How To Use Twitter for Beginners
Twitter, launched in 2006, is a microblogging social media site where users create short-form content, known as tweets, to share with others. Users who have an account can post their own tweets and interact with others.
Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter is often where breaking news is shared by individual users, rather than notable businesses. Users take to their personal accounts and tweet about their experiences, like when a 5.9 earthquake struck Virginia in 2011. It was first reported by individuals on Twitter who sent out 40,000 tweets related to the incident, all in less than a minute.
Twitter is also known for being the home of countless viral memes, like one from Carter Wilkerson in 2017. He asked Wendy’s, a fast-food chain, how he could use the power of Twitter to get free nuggets for a year.
He didn’t meet their 18 million retweet requirement, but they granted his request after achieving 3 million. Wilkerson has since used his Twitter experiment as an example of social sharing engagement for his marketing course. Others have since used this format, like this user, who asked The New York Mets to let her take prom photos on their baseball field if she reached 500,000 retweets.
Considering that Twitter has significant power in influencing trends and generating engagement, some brands have taken to the platform as a means of social media marketing. If you’re just starting on Twitter, this post will outline how to use its essential features and go over best-practices for marketers using the app.
All social media platforms have site-specific etiquette and best practices that marketers should know. Let’s look at eight tips for Twitter beginners to use when adopting the platform into their marketing strategy.
Featured resource: How to Use Twitter for Business
Understand Twitter Language
If you’re going to use Twitter, you need to understand commonly used terms within the app.
Hashtags, written as a pound symbol (#) followed by a specific word or phrase, are keywords on Twitter that are used to incite discussion. #food is an example of a hashtag that is commonly used on Twitter, and all tweets that use the #food hashtags are aggregated together. Hashtags can often go viral, and users around the world put them within their own tweets to add their opinions into discussions and engage with topics that they care about.
They are also a valuable marketing tool for generating exposure, as any Twitter user who views and searches through a hashtag may come across the tweets you’ve made. Tweets with hashtags also get 100% more engagement. Hashtags can be added to tweets with videos, photos, gifs, and links.
A handle on Twitter is your username. It appears at the end of your account URL and is unique to the brand or business your Twitter account is dedicated to. For example, HubSpot’s Twitter handle is @HubSpot.
A Twitter handle is not to be confused with your Twitter profile name, which is the name of your Twitter account. For example, if you’re using Twitter for a personal account, your name is Sam Cruz, your profile name could be Sam Cruz while your handle might be @redtomato. Twitter handles can be unique, whereas everyone in the world named Sam Cruz can set that as their profile name.
Handles are essential for marketing, as they aid in brand recognition when they’re related to your business. For instance, say you run the Twitter profile for a pants business called Reds. If your Twitter handle is @pantsbusiness, nobody will be able to pick you out from the crowd of other pants businesses on the platform.
However, if you make your handle business-specific, like @redspants, customers that come across your tweets will recognize that your profile belongs to the business that sells their favorite pair of pants.
Retweet, sometimes written as RT, is how people share content on Twitter. If someone tweets something you like, you’d click the retweet button (shown below) to share the Tweet onto your own Twitter feed. The content you RT is visible to your followers and also displayed in your Twitter profile.
Retweets can also be quote tweets, or QT, where additional commentary is added to the original tweet. Here’s an example of a QT.
When you generate a following on Twitter, using the RT button to share tweets where your followers mention you and how much they love your business is a valuable strategy for building brand authority, as social media users value user-generated content (UGC). In fact, consumers trust UGC 9.8x more than influencer content or paid advertisements.
On Twitter, a mention means that someone has used your handle and tagged you in a Tweet. People typically mention users when creating their tweets or when replying to Tweet threads.
You’ll get a notification every time someone mentions you, and these tweets are displayed in the Notifications tab on the Twitter website and mobile app. You can navigate to your mentions by clicking the bell icon.
Mentions are beneficial to marketing as they make it easier to find and interact with followers who have specifically used your handle in their tweets. You can also mention other users within your own Tweets, which helps in generating engagement.
Create a Twitter Marketing Strategy
Like every social media platform, you need to create a site-specific marketing strategy. It doesn’t have to be too different from your overall business marketing strategy, as you’ll carry over elements like your buyer personas. These are the representations of your target audience that you’ll translate into social media target audiences, which will help you identify the customers most likely to interact with you on the platform.
It’s important to note that your Twitter strategy will need to be in line with Twitter specific elements like live video and hashtags.
