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Twitter for Business

Tweet Your Way to Success: 6 Twitter Best Practices to Grow Your Engagement

Master Twitter Marketing to Position Yourself as an Industry Expert

The web has become a crucial tool for building one’s credibility as an expert, and yet most people are missing one of the most important knowledge-sharing networks on the web.

I am talking about Twitter. Speaking from experience, using Twitter to market myself has been invaluable in building my standing as an expert in the food industry.

Using Twitter vs. The Other Guys

Let me first run through some of the other social media platforms to give you an understanding of how Twitter is different.

FacebookFirst, there is the big dog, Facebook. Facebook is a great tool for keeping up with family and friends, and even for following some brands that you love. However, Facebook is not a business or knowledge-sharing network. Few of your friends and family care about what is happening in your industry or your career. If you start sharing stories about your industry, your company or your expertise, you are likely to get shunned at Thanksgiving dinner, or worse, blocked from your friends’ feeds.

LinkedInLinkedIn is the other network that many point to for business sharing. However, LinkedIn is really a job-searching website. Most people do not go to LinkedIn on a daily or even weekly basis. Their views and interactions have grown from a few years ago, but it still does not get the same traffic for its feed as Facebook or Twitter.

TwitterTwitter is completely different from both FB and LinkedIn. Twitter is a news- and information-sharing network. If you use Twitter correctly, you can find many highly relevant industry news stories that you can share back to your followers. As you provide more relevant information, your followers will grow, as will your standing in your field. What’s more, serious Twitter users get onto the app many times a day and are continually interacting with highly relevant stories.

Takes One to Know One

To demonstrate the value of using Twitter for business or to market yourself in your industry, I am going to share some of my own statistics and experience with the platform.

Back in January 2015, I was a Twitter novice. While I had used it for years, I did not know what I was doing and only tweeted a couple of times a month about random topics—absolutely the wrong way to use Twitter. It’s no surprise that I only had 109 followers with almost no similar interest base.

Fast forward 2.5 years and I surpassed 10,000 followers with a majority of followers interested in my Tweets about sustainable food and agriculture, wellness, and the Food Revolution.

Exponential Twitter Growth

What changed? I did some research and became very serious about building my presence on Twitter, thereby enhancing my standing as an expert on the food and agriculture industries. Above is a chart on my growth in followers. That exponential growth is not unusual, because as your “expert status” grows, the number of people following you will grow at a faster rate. This process can be replicated, and in a shorter timeframe, with these tips to catapult you up the learning curve.

Twitter Best Practices to Gain Followers and Become an Industry Expert

It is simpler than you think to build a following as an expert on Twitter. It takes a commitment to get on Twitter on a daily basis (during your commute, at lunch, in the evenings, etc). Tweeting a few times a day, and doing that fairly consistently, is key. Seek out people with similar interests and engage with them. Use these tips and Twitter best practices to start growing your following and your standing as an industry expert.

#1 – Optimize Your Photo, Header, and Profile


Your photo must be a photo of you. That is the first and foremost rule. You are building yourself as an expert, so you must have your own picture as your profile image. Don’t make it your company logo. Don’t make it a photo of your cat, and never leave the blank head as the default image. People trust and believe in other people. Give them someone to believe in.

Bonus tip: Include a photo that shows you smiling or laughing. I don’t know why, but when I changed my profile photo to a photo of me laughing with my daughters at a Cubs game, my following rate increased dramatically. I think the takeaway is you look more approachable with a smiling, jovial photo.


For your header, use a photo relevant to your industry. Make sure to get permission to use your header photo if you don’t own the rights. Then head over to, or a similar editing website, and convert your photo into a header for a social media site. There is a preview to review how it will look on the social media site.


Lastly, your profile is limited to the same 280 characters as a Tweet, so you need to be judicious and succinct in your description. Describe how and why you are an expert in your given field. Don’t be cute or waste characters telling people that you are a spouse or parent. No one cares, and that is just wasted space. Get to the point: Why should I follow you?

Bonus tip: Don’t put hashtags in your profile. Though you may think it will help you show up in searches, you will still show up in searches because of keywords. They don’t need to be hashtags. If you put hashtags or other linked names, it becomes a pathway for someone to leave your profile page. And once they leave, they may never come back.

#2 – Create and Use Twitter Lists to Curate Specific Knowledge

Once you follow a lot of people, your main newsfeed is not going to be very useful. Rather, you want to use the newsfeeds of highly targeted Twitter lists to find specific information on topics you care about. A Twitter list is a list of users that you create who tweet about a specific topic or interest. You can create and find your lists from the dropdown menu that appears when you right click on your profile image.

When you want to see the latest information on one of your topics of interest, simply run through the newsfeed for that list. From there, you can find tweets that you may want to retweet or articles to read and possibly retweet. Twitter lists are an invaluable tool for gaining knowledge to share with your followers and you can make as many different lists as you want.

You can also follow Twitter lists that others create. Simply right click on anybody’s profile image and select lists from their dropdown menu to see their lists. Here is mine, as an example. Click on a list to go to the feed, and subscribe to the list if you think it is something you want to follow.

#3 – Find and Share Links to Interesting Articles and Stories on Your Industry or Interests

Twitter is a news- and knowledge-sharing network. People tune in multiple times a day to find out what is happening relevant to them. Active Twitter users gain more followers, because people use Twitter to find information. If you share valuable information, people will follow you and add you to lists.

