Despite dating all the way back to the MySpace era, marketing on X (formerly called Twitter) is still untouched for many businesses. Compared to other platforms, X has an intimidation factor. The tempo is fast. The lingo is changing. And the culture feels more intense than other social media platforms.
The concept of “tweets,” Twitter itself as the original brand, and that little blue bird we all recognize have changed since Elon Musk took over the platform in 2022. Behind its mysterious gestalt lies an enormous sea of opportunity for brands who learn to use X for marketing and sales.
Dust off your account (or start one from scratch). Together, we'll walk step by step through setting up your account, developing a strategy, and understanding how to market your brand on X.
Table of Contents
Why It's Important To Sell On X
Anything can be sold on X: services, software, digital products, or physical products. Not only do users tolerate brands on the platform, but it's actually reported that 30% of consumers wish to see brands using X more.
X distinguished itself early on as a social media platform that gave users direct access to brands, and it‘s a superpower that’s still never been matched by other platforms. The platform has long been associated with customer service, with many brands making entire support channels where they answer questions and help buyers.
X has features built directly into the user interface that help brands converse with users. Notice how the “send us a private message” button that appears under some posts:
Learning how to use X for business can unlock an enormous opportunity for both companies and individuals. Here's how to get a slice of the pie.
How to Start Selling On X
It's to network and build relationships with prospects. Establish trust on X with new connections, and down the road, they'll feel comfortable chatting privately and then hopping on a phone call.
Whether you‘re doing business-to-business (B2B) sales or business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, X can help you reach your audience and showcase your offers. Let’s look at how to set yourself up for success on X and how to take the conversation to the next step in your sales process.
Step 1. Treat your X account like your business card.
Before getting into the specific elements of an effective X profile, it's important to understand the mindset of your account. An X account is like a business card, and your target audience is potential customers, clients, and partners.
If your X account is years old, before doing anything else, you should delete old, off-brand posts. It's embarrassing to have unprofessional posts resurface years later, but it does happen, and it’s a distraction from your messaging.
Comb through your X account and remove any post that’s:
- Has errors.
You can delete individual posts one at a time or complete this step en masse by bulk deleting posts with the platform Tweet Delete.
Step 2. Prepare your X profile for users.
Unlike a real business card, your X account can attract eyeballs 24/7 from across the world. To appear credible, make sure your X profile checks these boxes:
- Public account. New followers won't engage with a private account unless they know you personally.
- On-brand handle (username). This is usually a version of your name, which will make it easier for prospects to remember when posting with you. It's ideal if this matches your username on other social media accounts to maintain your brand identity.
- Professional profile picture. Avoid a cropped group picture or a scene of you in an unprofessional setting. Use a proper headshot for your X profile.
- Descriptive bio. Include keywords that describe your role or your company. Let X users know what your content will be about and what they gain from following you in these 160 characters.
- Banner. Your banner is another opportunity to convert viewers into X followers. Instead of uploading a random photograph to your banner, consider a graphic with words that share what you offer. It's reported that 80% of X activity takes place on mobile, so be sure to test readability on both your desktop and mobile.
- Pinned post. The default X setting shows the most recent post at the top of your profile, but you can override that by pinning your most important post at the top. Pinning an X post helps get more eyes on your most valuable content.
- Verification. Verifying your X account (originally called Twitter Blue, now called X Premium) starts at $8 per month, and accounts that are verified are reported to receive better reach in the algorithm.
These are the most crucial elements for customizing your X profile, but new settings and profile functionality will appear as time goes on. Routinely update your account with every update.
Step 3. Create X lists.
An X list is a select group of accounts that you group together on the platform. It's a powerful tool for building relationships that saves you a lot of time as you use the platform. The feature creates a curated X feed, so you can be sure that you haven't missed any updates from important contacts or prospects.
You can create either a public or private X list, and there's a specific time and place for both of them.
Private lists are ideal for potential customers. While you want to engage with these people, you don‘t want them to know that they’re being targeted; it'll make the interactions feel disingenuous and self-serving.
Public lists are ideal for curating groups of influential people in your niche. Add a list description so that users understand why you added them to this list, and then start curating relevant accounts.
Spend time each day scanning your lists to discover opportunities to join relevant conversations in your industry.
Step 4. Monitor relevant hashtags.
After your profile is intact and you have a private list of prospects set up, you‘re ready to listen. But just like you wouldn’t jump into a conversation at a cocktail party and immediately begin talking about yourself, you shouldn't start posting immediately about your offers.
Choose hashtags to monitor that are related to your industry so that you can jump in and join relevant conversations.
The search bar on X is very advanced, allowing you to choose exact keywords, phrases, excluded keywords, hashtags, languages, accounts, engagement levels, dates, and more.
