Be sure to always be providing value in almost everything you put out and ENGAGE with people who respond.”
“The key is to build a group of I-followers, engage, have conversations – small businesses often just shoot out an occasional “offer”.”
“Instead of trying to sell on twitter, share substantive information that will be useful for your customers.”
“When the people you are following put out a tweet for help, answer back. Don’t let the tweet die in cyberspace.”
“Talk to your customers, don’t sell. Build Relationships, not just business connections.”
“If you see something you think is valuable, RT. You might share with a whole new follower list.”
“Provide useful info to your base, not sales pitches. It increases your value to followers.”
“Setup an RSS Feed of Twitter Search for your brand name and major keywords. Then interact your heart out in realtime.”

“Don’t be all about business; share the human side of your company.”
“How to Tweet: Think. Write. Review. Edit. Review. Edit. Think. Post.”
“Set up for keyword search so they drop emails with competitor and prospect info.”
“Small Biz owners need to fill out their profile on Twitter. Helps people decide to follow. Helps with search.”
“DON’T SELL STUFF! Ask questions, give out info, and, oh by the way, we might have something that works for you!”
“I have Twitter only specials advertised so you have to check us out on Twitter to learn about the specials or better yet follow me so you don’t miss any specials.”
“Challenging a conversation is great for creating interest, but don’t be negative or derogatory. It’s so easy to create bad impressions on Twitter.”
Question #3 – What is your #1 Twitter etiquette tip for small business owners?

“Automated DMs aren’t worth sending. If you won’t invest a few seconds to compose a 140-character message I don’t want to invest 5 seconds reading it.”
“When you’re participating in a tweet chat, don’t forget that your tweets are being seen by EVERYONE. To avoid “spamming” do your best to compose tweets as complete thoughts. If you’re answering a question, reference at least part of the question in the answer so that people NOT participating in the tweet chat can benefit from your thought.”
“I think it’s wise to focus on one or two of your followers a day. Spotlight something about them in a Tweet and send a little Twitter love their way. They’ll notice, their friends will notice . . . and so on. And someday, a little bit of the Twitter love will circle back to you.”
“Don’t go blasting your ‘message’ to everyone on Twitter – this is both annoying and inconsiderate. Start by listening to the conversations going first. Once you think you’ve got a ‘feel’ for what’s going on, then try engaging.”
“For business use it seems most beneficial for us to only follow those who have a business relationship (vendors, marketing tips, similar businesses, etc.). Building those relationships is great for customer service and bouncing ideas off your peers. Following people who do nothing but spam their own products or sites, or insist on telling us what they had for lunch that day, is simply a waste of time.”
“Give before you expect to receive. In fact, give MORE than you expect to receive. People always need to know WIIFM = “What’s in it for me?” Answer that question as often as possible and followers will flock to you.”
“Take a few minutes to make introductions between people you are connected with who you think would benefit from knowing each other. Who knows, you might get the favor back one day.”
“When someone decides to follow you, focus as much as possible on relating to them authentically vs. through automatic means i.e. avoid generating automatic DMs as a way to greet new followers. Sending automatic DMs is like slinging a business card at someone at an in-person networking event once they shake your hand. It’s abrupt and impersonal.”
“Please do not use Twitter for one long commercial about your company. We don’t want to always hear about you, you, you: what you did, what your company is doing, and what your company wants to do. Be interactive, ask questions and be the mensch. Otherwise—you’re unfollowed!”

“Tweet about things other than your business & products. If you are constantly tweeting about your business or products you will be viewed as a SPAMMER and no one likes spammers. Instead become a resource in your field, share useful information, converse with or comment on others posts, network with businesses that line up with yours. If you build relationships you will gain a lot from using Twitter.”
“Suggest letting your personality, concern for your customers and passion for you business to come through almost as if you were talking with a customer in your physical store.”
“Turn off “salesy” auto reply message; they are not personal and a little annoying.”
“Each post/link contains a call to action. Never post any spam. Give credit when RT; don’t plagiarize posts or web content.”
“Use Twitter to share about yourself, build a relationship, don’t just spam about the business.”
“Twitter is a social media tool. Keep it social. Provide value. Don’t just sell yourself. Be human. Be useful.”

