The journalist’s guidelines—the 5 W’s (plus 6 if you include how)—are useful in covering all your bases for just about any activity. If your business uses Twitter to engage with customers and find new ones, apply these criteria and use some best practices for Tweeting to enhance your results and avoid problems.
According to Hootsuite, there’s an advertising audience on Twitter of 353 million users. You just have to know how to connect with them. Understand the audience you’re trying to reach—businesses, consumers, their demographics—so you can craft your posts accordingly. Doing this will also attract followers interested in your content.
Follow customers and other businesses relevant to you. Respond to followers (e.g., retweets, likes, and comments). Create Twitter Lists to help you organize and prioritize the tweets from people you follow. Viewing a List timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the accounts on that List.
Twitter posts are limited in the number of characters (including spaces) to 280 (up from the original 140). Images, GIFs, and videos don’t count, but each emoji counts as 2 characters. Your posts may include links to additional information. The URLs count, so you may want to shorten lengthy ones using Bitly (or Ow.ly within the Hootsuite app). You can easily check your numbers with CharacterCounter.
There are topics you want to tweet about and some you want to avoid. Do tweet about:
- Content (e.g., share your content, such as blogs and YouTube videos, as well as other articles and posts relevant to your business and your followers)
- Your current business activities (e.g., sales, mentions of your business in the media)
- Your expertise (e.g., answer questions, share helpful information)
You may also want to be interactive with your followers. To do this, respond to other posts, address problems and complaints, conduct surveys, and ask for reviews.
You probably want to steer clear of certain “hot topics,” such as politics. Twitter has restrictions on political posts with respect to paid advertising. Steer clear of negativity. And keep personal posts off your business Twitter account.
At some point, you may wish to delete old posts. There are tools you can use for this purpose, including:
It’s advisable to tweet often (multiple times a day). But don’t post all your tweets at once; spread your posts over the course of the day (see “How” below).
Having a following on Twitter enables you to get your messages out. This may be general information about your business, alerting followers about upcoming sales, or warning them about problems they may encounter with products or other things.
Thinking carefully about your posts, as explained earlier, is essential, but how and when you post them is just as important. You can search and discover the best times to post a Tweet to reach your target audience.
Add visuals, such as GIFs and videos. Use hashtags to categorize keywords within your tweets, which helps increase views. You can search for relevant and trending topics to follow using hashtags, also.
To automate your activities and minimize your time, consider using some tools:
Here’s a list of more than a dozen options for social media management. We do not endorse or favor any particular option.