Leverage the power of the search bar to find the important conversations happening in your industry.
Step 5. Engage, engage, engage.
Every marketer has their theory about how often to post on X to build your brand, but there‘s a more important daily activity than posting original content and that’s engaging.
“Engagement is everything,” said every single X marketer who shared their insights for this guide. Engagement is so key to success on X that CEOs, thought leaders, and companies hire X marketers to engage on their behalf. But it has to be done correctly in order to turn strangers into potential customers.
Just as you would never walk up to someone at a conference and immediately pitch them your service or product, you shouldn't start selling the moment you connect with someone new on X. Treat X just like a normal conversation with a new person: not as a megaphone, but as a back-and-forth exchange of ideas.
“If you can give 20 minutes a day to X, spend 5 minutes on your own content and 15 minutes on engaging,” said Rachel Becker, head of X branding at ZoecialMedia. “The more you engage, the more you’ll learn about the platform, how it works, and what content to create.”
Reminder: Make use of X lists to create curated feeds for you to engage with. Lists make engagement quick to do on a daily basis.
Step 6. Move from public conversations to direct messages.
For most businesses, the primary goal isn't to make a sale through a post itself but to move the conversation into direct messages. Direct messaging is an underused X feature that has a huge potential for marketers.
“The secret to business on X is moving onto private conversations,” said X marketer Yoel Israel, founder of Wadi. “Business deals don't happen in posts. You network in posts, then move to direct messages, then to email, and then finally onto a call.”
Yoel built a relationship with one of the most popular X news accounts by freely sharing his insights and chatting with them in direct messages. When a new X ads feature rolled out, Yoel was remembered as an X ads specialist, and they asked him for his thoughts via direct messaging:
His insights were so valuable that they shared a screenshot (with permission) with their entire subscriber base. While this type of networking and positioning might not result in a sale the day it happens, it's one of the most valuable outcomes of content marketing.
Step 7. Post content on X.
The more you post on X, the better it is for your account. The lifespan of a post on X is considered to be less than 20 minutes, which means that you need to post often to stay at the top of feeds. However, remember that a rigid posting schedule is much less important than a rigid engagement schedule.
Try making any of the following types of X posts:
- Educational content.
- Industry news update.
- Recent professional win or loss.
- A lesson learned and how it relates to your field.
Review your X analytics to gain insights about your audience and understand what posting time works best for them and what content resonates most.
Step 8. Become a student of X.
The marketers who will be the most effective at driving sales and generating business through X will be the ones who stay engaged with platform updates. While this may be common sense, it‘s a step that’s often missed as brands plug the same strategy over and over again, citing the algorithm for their lack of social media success.
Become a student of X by following accounts that share insights, advice, and actionable marketing tips.
For X news, follow X News Daily:
What we like: The detailed screenshots, examples, and curated news from industry experts.
For algorithm insights, follow NFT God.
What we like: The incredibly detailed review of X's algorithm and the engagement this account gets from X owner Elon Musk around algorithm changes.
Best Practices for selling on X
With your X profile set up correctly, it's time to invest time in a strategy. Get started today with these best practices.
Use your own account, not your company’s.
Tim Cook has more followers than Apple. Elon Musk has more followers than the official X account. Mark Zuckerberg has only posted on X once since 2012 and he still has more followers than Facebook.
Few people are going to spend time networking with a faceless company account.
A personal brand generates more business than a corporation. The true power of selling on X lies in the networking opportunity it presents. Cite your company in your bio, but engage, network, and sell as an individual on X.
Share relevant personal information.
In order for a personal brand to feel personal, you have to occasionally show your face or story.
- A recent win.
- A recent loss or lesson.
- A glimpse into your journey.
What we like: Showcasing both professional growth and personal wins side by side.
Give away value for free.
All networking relies on the information economy, the free exchange of expertise, and the accumulation of social capital. Rather than always directing X users to your paid products, email opt-ins, or blog posts, break down your insights into free posts on X. Aim to genuinely help people as much as possible with your social media strategy.
Prolific community builder and author Ryan Paugh describes this as habitual generosity. “Find moments in your every day to give back and support other people and help them be successful,” he shared on the On Good Authority podcast. “Find ways to support people who have influence within your field... Lead with a give versus an ask."
What we like: This post provides detailed, actionable advice freely without requiring users to click on a link, join an email list, or watch a video.
Engage on X daily.
A novice marketer thinks that the secret to selling on X lies in churning out viral posts and finding the right hashtags. A seasoned marketer knows that the real goal is building relationships.
However, it's not a best practice to just open up X and start engaging with everything on your feed. This wastes your time and leaves the odds of you interacting with your prospects and industry connections up to chance.
