How to engage users and grow your brand with Twitter marketing

Image shows a laptop screen, showing the Twitter login/sign up page

Many people turn to Twitter for the latest news and opinions on pretty much any topic. As such, the veteran social media platform has big potential for companies looking to reach their market. 

Twitter has evolved to gather communities around common topics. Businesses and individuals alike use it to network, curating and creating content to build their audiences and drive conversation. 

With all these advantages, a Twitter marketing strategy should be a priority for your organisation. But there’s a lot of competition out there. With nearly 217 million daily users and 500 million tweets sent to the platform every day, it can be hard to know how to have an impact. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to establish your brand and build an audience using Twitter. We’ll also share best practices (with examples) for using the platform to engage your target audience and drive conversions.

Top Tip: Whether you’re focused on Twitter, LinkedIn or TikTok, you need to create a content strategy tailored to each specific social platform. Learn how to leverage social media for marketing in our detailed guide on how to build a social media marketing strategy for your small business 💯

Table of contents

Why you should use Twitter for marketing 

Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms used globally. The opportunities it offers to share content quickly and its interactive format make it a prime way to gain customer insights and increase brand awareness. 

  • The nature of your interactions and the general tone of Twitter are less formal than direct advertising. Think of it more like joining a conversation. It allows you to establish a relationship users see as more authentic and personal. (This is especially crucial with younger consumers who want to know the brands they support reflect their values and align with their views on social issues.) 

  • Because of consistent and ongoing interactions, Twitter is a good way to stay in the loop about what’s going on in your industry and the world in general. Tracking and using trending topics and hashtags can help you get a read on how people are receiving your brand. (More on this later.) 

  • Consistency is the key to gaining traction on Twitter. You need to interact regularly and build a presence that engages your audience. This will help you create a community and talk directly with your customers. 

Top Tip: With so many users available on social media, digital marketing is crucial to your overall marketing strategy. Learn how to reach your target audience online in our guide on creating a digital marketing strategy💡

Creating a Twitter presence that attracts attention

Your first step to Twitter marketing success is to ensure you have a consistent, recognisable presence on the platform. This can mean a personal brand, company profile, or both. 

You may already have a personal profile built up that focuses on your company’s topics of interest. Or maybe you already have a marketing plan focused on another social platform. 

So, is it worth it to create a business profile? In a word, yes.

When you create a free business Twitter account, you also have access to professional marketing tools regular users don’t, including Twitter Ads and advanced Profile features, not to mention future solutions, like Twitter Shopping

Here are some tips on how to get your business up and running successfully on the platform. 

Audit your current Twitter account (if you already have one) 

Do you already have an account? Is it languishing in obscurity because you weren’t sure what to do with it? Take stock of what you have and how it’s performing so you’ll know what needs to be updated.

Check the messaging. Is it consistent with your brand’s voice and purpose? Or was it created with little thought to (or outdated) messaging? 

Use Twitter analytics to find metrics on your current account. Look at things like activity levels, current engagement rate and the number of followers you have. Knowing where you stand will help you develop goals for your account performance going forward.

Create a brand-consistent profile 

If your account is a bit dusty and underperforming, or if you’re just starting out, focus on creating a profile that reflects your brand. Start by engaging best practices for building a strong profile.

Add a recognisable profile photo. Upload a relevant image or your company logo if it’s something your audience associates you with. If your personal brand is stronger, a decent headshot will help people recognise your content immediately.

Swap out the standard header image for something custom. The generic Twitter-issued header image may leave people thinking your account is inactive, or worse: fake. Choose an image that represents your brand and coordinates with your profile picture. This is a chance to do a little free marketing, so make it count. 

For instance, take a look at the British Airways Twitter profile. 

They’ve flooded the header with a high-quality image of a flight attendant at work. It gets your attention and communicates the company’s focus on people.

Screenshot of British Airways Twitter Profile Page

You could use this space to showcase a simple statement about what you do or include your website URL in the image. The key is to personalise it so followers get a sense of your brand.

Come up with an easy-to-recognise Twitter handle. This will help people find you in search, make it easier to tag you in hashtags and will likely be based around your brand name.

Make your bio punchy. Spend some time on your company description in your Twitter bio to give a clear but concise idea of what you do and what you offer. Keep it brief and informative. If you want people to know more, include your URL and point them to it.

Choose a URL. Where do you want people to land when they want to learn more? You can point your URL to a landing page or specific offer. Or consider using a service like Linktree to offer a list of useful links to choose from. 

Find your Twitter voice. How do you want people to think about your brand? Professional and informative? Cheeky and entertaining? Establish guidelines for voice to keep it consistent. 

For instance, dbrand, a company that sells custom skins for electronic devices, has branded itself as smart and mischievous. This shows up in their tweets and interactions with their network. 

Take a look at this response to a customer’s comment about an image they posted with their new product covered in melted cheese:

Screenshot of dbrand tweet

A strong Twitter profile, whether personal or business, can be a marketing asset. For some, especially small business owners, sharing personal insights along your journey offers a compelling way to draw in potential followers.

