Tweets can often be heard around the world.

But is your agency engaging in the conversation?

Although Twitter is one of the older social media platforms, having launched in 2006, it’s still an immensely popular tool for professionals. In fact, it’s one of the leading social media platforms in terms of popularity.

However, that doesn’t always mean it’s an effective marketing tool for all businesses. We ourselves wondered whether we were missing out on the chance to connect with potential clients and industry professionals on Twitter, which prompted us to ask the question:

How important is Twitter for business?

Let’s take a closer look at whether using Twitter for business is the right move for your agency.

Twitter For Small Business: Stats to Consider

According to Twitter’s most recent figures, the platform had 192 million daily active users in Q4 2020. Of those, approximately 55 million users (or 28.6% of Twitter’s total user base) are located in the United States – and more than half of all U.S. Twitter users use the platform on a daily basis. What’s more, Twitter saw huge gains in both advertising revenue and engagement in 2020. According to Backlinko, Twitter's daily active user count now hovers around 206 million.

It’s likely that Twitter isn’t going anywhere, which is an important point for those who are spooked by what’s going to happen in the Metaverse. As many other online services experienced during the pandemic, Twitter’s popularity spiked by 27% from 2019 to 2020. eMarketer has also predicted that the platform would grow by 2% in 2022.

But how important is Twitter for small business, specifically?

If you work in the B2B space, it’s likely that Twitter is part of your strategy (or maybe it should be). According to recent data, 67% of all B2B organizations were using Twitter as a digital marketing tool in 2018. In 2020, 82% of B2B content marketers used Twitter as part of their organic content marketing strategy. And just over a quarter of B2B marketers used Twitter ads during the same year.

Of course, Twitter isn’t just for those operating in the B2B sector. It’s an important platform for B2C organizations, as well. Additionally, 53% of marketers said they had plans to use Twitter more frequently in 2021. Considering that 34% of consumers also said they wanted to use Twitter more often last year, it’s not surprising that marketers want to meet their customers where they already are.

Using Twitter for business can profoundly impact your brand’s perception. The platform reports that 77% of Twitter users have an improved impression of a brand or business when they respond to a tweet.

In addition, the Digital Marketing Institute found that 40% of Twitter users have purchased something after seeing it on the platform. That said, a brand’s tweets alone may not be enough to convince the average customer. By partnering with Twitter influencers, your brand can win big. Twitter reports that user purchase intent increases by over five times when users are exposed to tweets from both influencers and brands.

Not only can you create goodwill, improve trust, and even drive sales by being active on Twitter, but you could actually save a customer relationship. Approximately 60% of consumers say they expect brands to respond to customer service requests within an hour. You can reply to a customer request within mere seconds on Twitter – and since many customers will turn to Twitter to draw attention to their problems and connect instantaneously with brands, it’s smart to utilize the platform for this purpose.

We know those are a lot of numbers to throw at you. So in case your eyes have glazed over and still aren’t convinced that Twitter is a good investment for your agency, we’ll break down some good reasons to use Twitter for business below.

Reasons to Use Twitter For Business

  • Provide Instant Customer Service: As we mentioned above, social media can be a powerful CS tool for businesses of all sizes. Customers are eager to connect with brands on Twitter. Whether they have a question about a product restock or are trying to solve an issue with an existing order, they’ll often turn to Twitter first – so you should be as responsive and as accessible as possible. You’ll likely earn major brand points for your availability and willingness to assist!
  • Increase Your Advertising Reach: The fact that Twitter’s ads appear more organically within feeds can really work to your advantage. AdWeek notes that Twitter ad engagement soars above the competition. It can be as high as 1% to 3%, as compared to Facebook’s average 0.119% click-through rate. Although costs per impression are typically higher, Twitter’s positioning of ads (especially on mobile) and ability to promote trending topic tweets make the platform a compelling one for advertisers.
  • Gain Insight Into Audience Interests: It’s certainly easier to find out information about your customers using Twitter. Researching trending topics and popular hashtags can provide you with a ton of insights you can use to inform your marketing strategy. It’s also seen as a generally more authentic platform, particularly for users in their 30s and 40s, so this can provide a way for businesses to really find out what their customers are thinking.
  • Boost Overall Brand Awareness: One of the most obvious reasons to use Twitter for businesses is to get the word out about your brand. Twitter can be a tricky platform, but if you’re skilled at composing tweets, you can easily get a lot of attention. Viral threads regularly find their way into the headlines – and if you can jump on a trend quickly or share something that resonates with lots of folks, your brand stands to benefit.
  • Connect With Your Community: Twitter is more old-school in that it allows for more of a community feel. While anyone can engage with your tweets (and you can do the same), it feels a lot more personal than Facebook or Instagram. If you make it a point to engage with your following, you could be rewarded for it. After all, a recent Sprout Social survey found that 55% of customers want brands to help them connect with other like-minded people on social media, while 36% of consumers say they expect brands to actually build communities to which they can belong!
  • Emerge As an Industry Leader: Don’t forget that Twitter can provide you with inspiration and opportunity. Thought leaders aren’t just on LinkedIn; they’re highly active on Twitter, too. By engaging with and even emulating those you admire, you could position yourself as a leader in your own right. Share your point of view, engage with those in your industry, and become a master of the 280-character soundbite. Keep at it and you could be seen as a real powerhouse – and that alone will convince other business owners or customers to take you seriously.

Are Agencies Using Twitter For Business: What We Found

With all of the benefits of Twitter for small business in mind, it might seem obvious that agency owners would be using this platform with regularity.

But after doing some research on our own, it's clear that many agencies aren't taking advantage of all Twitter has to offer.

Here’s what we discovered.