Every time you open on X, start your engagement with your lists first. Monitor and interact with your most important community members to move beyond social media likes to genuinely build relationships.
You can schedule posts to save time in the day-to-day, but genuine social media engagement requires you to show up in real time. Do this every day for 15 minutes.
Best for: Being remembered, building relationships, and responding to opportunities.
“X is an incredibly powerful platform for selling products and services," said financial expert Gary Hemming, owner of ABC Finance Ltd. “From my experience, the key to success on X is to create engaging content that resonates with your target audience.”
“Use visuals, such as images or videos, to make your posts more engaging.”
What we like: It takes a moment for users to read all of the text in an entire X post, but this graphic, with a short message and bold text, communicates its message in a second.
Back when the platform was still called Twitter, the character count of a post was only 140 characters. This forced creators who wanted to share a bigger message to break their text up into a series of related posts, originally called a Twitter thread but now called an X thread.
The character limit has gone up to 280 characters now for unverified accounts, and X Premium users can post up to 4,000 characters per post. But even with this increase, X threads remain a high-value type of content on the platform.
Challenge yourself to break down a bigger lesson or tip into snack-sized pieces of information in a thread. As you're writing it, remember that each post may be viewed individually by users on the feed.
Signal that they're a part of a thread by numbering each individual post. Make sure that each individual post has enough context to orient users to the topic.
What we like: This thread is highly engaging and has an anatomy that you can replicate: attention-grabbing hook, follow-up points, then a strong call to action.
While this type of content takes much longer to make, it's highly engaging, displays your expertise, and is easily repurposed across other social media channels.
Experiment with video.
According to X, videos optimized for the platform drive an increase in emotional engagement of 33%. Video content is a great way to connect with users, articulate complicated ideas, and be memorable.
View your account's X analytics to see how video content compares to static content to understand what resonates more with your audience.
What we like: Instead of telling users what they can gain by following the call to action, this video shows them.
Show up live on X Spaces.
X Spaces are live audio events that creators schedule around a specific topic. “This is one of the best ways to be elevated on the platform,” advised Yoel Israel.
Ease into Spaces on X:
- To start engaging with this feature, attend an X Space.
- After you're familiar with the medium, ask to speak.
- Then, host your own X Space.
As you're speaking, attendees will come look at your profile page and decide whether or not to become followers. It puts your account on a much higher platform than posting alone.
What we like: The candid sharing and exchange between participants made this Space on X a very personable audio event.
Focus on strategic goals, not vanity metrics.
Not all metrics are equally valuable on X, or any social media platform. Chasing likes won't directly lead to selling products or building authority.
“Don't just try to get likes and followers on X,” shared personal brand builder Charles Miller. “Start with your top desired outcome, then reverse-engineer a strategy that generates revenue, not just attention.”
What we like: The short sentences, bullets, and stats make this a scroll-stopping post.
Not sure what social media marketing goals you should set? Learn here:
Chime in on industry news.
While some social media platforms have a reputation for entertainment, escapism, or inspiration, X is synonymous with newsworthiness. Research has shown that 94% of X users express interest in current events, and 85% of users consume news on a daily basis.
When news about your industry is circulating on X, share it the strategic way. Instead of reposting, quote it and add your own thoughts.
"Quoting always beats reposting on X,“ said Rachel Becker. ”If there’s a post you like, quote it and share your own thoughts and insights."
What we like: This account is positioning itself as a valuable hub for industry information by sharing industry news with their thoughts.
Include your customers.
“Sharing people's joy on X as they receive and use our products is a great way to demonstrate their success with our service,” shared Jas Banwait, growth manager at SnackMagic.
“As satisfied customers become our most compelling advocates, we can reach a wider audience and spread awareness about our products and services.”
What we like: This customer-centric form of marketing on X reminds users of your product without feeling promotional.
It's estimated that there are more than 500 million posts published per day on X, with the highest usage recorded clocking in at 20,000 posts per second. Life moves fast on X, and it pays to be timely.
Timeliness is important to your X strategy in a number of ways:
- Engage with recent posts from your target audience before they're lost into the void
- Push your products as they relate to trending topics
- Chime in on breaking industry news
What we like: This post touches on two timely elements: it mentions a time-sensitive product while also publicizing local news coverage.
“This post earned us massive sales last year in the heat of basketball games,” said Michael Nemeroff, CEO of Rush Order Tees. “Our post drew our followers’ attention to our feature on the local news, where even more viewers were exposed to our brand.”
Embrace the Superpower of X
The strategy you use to get more sales on other social networks won‘t work on X. It’s a unique platform that requires special attention, but do it right and it's well worth your time.
Embrace the superpower of X networking and see how it transforms your business.