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In 2017, Twitter is still the most used platform by businesses, with over 65% of companies using Twitter as a marketing tool. And a 19% increase in customer satisfaction for companies answering enquires over Twitter. It is clear to say, that if you’re not on Twitter then what are you doing? I could carry on bombarding you with amazing Twitter facts for businesses, but you can read them all on the Brand Watch blog. The real reason you’re here is to read about my creative Twitter ideas for businesses to increase Twitter engagement and followers. Here’s a link to a larger version of my Infographic, ‘12 Creative Twitter Ideas for Businesses [Infographic]‘.

12 Creative Twitter Ideas for Businesses:

1. Impressive use of lists:

I shall start my list of creative Twitter ideas for businesses with the easy ones. Organise your followers into relevant lists, so important tweets don’t get lost. For example you can have lists for customers, suppliers and partners that you want to work with. Twitter allows up to 20 lists with 500 members in each. You can also create private lists of accounts that share fun or inspiring tweets that you can share time and time again.

2. Cover photo to match events or promotions:

Cover photos don’t need to be of a city skyline or a tropical island. Even if these images are calming to look at. Make the most out of your Twitter space, by including relevant copy or hashtags relating to your business. Maybe you’re running a campaign or a special promotion, use your cover photo to promote these. Please beware, if you’re planning to include text in your cover photo make sure it is big enough to be seen on mobile devices. Remember the Twitter cover photo size is 1500 x 500.

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Waterstones cover photo example includes their products of the month.

3. Don’t be lazy on your bio:

Never underestimate the power of a good about or bio section. Users coming to your Twitter page would want to know what you’re about. The quickest way for them to know if you’re relevant to them is by reading your Twitter bio. Most businesses use their generic business description as their bio. This is a big no! Your Twitter bio should include a summary of your Twitter content. Not a summary of your business activities. If you can’t summarise your Twitter content, then it’s time to create a content strategy or a social media calendar. A bonus tip is to include relevant hashtags in your bio, such as any campaign hashtags or customer service related ones.

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Sainsbury’s bio includes a summary of their Twitter content. While Boohoo includes relevant hashtags for their brand.

4. Make good use of your website URL:

You can include a link to your website’s homepage. But this would be lazy and thoughtless. Let’s say you are a designer and run a design blog. You use Twitter to post design tips and resources from your blog. Linking to the homepage of your portfolio would be useless, as your followers are quite obviously interested in your blog content. A link to your blog would be a brilliant idea here. As followers wanting to find out more tips would be directly taken to the relevant page on your website. Some businesses have even gone the extra mile to create a Twitter landing page on their website. Read this post on best practices for creating Twitter landing pages.

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Problogger’s website URL links to a Twitter landing page on his website giving users more relevant information.

5. Listen to your fans:

Moving onto the more difficult creative Twitter ideas for businesses. Social media is a two-way communication. Remember the clue is in the word ‘social’! Shouting into a blank space is no good if you want high engagement from your followers. A couple of strategies you can try is searching for your company name and related keywords or hashtags. Remember you can use the Twitter advanced search feature to search for local results or mentions of certain keywords by accounts. You can also try searching for certain related hashtags and see if there is a problem that you can solve. Answering direct or indirect enquires shows potential followers that you are active user and knowledgeable about your industry. This alone can give some users a reason to follow you!

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Imagine Forest responds to questions in their industry, even when they are not directly tagged in.

6. Check out your competitors followers:

We’re halfway through our list of creative Twitter ideas for businesses! Now it’s time for a sneaky one! Competitors with a high amount of followers could be a good example to follow. You can see what type of followers they have and if the followers engage with their content regularly. You can even create a private Twitter list of potential followers for your company and engage with these accounts regularly by liking or replying to their tweets. If a competitor’s follower is really interesting you can even follow them. That user is likely to follow you back, as you and your competitor are likely to have similar values! A good tip for following Twitter accounts is to see how many users they are following. For example if a Twitter user is following 10 accounts and has a million followers, you can see the chances of them following you is most likely to be zero. These type of Twitter accounts are most likely to follow users with whom they have an offline relationship with, such as friendships or close business partners etc.