Decide What You’ll Tweet
After you’ve created your marketing strategy, you’ll need to decide how you’ll execute that plan with your tweets. Other businesses on Twitter use their accounts to incite brand discussions, create advertisements, or as a means of customer support.
The image below depicts a Twitter customer support interaction between Comcast, an internet and cable service provider, and an interested customer. Around 59% of global social media users have a of brands that respond to customer service questions on social media, so it is a valuable Twitter strategy to consider.
The social media target audiences you’ve outlined within your marketing strategy will help you identify how you should use your Twitter account. When you understand your followers, you’ll know what type of content they prefer and what you should be tweeting.
For example, if you’re a clothing company, maybe you’re famous for launching exclusive products that your customers need to wait in line for. You know they’re likely excited by this exclusivity, so you can use your account to announce product release dates to get them excited. Here’s an example of Adidas, a design company, using their account to promote a highly anticipated brand collaboration on their Twitter account.
Like other social media channels, maintaining your Twitter account and keeping your followers engaged on the platform requires consistent tweeting. Research shows that top brands on Twitter send out an average of three tweets per day.
Twitter feeds are not automatically chronological, so your followers in different time zones will see your tweets no matter what. However, it’s also important to be aware of an additional factor affecting the number of times you tweet: when your followers are the most active.
They’ll always see your tweets throughout their feed, but tweeting when they are the most active will bring the most engagement. It also ensures that you can respond in a timely manner to sensitive support questions. Because of this, it’s essential to use analytics data to perfect your tweet schedule.
Use Data To Make Decisions
After you’ve been on Twitter for at least a month, consider using Twitter analytics data to drive the decisions you make on the app. Twitter offers its own analytics platform, where they give 28-day summaries of account impressions, profile visits, and best-performing tweets. This analytical insight into your followers can help you further perfect your marketing strategy for success on the platform.
Some of the metrics you should consider tracking are impressions, engagement rates, and reach. Each of these factors explains how Twitter users interact with your account and the Tweets you make. You’ll get a sense of how interested your audience is in your content, how relevant your content is, and the level of social authority your brand has on Twitter. High numbers in each category indicate that you’re doing well, and lower numbers will help you identify elements of your strategy that need work.
Automate When Necessary
Once you get a sense of your Twitter engagement analytics, you’ll know the best times to tweet, how often you need to tweet, and the steps you need to take to maximize platform engagement. Since you’re likely managing multiple social media channels, it makes sense to join the top 10% of tweeters using automation tools to schedule tweets in advance.
For example, HubSpot’s Marketing Hub can be integrated with Twitter Analytics to create an automated posting schedule optimized for your engagement metrics. The image below is an example of the Marketing Hub automated social media calendar.
You can also use the integration to view analytics data for all your social media accounts at once, helping you understand the platforms that bring your business the most success.
Engage With Your Followers
Just like all other social media platforms, engaging with your followers is crucial. There are various ways you can do this on Twitter, like liking and retweeting mentions from followers, replying to direct messages, posting brand-relevant UGC, or asking followers to respond to Twitter polls. If you’ve created accurate, relevant social media personas, the way you interact with your followers will likely entice them to continue following and engaging with your account.
You can use social media management platforms, like Oktapost, to catalog interactions between you and your Twitter followers. The image below depicts a contact record between Liad Guez and Oktopost on Twitter. We can see that they’ve exchanged a direct message with the Twitter account, and this data can be cataloged and tracked. If you notice that you have Twitter followers that consistently interact with you, you can set extra time aside to nurture your relationship with them and entice them to become paying customers.
Mind Internet Permanency
Just like all other aspects of the internet, everything you tweet is permanent. Be thoughtful with the content you put on Twitter, and ] err on the side of caution. Assume that someone will always take a screenshot of your tweets and that inappropriate interactions with customers will be seen by others (even if you delete them).
Retweets are a critical part of marketing on Twitter, but be mindful of what you RT and QT, and make sure to give credit where credit is due. You don’t want to get called out for stealing content if you accidentally forget to mention someone, especially in a public forum. Twitter users are known for holding others accountable for misdirections, and they likely won’t hesitate to do the same if they noticed you’ve used content that isn’t your own.
Given this, you can assume that people with public accounts consent to their tweets being shared through RTs, but asking for permission is always a good strategy if you’re re-posting the content yourself.
