Twitter Marketing Tips for Small Businesses | Trade Show Marketing

October 5, 2019 | Trade Shows

In this article, we’ll share some of‘s top Twitter Marketing Tips for small businesses. You’ll also learn how to apply these general twitter marketing tips to your trade show marketing strategy.

Prefer a video? Check out the Podcast on Twitter Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Who Needs Twitter Marketing Tips

Twitter is a mystery to many businesses—this is true of both small businesses and big well-known brands. Businesses are dying to learn Twitter marketing tips that can help make Twitter work for them: by increasing their brand visibility, driving traffic to a website or brick and mortar shop, and of course selling products.

Maybe your small business is failing to gain followers or interactions with your tweets. In other words, your Twitter footprint is very, very small.

Or, maybe your well-known business or brand has over 10k Twitter followers, but virtually no ‘likes’ or RTs on your posts. In other words, people followed you because they know your brand, but these followers aren’t engaging with your tweets. They aren’t ‘liking’, ‘retweeting’ or leaving Twitter to interact with your products in the real world. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the top reasons why brands like yours are failing to engage Twitter followers—and what you can do to fix it. These Twitter marketing tips for small businesses will boost your chances for success, regardless of the size of your business. 

Tina Nicola, M.A.

Tina is the founder of and has been creating profitable marketing and exhibit strategies for startups, small businesses and nonprofits for over nineteen years. Her main goal is to broaden access to the techniques she has developed so anyone can benefit and improve exhibiting strategy, sales conversations and follow up.

Tradeshow Basecamp™

Our acclaimed course series, a complete program designed to help you have profitable trade shows. Get instant access to the full course series (101, 102, 103, 104).

Be fully prepared for your next event and earn your  Certified Tradeshow Basecamp Exhibitor™ (CTBE™) today!

Training a team? Check out our For Teams course series.

Introducing...Tradeshow Basecamp™

Twitter Marketing Tips #1: To Be a Leader, Be a Follower

Twitter is called ‘social’ media for a reason. While it may sound like a zen cliche, a big mistake many brands make with their Twitter Marketing is not interacting with other Twitter users or even their own followers. 

To be effectively promoted, you must effectively promote others.

Don’t have any Followers? 

If your account has very few followers, the first thing you need to do is start following other Twitter users that might have interest in your product or service. You also want to follow accounts who might serve as Twitter ‘partners’ (we’ll discuss this more later).

In addition to following these accounts, find tweets that your followers have posted that you can both LIKE and RETWEET. Make sure you ‘mention’ their account  by placing the @ symbol in front of their handle or username. When you do this, the account you have followed will see a notification that you both followed them AND promoted them by retweeting their news to your followers. 

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have many followers yet. You are showing the accounts that you follow that you know how to scratch their backs by promoting them. This will make them much more likely to follow you back and retweet you.

Another great way to get followers is to make use of trending # hashtags that have a relationship to your product or service. 

Trending hashtags typically appear alongside your Twitter feed. You can research hashtags that will be promoted on Twitter using your Twitter Business Account. Be sure to include a great call to action when you tweet including a hashtag.

Have followers but no ‘traction’?

Let’s say you have the opposite problem. You are well known locally, nationally or even worldwide with 10k+ Twitter followers. You might think it’s important to your image to avoid ‘promoting’ other feeds or brands (especially smaller ones), unless you have an official partnership. 

The problem? If your herd of followers isn’t translating into lots of engagements (specifically retweets and clicks) on your tweets, then your strategy is not working. Let’s repeat that: No engagement? Your strategy is not working.

And there is a reason for that. Twitter is known as ‘social ‘media for a reason. It is more effective when you embrace relationships with others. So, swallow your pride and keep reading to find out how to build a more effective Twitter marketing strategy with our Twitter marketing tips for small businesses.

Twitter Marketing Tips #2: Create Visually Appealing Tweets 

One of the top reasons that businesses fail to get engagement on Twitter (whether they have followers or not) is that their tweets are boring. To be engaging, all of your tweets should include…

Relevant Hashtags

As you type your tweet on a computer, hashtags that are popular or ‘trending’ will be suggested and you can click on them. Be sure you do click, as spelling a hashtag incorrectly or using the wrong capitalization will create a different hashtag and you may not reach your intended audience.

One or More @ mentions of Other Accounts

Find clever ways to mention your followers or accounts you’d like to create Twitter ‘partnerships’ with always using the @ that references their account.

Call to Action

What do you want people who see your tweet to do? Shop off Twitter by clicking on the link? Retweet another account you @mentioned? Give your company feedback? State your request with a call to action!

