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The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Getting Started on Twitter

Ostersund, Sweden - April 13, 2014: Twitter website under a magn
Written by Raubi Perilli

You keep hearing about Twitter, about how much it’s growing and how it can do great things for businesses and brands.

But when it comes to implementing Twitter into your small business’s marketing strategy, you may be left scratching your head wondering where to even begin.

To help you get over that initial learning curve, we’ve created this small business owner’s guide to getting started on Twitter.

First Thing First — Do you even need a Twitter account?

Small business owners have all kinds of social media marketing “musts” thrown at them.

Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Snapchat — it can all get a little overwhelming.

So before you put your business on Twitter — or any social media platform for that matter — make sure it makes sense for your to be there.

Consider where your target audience spends time online.

Compare your target audience and the platform’s demographics to see if there are enough potential or current customers spending time on the platform to make it worth your time.

There is no reason to be on Twitter if your potential or current customers and clients aren’t spending time there.

Consider where your target audience is located.

Twitter reports that 77% of their users are outside of the U.S. So if you have a product or offering that is available to a global market (such as products for sale online), you want to be on Twitter.

But if you are small, local business, Twitter may not be as effective.

Consider the age of your target audience.

Younger demographics of people use Twitter more. A Pew Research report found that:

  • 37% of users are 18-29
  • 25% of users are 30-49
  • 12% of users are 50-64
  • 10% of users are 65+

So, if you are reaching a younger target demographic, you may want to be on Twitter. If you are reaching an older audience, it is probably something you can revisit when you have more time and resources.

Consider your available human resources.

Don’t set up a Twitter account if you have no way to maintain it.

It is better to not have a Twitter account than to have an account that is not regularly updated. 

It is recommended that you post three Tweets a day. That is 21 Tweets per week. At the bare minimum, you should allot roughly ten minutes to create each Tweet. (Don’t rush to create. If you aren’t being strategic about your messages and just rushing through it, there is no reason be on Twitter.)

That means you will need at the bare minimum 3.5 hours per week to put toward your Twitter efforts.

That doesn’t include the initial set-up time that we will get into later. So set aside about five hours for set up and about two extra hours per month to update your profile page.

Set Up Your Profile

If you decide that it’s in your company’s best interest to get active on Twitter, create your account and set up your profile essentials.

Create a Header Image

A header image is a 1500 x 500-pixel graphic for the top of your page. 

Big Mouth Twitter 1

Make sure you are getting the most out of your header image. Don’t just throw up an image and call it a day.

Create something that will reinforce your brand message or promote your business. Consider adding one of the following to your header image.

  • highlight a promotion or a contest
  • showcase a product or service
  • show your personality or culture with an image of your team

I recommend using Canva to create your header. It is an easy (and free) way to create a professional looking header as they provide high-quality premade templates to get you started.

Add a Profile Image

A profile image is a 400 x 400-pixel graphic that acts as your avatar icon.

This is the image that users will see in their stream so make sure it is an image that matches your brand and is easy to see — such as a simple logo (that doesn’t include text) or a head shot.

Twitter Icons

Write a Bio

Your bio is a 140-charter blurb that says who you are.

It is you welcome message for you brand so use it to tell visitors what your business does and stands for.

Use keywords so potential followers can find you in search, and because Twitter is concise, don’t write out sentences. Construct your bio as a series of phrases rather than full sentences.

  • Bad: We are a company who helps startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses build their brand and attract more customers.
  • Better: Building Brands & Attracting Customers for Startups, Entrepreneurs, and Small Businesses

Write Your Tweets

As mentioned above, you should aim for posting at least three times a day. A few ideas for your content include:

  • Standard Text Tweets (140 characters or less in length)
  • Tweets with Attached Images
  • Links to Blog Posts or Articles
  • Retweets of Tweets Created by Other Users

There is only one major rule when it comes creating content on Twitter: don’t over-promote. 

People aren’t following your business because they want to hear about your products and services. They are following your business because they are interested in the useful and entertaining content you share.

When creating content follow the 30/60/10 rule at seen on Rallyverse.


  • 30% Owned Content – Content you create and/or have published on one of your platforms (original images, unique Tweets, links to blog posts on your site, etc.)
  • 60% Curated Content – Content that others have created and that you are reposting (links to articles on other sites, images created by others, retweets)
  • 10% Promotional Content – Content that promotes or discusses one of your products or services

Schedule Your Tweets

Save yourself time by using a scheduler that will send your Tweets throughout the week.

Don’t schedule your Tweets too far out though. You want to remain relevant and current.

Plan to write and schedule your posts once a week. Then schedule your Tweets to go out throughout the week, three times a day. There are two simple and free programs that can help you with this.

Engage With the Audience

Don’t automate your account to the point that you forget the main reason you are on the platform: to engage with your audience.

Twitter isn’t a one-way street where you only push your messages out to your audience. The conversation needs to go both ways. 

Engage with your audience by:

  • Following users who have interests aligned with your business or industry (This is also a great way to grow your list as people tend to follow back people who follow them.)
  • Searching for mentions of your brand and engaging in those conversations
  • Responding to mentions and messages within 24 hours (or faster if possible)
  • Using trending #hashtags to get involved with ongoing conversations

Frequently posting and engaging is the difference between an effective Twitter account that gets attention and being just another user lost in the crowd. So, get out there and get in the action.

And remember, this is just the beginning of your Twitter experience.

There are many ways to use Twitter to grow your audience and yes, even collect leads if you set the right base and expectations. But take it slow and make sure that Twitter is right for you, your business, and your audience before exerting too many resources.

Ready to take it a step further? Check out this Big Mouth post about how to use Twitter Cards to increase audience engagement.

About the author

Raubi Perilli

Raubi Marie Perilli is the Lead Content Creator at Big Mouth Marketing. She works with our customers to upgrade their web presence and attract more leads through website redesign and content creation. Raubi regularily writes about marketing, social media, community building, and freelancing while sitting under palm trees in Tampa, Fla. You can connect with her on Twitter @RaubiMarie.