To break it down:

  • 30% of agencies we surveyed had no official Twitter account to be found or had never tweeted
  • 21.4% of agencies studied had last tweeted sometime between 2010 and 2019
  • 9.2% of agencies had not tweeted since 2020
  • 15.7% of agencies surveyed had last tweeted in 2021
  • 20.7% of agencies studied have tweeted so far in 2022

That means that almost 80% of these agencies have yet to tweet at all in 2022. While we’re only a couple of months into the new year, the reality is that only 36.4% of these agencies have tweeted anything during the last 2 years. To take it a step further, less than half of the agencies we studied have published tweets since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Considering how much the world has changed since 2020, it seems that many agency owners may be missing out on potential sales and networking opportunities on social media.

That said, we aren’t here to scold. We’ll gladly expose our own shortcomings here: we haven’t been active on Twitter since 2020, either!

We actually began to research this topic because we had dismissed the importance of Twitter for ourselves in the past. Because it hasn’t been a major source of lead generation for us, we’ve assumed that it shouldn’t be a top priority.

We wanted to find out whether that assumption is actually reflected in real data, so we started by finding out whether other agencies are doing.

The idea here was that if we knew other agency owners were active Twitter users, then we’d have a better case for adding a Twitter strategy to our marketing efforts. Assuming the data supported that activity, we might be better able to connect with other prospects and nurture our existing relationships through Twitter.

There’s a healthy handful of agency owners who are incredibly active on this platform (and certainly put us to shame!). Most are active through their brand accounts, though others have their own personal accounts that they use to educate, entertain, and connect.

But by and large, most of the agencies we studied seem to be fairly absent from Twitter. Many have accounts that have stayed dormant for months, if not years. Why is this?

Why Don't Agency Owners Use Twitter?

We can only guess, but we do have some ideas. For one thing, people tend to turn to Twitter for news, trending topics, and other information. While the sales potential is there, it’s not as compelling as a more visual platform for many businesses.

Its format also makes it a bit tougher for many marketers to succeed. Since most internet users are now repelled by obvious ads, that creates many challenges for business owners – and it makes it harder to draw conclusions as to its direct effectiveness.

Another potential reason for abandoning Twitter is that it’s simply not seen as a must-have. Whether this is actually true or a case of perception equaling reality, it’s a pretty pervasive opinion among many business owners.

And as a customer, you might not judge too harshly if a business you’re thinking of using hasn't tweeted in months. Naturally, Twitter falls by the wayside when other marketing channels are prioritized – especially among smaller agencies with fewer resources, which is generally what our research found.

Twitter has also transformed into a platform that attracts certain kinds of conversations. Even before the former president was banned from using Twitter, a lot of active users were exposing some uncomfortable societal truths using this platform. While there’s plenty of fun and relatively harmless content on Twitter, as well, the platform gets a bit of a bad rap for being all doom and gloom. And if you’ve ever seen a brand go viral for the wrong reasons on Twitter, it’s no wonder you’d be hesitant to really dive into developing a Twitter strategy.

Of course, all of this is mere speculation. We don’t necessarily know the reasons other agencies may or may not be active on Twitter.

As with any platform, Twitter has its benefits and its drawbacks. And while we can clearly identify some of the benefits that Twitter can provide, that may simply not be enough to make a business case for getting and staying active on the app or site.

Use Twitter For Business By Following Thought Leaders

Say you do feel there's a good business case for getting active on Twitter – or you just want to see what's possible.

Rather than firing off a bunch of tweets right away, here's what we would suggest:

Build your virtual mentorship roster and study their work carefully.

Twitter is rife with well-known thought leaders in our industry who are creating awesome, short-form content on a consistent basis.

Once you find the kinds of folks you aspire to be, you can use their style as inspiration.

That doesn't mean you should steal their content or copy their exact tweet format. But you'll want to learn from the best, emulate their success, and then communicate your unique point of view.

So where should you start? You'll first want to ask yourself how you want to be seen and come up with some influential accounts that are aligned with your vision. Whether you're seeking top-tier marketing knowledge or you want some entrepreneurial wisdom, here are a few suggestions of Twitter thought leaders for you to follow:

Nothing says you have to follow or emulate these accounts, of course. Take charge and find your own Twitter inspiration! Become familiar with the style of the tweets that work best on the platform and consider how you can apply those same principles to your agency to further your goals. Even if you don't gain 100,000 followers or go viral, you can get some awesome ideas for your business that you might otherwise miss.

How Important is Twitter For Business, Really?

In the end, Twitter has a lot of potential – if you can leverage it.

There are a lot of great reasons to use Twitter for small businesses like your agency. But if you aren’t currently tweeting, you definitely aren’t alone.

It’s not easy to answer the “is Twitter important for business” question. Even among experts, the answer isn’t totally clear. It certainly can be a good move for business owners, as many can attest. But if you’re tweeting inconsistently or don’t really know how to take full advantage of the platform’s features, you’re understandably going to believe that tweeting is a total waste of time.

So should your marketing agency be on Twitter? It depends. If you feel passionate about connecting with other entrepreneurs, you have a unique point of view to share, or you’re trying to diversify your ad spend to minimize reliance on Facebook, it may be worth trying out. But if you don’t have the time to devote to tweeting or your clients haven’t tried to reach out there before, it’s tough to want to make the time for it.

Ultimately, we really don’t have clear answers. And even if we could definitively say that Twitter matters, we’d be hypocritical to not practice what we preach. The truth is that we haven’t really proven that it’s worthwhile for us to be active on Twitter, either.

For now, we’ll continue doing research and ask you to weigh in: how important is Twitter for businesses like yours? Have you seen success on this platform? Or are there other channels that you’ve found to be much more effective for your business?