“Add value to any conversation you start or join.”
“I love to follow people – so interesting tweet feed is important. Make yours read better than a list of spammy ads.”
“Religious and political views don’t belong on a biz acct. get a personal acct for personal views.”
“A quality “T.W.E.E.T. is: Timely, Worth-reading, Educational, Entertaining, and Tweople-connecting.”
“Remember twitter is used by people so real conversations should exist. Remember that everything you do represents your brand.”
“Respect your audience. Treat them the way you would like to be treated.”
“I don’t like sending/receiving DMs. I perform a WHOIS query & can usually get an email (if it’s not on website).”
“Turn off the direct message for new followers. If you can send a personalized DM do, the bot does not make us feel appreciated.”
“Twitter is about connecting with real humans. People before profits. Relationships before ROI.”
“Promote other people more than yourself. The goodwill you accrue is amazing & leads to great opportunities.”
“Help others before all else.”
“Spam DMs are a real turn-off!”
Please, please, please stay away from controversial issues that will divide the community.”
“Do not auto DM people! This is not seen as a genuine introduction. Twitter members will get annoyed and unfollow you.”
Question #4 – What is your best tip for getting retweeted?

“If you ask for a RT (retweet) leave at least 15 characters to let people that are RT’ing your message have space so they don’t have to shorten your message. Many times that’s the difference between a RT and no RT.”
“Best tip for getting retweeted is to leave enough characters for people to just RT as is. If people have to start editing your message to fit “RT @your name + message” then they often don’t bother or miss out (what you thought was) an important part. View RTs as 120-ish character messages and really work on what you have to say and how to say it. Also if it contains a link make sure it’s clear what people will be clicking through to.”
“To get retweeted, it’s all about value. That can be in the form of an exclusive Twitter offer, or a blog post or article that adds something new.”
“Best way to get retweeted is to post valuable content for others, such as a link to online resources or a useful blog post. But don’t ask for the RT, people will do it on their own.”
“Get retweeted by posting a picture URL in the tweet, and be provocative.”
“Put PLS RT (please retweet) at the end of appropriate messages so that your tweets get re-tweeted. It’s that old fashioned “call to action” stuff that helpsspread your marketing efforts.”
“I think being funny and informative works for me to want to RT a tweet.”
“Don’t just regurgitate content that people have already seen or that you have tweeted in the past – people pick up on that.”
“Tweet famous quotes that are thought provoking.”
“Use attention grabbing headlines.”
“Provide an enticing must-click description of a compelling article.”
“Three words: Original, Relevant, Succinct.”
“Be sure to RT others first and often. What goes around…”
“Say something worth repeating. This is the same as if you were at a party – say something that the person you are talking to will go tell someone else. Product companies can do special features people don’t know about, novel ways to use a product, etc. Lots of companies are doing customer support through Twitter which means it is all out there for the public to see. If you provide great support, show it off! If not, I can recommend a good recruiter…..”
Question #5 – How do you manage your time on Twitter?

