With a limitation of 140 characters, Twitter instills users to be creative and succinct with social media. Not only that, but with more than 310 million active users, it’s tough to know how to stand out and be heard.

Following the most essential Twitter best practices can make you more visible to your customers. But much like your product launch or social media marketing strategy, you have to know where to start before you can see any success.

Going blindly into Twitter as a marketer can lead to time-wasting efforts. You end up missing out on real results like traffic and faster customer support. While these are only a few things that Twitter can do for your business, you’ll want to learn how to successfully market your account.

Use the buttons below to jump to each Twitter best practice:

Or jump to the Twitter best practices infographic.

Most people trying to build a significant Twitter audience from scratch want it to be quick and easy. Sadly this can lead to the dangerous pitfall of buying followers, which is never a good thing. Authentic, truly-engaged followers are what can make your Twitter account shine.

It’s tempting to want to take the dark path of purchasing followers. This is especially true because according to Simply Measured, 58% of the top brands on Twitter have more than 100,000 followers. However, the difference between 100,000 and 10,000 active users engaging with your handle can make all the difference.

Add All the Leaders in Your Industry

twitter best practices search

If you’re like most businesses, you’ve created a Twitter account and followed a few friends and companies, but don’t know what to do next. The first thing you should do is increase your audience by following all of your industry leaders on Twitter.

Don’t hesitate or be partial to who you add. Follow every industry leader now.

digital marketing influencers

Use tools like BuzzSumo to find even more industry leaders. Buzzsumo lets you find the highest-shared articles in your industry and see who wrote them. Be detailed and comprehensive with searching who’s talking about your industry and what companies are generating buzz. Then follow them on Twitter.

You can even use tools like Sprout Social to do advanced searches to find Twitter users through:

  • Hashtags
  • Links in bios
  • Keywords in Tweets
  • Geolocations
  • Users mentioning brand names (without tagging)
add keyword feature on sprout social

This will easily bring all the outside conversations right in front of your eyes. Now you can see potential customers actively talking about your industry. Follow them so you have the chance for a followback.

If you follow these steps, eventually your audience will be full of thought leaders, companies in your space and Twitter users who are actively discussing your industry.

2. Optimize Your Twitter

Building a robust Twitter audience doesn’t have to be a huge burden. It’s all about knowing where to look and how to be found. Some of the most essential Twitter best practices are all about visibility.

Be Visible

This is why optimizing your Twitter is so important. The better you set yourself up to be easily searchable and found, the more people will actually see you.

moz optimized twitter example

In fact a survey from Twitter, The Advertising Research Foundation and FOX discovered 54% of Twitter users took action after seeing brand mentions in Tweets. These five mentions included things like Retweeting the original Tweets, visiting a website or making a purchasing decision.

Simply put, visibility has a tremendous payoff and you can increase your Twitter presence by:
twitter best practices optimize

  • Have a Simple Handle: There’s nothing worse than an overly complicated Twitter handle. Instead make sure your handle is short, true to your brand and understandable. Don’t add special characters or numbers to make your account unique. Try to simplify and only add additional letters if you need to define your location, a parent company or how you differentiate from other similar names.
twitter search example
  • Optimize Your Twitter Bio: It’s absolutely essential to optimize your entire bio and Twitter account. Make sure you include industry-related hashtags, a link or another handle where users can find you. For example, you can include a Twitter support handle.
  • Know Which Hashtags to Use: By now, everyone knows that you can reach more people with hashtags. But are you using the correct keywords? Use hashtag analytics to know what’s trending or related to your industry. This will help you make more informed decisions on your hashtags.
twitter best practices optimize pt. 2
  • Use Twitter Search Operators: With the help of Advanced Twitter Search, you can use Twitter search operators to find specific mentions that could be relative to your product, location or your company name. Searching keywords and phrases relative to your business can help you join conversations you didn’t know were happening.
  • Use Pinned Tweets: Ensure your feed has a pinned Tweet to showcase one of your more engaging posts. This is also a good feature to highlight recurring questions or news about product or service updates.
  • Promote Your Twitter Across Networks: Whether it’s your website, a newsletter, paid advertising or other social networks, promote your Twitter across them all. Cross-platform promotion is a great way to get your handle out there. Your handle should be as important as your website or phone number.

3. Always Be Ready to Engage

Twitter was built with the idea of micro-conversations in mind. For brands on Twitter, this has become the go-to network to reach out to customers, answer questions and give feedback. According to the Sprout Social 2016 Q2 Index, roughly 36% of users choose to reach out to brands on social media over sources like 1-800 numbers and support websites.

Customers crave engagement so there has to be a balance of promotional and conversational posts on Twitter. Passion Digital recommends brands to post 20% promotional and 80% conversational.

This will help you build real customer relationships. You don’t want the only conversation between you and your customers to be “buy our product.” Instead try to engage with followers to get them interested in your brand.

