In our Social Media 101 guide, we have looked at setting up Facebook and Instagram for your creative business. Another social media platform that might be useful for your business and especially to network with a broader audience online is Twitter. Founded in 2006, Twitter was designed to be a micro-blogging platform for people to share updates and news trends in real time with a global network.

Key stats for Twitter 

Twitter has since grown to 330 million monthly active users and 134 million daily active users. 63% of all Twitter users worldwide are aged between 35 – 65. It has been the lead platform for many breaking news stories from global events, even before many news media channels broadcast the story. It has also been instrumental in sharing a global crisis such as the Amazon rainforest fires, political debates or social change campaigns such #BlackLivesMatter to a global audience where people can share their own opinion.

It is also used widely by global brands to connect directly with their customer base as well as specific sectors and micro-industries such as the contemporary craft communities, journalists and freelance creative writers

Like all social media platforms it is also free to use, although there are paid Twitter Ad options which we cover below.

In this article, we will walk through the basic steps you need to take to set up and use your own Twitter account for your creative business or practice:

Setting up your Twitter account

Starting out with Twitter is a simple process where you asked for your name and email address or phone number. It is important to choose a name or ‘Twitter handle’ that is your brand name or your own name if you are representing yourself as your business so people can find you easily.

Once you are set up with an account, you can then create a bio. This is an important part of your Twitter profile so your followers, and potential clients and customers can immediately see what your business or creative practice is all about.

The important parts to add to your Twitter bio are:

  • A profile picture – this should ideally be your logo 
  • Adding cover photo – this should be an extension of your brand as a single image, either a recent project you have worked on or a striking image that sums up the work you produce. 

Note: Make sure you have the correct image dimensions for both your profile and cover photos – see this handy guide for all social media image sizes or create your own via the free online design site

  • Write short description of your business or practice – you might want to include some key hashtags here that are relevant so people can find you when they search for that topic.
  • Your website or online shop url – choose a link that you want to direct people to find out more about your business or buy your products or services.

Here are some examples of how national brands and arts organisations manage their bios: 

The Arts Development Company Twitter profile example

Etsy Twitter profile example

Innocent Drinks Twitter profile

Start building a following, by following others

When you first start out on any social media platform it’s always hard to get followers. The best and most sustainable way to start building a following is to follow others and start to engage with the conversations that are happening all the time on Twitter.   

But who to follow? 

It seems the whole world is on Twitter so it can be hard to pinpoint who to follow when starting out. Here are some questions to consider when you start following others:

  • Are they relevant to your brand?

We can all follow everyone, but it will only clog up your timeline with noise that might not be relevant to your business or creative practice. Choose wisely.

  • Will you actually engage with them in the future? 

It’s all about the conversation on Twitter so you really only want to follow people who you know you might wish to learn from and engage with in the future.

  • Are they your competitors or potential collaborators? 

It’s always a good idea to see how your competitors are managing their accounts and engaging with their custom base online – can you learn from them? Can you do it better? 

That said, in the arts and culture sector we all usually progress further through collaboration over competition. Who would you like to work with? What projects are they working on right now? Why not find on Twitter, follow them and say hi! You never know where it could lead…

Note: Don’t forget it takes a while to build a following on any platform! It won’t happen overnight, but with sticking with it and being consistent with your messaging and how often to engage online will build a lasting following.

The time has come to start tweeting 

Now that you have created your account, set up your bio and started to follow and engaging with others you can start to create your own tweets! 

The basic rule of thumb is make sure to:

  • Keep within 240 characters (Twitter won’t allow you to go over that) 
  • Have a reason to tweet: ask a question, offer an opinion or announce an event or new product you want people to review or buy.
  • Add in at least one to two hashtags – read more about hashtags in our Essential Guide to Hashtags for Artists and Creatives here
  • Create a call to action in your tweet by adding a link to your website or an article you find interesting. 

Types of tweets

The functionality on Twitter is always developing. As well as text based tweets you can also upload pictures, videos and even ask your followers a poll on any subject. You can also tag up to 10 associates and partners in any images you upload – this usually encourages those who are tagged to retweet your tweet to their followers. If others retweet you to their followers, it’s a great way for a new audience to discover you. 

Twitter Moments are “curated stories showcasing the very best of what’s happening on Twitter”. They are a great way to discover what is unfolding on Twitter across the world in an instant. Find out more about Moments here

Once you get to grips with using Twitter and start building a following you can also look into creating Lists. They are basically a curated list of people on Twitter. You can create your own list or be added to someone else’s list. You can view a list timeline so you only see tweets from those people on that list – it’s a useful tool if you just want to focus on a certain topic or group of people like galleries or museums or those in the arts and culture sector for instance. Read more about Twitter Lists here.

Retweeting, replying and direct messaging 

You can also retweet others tweets that you find interesting and want to share with your followers. Twitter also allows to retweet someone else’s tweet and add in your own comment too so you can not only share the original tweet but share your opinion on it with your followers.

Replying to tweets is usually the best way to engage with others so you can start a conversation thread that everyone can read. It can be a fascinating way to talk about various topics with others online, especially when you join in with specific #Twitter hours. Learn more about #TwitterHours in our hashtag article here

If you want to keep a conversation between a fellow tweeter you can always Direct Message them. It works just like a normal inbox and allows you to have more private conversations with others.

Scheduling tweets to save time 

Most say once they start using Twitter regularly it can become addictive! And if time is limited for you it’s best monitor your time on Twitter each day. Usually 20 minutes can be enough to reply to messages, retweet others and engage with any current conversations. However you might want to schedule your tweets if you want to share news about an upcoming event or campaign. Read more about scheduling your tweets in our Time Management on Social Media post here

Track your progress with Twitter Analytics 

All Twitter accounts are automatically set up with Twitter Analytics tools. This means you can track your progress each month or year, view your top tweets i.e. those that most people engaged with and even see how many people are following or unfollowing you in a set time period. 

Keeping a track on your insights will help you understand what your followers like so you can make better decisions with what you tweet next. The more your followers engage with your content, the more you will attract which in turn should lead to a higher profile and even new business leads.

Twitter Ads 

As with all social media, engagement is key to success. However, if you have a budget and want to make an impact with a new campaign or product launch you might wish to look into paid advertising on Twitter using promoted tweets or Twitter Ads. You can learn more about these here

An example of a paid promoted tweet

An example of a paid promoted tweet

Have you just joined Twitter or thinking of joining? Why not follow The Arts Development Company today and join in with our conversations to get you started! 

Illustration by Beatrice Simpkiss