The Dos and Don'ts of Using Twitter to Promote Your Business

By on March 17, 2013

The Dos and Donts of Using Twitter to Promote Your Business Here's a quick fact: it costs 6 to 7 times more to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. Many business owners put their loyal customers on the backburner while giving full attention to new and potential customers. Don't do that! That's one of the biggest mistakes you could ever make.

Your existing customers are what makes your business go ‘round. They're the ones who spread the word about your business, so you have to be sure to treat them well, even outside of your establishment. That means keeping in touch with them via social media.

Twitter is a great way to communicate with your loyal customers on a regular basis. It's free, easy to use, and chock full of users eager to follow reputable businesses like yours.

If you haven't already, get on Twitter and get ready to tweet your heart out! Actually, don't do that quite yet. As easy as Twitter is to use, it comes with a set of etiquette rules to follow. We're here to clue you in on some of the most important dos and don'ts of using Twitter to market your business. The first thing you should do is…

DO choose a Twitter handle that makes sense.

Which tweet makes more sense:

"@LuvTJCFH makes the best #coffee ever!"

"@TJsCoffeeHouse makes the best #coffee ever!"

The first tweet looks like a shout out to a friend rather than a legitimate business. The second one, on the other hand, is clearly about an easily identifiable business. Another reason you want to use your business name as your Twitter handle is so your customers can easily find you when they want to follow you or tweet about you.

DON'T badmouth unhappy customers.

Last year, I was offered a blogging job by a chef who owned a restaurant. I checked out his blog, which was fully dedicated to his restaurant, to get a feel of what the job would entail. To my surprise, the blog was peppered with the chef's own posts ripping apart negative Yelp reviews about his restaurant. He openly made fun of the things the unsatisfied Yelpers wrote. He bashed their grammatical errors, criticized their limited knowledge of food, and even poked fun at a certain Yelper's weight. As far as he was concerned, every single one of these Yelpers was dead wrong because his cooking was nothing short of flawless. Needless to say, I didn't accept the job offer.

Yelp isn't the only place where customers go to complain about businesses. Twitter is becoming the new call center. More and more customers are tweeting directly to businesses to voice their complaints. As a business owner or manager, it's your job to respond to those complaints gracefully. Write politely, offer to rectify their issues, and invite them back to your establishment. What you should never ever do is badmouth them, because that's only going to cause more damage and may eventually kill your business.

DO advertise your Twitter handle.

So you're on Twitter now. Shout it from the rooftops! Include your Twitter handle on your website, your business card, email signature, or anywhere else you can think of. To encourage your customers to follow you, let them know that some exclusive events and deals are available to your Twitter followers only.

DON'T constantly urge your followers to check out your business.

Once you have a sizeable following on Twitter, it's your responsibility to keep your followers around. Nothing drives people to the "unfollow" button faster than a feed clogged up by a company's spammy tweets. You have to remember that your followers are already loyal customers, so you don't really need to constantly urge them to visit your establishment. The only time you should do this is when your business undergoes drastic changes, such as a second location, or when you receive an awesome new product you know your customers will love.

DO host contests and giveaways.

There's no better way to capture a customer's heart than to offer free stuff. You can ask trivia questions pertinent to your business and award a free item or a steep discount to the first person to answer it correctly. Other ideas include asking your followers to submit a photo of a dish at your restaurant (and awarding a free appetizer to the most creative photo), hosting a "retweet to win" sweepstakes, or asking a question about your brand and choosing the most creative answer as the winner.

DON'T use auto direct messages.

You would be surprised at how many businesses set up third-party services to send out auto direct messages to their followers. Many auto direct messages are used to welcome new followers with an impersonal line like, "Thanks for the follow!" Many Twitter users view auto direct messages as spam, and they're most likely to feel that you don't consider them important enough to receive a personal message or acknowledgement. The best way to welcome a new follower is to retweet them or comment on one of their tweets.

DO remain loyal to your followers.

Your followers are kind enough to follow your tweets and listen to what you have to say. The least you could do is return the favor. One of the rudest things you could ever do on Twitter is to follow someone just to get their attention, and then unfollow them as soon as they start following you back. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses do this. They think that their followers don't notice, but they do. If you really want to build a relationship with your customers, don't ever unfollow any of them (except when you're harassed or bombarded with spam). Also, show them that you care about what they have to say by retweeting them or commenting on their tweets.

DON'T get into public fights with your followers.

Nothing is more unprofessional than picking fights with your customers on public forums like Facebook, Yelp, or Twitter. Yes, your followers may not always be right, but you have so much more to lose than they do if you argue with them. Always remember that you're representing your business, and it can really suffer if you're rude to a bunch of strangers online. If one of your customers presents inaccurate information about your business on Twitter, politely correct them through a direct message and invite them to visit your establishment again. Do this even if you have to bite your own tongue off. Your business is at stake here.

DO be positive!

Having a bad day? Keep it to yourself. You want to build a positive image for your business, and that means putting out the most pleasant tweets that will brighten anybody's day. Happiness is contagious, after all!

Once you have all those etiquette rules down pat, you'll find tweeting to be a piece of cake. Just remember, don't do anything a responsible business owner wouldn't do!

Chiara Fucarino
Chiara Fucarino
Contributing Writer at
A proud resident of the pristine High Rockies, Chiara Fucarino happily spends her days writing in front of a breathtaking view of the mountains. When she's not crafting words, Chiara cooks innovative meals, embarks on scenic hikes, travels to exciting new places, hangs out with domesticated animals, and takes her motorcycle out for a spin.

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