Your Business: 11 Rules for Powerful Twitter Marketing

Twitter is changing. The cute bird has gone public, introduced self-service advertising and is verging on visual.

I remember when I joined in 2008, that the rules of engagement were just about fun and frivolity. It was a playground for social media enthusiasts that were exploring and pushing the boundaries. It was about having conversations with people all over the world.

There were only 4 million people on the platform when I began; and using it for marketing was not even considered — we were all just playing. Today, with mass media embracing it for TV, real-time breaking news, distributing content and viral marketing, the bird has muscled up.

With its increased maturity, the rules have become clearer and its marketing power much more obvious. Here are 11 essential rules for powerful Twitter marketing to increase brand awareness, leads and sales.


#1 Perfect your Twitter Profile

This one is often underestimated. When people check out your Twitter account and profile, they will only give you a few seconds. They must know at a glance what your brand is about, whether it is a corporate or personal brand. An example would be Content Marketing Institute, a company that is all about content and events — and their profile makes that obvious. There is no “perfect” Twitter profile, but make sure that it is sending the right message quickly. It can even be your brand’s elevator pitch!


#2 Link to your Online Platform

Social media (and Twitter) is not an island, and ensuring that your social networks and blogs are interlinked is key. Many people will check out your website before following your Twitter feed. They will be checking out your online credibility, so make sure you have that link.


#3 Create Tempting Twitter Headlines

Just check your Twitter stream and your will see the “good, the bad and the ugly” when it comes to headlines. Just take a moment to see which Twitter headlines you want to click on — what do you see? Be sure to think about your Twitter headline before tweeting, because it will make a difference. Studies have shown that you can increase your conversion rate on a link by 73 percent if you use a compelling headline.


#4 Use Visual Tweets

Visual tweets were not even imagined when Twitter started; however, the introduction of tweets that display in the stream without having to click have some distinct advantages. According to research from Buffer, tweets that included images received the following increases in activity:

  • 89% more favorites
  • 18% more clicks than those without
  • 150% more retweets

That does not mean that every tweet should be visual, but you should work out ways to incorporate that into your tweeting habits.


#5 Tweet with Hashtags

The hashtag was an idea that was invented for Twitter. It started in 2007 by Chris Messina to tag topics of interest on the microblogging network. He posted the alleged first post on Twitter to include what would become the hashtag: “How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp?”

The first high-profile use of the hashtag was in the 2007 California fires by Nate Ritter with #sandiegofire. The use of the # hashtag has now spread to the other social networks including Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and even Facebook. It allows you to both find and see tweets/topics that are relevant to a particular subject matter and group them in one place. Hashtags are a powerful way to direct your tweets to people looking for that topic; however, be aware that it is more an art than a science.


#6 Automate the Tweets

Automation was and is sometimes seen as a threat to the free world by social media purists. They view social networks as only to be used for conversations and not marketing. The truth is that you cannot do “social at scale” for marketing if you do not use some form of automation. A couple of tools that I have found essential are Twitterfeed and also a low-cost monthly subscription platform, Socialoomph – Professional Edition. Beyond those, there’s a huge array of different automation tools for tweeting, including link-shortening services like, organization services like Hootsuite, and the list goes on (Google “Twitter automation tools” to get an idea). For corporate social media marketing, you will need to consider using platforms from Hubspot and Marketo for small to medium businesses up to Enterprise level software such as Sprinklr and Adobe if you are a larger corporation.

The principle I have found to work for me is “automate the content distribution but not the conversation” — this will keep you real but also efficient.


#7 Grow your Twitter Tribe

Continue working at building your Twitter followers. One of the keys to this is using the principle of reciprocation. Actively follow people and they will feel a certain obligation to follow you back. The success of this is then linked to a few factors, such as having a link to your website or blog which should display great content , exhibits credibility and shows social proof. If you look substantial and popular then people are more likely to follow back.

Just like email, you will have the equivalent of “un-subscribe” — it is called “un-follow.” It happens all the time, so if you lose a few followers here and there, don’t break into tears. Just continue to focus producing the best content you can for your followers.


#8 Target your Audience

I made a lot of mistakes along the way on Twitter, and one of them was following anyone who had a Twitter heartbeat. During my social media adolescence I followed large Twitter users who had nothing to do with my target market or topic.

Using the Twitter tool (paid version) I can follow followers of others in my niche(s). For me that includes blogging, social media, digital and content marketing. These are qualified groups of followers, and the principle of reciprocation does the rest. Some follow you back!


#9 @Mention Others

The tactic of using @mentions when tweeting their content means they will notice you in their stream. There are some I can notice right now! I share about 25 bloggers content on a consistent basis and the @mention is always used when sharing their valuable content. This can lead to being able to connect and network. It is also an affirmation that you appreciate the content.


#10 Engage

Engagement is a term that is frequently overused — often to its detriment on social media. What it really means is that you thank people (when you can), share their content, have conversations and in general just have some personable fun. It will surprise you to where it will lead. One challenge you will find as you grow your follower network into the thousands is keeping up the personal engagement. I am still working on that.


#11 Persist

Organic Twitter marketing success does not happen overnight. Sure, you can pay for Twitter advertising to accelerate the process, but the seduction of earning your follower base rather than pulling out the credit card is one of the attractions of social media for me. So, persist with growing your followers, engaging with others and distributing their and your content on a consistent basis and the results will show up!


Jeff Bullas is a blogger, author, strategist and speaker who works with companies to optimize online company presence and brand with digital and social media marketing. His book, Blogging the Smart Way, and his informative blog are available at