How To Post on Twitter
Once you’ve figured out your Twitter marketing strategy and learned best practices for beginners, it’s time to begin posting on Twitter.
Twitter supports four different tweets on its platform: text tweets, photo tweets, gifs, and videos. Within all of those tweets, you can also include links and hashtags. Within all of those tweets, you can also use links and hashtags.
When posting a text-only tweet on the Twitter website, you’ll need to click on the box on your home feed that says “Tweet” and click on it. Within the box that says What’s happening? you can create your tweet (up to 280 characters) and click Tweet to display it on your profile. The image below depicts the process.
On mobile, the steps are similar. Launch the app, select the Write button on the bottom right of the screen.
Craft your tweet, and click the Tweet button to make it live.
How To Post Videos on Twitter
32% of people say they use Twitter to watch videos. Given this, using Twitter to post branded videos is a valuable strategy to consider. There are three ways to post videos on Twitter: import videos from your mobile device, upload videos from your computer to Twitter’s desktop site, and go live within the Twitter app.
Import Videos on Mobile
To import videos to Twitter from your mobile device, begin by following the same steps you would to create a text-only tweet. Once the Tweet window is open, the app will display a carousel of the most recent photos on your device. If the video is there, you can select it, add your text, and click Tweet.
If the video isn’t there, you can click the camera photo icon and browse through your photo gallery to select the right video.
Upload Videos on Desktop
To upload a video on the Twitter desktop site, open the tweet composer to write a text-only tweet and select the image button.
When you click the button, you’ll be prompted to select the desired video from your computer files. Once you’ve picked it, click Tweet.
Videos on Twitter cannot be larger than 512MB, and the maximum video length is 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Videos in your tweets don’t count towards the 280 character limit, so you can add as much text as you want to your video tweets as further explanations for the videos.
Going Live on Twitter
Going live on Twitter is a great way to engage with your audience. They can watch you talk about your brand in real-time and ask questions. At the moment, the live function on Twitter is only supported within the mobile application.
To go live, select the photo icon from the tweet composer.
The camera function will open, where you select the Live option. Once you go Live, users who follow you will see your live stream within their feed.
How To Post Photos and Gifs on Twitter
Social media users like engaging with visual content. In fact, tweets that include gifs receive 55% more engagement than those that don’t. Given this, the benefits of using photos and gifs in your tweets are high. Let’s go over how to upload pictures and gifs to your tweets on Twitter.
Post Photos and Gifs on Twitter
To post a photo on Twitter, follow the first step to posting a tweet on Twitter. Click on the photo icon, and select an image or GIF from your carousel or photo library. You can also click the gif button and choose a GIF from the Twitter GIF library.
You can select up to four photos to tweet at once, but only one gif is allowed per tweet, and they can’t be included in photosets. The same steps should be followed to post gifs on Twitter via mobile app.
Just like videos, photos do not affect tweet character count, so you can add text or links to accompany your photo tweets.
How Many People Use Twitter
To fully understand the benefits of using Twitter in your marketing strategy, let’s take a look at some of the heavy-hitting statistics from the app and what they mean for marketers using Twitter.
Benefit to marketers
With such a large user base, marketers who create a successful Twitter marketing strategy can stand to expand their follower base.
More than 80% of Twitter’s Monetizable Daily Active Users (mDAUs) live outside the United States.
Businesses on Twitter can reach audiences from around the world. You’re no longer confined to those in your home country or geographic region.
More than 80% of Twitter’s global population is under 50 years old, and 44% of U.S. adults aged 18-24 use Twitter. Approximately six of every ten Twitter users worldwide are between 35 and 65 years old.
Brands can use Twitter to market themselves and reach new audiences, as there is a wide range of ages represented within the app.
Twitter users are 38% more likely to post opinions about brands and products than other social media site users.
Aside from your own marketing efforts, your followers will talk about you in their own tweets. This makes it easy to engage with those who do mention you and stand out as a brand that cares for their customers.
93% of people who follow small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) on Twitter plan to purchase from the businesses they follow, and 69% of those businesses have already purchased from a SMB because of something they saw on the platform.
This means that gaining followers is equivalent to generating revenue, as new followers are likely planning to purchase from your business if they haven’t already.
Consider Using Twitter for Business
Since there is such a large number of users on Twitter, making your business known on the platform can be a valuable growth-focused strategy.
If you spend time engaging with those who follow your account and creating content they enjoy, they’ll reward you by bringing engagement to your Twitter profile and becoming loyal followers.