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Twitter 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:
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
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!
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!
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!