A Beginners Guide to Twitter For Retailers: Part One

06 Apr 2021

Have you ever heard about Twitter hashtags trending or how a tweet went viral, but you have no idea what these mean or how Twitter works?

Let us take you through the first steps of building your own Twitter community!

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging website which already boasts over 192 million active users posting around 500 million tweets a day. The website enables real-time, one-to-many communication. Users communicate by posting ‘tweets’, which are short text based posts of 280 characters or less to their followers.

Twitter enables businesses to communicate and engage with their customers in a dialogue, as well as with other businesses. Twitter should always be used to conduct a dialogue, rather than a one-way broadcast. Twitter is a simple, free resource and retailers can harness the benefits of Twitter in the following ways:

  • Engage with your followers – communicate directly with your followers to grow your brand awareness.
  • Promote new products or services
  • Ask questions or run polls
  • Run promotions or competitions
  • Engage with your customer base – attract and retain new and existing customers
  • Drive traffic to your website – share blog posts or link articles to drive more traffic to your website
  • Monitor feedback and troubleshoot customer queries online
  • Retweet – sharing others tweets is a great way to get more followers and increase your business presence on Twitter
  • Market industry or local events
  • Stay up-to-date with industry news
  • Network with other retailers

 Twitter Basics

  • You can compose a tweet of up to 280 characters into the compose box at the top of your Home timeline, or click the Tweet button in the navigation bar. You can include up to 4 photos, a GIF, or a video in your Tweet.
  • A retweet button enables you to share another user’s tweet with all your followers. You can do this by clicking the RT button underneath the tweet itself. Whether relevant to your audience or to your business, retweeting is a good way to spread the word without drafting a tweet yourself.
  • A hashtag is used in a tweet to mark keywords, topics or themes. Hashtags are a great way to keep track of trends and news. They can also help to categorize tweets. Users can click on any hashtagged word in a tweet and view all other tweets that have been categorized within this same topic. For example #independentretailers #shoplocal #indieretail #shopsmall
  • Follow other Twitter accounts. Build your Twitter feed (timeline) by following accounts that are interesting or useful to your business and you’ll never miss an update from them.
  • To mention or reply to someone’s tweet, start your tweet with @username. But remember that this message will be public and can be read by all your followers.
  • To send an individual a direct message, meaning, a message that will not be made public, you can click on the blue envelope at the top of their profile. You can only start a private conversation or create a group conversation with someone who follows you. However, you can set up your account to be able to receive Direct Messages from anyone, even you don’t follow them in the first place.
  • To bookmark a tweet, which simply means the tweet will be saved for later, just tap on the share icon that’s located to the right of the like option. Once you tap on it, you’ll see a series of share options. One of those options will allow you to save the tweet to your bookmarks. To view all your previously bookmarked tweets, click on ‘Bookmarks’ tab on your profile.

You can find more Twitter vocabulary information here.

Building A Strategy

Before thinking about creating a Twitter account, you need to think about a specific strategy to put in place in order to make the most of this social media channel for your business. 

Devise a strategy: before creating an account you must first determine what your aims are for using Twitter as a business. Do you want to attract new customers? Do you want to promote your events? Whatever it is, once these are determined, write a Social Media strategy.

Establish a genuine and authentic voice: determine the tone and face of your business and reflect that in your posts. You could even go further than this and personalise your tweets by naming individual employees as tweeters on your account.

Be credible: don’t try to use Twitter as a one-way pitch to customers, this will come across as insincere. Instead, use Twitter to build a relationship with existing and prospective customers, recommend new products, respond to feedback honestly and engage in non ‘shop-talk’ once in a while.


After learning about the basics of Twitter and how to build a strategy for your Twitter activity, you’re now ready to learn how to create your Twitter account. Keep an eye out for the next parts of our Beginners Guide to Twitter for Retailers, or Subscribe to our Newsletter for the latest updates.

Follow us on our Twitter pages for Bira and BAGMA and don’t forget to tag us in your posts so we can re-share your content!

As a Bira/BAGMA member, you can benefit from Free digital training and 30-day free trial to benchmark your social media performance and help you increase your footfall and sales with our digital partner called Maybe*. For more information, visit our dedicated page for Maybe*  


Additional Guidance and Resources


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