How to Use Twitter Successfully
Twitter tends to be one of those social media platforms that isn’t quite as easy for some people to grasp. After reading this, however, you will have a better understanding of Twitter and you may even be more interested in using it!
“They say Twitter is like a river, ever-changing as it flows, and a Tweeter’s just a vessel that must follow where it goes….”
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a free online networking tool that allows users to connect and post status updates that are 140 characters or less. Users can follow each other and share pieces of their daily lives.
Here are some of the terms used in Twitter defined for you:
- Tweet – a status post. Must be 140 characters or less. The ‘shelf life’ of a tweet is very brief, so feel free to do it throughout your day.
- TwitterStream – For those of you familiar with Facebook, this is like your newsfeed. For those of you who are not, this is a stream of tweets from every user you have decided to follow displays on your home page.
- Follower – Someone who has opted to see your tweets on their homepage.
- @reply – Use the “@” symbol at the beginning of your message to reply to someone’s tweet. The only people that will see this are the people that follow both of you.
- Direct Message – A private (direct) tweet. Direct tweets do not appear in the public tweetstream. You can only send a Direct Message to someone that follows you.
- Retweet – See something you like in the stream? Simply retweet using the retweet button or “RT.” Similar to sharing a post on Facebook or forwarding an email. Retweets will give the original tweeter credit by including a link to their profile.
- Mentions – Using the “@” symbol anywhere but the beginning of a tweet will allow everyone who follows you to see this message. This is like including a link to that person’s profile.
- #, or “hashtag”: Including a hashtag will group your tweets by keyword. Hashtags are great for events, discussions, important topics, and groups. These also make it easy to search for a certain topic.
- Favorite – A tweet you have bookmarked by clicking the star. Others can see your list of favorites as well.
- Trending – Current topics that are being talked about the most.
Great, so now I kinda get it a little more… but how is this relevant to my business?
Twitter is another platform that you can use to connect with your customers/clients, increase your brand awareness, position yourself as an expert in your field and open the lines of communication.
Where to begin:
- Define your goals. Are you on Twitter to sell products, increase awareness, position yourself as a leader, and/or provide a feedback channel? Lots of larger organizations are very successfully using Twitter as a customer service channel. No more online forms to fill out or waiting on hold for ages. Simply send them a tweet and you will be taken care of immediately.
- Get a feel for what people are saying and how they are interacting. Do a search of your company, your industry, your products, or your town. Spend some time listening and observing.
- Don’t just push your ad messages. Be real, personable, and genuine. This is not a just another place to get free advertising. It is a place to connect with customers when they aren’t in front of you face to face.
- You don’t need to go follow everyone that comes across your screen. Find the influencers in your industry/location/interest group and join the conversation. @reply to people and more often than not they will follow you.
- Just dive in! Give it a shot. Then evaluate, compare your results against your goals and go from there.
I hope this was helpful and as always, if you have any additional questions along the way, just let me know.
~Amy Alcorn, Marketing Director at Aspen Grove Marketing