product development lessons (2)

Being active on social media is a great way to increase engagement with your brand, and as it turns out, Twitter is where a lot of conversations are happening.

But starting out on such a massive social network can kind of feel like jumping out of an aeroplane without a parachute… and then finding yourself surrounded by a bunch of people who know how to fly.

Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but your first foray onto Twitter can feel like a bit of a free-fall, especially if you want to do it right. So in order to avoid the common social media misfortune of falling flat on your face from an altitude of 30,000 feet, here are a few ways to get started in the Twittersphere the right way.

1. Get your handle and bio right

Choose what to place after that infamous “@” symbol carefully.

Since this account is for your business, it makes sense to simply use the name of your ccompany. But bear in mind that you only have 15 characters to work with, so you may have to do some unceremonious abbreviating if yours is a little lengthier.

Likewise, if the Twitter handle you want, or any preferred variation of it, is already taken – which admittedly, does happen a lot – then using a location marker can be a good way around this. For example, if the handle you want is @SarahsBakery (which is unsurprisingly already taken), you could use @SarahsBakeryAU instead.

Even if the only available Twitter handle you end up with leaves something to be desired, optimising your bio generally gives you a little more autonomy. But again, you only have 160 characters to work with, so this is no time to start penning a Tolstoy-esque epic.

Keep it short and to the point, so your potential followers will know exactly what they’re getting from you. Where possible try to include keywords that are relevant to your business (but whatever you do, don’t stuff them in there.) It’s also not a bad idea to provide a (subtle) suggestion as to why people should follow you.

Mashable, as seen below, pulls this off very effectively.


2. Choose the right images

With all the noise and conversation constantly happening on Twitter, it’s easy to forget how much of avisual space it really is. Remember that if someone clicks on your profile, the first thing they read may be your bio, but the first thing they see will be your profile and header images…and which do you think will make an impression first?

The images you choose for your Twitter (or any social media) account function as part of the ‘first impression’ users will get of your brand – a1431051872876

It’s a good idea to use your logo as your profile image, but if you want to get a little more creative, no problem! Just remember that your header image will be pasted over with the text from your bio, and your background image is not responsive, so its size will depend on the screen resolution of the person viewing it.

3. Start following

You’ve done the profile-tweaking bit, and now it’s time to start interacting. That’s why you’re here, after all!

So start following people, but not too many with large followings of their own. The point is to get some reciprocity happening, and you probably won’t get much of that from people with overblown followings already hanging onto their every Tweet.

Start out by following people in the same physical and virtual community as you, similar brands and people that have followed you. A sneaky trick is to have at look at some of your main competitors’Twitter profiles and see who is following them…and then follow them yourself and hope they return the favour.

4. Get ready to Tweet

If you want your brand to succeed on Twitter, you are going to have to start Tweeting, and Tweeting well.

You should integrate Twitter into your overall social media strategy, and decide on the type, frequency and tone of your Tweets.


Don’t forget that what you say on social media should reflect your brand, so if you don’t have a ‘voice’ in mind yet, start thinking about one now. It could be something as simple as ‘casual but informative,’ or ‘witty and irreverent,’ but bear in mind that the risks you can afford to take can often depend on the size and reach your brand already has.

There are a million other ways to optimise your Twitter strategy, but these are the basics that should get you started. Once you get familiar with the platform and regularly review your strategy, the rest should follow.

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