Getting to grips with Twitter is far easer than you might imagine. Twitter is much less understood than Facebook, and once you get past some initial jargon there is not much confusion, it becomes a lot of fun. If you represent your business on other social media platforms there is no reason why you cannot get to grips with Twitter.
I think it’s great and I have fun tweeting and retweeting, etc…so I have put together some my thoughts right here for you. Hopefully these thoughts will inspire you to join up!
Twitter Actions and Features
- A tweet is a 140 character message that you and other tweeters send out into the wonderful world of the web. Hopefully it will be interesting enough for people to retweet it and comeback and follow you.
- You have 160 characters to describe your self and/or your business, so you might have to be a little creative about it. I generally don’t follow someone/a business that does not have a profile, and I’m sure other people do the same. Take the time to create a bio that describes your business accurately.
- When you see tweets from others that are relevant to your product/service you can ‘retweet’ the message. This basically means taking their original tweet and then sending it from your twitter account. It is like giving a shout out to someone for saying something cool, or something you believe in. The original tweeter will know you have ‘retweeted’ their message and may return with a thank you and/or a follow. In turn you develop relationships with people by performing this action. In turn, you should return a ‘thank you’ message to anyone who retweets (RT’s) your messages.
- You should reply to every person who mentions you, so make sure you check your mentions frequently. Similar to your other social media strategies; you should follow up on every comment and be the last person to speak in the conversation. Whether that be with a “thank you” or a response to a question.
- It is entirely up to you whether you want to follow those who follow you. I suggest you go through your followers list once a week and follow back those you feel that are relevant. I generally don’t follow anyone who hasn’t bothered to put in a profile and/or is not interesting. Look out for how often the person/business is tweeting. Also, watch out for spam! Proactively follow other businesses that are similar to you and retweet their tweets to grab their attention, and the attention of their fans. It is also a good idea to say hello to anyone that follows you, but that is entirely up to you. Another technique to increase awareness is to follow those who follow your competition.
- You can choose to have your profile public or private, which will determine the amount of moderation you have over who can follow you and see your tweets. For a business you will most likely have a public profile, which means that anyone can see your tweets and anyone can follow you. You can block spammers and anyone you do not want to be associated with.
- Hash Tags
- Hash Tags are used in twitter ( and other applications – Instagram, for example) to categorise information. They are used to help mark content on twitter, making it easier to find relevant information. You should start using hash tags on your tweets that are relevant to what you are talking about. If you are unsure what to do, search twitter for has tags and see what other people are using for the same content.
- Twitter is renowned for trending topics. Basically something will be ‘trending’ if it is being mentioned a lot on twitter. A great feature for finding out what is popular in your city.
- If you are prone to being nicely organised, like me, you can organise lists of people. This is particularly h andy if you follow a lot of people and you need to manage you followers a little. You can make your lists public or private.
- This may seem a little basic, but if you are representing your business be polite and kind, say please and thank you, don’t use foul language. I also use first names where I can, which I think is a nice touch.
- You can made good use of the favourites feature. You can use it to ‘bookmark’ all your favourite tweets, and I also use it when I don’t have time to read the content. The favourites feature allows me to come back to the list later when I have time to read it properly.
Applications – Making life a little easier
You can get a twitter app for almost every mobile platform now. The app is great as it allows you to manage more than one twitter account at a time.
Flipboard is a fun and great looking mobile app that allows you to ‘flip’ though various social media platform news feeds with great ease. Avaialble on the iPhone and iPad. In my opinion this is much easier to use than the Twitter app, although it does have some disadvantages (cannot post to a Facebook business page, alternate between twitter accounts)
Tweetdeck is available as a desktop application and mobile application, now operated by Twitter. I use Tweetdeck to manage all my platforms. At a glance I am able to see who is talking about what, which is a great way to manage your online reputation. The main features are the following: –
- Scheduling updates
- You can use tweetdeck to schedule updates in the future. A great feature but should not be used too often as you still want your updates to appear natural. You could use this to schedule updates when you are particularly busy, or when you need to send out an update at an exact time but you are afraid you might forget. You can also use this feature to repeat updates, e.g. a blog or competition.
- Search Columns
- You can set up an individual column for each search term, making it really easy to manage your searches and filters. I posted a blog about advanced search techniques for tweet deck here – Searching using tweetdeck.
- Multiple social networks in one place
- You can literally see everything; multiple twitter accounts and Facebook business pages, etc. You can also send messages out to multiple place at the one time, which is great. For example, you could send a message to twitter and Facebook at the same time. You can also manage your personal facebook page.
- URL shorten
- Tweetdeck allows you to fit more into your 140 characters by shortening your url’s. Although sometimes you don’t want to do that, and you can stop Tweetdeck from shortening.
There are a lot more applications out there. It would be great to read about your favourite applications and if you have any tips for those trying to get to grips with twitter. Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.