How to: Start a Company Twitter Account

Is your company ready to Tweet? Well before you get started on the Tweets, hashtag usage, and great consumer engagement through the relationships you will build…and then here are the steps you need to take in order to take advantage of Twitter and all its greatness:

1) Twitter Handle: In my opinion, it is best to keep a Twitter handle as simple as possible, as close to your company name as possible, and without any numbers and/or dashes (if possible). Case in point: @carbonite and @zipcar. That way if someone is looking for your company handle on Twitter or via Google, it is easier to find, and easier to remember when people are Tweeting about you. As the old line goes, “keep it simple stupid.”

2) Profile Picture and Background: Use a picture that’s easy to recognize and coincides with your company’s brand image. Best to use your logo if possible or a variation of it. In addition your background is also great “retail space.” You can customize it to be very visual like @zipcar below or or keep it simple and to the point like @carbonite below. In addition you can use that space to add more info regarding your other links to your other platforms and/or blog(s).

3) Bio and Link: So you have 140 characters to work with for this concise and to-the-point bio of who your company is and why the consumer should care. Let’s take a look at @zipcar again — their bio says “A community of folks who’ve found out that car sharing beats the heck outta car rental or ownership. We’re tweeting from Zipcar HQ Mon-Fri 9am-5pm EST.” They keep it hip and simple just like their company culture exudes. You want to be consistent with your brand image and positioning as well as be creative with this “retail space.” I think @zipcar does a great job at this. They also include their web page in the web address portion – which is vital! The link you include should be the heart of your company’s content hub. You want to lead people to where you want them to go, so they can be converted from someone who is aware of your brand to a consumer who purchases and advocates for your brand.

4) Strategy: Now before you start following every random person you can find…think why you should follow them. Put together a strategy/plan for your investment in social media. It is not about random follows and robotic Tweets. It’s about reaching your target market and engaging with them on a deeper level. Social media, such as Twitterallows companies the capability to listen and respond to consumers in a real-time way which was not possible before. It gives consumers the personal attention they want from the brands they love.

Thus: (1) who is your target market, (2) where are they, (3) what are they talking about, and (4) how can you converse with them. Example: @carbonite would have looked at who they want to sell to and what they want to utilize their Twitter account for. As seen from their stream they talk to current consumers and assist with issues they may have, questions regarding the service @carbonite provides, offers they may have, as well as engaging on a personal level with each follower they have in order to demonstrate they aren’t just another brand on Twitter, but a brand who wants to fully engage with each person who follows them. Still unsure where to start and find the “right” followers? Try out Follower Wonk, which is a helpful tool for following “relevant” people for you. It allows you to find who is following your competition, and in turn you can follow them as well. Useful and easy to use!

Note: Another thing to keep in mind is if you want more than one handle for your company. Some companies such as @zappos have different accounts for different services in order to be more efficient with consumer response. Therefore you can have one handle for customer service, while another for finance issues, and another for the CEO (or a higher up) to Tweet from in order to show that the brand is personal and even the higher ups care about each and every consumer out there. In addition@zipcar has different handles for their different cities they are located in. Great for specific attention to your consumers. This can be great for efficiency as I said, but be sure that you have the manpower to handle each of these handles and do not leave consumers waiting. Twitter is in real time after all.

5) Lists: Helpful to create lists of categories that matter and a great way for your followers to follow those lists as well. Example: if you have different areas of function within your company such as @mashable who focuses on Tech, Social Media and many other things — they have different lists to correspond to those.

6) A few more tips:
  • Last few tweets: People pay attention to your last few Tweets especially when they are unsure whether to follow you. They may check to see if you are offering relevant content in your Tweets. So it can be useful to ensure that your Tweets are relevant to your industry and target market (as well as some not so serious ones thrown in to be more personal and fun).
  • Follow back: Do not be one of those that does not follow back. It’s so middle school.
  • ReTweet: ReTweet other people within your industry or target market. It’s not all about you.
  • Be Polite: Like in real life, a “thank you” goes a long way.
  • Do not Spam: I know when I get spammed by companies I either unfollow or block them. Spam = waste of time.
  • And avoid the common mistakes on Twitter that people easily make.

Wishing you had a helpful guide to keep at your side and familiarize your boss or yourself a bit more? Check out this Ebook: Twitter for Business 101. It’s not only free but super easy to follow and utilize for 101 guidance. Now….Ready, Set, Tweet!

Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot