For this example I’m going to use my personal account, and avoid spending cash, but of course you can add a business account and hurl as much social ad budget in as you like. You will need a credit card for setup, but you won’t need to spend a penny.

Get started

First things first: sign in to twitter. 

Here I am. Aren’t I handsome (and shiny)?

Lexx2099 on Twitter

Next, follow this link or click the image below:

Bookmark this, you’ll want it in the future.  

Now hit ‘Get Started’

Where are you?

Tell Twitter where you live (as if they didn’t know): 

You cannot change this in the future, so bear this in mind if you’re planning to move to Aberystwyth or Nepal in the near future. 


Promote your oh-so-witty tweets, or your account?

Here I’m going with Account. Your choice will affect your targeting options. 

The differences: 

1: Promote accounts: 

If you don’t get your targeting right, you will waste huge, stinking piles of money. Seriously, if you haven’t thought about this in advance, go away and do so right now or alternatively, set fire to £100,000. 

Choose some accounts siilar to yours, who have followers who may be interested in your tweets.

I’ve decided to bang @Econsultancy in here for now, but remember you can target any @name, and import lists if needed (go pull some out of Followerwonk. You’ll thank me).  

Twitter will promote my account to users who follow @Econsultancy. 

2: Promote tweets:

If you’ve chosen ‘promote tweets’ instead, you can target by keywords.

You can be extremely specific, and you’ll save a lot of money by investing time here.

Use complex keywords and get as niche as you can. Putting in ‘social media’ is a sure-fire way to burn through your budget. When we’ve used promoted tweets in the past, I’ve found that targeting specific conferences was very effective, but this is entirely reliant on your sector.

You should also switch your campaigns daily, adding new tweets each time to keep them as relevant as possible. The older a tweet is, the more it willcost you to promote, as users simply aren’t interested in old information. The basic rules of Twitter still apply.

Twitter provides a handy estimated audience size here as well:

Edit campaign and budget

Self-explanatory. Add a total and daily budget, location you wish to target, and a maximum bid.

I’d suggest starting low and tweaking your way up towards the suggested budget.  If, like me, you don’t actually want to spend money at this point, put £1/$1 in all of these boxes. Again, Twitter will provide some useful figures such as expected reach as you go along:

Are you paying taxes?

I am, although the tax office has a long history of not believing me. Anyway, what happens in your accountant’s office stays there.

Tell Twitter one of two convincing semi-truths:

 Set up payment, save and hit the ‘Save and Launch Campaign’ button

What do you want to acheive? 

Tell Twitter why you’re running the campaign. This may or may not improve your experience, but you’ll have to answer it anyway.

Continue to ‘Your Campaigns’. You’ll see a dashboard detailing spend so far. It should be blank at this point:

Analytics are go!

At the top of the page you’ll now see a dropdown ‘analytics’ panel.

Head here to see info on followers, account growth, click-through rates and more: 

You’ll also see a ‘campaigns’ dropdown. Head here and delete the campaign you just set up if you don’t want to spend any money, or add more campaigns:

For more info on setting up a solid campaign and how these analytics work, see our start-up guide here

And that’s it. Now whenever you log into twitter you’ll see the ‘Twitter ads’ button in your settings menu at the top of your profile, allowing you to access analytics: