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Twitter: The Basics

Participating Solution Provider

Twitter: The Basics

twitter.jpgTwitter can seem like a difficult social media platform to understand. I tend to liken it to a ticker-tape – an on-going stream of consciousness. It is text-based and linear, making it difficult to follow any one conversation until you get your head around how it works. However, once you do get your head into it, you’ll find that it can be a powerful platform for connecting and engaging with others.

Here's a quick cheat sheet of some of the basics for using Twitter. This isn't everything, but it's a good place to start:

TERMINOLOGY:

Tweet: Any post in Twitter

Retweet: Sharing someone else’s tweet. Many online systems offer a retweet button but another way to do this is to just add RT at the beginning of your post.

Handle: A user name, designated by @. Examples: @The_CommCoach @ConstantContact

Hashtag: When you put a hashtag (#) in front of a word, you designate it as a “keyword.” This hashtag then associates your tweet with other tweets that also use that hashtag. Click on any hashtag and you'll get a new page with a list of other posts that use that same hashtag.  Example: #coaching #getcoaching #masswomen (note: no spaces!)

Twittersphere: The Twitter universe (Probably not a key term to know, but one of my favorites!)

 

HOW TO USE TWITTER FOR YOUR BUSINESS

  • Tweet regularly to keep your profile busy and build an audience.
  • Share content that will serve your audience. Talk about your industry and address frequently asked questions, in addition to talking about the services and products you provide.
  • Retweet content that others share. It's a compliment to them and a way to serve your audience without having to generate your own content every time.
  • Mark as "favorites" any posts you especially like. Though this doesn't share the post the way retweeting does, it will tell the original poster that you liked their tweet and it will also save it under your list of favorites to easily find at a later time. (To mark a tweet as a "favorite" click on the little star immediately below the tweet.)
  • Use 2 - 3 Hashtags to highlight the keywords that you want others to notice. This also connects your tweet to others that use the same hashtags. If someone does a search on a hashtag you used, your tweet will come up in that search. 
  • Start a tweet with a user's handle to engage with them directly. The only people that will see a post that begins with a handle are that person, you, and anyone who follows both of you.

When you are ready for more, here's a list of Twitter Best Practices. Also be sure to monitor Twitter and observe how others use it. You'll gather some great insight about what to do and what not to do simply by watching!

 

Suzan Czajkowski
TheCommCoach
http://TheCommCoach.com

Find me on Twitter: @The_CommCoach
2 REPLIES 2
Participating Solution Provider

Re: Twitter: The Basics

Nice tips, and super easy to follow! To add one: A question we receive often from our clients who are new to Twitter is about the "." before @ mentions. While a conversational tweet beginning with a user's handle will only be shared with those who follow both accounts, you can always add a period before the @ to make sure the mention is seen by all of your followers!

I live and breathe small business marketing. Ask me about social media or digital reputation management over lunch, and we'll be there until dinner. Aside from consulting and educating business owners, my passions are martial arts, cooking, office supply collecting, and volunteering. Outside of my own community, I serve as Marketing Director for the 03XX Foundation - an organization serving Marine Corps Infantrymen and Corpsmen.
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Participating Solution Provider

Re: Twitter: The Basics

Yes, that feature can confuse people at first! Thank you for bringing it up. Another sybol that I've seen before the handle (@name) is the exclamation point ("!"), which is an interesting choice because it can bring just a little bit more attention. I'd recommend using that one sparingly, though. the period (".") is definitely the way to go!

Suzan Czajkowski
TheCommCoach
http://TheCommCoach.com

Find me on Twitter: @The_CommCoach