Compelling Images

…That appeal to your target market! Tweets with images will almost always get more engagement. Don’t be lazy. Many other social media platforms have auto-sharing but if you don’t set them up correctly, your snazzy Instagram, Snapchat or Instagram photos will be auto ‘tweeted’ without a picture. This is an extremely common problem.

For instance, if you have a food brand, or your brand is used to make food, your followers mostly want to see….  food. They want images that inspire the senses, that motivate them to make or eat something delicious. Despite this, many food brands insist on posting uninteresting images such as…

  • Uninteresting shot of food growing with too much text
  • Newsletter ‘cover’ images with mostly text
  • Distance shots of food growing and farms
  • Event photos featuring chefs or vendors we don’t know or care about. 
  • Worst of all? No images at all! While there are a few niches that text tweets can work for, all-text tweets are virtually useless on Twitter for most brands.

For instance, here’s an example of an Italian tomato brand. With all of the delicious food photos that they could be using to promote their brand, they commonly post images like these:

Improving Quality of Your Images

We get it. Your business might not have the staff or capability to create compelling images that will engage your followers. However, these days you don’t need to be a professional photographer with a professional camera to take photos that grab attention. Most smart phones have great cameras. Here are some tips to help you step up your game. 

  • Take photos in HD 
  • Use great lighting (strong natural, or cheap pro lighting like this)
  • Apply ‘post production’ filters on your photo— which means using Preview, iPhoto or similar to apply an ‘enhance’ filter. This one click can do wonders to bring out the colors and contrast in your photos, turning them from ‘Blah’ to ‘Wow’
  • Or, check out stock photo sites, free photo sites like or or…



Rely on Twitter partners! While there may only be so many ways to photograph a Bosch stovetop, there are infinite interesting ways to photograph dishes that were made with that stovetop. There are countless kitchen interiors whose looks are well-suited to a Bosch stove. By leveraging Twitter ‘partners’ who are producing appealing images that could be made to relate to your brand, it is easier for you to keep those engaging tweets coming!

So, what exactly is a ‘Twitter partner’ and how do you get them? Keep reading  to find out how to create Twitter marketing partnerships.

Twitter Marketing Tips #3: Find Twitter Partners and Nurture Them

To be blunt, Twitter is an ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’ ecosystem. 

Have you ever wondered why some relatively unknown Twitter accounts seem to get 40+ likes and retweets every time they post, even when their photos aren’t that great? 

It’s because their followers like them and feel personally engaged with them. Those users have likely promoted others’ tweets, and those accounts are happy to return the favor with ongoing support in the form of ‘likes’—but most importantly retweets! Everyone reaches a bigger audience and everyone is happy.

Here’s an example of an account great at fostering ‘partners’—and the results speak for themselves!



Who Makes a Great Twitter Marketing Partner?

When we say ‘partner,’ we aren’t necessarily referring to an official partnership that the executives have given thought to approving—a partnership that spans across multiple platforms. Of course, official partnerships are great! But here, we are talking about mostly informal arrangements you develop on Twitter.

A great potential Twitter partner is a Twitter account that isn’t directly competing with you, but that relates to what you share on your account. To use our food brand example, that might be…

  • Appliance brands that can be used to make your food 
  • Ingredients that often accompany your food products in recipes
  • Recipe bloggers that feature ingredients that you offer
  • Recipe bloggers that promote you with a @ (mention)  or a # hashtag 
  • Accounts that praise your brand 
  • Nutrition or educational accounts that are in line with your brand’s philosophy—think ‘organic’ or ‘vegan’ or ‘slowfood’

“But, I have more followers!”

If you have followers but low engagement, you might be thinking: “What are they bringing to the table?? I have more followers!” 

First off, it’s always better if others toot your horn for you. In other words, other accounts carry more credibility in promoting your brand than you do. 

Secondly, if you aren’t able to deliver the kinds of photos or content that your followers want to engage with on a regular basis, use partner images and tweets to offer that. 

Consider again our food brand example. Let’s say you sell potatoes. A delicious looking recipe featuring potatoes can be used to promote your potatoes, especially if the tweet has already @mentioned your brand. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter one bit if that picture didn’t actually use your ingredient. If it’s a dish or recipe in line with your brand, take advantage of it! Retweet that tweet and point out this is the perfect dish to showcase your potatoes.

This is the kind of free content of the type your followers might be craving.

Twitter Marketing Tips #4: Like and Retweet

In Twitter marketing, there’s a huge difference between simply ‘liking’ and ‘retweeting’ another tweet.