Consider your audience and objectives when deciding which type of account to set up (or whether you should opt for both). The point is to build your reputation and create the kinds of interactions that keep followers coming back.

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Building an effective Twitter marketing strategy

As with any social media marketing, approach Twitter with a plan of action. Here are some steps for creating a solid footing on which to build your marketing strategy.

Set SMART goals and use analytics to measure your progress

If you don’t know what you want from your Twitter marketing campaign, it’s hard to accomplish much. Setting and tracking goals is the only sure way to know if you’re succeeding. 

Start by defining clear objectives. One study found that if you want to achieve your goals, writing them down is a crucial first step

A popular approach to establishing concrete, recordable goals is the SMART framework. It ensures goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. 

Screenshot of Smart Framework

For instance, say your objective is to drive traffic to your site. Break it down into SMART metrics like “increase click-throughs from Twitter by 10% over the next six months”. 

Once you’ve set your goals, use the marketing tools at your disposal to measure your success and adjust your marketing efforts as you determine what’s working and what’s not. For example, use UTM parameters to monitor conversions and website visits. And, of course, check in with Twitter analytics regularly to monitor growth and activity rates.

Top Tip: Setting goals and analysing metrics is the best way to measure your business’s growth. Learn which metrics you should be looking at and how to use them in our guide on key marketing metrics to measure small business growth 🚀

Create a calendar to keep your account active

As mentioned above, consistency is key to having a strong Twitter presence. Planning out your calendar in advance will help you keep activity strong. It’s also a good way to ensure you’re in alignment with your messaging and marketing efforts in other channels. 

For instance, if you’re planning to promote an event in-store or on other media accounts, a calendar will help you sync your efforts on Twitter so followers get consistent messaging.

Here’s what you should do when creating a content calendar for Twitter:

  • Plan out when you’ll post and what content you’ll include. A good calendar includes a balance of content types (e.g. calls to action, announcements, polls, introductions to articles and images). Need help deciding what to write about? Third-party tools like BuzzSumo analyse trends for you.

  • Plan ahead so you don’t miss opportunities. Check key holidays and events you want to be a part of and plan out related content in advance. You’ll be able to enter conversations naturally and avoid a last-minute rush to create and approve relevant content about topics like Earth Day.

  • Schedule tweets in advance. Save yourself time and keep your focus on content creation by setting up tweets ahead of time. You can do this one tweet at a time on Twitter for business

For a more robust tweeting strategy, use third-party tools to automate your messaging. Solutions like Hootsuite, Loomly, RecurPost or SproutSocial offer different features, including scheduling tools that can help you set up bulk tweets and establish recurring tweets for evergreen content and auto-schedule tweets.

  • Clarify who does what. Create a process for Twitter content creation and approval. Who needs to be in the loop? How many levels of approval should you include? Document the process so nothing goes out without a thorough review before being posted, and so no messaging gets held up unnecessarily.

Top Tip: Every social media platform has different ways of engaging audiences. You might reach your followers on Instagram with behind-the-scenes images and videos. Learn everything you need to know to get started in our guide on Instagram marketing for business 📱

Using Twitter to engage your audience 

Twitter is most effective as a networking tool. You shouldn’t just be talking “at” your target audience. Consider these five best practices for getting involved and interacting with communities on Twitter.

1. Build curated Twitter lists

Twitter can be hard to sift through as you search for valuable connections. Simplify your feed by creating Twitter lists. When you use this feature to group together related accounts, Twitter will organise them into chronological feeds so you can keep up on relevant conversations. 

You might create lists to follow industry influencers, team members or even competitors. You can also save yourself time and start engaging right away by subscribing to lists created by others you follow.

Hashtags can expand your reach by getting the notice of people likely to be interested in your conversations. Engage by finding trending hashtags in your industry, following general hashtag trends or creating your own company-specific hashtag.

Don’t get carried away and tag every possible topic your tweet relates to though. Research shows that more hashtags doesn’t equal better chances of getting attention. Business tweets with just one hashtag are 69% more likely to get retweeted than those with two.

3. Concentrate on social listening

Stay up to date on what’s happening on Twitter with social listening, or tracking specific keywords and phrases related to your brand. 

For example, if you’re updating the app your company offers, you want to make sure you address any existing user concerns. Search keywords and hashtags naming your product and find out what people are saying. 

Grammarly takes social listening very seriously, taking in feedback from followers as they consider improvements to their grammar-checking tool. Take a look at their interaction with one customer’s awkward experience:

Screenshot of Grammarly interaction with one of their customer on twitter

Social listening could be a full-time job for your marketing team. Luckily, there are solutions to help you track and consolidate information automatically and in real time. Tools like YouScan, Sprout Social and Hootsuite monitor and analyse activity around your brand.

Top Tip: Understanding your target audience is crucial to growing your business. Learn how to get the information you need in our guide on how to conduct market research for your business idea 🔬

4. Use visuals to create impact

When you’re limited to 280 characters per tweet, images can offer a powerful way to communicate big messages. Tweets with photos or videos get more attention and, therefore, more engagement. According to Twitter, Tweets that include a gif get more than twice as much engagement as those without. That’s a lot of return on your efforts. 