“My time management tip is to create your own hashtag meme or start following an existing one. I started out with the intention to write three #GoodThing tweets every day. I don’t want it to become a duty to write three #GoodThing tweets every day, but it is still a good reminder for me to focus on the positive things during the day and report this as it fits my time schedule. I often send out these tips to new followers as a direct message so they will get a feel of my attitude toward Twitter and how you could use it.”
“When first starting, limit your twitter time. I did not do this and quickly found myself spending way too much time on twitter. There are so many interesting things to read and people to follow, I was wasting a lot time (but having fun).I now limit my twitter time to 10 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes mid-day and 10 minutes at the end of the day.”
“If you do not have time to use Twitter (I do not), set up an automatic feed of items and send it to your Twitter account. Doing so populates your Twitter account with fresh content even when you do not have time.”
“When I know I can plan my tweets by advance I use On my blog I use a widget that allows me to tweet when I submit a post. If available, I also use the bottom links allowing me to tweet an article directly when I find it interesting. Otherwise I tweet “ad-hoc” only when I have something interesting to say. And I scan other tweets once a day.”
“Don’t feel like you need to see/read every tweet. You don’t. If you want to find out what’s been going on with a particular topic while you were not paying attention, do a search of twitter using hashtags or phrases relevant to the topic to bring up recent related tweets.”
“I recommend checking twitter first thing in the morning so you can respond to any questions or join in conversations. Then I typically wait about two hours and then limit my time to only 10 minutes. I do searches on keywords I care about and have some alerts already set up. I also look at my @ replies. I don’t usually look again until lunch time. And again, I limit my time to 10 minutes. I follow that about every two hours.”
“Try minimizing your time on the actual Twitter site to about 30 minutes a day. The rest of the time, use a quick Twitter app like TwitterFox to post anything interesting you find throughout your day. It’s fast and easy and keeps you from getting sucked up in too much conversation.”
“To keep tweeting from overtaking your day, tweet with coffee in the morning, on your break time, and then briefly at lunch. Some people may find it helpful to set a timer to stick to the plan. Tweet at the end of your work day and again in the evening if you like. When you create your to do list for the following day, make a note of the valuable resources you will share the following day.”
“My best time management tip is to use as it splits up incoming tweets into seven categories and I can even preview twitpics in it. A mobile version is also available at http:// which works on a range of mobile devices such as the iPhone and Nokia S60 devices. It’s all web based, no need to download a new client.”
“I make it one of my regular bookmarks on my tool bar so I remember to click it on daily. It is a part of my business protocol in the morning as is reading and answering emails.”
“Write your goals for the day, week, or month down on paper. Set the time slots you wish to spend doing your online networking at stick with those times. Pick 2 to 3 slots a day so you can review and adjust any of your content. This is like a workout! If you under, or over do it, you will get poor results. Set times that work best for your personality and available schedule. As part of your goals, set plans to expand your knowledge, or present valuable information to your viewers.”
“My best time saving tip is to use Hootsuite and its applet Hootlet which lets you Tweet from any page on the web when you find something you want to share with your followers. Hootsuite then let’s you track the clicks on the various links you have posted. Over time you can see which topics are most popular amongst your followers and then feed them more.”
“Set specific times for interacting on twitter. Don’t keep a desktop app open that alerts you to new tweets.”
“Schedule and treat tweet sessions like these as you would a meeting, be selective.”
“I don’t allocate time for Twitter. I turn off TweetDeck notifications and tweet as and when I want to.”
“Set aside specific time for Twitter and have a quick list of themes (eg. quotes, tips, links, etc.). That way you can focus your time on reaching your goals rather than wandering the twitterverse for good tweet ideas.”
“Log in only every three or four hours. That way the most important tweets will still be there.”
Question #6 – What is your best-kept secret (something not widely known) for using Twitter in business?
“Mine is a tool — TwitterBar. It allows you to tweet from the address bar in your browser. Type in your 140 characters like you’re typing a website URL/address and then click on the little “t” for Twitter and it goes to your account. No need to open another application, or use your phone.”
“One of the advanced tactics I use is to keep a search column open in Tweetdeck (or you could use Twitter Search) for a term that is related to my work. For instance, I have a column for the search phrase “wordpress help”. This lets me see tweets from people who are looking for help with WordPress, and if I can help them, I send them a quick answer. This is a good way to be helpful, get new business, and/or meet some great people with similar interests (ie. build your business network).It may take a couple of tries to find the right term to search for your business, but when you do you will have access to a continuous stream of people that will be interested in what you have to say or who will need your help.”
“We’ve seen that a lot of people find it difficult to know what to tweet – especially when it comes to interesting, relevant content and links. What we do is have someone set up with a Google Reader account that subscribes to 10 to 20 blogs that we know have consistently interesting content like Smallbiztrends or Copyblogger, then we use a tweet scheduler like Tweetlater to schedule 5 or 6 tweets a day, spread throughout the day, with a link and a blurb about the blog post. Takes about 20 minutes a day once you’re in the habit of doing it and makes your feed a consistently interesting source of information.”
“Use Twitter to ask for help, in small doses… I tweeted that I needed reviewers for my column and other writing, and snagged a couple of volunteers.”
“Create a unique landing page for twitter specifically with a greeting, service, and introduction. It offers a unique message to those via twitter and assists with tracking those who visit the ‘secret page only twitter’s know’.”
“Set up a bunch of (free) listening services to make sure you capture what may be interesting to you and your brand. I use multiple tools – just in case one is down, or misses something.
For example: I use Tweetbeep, Twillert, Techrigy SM2 alerts, and BackTweets. Every morning I get an email from Tweetbeep, Twilert, and SM2 that tells me who mentioned keywords that I have associated with my brand. I check for my name, my twitter handle, and a variety of words that people use when talking about the things my customers are interested in. (You should including words that refer to your competitors too). Then I use BackTweets to see who has tweeted my URL. Sometimes people will forward a link from my blog without mentioning my name. BackTweet can find those for me. This way – I find out who is talking about my, by brand, or my product space. I check out what they have said previously in their stream (sometimes they are just a retweet robot, or their mention of my product was a false positive, typo, etc.) If they are someone of interest, I start to follow them –depending on their conversations, I’ll reach out and say hi. If they are really interested in my product then I have expanded my community by reaching out.”
“Business owners and their representatives should think of Twitter as attending a local networking event. When you attend local networking events, to be effective, you build relationships, have one on one’s to hear more about their business and vice versa and then, if interested, purchase their product or service and/or help connect them with their synergy partners.