If you simply ‘like’ tweets that mention or hashtag your brand but never retweet those posts, those Twitter accounts will likely stop promoting you. Why?

Only by retweeting (preferably with a comment), are you ‘returning the favor’ by giving the tweet’s account (through that tweet) access to your followers. 

If you don’t retweet the person who has mentioned you, that tweet never reaches your followers and you’ve communicated you don’t want to be promoted in the future. Worst yet? You’ve lost a potential Twitter marketing partner who will be forced to promote a similar competitor who knows how to return the favor. 

In our example below, the vendor always ‘likes’ tweets they are mentioned in, but rarely if ever retweets. This communicates intentionally or unintentionally that they aren’t looking to ‘partner.’ The result? They have a respectable amount of followers, however their own tweets rarely crack two likes or retweets. No engagement!

Need help understanding Twitter Marketing language?

Check out this guide!

Twitter Marketing Tips #5: Use Relevant #hashtags and @mentions

Hashtags (#) are used to participate in popular topics of interest on Twitter. Twitter will even suggest trends for you based on your account’s interests and topics. 

By adding relevant #hashtags to tweets you post, that tweet becomes more visible to accounts not currently following you. Thus, you have the chance to gain new followers. 

As we’ve discussed, @mentions are used to tag other accounts in your tweet. It’s a great way to let an account know you’ve promoted them or to comment on them.

Promoting an Unique #Hashtag for Your Brand

You can also promote a unique #hashtag in your Twitter profile to give followers a way to talk about your brand. Put this in your Twitter Profile ‘Bio.’ This marketing strategy is usually more effective after you have a lot of Twitter followers.

If you are hosting / organizing a trade show, you absolutely should be mentioning what #hashtag you or followers should use to talk about the upcoming show. In the example below, the trade show account has used #CES2020.

However, if you do promote a unique #hashtag in your Twitter profile, be sure to track who is referencing your hashtag by clicking on it and clicking ‘Save Search.’ This will let you quickly see who is referencing your hashtags in their tweets. Why?

It’s extremely irritating for your followers when they’ve promoted your brand using your #hashtag in a tweet and you’ve failed to retweet their tweet. We’ve seen major brands encourage a brand #hashtag, promising followers they will retweet, and then never do it. This is very bad Twitter etiquette and you want to avoid it. 

In fact, when trade show marketing for your business, be sure to see what #hashtags are being promoted by the official trade show Twitter account. Use those #hashtags to promote what you’ve got going on at the show. And if you are representing the trade show itself and you have a Twitter #hashtag for the show, be sure to retweet those mentioning your #hashtag, especially if they have paid to exhibit at your trade show!

Twitter Marketing Tips #6: Pin a Tweet

Twitter gives you the option to ‘pin’ one of your tweets to the top of your account. This means when others check out your page to learn more about you, it’s the first thing they see under the account header. Simply click on the down arrow on your tweet and then click ‘Pin to your Profile.’ You can only pin one tweet at a time to the top of your account. However, you can change which tweet is ‘pinned’ anytime and you should change it up.

Pinning is important because it’s a chance to put your best foot forward by showing new followers the best your feed has to offer. Also, pin posts you want ‘partners’ to retweet. 

A big mistake we see accounts make is following all of our advice about liking and retweeting others, but then offering those they’ve promoted no easy way to promote them in return. By pinning a tweet and changing it often, you give your twitter ‘partners’ something quick they can do to return the favor when you promote them: by retweeting the ‘pinned’ tweet.

Twitter Marketing Tips #7: Tweet Regularly

When considering whether to promote your brand (or even follow you), the first thing many potential Twitter partners do is look at your account’s feed for three things: 

  • How recently have you tweeted? If it’s been more than 3 weeks, you won’t be considered a reliable partner. You want to stay current by tweeting or retweeting something at least once every week or few days. 
  • Do you retweet? If all of the past 10 tweets on your feed are your own, most users will assume that you don’t want to be promoted and won’t understand how to return the favor if you are.
  • Quality of your tweets. You will attract more partners if you’ve demonstrated you understand how to tweet and engage your followers. For instance, you use #hashtags to expand your tweet’s reach, you get ‘likes’ on your posts and you have engaging photos.

Twitter Marketing Tips #8: Post to Twitter Using Twitter

Almost every social media platform has a way to ‘integrate’ that account with other social media accounts. However, sharing to Twitter from another platform like Instagram often has unexpected results. Here are some of the bad things that we’ve seen happen when using other platforms to share to Twitter:

  • Images often do not get imported. We constantly see posts ‘imported’ from Instagram that don’t include the actual photo… which is the whole point of Instagram! As a result, those tweets appear as all text and have absolutely no impact on Twitter.
  • Posts imported from other sites aren’t optimized with hashtags or mentions. This means they aren’t optimized for Twitter. Every social media platform has different popular hashtags and brand accounts (@ mention) aren’t always the same across platforms either.