Sharing 1-2 stories per day is a good range to aim for. While that may sound like a lot of work, you can schedule ahead of time tweets all at once (in the morning, the evening before, or whatever is easiest for you). You can do this through twitter, or there are several websites, such as Buffer or Hootsuite, where you can schedule a post on your social media network. Once you find a story to share, you can schedule the tweet to be shared later in the day. Around commuting and lunch times tend to be the periods users are most frequently checking Twitter.

To find stories, Twitter lists and news apps, such as Flipboard, that you can download from the app store. With Flipboard, the app will prompt you to enter your interest areas when you first open it. Then, each time you open the app thereafter, it will show you relevant stories. It is very easy to share stories to Twitter from the Flipboard app and most other news apps. Check the preview of your tweets before your post to ensure the photos from the story are included (having photos increases engagement most of the time).

As you share more stories, you will gain followers and get added to others’ lists. Being added to lists can dramatically increase your reach. For instance, not only do you have your followers, but you also been added to lists created by others in addition to that. Some of those lists will have a wide following, and each of your Tweets will show up in the newsfeed for those lists. It is a great way for you to get discovered by other Twitter users that aren’t already followers.

#4 – Use 1-2 Hashtags in Every Tweet

Hashtags are another great way to get discovered by non-followers. A hashtag is a keyword preceded by the pound sign. You include hashtags, because when people search for a keyword hashtag, your tweet will be included in that search newsfeed. As such, you will be discovered by users who would not normally see your tweet.

As a Twitter best practice, use 1-2 hashtags per tweet. This practice actually increases engagement. Don’t go overboard, because using too many hashtags reduces engagement and will begin to look spammy. Try to pick a couple specific hashtags that fit the topic of the tweet. Ask yourself this: When someone searches for this hashtag, would they be interested in the story I am posting? If not, pick a different hashtag until you can answer that question positively.

#5 – Use Advanced Twitter Search Tools to Find Users to Follow

To increase your standing as an expert in your field, you want to gain a highly targeted following of people in your field. The best way to increase your following of special interest people is to follow many people in that field. The general etiquette on Twitter is to followback active users that also follow you. As a result, if you follow interesting people in your field, many of them will follow you back—usually about 25%-35%.

Twitter’s advanced search tool can be used to find other users with similar interests. Search for a hashtag, an exact phrase, or even look for people responding to a top user in your field. When trying to grow, you should follow 25-50 new people in your field each week. This will continually increase the number of your own targeted followers.

However, you don’t want to follow a lot more people than follow you, as you will begin to look like a spammer. Therefore, you need to periodically cull the users that did not follow back after you followed them. I try to do this every couple of days. To find those followers, you need to use a free unfollow tool. There are many you can find doing a web search. They will help you find those users you are following that are not following you back. You can unfollow up to a certain number of non-followers per day using each site. These sites are also helpful tools for finding other similar users to follow using their tweet search features.

Bonus tip: When deciding who to follow to seed your account, focus on people who have a similar number of followings and followers. It is highly unlikely that someone following very few people will follow you back. Conversely, if someone is following thousands of people but only a few hundred are following them, that account is likely a spam account that was recently created. Focus on balanced users to increase your odds of receiving a quality followback.

#6 – Engage with Other Interesting Users and Acknowledge Those that Engage You

Check notifications several times a day to see who is engaging with your content. When someone likes or retweets your tweets, try to and always go to their feed to like a couple of their interesting tweets. Follow interesting people that engage with your content. They have already indicated they are interested in your content; maybe they are interested in following you or adding you to one of their lists.

Tweet Your Way to Success

Twitter is a social news format, so don’t be afraid to engage with others. If someone replies to one of your tweets, reply back. Sometimes, that can lead to a long and interesting conversation. You can meet interesting colleagues using Twitter, including potential partners, investors, employees, and customers for our companies (f your conversation gets highly specific, take your conversation to direct messaging versus tweet replies, because anyone can see tweet replies under the replies tab).

It’s always important to remember that if the conversation gets inappropriate or abusive, you always have the ability to block, unfollow, and report another user. Don’t be afraid to use these features when the situation for it arises. Life’s too short to let an abusive conversation ruin your whole day.

Twitter is the most overlooked business and career tool. Those who correctly use Twitter for business have a bigger advantage in terms of transmitting their message, increasing their network and gaining stature as an expert in their field. Don’t procrastinate any longer, and start building your Twitter following.

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[Editors’ Note: To learn more about this and related topics, you may want to attend the following on-demand webinars (which you can view at your leisure, and each includes a comprehensive customer PowerPoint about the topic):

  1. Digital Marketing Tips for the New (or Old) Business Owner
  2. How to Leverage the Power of Social Media Marketing]

This is an updated version of an article originally published on October 2, 2017 and previously updated November 20, 202o.]

©2023. DailyDACTM, LLC d/b/a/ Financial PoiseTM This article is subject to the disclaimers found here.

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About Tyler Mayoras

Tyler Mayoras is the Cofounder and CEO of Cool Beans. Tyler has spent more than 20 years in private equity investing and consulting, focused on sustainable food and agriculture. Prior to founding Cool Beans, Tyler was a principal in the Advantage Capital Food and Agriculture Fund where he led transactions involving Shenandoah Growers, Navitas Organics,…

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