Twitter can be confusing, especially if you’ve never used it before. We’re here to help! No matter how comfortable you are with Twitter, you can use these tips and will be a Twitter expert in no time.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a microblogging service, which means that you can post short updates and send messages up to 140 characters. Originally, the character limitation was implemented to make Twitter more compatible with mobile devices. In fact, it remains hugely successful with the mobile audience with 80% of people using Twitter on their phones.
Twitter has a whole language to itself, but here are a few of the more common terms you will come across:
@Twitter Handle: Your username.
Follow: The action users take to subscribe to someone’s updates on Twitter. When you follow a user, you will see all of their updates in your home stream.
Follower: A user who follows your updates.
Tweet: Your status update or message.
Hashtag: Symbolized by # preceding the word or phrase, a hashtag is a way to categorize what a message is about or to make it easier to find by searching for a specific hashtag.
Direct Message (DM): A private message between Twitter users that follow each other
Retweet (RT): Rebroadcasting another user’s tweet to your followers.
Promoted Tweet: Twitter ad.
Anatomy of a Tweet
A tweet can be up to 140 characters, but the ideal length is 100 to 120 characters. When linking to a website or blog post, you want to use a shortened URL, such as a bit.ly.
Twitter does automatically shorten long URLs, but there are benefits to using a URL shortener, such as enhanced tracking. If applicable, you can add a hashtag to your tweet; two to three hashtags at the most will do. When referring to another person or attributing a link, be sure to mention that person by using their Twitter handle as well.
Setting Up a Twitter Account
Setting up a Twitter account for your business is very easy. Go to https://twitter.com/signup and follow their simple instructions. Unlike Facebook, you do NOT need a personal Twitter account to create a business account. You can simply sign right up as your business. Instead of using your Full Name when you sign up, simply use your business name. When they ask you to choose your username, choose an @handle that relates to your business or business name.
Although it’s quite a popular social network, Twitter doesn’t work for every person or every business. Twitter thrives on engagement, back-and-forth tweeting, and instantaneous response. If you don’t think you can keep up, Twitter might not be the platform for you. But, if you want to connect with your audience and drive traffic, you will want to make sure that Twitter is part of your social media strategy.
What Should I Tweet About?
If you’re stumped about what you should be tweeting, here are a few ideas.
Blog Posts: Twitter can be great for driving traffic to your blog. If you are writing content that is fun and relevant to your Twitter followers, you can bet that they will be eager to click on those links.
Other People’s Stuff: Find a blog post you think your audience will love? See a great tweet that someone else posted? Retweet it! It’s a great way to offer value to your audience and to connect with other Twitter users.
Reply: Not only is it important to reply to users who tweet you questions and messages, but you can find other users that have questions about a product or service through search. Just search for terms related to your business. When you find someone who needs recommendations or assistance, connect with them!
Live Tweet at Events: Events are great to use for Twitter content. If you are watching someone speak, you can Tweet brief snippets of their talk and snap pictures to go with it. Many events have their own hashtag which makes it easy for others to follow the conversation and to connect with other event attendees!
Photos: Although not quite as visually focused as some other social media channels, Twitter has been adding features that help to make your photos stand out. Now, when you attach a photo to a tweet, it automatically shows up in your followers’ feeds.
How Do I Get People to Follow Me?
At this point, you are probably wondering how you get others users to follow you. We have three key components that will help you to gain a great Twitter following.
1. Make sure your profile is optimized.
Having a properly set-up and optimized profile is a cornerstone of any social media strategy. On Twitter, you want to make sure that your design looks good, and that you have correctly sized images as your profile, cover and background images.
Your username or @handle should relate to your business and be as short as you can possibly make it, while still being understandable. This way, users will have more characters when they tweet at you. Also, make sure you put your location information and important keywords in your bio so that other users can find you via search.
2. Post regularly and often.
Other Twitter users are more likely to follow you if they know that you post regularly and that they will be able to see your updates. The lifetime of a tweet is around twenty minutes, so if you want other users to be able to see and interact with your updates, make sure you are posting often. Don’t be afraid to re-post previous updates, it’s likely that a whole different segment of your audience will see them.
3. Mention Others and Respond in a Timely Manner
Get other users’ attention by tweeting at them or mentioning them in your updates. Did you find a great article by an industry leader that is perfect to share to your followers? Make sure you mention their @username when you tweet, it’s good practice to give attribution and makes them aware that you are sharing their content.
Also, respond to others who mention you in a timely manner. Twitter moves very quickly and Twitter users generally like a quick response, especially regarding customer service issues.
Twitter Management Tools
Twitter can get crazy, especially once you gain followers and have more interaction.
It can be pretty hard to keep track of it all on the Twitter interface,
so here are two comprehensive Twitter management tools that will make
your life a lot easier.
Hootsuite: Hootsuite is a great social media management tool that can help with most social networks, not just Twitter. It has a free version and a very affordable Pro version that has even more capabilities. Schedule tweets, view different update streams, and view all of your social media in one place. http://www.hootsuite.com
TweetDeck: TweetDeck is similar to Hootsuite, but only manages your Twitter account. You can schedule out Tweets, view different streams such as who has mentioned you, your home stream, your sent tweets and more. TweetDeck is a free service by Twitter. https://about.twitter.com/products/tweetdeck
Become a Twitter Expert
Here are a few ways to take your Twitter expertise to the max:
Jump on Trending Topics
Almost all social media networks have a Trending Topics section where you can click on a topic or hashtag and a stream of updates surrounding the trend will appear. It is very easy to use trending topics to gain visibility. If you see a trend that is relevant to your business, use the hashtag or topic in an update or join in the conversation! For example, if you are in technology or software and there is a big iOS update trending, feel free to share your thoughts. Find other users who are commenting about the trend and reply to them as well.
Just a note: hashtag hijacking is frowned upon on Twitter. Just because #Oprah is trending, that does not mean you can use it to promote your product. For example: “We have a huge blowout sale going on! #Oprah” is not okay.
Join in Twitter Chats
There are a variety of Twitter chats that happen every day. A Twitter chat is when a group of Twitter users have a conversation, usually in Q&A format and led by a designated user, using a specific hashtag. There is a Twitter chat for almost every industry and interest. It is a great way to interact with other users with similar interests, help you gain a following and let you contribute to the Twitter community. For a list of Twitter chats, visit:
Create Twitter Lists
A Twitter list is a curated list of Twitter users, which can be either public or private. When you add a user to a public list, they are notified. This is a great way to gain the attention of others by adding them to a list of “Experts” or “People to Watch.” If other users find your list interesting, they will be able to follow it as well. This can also help you to stay organized by sorting the accounts you follow into different lists.
Use Promoted Tweets
Promoted Tweets are Twitter ads. Promoted tweets work by appearing in the search results when a user searches a targeted word, phrase, or hashtag. You can also target ads to appear in user’s home streams. Through ads.twitter.com, you can also view analytics and performance of all of your tweets, including paid and organic.
Conclusion and Additional Resources
You are now on your way to mastering Twitter marketing for your business! The biggest takeaway from this post should be that Twitter is a great way to connect and engage with your customers and potential customers. Twitter creates a conversation and it is easy to answer questions, solve problems and reach out to those who need your help or could use your product or services. Twitter could become one of your greatest assets.