7. Pay attention to timing:

Timing is everything in the world of social media, especially with Twitter. The average user tweets more than once of day and follows over 200 accounts. With this in mind you can see why certain messages get lost in the Twittersphere. To increase your visibility and chances of engagement, it is vital to post at a time when your followers will be online.  But, how do you know when your Twitter followers will be online? Through an awesome tool called Tweriod! Tweriod will create a report outlining the timings in which your followers are online based on a daily analysis. So in the future if you have a very important announcements to share use Tweriod to find the optimal time for your followers to receive this message.

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Tweroid lets you know what time your followers are online.

8. Participate in relevant hashtags:

A cool way to improve the visibility of your tweets on Twitter is to participate in relevant hashtags. The first thing you should do is research hashtags. Create a list of relevant hashtags used by followers, general related hashtags and consider the popularity of hashtags. For example if you are an author or a librarian specialising in children’s books, you may pay attention to hashtags such as #kidlit #childrensbooks and #kidsactivities. If you’re a marketing agency, you may look into #graphicdesign #seo #digitalmarketing. A good tip is to also consider possible hashtags of offline events such as a conferences or networking events. For all you illustrators or designers, see my post on Twitter design challenges, to increase the visibility on your artwork. Hashtags used globally by almost everyone, include #Mondaymotivation, #TBT or #WednesdayWisdom.

9. Avoid copy and pasting blog headlines:

Typically a blog headline is clear and concise based on its content. This is good for users reading the post, but not so great if you’re promoting it on Twitter. Twitter is about quick, inspiring content which makes a user click like or retweet when they see it. How can you make blog posts interesting for Twitter users? The answer is simple. Instead of headlines consider using snippets from your blog post. For example you written a blog post about 10 free ways to market your business. You can share each method as a separate tweet linking to the same blog post or turn some of the content into inspiring quotes. This makes your content digestible for Twitter Users. You could even turn chunky information into a infographic to share and link it to your blog post.

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Digital Biz 2016 have created infographic to visually show their stats on social media

10. Start your own themed hashtags:

Out of all my creative Twitter ideas for businesses, this could be the most engaging for your followers. So you’ve been on Twitter for months and now got a nifty amount of followers. Perhaps to spice things up, you can create your own hashtags. This is especially popular in the illustration field where illustrators have started their own themed drawing challenges using unique hashtags to build their Twitter profile. You might have a special hashtag for customer support or one for customer created content, such as fan art or tips.

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The Aston University Library had created #studytiptuesday to encourage their followers to share their own tips.


11. Give potential followers an incentive:

Sometimes people may need an extra push to follow you. You can motivate potential followers to follow you by offering new followers an exclusive e-book or by organising a Twitter competition, such as a Twitter milestone competition. But be warned, when incentivising users to follow make sure these followers are relevant to your business.  In particular, a Twitter competitions should only be used as a last resort to gain followers. Why? Because most Twitter competitions encourage spam or robot accounts to follow you. The one problem with this is that you will end up with thousands of followers but no engagement or real interest from them in your products/services. If you’re going to organise a competition, please make sure the prize that you’re offering the winner is directly related to your business. This way you are likely to get some genuine followers, following you! Finally when selecting a winner or sending the e-book to your followers, please double check their accounts to see if they are real or fake. A fake account is likely to have no profile pic, incomplete information and no tweets (apart from competition related ones).

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A Twitter milestone competition organised by Imagine Forest.

12. Stop following everyone!

Your first instinct may be to follow everyone that follows you, because you think it’s the polite thing to do. The right thing to do, is always double check before following anyone. You don’t want your Twitter feed to be filled with irrelevant mumbo jumbo from random accounts.  Twitter accounts that don’t inspire or provide anything relevant should not be followed. As mentioned in point 11 Twitter is filled with fake or spam accounts that probably tweet about competitions or other naughty stuff. Yes, by following this idea you might lose followers. But always remember that quality is better than quantity. You want engaging followers over millions of zombie accounts.

Got any more creative Twitter ideas for businesses?

Thank you for reading my blog post. If you have any more creative Twitter ideas for businesses or thoughts, please comment them below! See you next time.