Implementing Twitter for Your Business - dummies

Implementing Twitter for Your Business

By Jan Zimmerman

Creating a Twitter account and completing your profile are simple tasks. An account requires only your name, e-mail address, and password. Twitter verifies the information and suggests a username, which you can change. Leave your username in lowercase and try to keep it short!

Twitter walks you through interest areas to locate accounts you might want to follow and to offer a chance to add friends from your existing e-mail address books. You can skip these screens and return to them later.

Your last step is to write your profile, a short description of 160 or fewer characters. The profile appears on your public profile page and in search results and other locations. Be sure to include your geographical location and the URL for your primary web presence. Don’t worry: All these entries can be changed later. Click Save and you’re done.

Try shortening your 250-character page description meta tag to use as your profile. Be sure the text includes at least one of your most important search terms.

Advertising on Twitter

Twitter’s Promoted Products feature offers advertising options for folks with deep pockets. With a minimum monthly budget of $5,000, Twitter monetizes its site with ad revenues from major multinationals. Some reports show advertising running as much as $120,000 a day.

If you have ad dollars to spare, you can get started at Business Advertise Start. Advertisers can obtain detailed analytics at Business Advertise Analytics.

Promoted Tweets too rich for your blood? Try pay-to-play solutions from advertising services such as Sponsored Tweets or Be a Magpie. These sites match your advertising, usually on a CPM basis, with influential tweeters who publish or retweet messages for a fee. Be careful: This approach can easily exude a whiff of spam.

Optimizing for search on Twitter

In addition to adhering to the standard admonishments about providing good content and using well-researched keywords, you can follow a few extra guidelines to improve your ranking in search results on both internal Twitter searches and external searches:

  • Your name on Twitter acts as a title tag. To benefit from branding, use your company name as your @address.

  • Pack your one-line profile with keywords. Your 160-character Twitter profile serves as the description meta tag on search engines.

  • On the same Profile page, use your business address as your location. This helps your company appear on local searches.

  • Collect Twitter followers. Followers are essentially internal links on Twitter. They carry special value if your followers themselves have a large number of followers.

  • Include keywords in your tweets and retweets whenever possible. With its 140-character limit, Twitter is a good place to use single-word terms.

  • Stuff your hashtags. Try to use keywords in Twitter #hashtags.

  • Remember the importance of the initial 42 characters in a tweet. They serve as title tags in posts; your account name is part of the count.

  • Increase your visibility. Link to your Twitter profile from other sites using your name, company name, or keyword (rather than your @address) as the link anchor text.

Tweets used to be monitored by Google’s real-time search. However, following the launch of its Google+ networking service and the expiration of its contract with Twitter, Google suspended its Realtime Search function temporarily in July 2011.

Watch the presses on this one: It isn’t clear when Google will relaunch Realtime Search or whether Twitter will be included.