Twitter Marketing Tips #9: Look at Engagement Stats!

Make sure you are looking at your Twitter account and ‘analytics’ frequently so you know if your strategy is working or not!

How do you do this? Once you’ve created a Twitter account, you can choose to make it a Twitter business account (

Once this is done, you will have an ‘Analytics’ link in your Twitter navigation. Clicking on it will allow you to see in-depth, actionable statistics about your tweets: engagement, clicks, followers of your account with lots of followers, etc. You will also see information about your audience, Twitter events and recurring twitter hashtags that you can post about to reach new followers. 

You’ll see an ‘Analytics’ link once you’ve signed up for a Twitter Business Account

Twitter Marketing Tips #10… for Trade Show Marketing!

These days, almost every trade show organizer has a Twitter account. Also, most promote one or more #hashtags to encourage discussion about upcoming events. 

If you are planning to attend a trade show, make a list of all relevant #hashtags that might help you reach your target audience. Free tools like can help you with this research. Don’t do this last minute.

You want to let that audience know which trade shows you’ll be at. Also, you want to let attendees going to a trade show that you are attending know you’ll that be there too, and where they can go to find you (your Booth #). 

Use the official #hashtag that the trade show has provided to talk about the show. If you are the trade show organizer, for goodness sakes be monitoring the #hashtag you are promoting! And, you’ll want to retweet those exhibitors and attendees who have helped promote your event by referencing it. If Exhibitors who have paid you are using your hashtag to promote their attendance at your show, you especially owe it to them to retweet!

Want more information on driving traffic and pre-show trade show marketing?

Check out our article on Trade Show Tips and Tricks.

Training Staff is Critical to your Trade Show Marketing!

The purpose of exhibiting at a trade show is of course to sell! To ensure that your trade show is profitable, make sure that all staff working your trade show exhibit understands the following:

  • Your business sales goals
  • How to start conversations that can lead to a sale with Icebreakers
  • How to qualify leads during a conversation with a potential customer using a Lead Interview
  • When to Disengage from conversations that will never lead to a sale
  • How to propose Next Steps that meet a sales goal

Sound daunting? Have staff working the booth who aren’t sales pros? You need Tradeshow Basecamp™.

Why Tradeshow Basecamp™?

Tradeshow Basecamp™ is a complete guide on how to have profitable conversations at trade shows. This course will teach you how to set trade show goals that staff can use to effectively guide their trade show sales conversations. You’ll learn how to identify the Four Character Lead Types you’ll meet at every trade show and how to have successful conversations with each of them.

What are the Five Easy Steps?

Tradeshow Basecamp™ will teach you or your staff to have sales conversations in Five Easy Steps:

  • Icebreaker
  • Quick Intro
  • Lead Interview
  • Next Steps
  • Disenagagement

To learn more about the Five Easy Steps approach, read our article on trade show direct sales strategy.

Each step should take you closer to your sales goals. You’ll use Icebreakers to start conversations with exhibit attendees—conversations that might lead to sales! You’ll prepare Quick Intros in advance of the show—short statements about your company or product that keep the sales conversation going.

From there, you’ll qualify leads with the Lead Interview—asking specific questions to find out if the person you are speaking with is a ‘good lead’ likely to buy from you!

If at any point you discover the person you are speaking with is not a good lead, you jump right to the last step and Disengage (end the conversation)! If your conversation has uncovered that the person is (or might still be) a good lead, you try to meet a sales goal by proposing appropriate Next Steps.

Tradeshow Basecamp™ Staff Training Solutions

Have you learned anything in this article that you didn’t already know? If so, you’ll love Tradeshow Basecamp™!

Tradeshow Basecamp™ is a complete guide on how to work a trade show booth to maximize profitable sales conversations. You can affordably train yourself or even your whole team without spending $1,000s on trade show or event planning consultants. As you’ll see below, there’s a Tradeshow Basecamp™ solution for everyone!

Tradeshow Basecamp™

Our acclaimed course series, a complete program designed to help you have profitable trade shows. Get instant access to the full course series (101, 102, 103, 104).

Be fully prepared for your next event and earn your  Certified Tradeshow Basecamp Exhibitor™ (CTBE™) today!

Training a team? Check out our For Teams course series.

Introducing...Tradeshow Basecamp™
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