How to Engage on Twitter

Your Twitter engagement efforts have a major opportunity to pay off. However, you have to take a balanced approach to engaging with Twitter followers.

Here are a few quick tips to increase your Twitter engagement:
twitter best practices engage

  • Introduce New Followers: When a new batch of followers come in, tag them and give a shout out for the follow. This is a great early audience-building tip that doesn’t take much time.
  • Ask Important Questions: You’ll see this tip a lot, but don’t just ask boring questions. Instead try to ask about what followers want from your product or what’s not working. You’ll not only gain helpful insights, but spark plenty of conversations.
  • Tweet About Industry Events: You can’t make every industry event, but you can ask for insights from followers who attended. Ask for details about conventions or talks you can’t attend. This helps you gain knowledge of what went on and makes your followers feel good about reporting back to you. Also, you can meet brand advocates and industry leaders through these conversations.
  • Jump on Trending Events: This tactic is often called “trendjacking,” which means to hop on a popular trend and use it for your branding purposes. Don’t just hashtag #PokemonGo without remorse. Better yet, try to find an organic way for your company to be involved with a trend. Remember, it doesn’t have to be promotional.
  • Tweet Multiple People a Day: Jeff Bullas recommends you put a little effort into your conversations and try to Tweet three people a day. By building small conversations each day, you increase your reach. If you do this just for three months, you’re talking about 270 conversations in that time period. Now that’s some engagement.
  • Don’t Bore Your Followers: With so many Tweets publishing each second, you can’t afford to be boring. Entice readers and be actionable with your words. Use the 140-character limit to your advantage for efficient calls-to-action.

4. Know Your Twitter Goals

Every social media marketer should have a set of goals for each social network. To see actionable results, make sure you tie your business objectives to your social media goals. With your brand’s Twitter, you want to have specific set goals to make sure you know exactly what efforts are paying off and what could be wasting your time.

Every business will have different goals, but it’s helpful to see some examples. You don’t have to start with high impact goals if you’re just beginning. Instead try to focus on achievable goals that can be measured. Here are a few common Twitter goals businesses try to achieve:
twitter best practices goals

  1. Get 10 High-Value Followers: Setting a goal of 10,000 followers is a poor metric to follow. Instead, try to get 100 followers who are active and have a voice in your industry. Start out with something small and build your way up.
  2. Post 3-5 Times a Day for a Month: It’s not about how many times you can Tweet, but how effective you are at keeping the conversation going. Don’t let your Twitter feed become stale. Stay active with a Tweet-per-day goal.
  3. Increase Audience Engagement: Again, engagement is key on Twitter. Try to boost the number of replies, Retweets and Likes with your account. You should set more specific goals depending on your follower count.
  4. Increase Follower Percentage Over Six Months: Within Sprout Social, our Twitter analytics give you the ability to see follower percentages. Track your percentages each month and try to see positive growth month-over-month for a six month period.
  5. Join three Twitter Chats in 30 Days: Twitter chats occur all the time. Businesses and industry leaders host these events to get the conversation going with like-minded people. Try to enter a few in a month’s time to see your network grow.

Measure Your Efforts

Measuring your Twitter effectiveness is essential to knowing what’s working. As more businesses move to Twitter, the importance grows greater on having detailed Twitter reporting to measure social media efforts.

Whether it’s impressions, link clicks or mentions, you want to track and measure all of your Twitter data. These analytics can provide in-depth analysis into how well you’re managing and operating your Twitter account.

Don’t be left in the dark with your efforts. Use a social media analytics tool like Sprout Social to get detailed insights today.

5. Maintain a Schedule & Checklist

The easiest way to keep your engagement level high is to maintain a schedule. Plan out your Tweets on a social media calendar so you know what messages are going out each day.

For example, if you take Bullas’s tip to Tweet three people a day, you could schedule each Tweet during your slow periods to effectively engage with users. If you try to have three conversations at the same time, it could get messy.

Calendar With Compose Window

With Sprout Social’s social media calendar and scheduling tools, you can maintain a healthy ratio of Tweets per day without having to constantly go back to the native platform.

Create a To-Do List

If you’ve made it this far, you might be wondering how you’re going to do all of this. First off, start a checklist of everything you want to do with your Twitter account. If you already have thousands of followers, maybe you simply need to optimize and engage more. However, you could need to start from the beginning.

To-do lists are a great way to make sure you stick to your goals on social. It’s not easy to implement every tip, but if you’re at least somewhat aware of them all, you have a better chance to succeed.

To make life easier, we’ve created a Twitter best practices checklist. You don’t have to follow everything here, but seeing all of the examples could be beneficial.
twitter best practices checklist

Keep on Learning

Learning new Twitter best practices should never stop. The industry is constantly evolving and it takes time and dedication to see positive results. While you need to put in a bit of elbow grease toward your Twitter marketing, following these tips can help you plan, schedule and measure your efforts.

Twitter Best Practices Infographic

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