Tools Used In This Recipe
Even if you haven't used it personally, you have almost certainly come across Twitter either through tweets embedded in other media or through news outlets discussing its impact on politics and dialogue. If your business serves (or plans to serve) a national or global customer base, Twitter's broad reach and low barrier to entry make it a worthwhile to register an account for your business. In this Recipe we'll walk through the steps involved in setting up an account on Twitter, and highlight some key considerations during the process. Note that while you normally wouldn't need to create an account before you start to use it, given the scarcity of twitter handles if you plan to register a Twitter account you should do so at the same time you register your domain name.
Setting Up a twitter Account
Start by visiting Twitter's home page. You can register for a Twitter account through an existing Google account or an Apple ID or Microsoft account (depending on which browser you are using), but in this Recipe we'll set up our account using an email. Click Sign up with phone or email.
The first step in setting up a Twitter account is to list your name. Twitter's signup form defaults to phone, but you can click Use email instead to switch. Note that the name field here will be used to propose a twitter handle but you can change this later, so don't spend too much time on it now. You'll also need to give a date of birth, which might seem unusual for a business account. Twitter uses this to comply with COPPA laws in the U.S. - this information isn't used anywhere so you can enter your birthday or any random date greater than 18 years ago.
Click Next. The second step in the signup process is to opt in to personalization. Twitter uses information about your other browsing habits to suggest relevant content on its platform and ad network, but for a business account this isn't really useful so we recommend un-checking to opt out. Click Next to continue.
Since we provided an email, Twitter needs to verify it to ensure you have access. Twitter will email you a code, and this screen includes a field to enter the code to verify you own the email address.
Switch to your email account and find the twitter email. Copy the code and enter or paste it in the signup form, and click Next.
Twitter also requires a phone number to make it more difficult for people to create 'throwaway' accounts that can be used to harass people in its platform. Enter your phone number. If this is a personal phone number you may not want people to be able to find your business account through it, so un-check the option marked Let people who have your phone number find and connect with you on Twitter. Click the button to get a code. Note that while the form indicates it will be sent through SMS/text message, you will actually get a phone call with an automated voice recording with your code. Once you have it, enter the code and click Next to continue.
On the next screen enter a password for your account. Since as a business account it's possible you will need to allow co-founders or staff access the account to tweet on behalf of the business, we strongly recommend you use a password manager to generate a strong password and store the credentials in the password manager's vault. Although it's not covered in this Recipe, Twitter supports multi-factor authentication and you should set that up as soon as your account setup is complete.
Click Next. The final screen is where you select your twitter handle. this is the unique name for the account/ As with many social networks, Twitter's popularity means that many handles are already taken. If you aren't able to register the exact name or your startup or product, you can usually find an available name by adding extra characters or words. You only have 15 characters to work with, however. Here are a few tricks to help find an available username:
- If you are registering accounts for multiple social media platforms, try to make them the same. It'll make your life a lot easier!
- You can add an underscore at the start or end of your name, or even between words, to make it unique.
- If your startup has a product name that's different than your company name, you might have better luck with the product name or even a combination.
- You can use a short prefix to your product or company name such as try-, get-, with-, or join-. These prefix words have the benefit of acting as a call to action.
Note that although it's possible to change your Twitter handle, after you use it online (and potentially in printed media), changing it can leads to customers getting confused when they use the old handle. So it's better to spend time now to get a handle that will scale with your business.
Once you finish registration you'll go through the Twitter onboarding process, where it will suggest accounts to follow. You can also set your profile photo (we recommend using your logo) and a cover photo. Assuming you have verified your email and phone you can start sending tweets and replying right away.
Using multiple Twitter Accounts
If you already have a twitter account for personal use, once you set up your business account you'll find that managing multiple accounts can be challenging because you can't be logged into both accounts at the same time. On a laptop computer you can use browser profiles or a different browser to keep them separate. You can also use Twitter's Tweetdeck application or a third-party (paid) tool like Hootsuite.
The stream-of-consciousness nature of social media makes it well suited to managing from your mobile phone, and if you have the Twitter app you can be signed in to both accounts at the same time, and switch between them as needed. To add your business account to your Twitter app, tap your profile photo in the upper left and then tap the icon with three dots.
This will pull up a panel where you can addd an existing account.
Tap Add an existing account. You'll be prompted to enter your twitter handle and password. Once connected, tapping your profile photo in the upper left will show your other accounts, and you can switch between them with a tap.
That's it! Now that your account is established you can start using twitter to engage with your customers or run targeted ads. If you'd like to see the twitter account for Startup Recipes, it's available here.