Consider interspersing your Twitter content calendar with visual impact tweets, including images, gifs or even videos, to break up the text in a user’s Twitter feed. For instance, take a look at this recent tweet from Disney

Screenshot of Disney Visual Tweet

The image increases the engagement factor by making the tweet stand out in the feed. And for many Twitter users, its subjects are recognisable and nostalgic, adding emotional pull. 

5. Identify the best times to Tweet

Twitter engagement can be time-zone sensitive. If you’re sending out tweets when the majority of your audience is offline, you risk them getting lost in the Twitter algorithm before they can have an impact. 

You can determine the best times to Tweet with Twitter Analytics. Look at things like profile visits, numbers of tweets and impressions and find patterns in the tweets that got the most traction and publishing times.

Top Tip: Growing a community of followers that love and organically promote your brand is a powerful way to get more market traction. Building strong and authentic relationships is the key to driving that kind of engagement. Learn how to create those relationships in our guide on how to build brand loyalty with relationship marketing  😍

Twitter ads (and how to use them)

Paid ads are also an option on Twitter—as long as you set up a Twitter advertising account. You have several kinds of ads to choose from, and each serves a different purpose. 

Here’s a brief overview of some of the most popular types of campaigns Twitter offers and how and why to use them. 

Followers

A followers campaign helps you find new followers by placing your account info in their Twitter feeds as suggested accounts and under the “who to follow section”.  

For instance, this ad from the company Tiger Balm invites Twitter users to follow them with a clear call to action:

Screenshot of Tiger Balm US Tweet inviting users to follow them on Twitter

Suggestions are determined by a user’s activity on Twitter, so if they see your link, they’re already good candidates to join your audience and help you amplify your message.

Website traffic

You can set up a website traffic campaign specifically aimed at driving click-throughs to your website and increasing conversions. 

Consider this invitation from professional development company Solution Tree

Screenshot of Solution Tree inviting followers to webinar by registering through their website

The ad will show up in your target audience’s feeds and include a headline, image, call to action and link all aimed at getting users to go to your site and take a specific action. 

App installs

If you offer an app, an app installs campaign lets you get it in front of a mobile audience likely to use it. You can also give them the option to install the app directly from your feed. Here’s a simple example with a deal offered from grocery delivery company Gopuff:

Screenshot of Gopuff tweet persuading followers to install their mobile app

Promoted tweet ads show up in regular feeds, but you pay to get them in front of your target audience. For instance, this promoted tweet from footwear company HOKA:

Screenshot of Hoka Promoted Tweet

Promoted tweets are clearly labelled “Promoted,” but they act just like other tweets, so users can like, comment on and retweet them. This type of campaign is great for helping you reach a broader audience or engage existing followers.

For more information on the ins and outs of running successful Twitter ad campaigns, visit business.twitter.com.

Top Tip: Creativity and variety are useful tools in your marketing campaign arsenal. It doesn’t take a big budget to promote your business, just planning and a few good ideas. To get started, read our guide on eight low-cost (and free) marketing ideas for small businesses  📌

Engaging with your audience and driving conversions 

Always remember that Twitter is, first and foremost, a social platform. It’s all about interacting and building relationships. If you want to succeed in it, you need to connect with users regularly. 

Here are some tips on how to engage followers and potential customers in meaningful ways.

Respond to your audience

Don’t just put content out there. Watch for responses and engage. Check for DMs regularly and reply. Note mentions and relevant hashtags around your brand and join conversations. Answer questions that include company mentions or hashtags.

Start conversations

Launch conversations around upcoming events or get valuable feedback on products by asking your audience for their opinions and views. Pose thoughtful questions that encourage people to share. Or make it easy by running Twitter polls that let users join the conversation with just a click. 

For instance, Costa Coffee used National Tea Day to run a poll engaging followers about their favourite kind of tea.

Screenshot of Costa Coffee Poll Tweet on their followers about their favourite kind of tea

The poll was a chance to get people’s attention and engage casually.

Host a Twitter chat

Twitter chats are regular weekly or monthly conversations hosted by an account. They use a specific hashtag and are centred around a general topic. As each scheduled chat time approaches, the host will specify a sub-topic or offer questions to cue up the conversation. 

For example, every week, successful freelancer Michelle Garrett hosts #FreelanceChat as a place for freelancers to share tips and talk through some of the struggles of freelance life.

Screenshot of Michelle Garrett Tweet about hosting a Twitter Chat

A Twitter chat can help you expand your audience as people are drawn into discussions. They also set you up as an expert in the field. 

Boost your brand with a Twitter marketing strategy 

Twitter is just one of the exciting ways you can use social media to increase brand awareness and reach your audience. The opportunities for frequent, casual interaction with followers create an authentic relationship that, if used correctly, can build customer trust and loyalty.

Creating an on-brand Twitter content strategy demands consistency and constant learning as you keep up with trends and trending topics that resonate. But with a little planning, and as you engage with and draw inspiration from the community you create, you’ll grow your audience and see strong marketing results.

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Photo by Pixabay, published on Pexels

Valentine Hutchings

Head of Community and small business enthusiast

Tide Team

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