Use the same concept with Twitter:
• Learn by reading tweets and profiles
• Build relationships
• Interact and engage to find out more about followers
• Help connect others with their target market or synergy partners

Also, just like local networking, it takes time so don’t use Twitter thinking that one Tweet is going to make you rich…it won’t! It’s all about building relationships and networking!”
“My tip would probably fall under the Advanced Strategies category, but truthfully, it should be one of the first things a small business does when they create a Twitter profile — brand your profile page. It doesn’t take long, it’s not hard to do (there are even websites that can help you do it for free, or designers who will help you for a fee), and it makes a big difference in terms of developing your business image, positioning your business, and providing additional URLs and details you can’t fit in the standard Twitter profile fields.”
“Post a link to your job postings on Twitter. That’s how I found my latest new hire.”

“A great online Twitter management tool I’m loving (advanced tip) is called It allows small businesses to track tweets and actually get metrics on their links posted through the application. This is one of the first tools I’ve found which allows measurable ROI on Twitter. The lack of measurable metrics in social media is something that needs to be addressed. Most marketing directors and agencies are struggling to talk companies into using social media because board members and upper management demands to see measurable results out of this activity. Hootsuite is a step in the right direction and also allows people to manage multiple Twitter profiles through a single interface.”
“Check out list of influential folks & study how they use twitter – especially those unknown influentials.”
“We’re using Tweet Deck’s columns to break tweets into categories. Use the three built-in columns–friends follow, @replies, and direct messages. Create new columns for customized groups, work colleagues, client’s, specific organizations to ensure we don’t miss their tweets. Takes a little time to set- up for the first time in the way you like to view it; but once you do it’s a great way to view, increases the effectiveness and far less time-consuming.”
“I recently set up a second monitor (extended desktop) so that I could follow twitter without having to press ‘Alt tab’ or click on anything. Let me tell you, it has made Twitter so much more useful to me because I can actively follow new tweets as they roll in with an effortless glance! This would be my Twitter Tip to others; especially those in demanding, heavy loading professions.”