This is a guest blog from Kate Warr over at Kew Marketing. She’s a social media expert. Here she reveals the basics of the world of Twitter…
So what is this thing called Twitter? It’s an online social networking site – allowing people, and businesses to share views, news, stories and all sorts of other weird and wonderful things. It’s a bit like Facebook, but more open in conversation – and it’s public to everyone.
Some see it as a bare-all chat about what you’ve had for tea kind of thing, but switched on businesses don’t. If used correctly, it can help promote your brand, raise awareness of a product and, increasingly these days, deal with customer service.
It’s not about investing hours a day into your Twitter account, but it’s about recognising another easy (and free) way of engaging with your potential customers.
Before diving into the Twittersphere and setting up an account (www.twitter.com), here are a few things that you should familiarise yourself with…
- Twitter Handle – this is what your name is on Twitter (also known as your username)
- Tweet – this is how you post your news – but think carefully, it can only be 140 characters; however, you can post links, videos, photos as well. Tweets are also known as ‘updates’
- Follower – people can ‘subscribe’ to view your tweets and likewise you can follow others. When you follow someone, their tweets will show up on your homepage
- @Reply – you can reply to other’s tweets, it will show up as a conversation – but remember, it’s public so everyone can see
- Direct message – although Twitter is a public network, you can send people a message to their Twitter inbox which only they can see
- Twitter Stream – this is what is shown on your profile – a stream of all the updates (in time order) that you have posted. This is what others see when they look at your Twitter page.
- Retweet (RT) – you can retweet other people’s tweets if you want your own followers to see them. It’s a good way to share information, and if you can get your tweets retweeted, your tweet will be seen by the other person’s followers – lets hope they have 1,000’s of followers for maximum exposure!
- Hashtag (#) – adding a # before a word, for example the Olympics created #100DaysToGo, means that when people search, all related tweets containing this will appear. You might want to start using a # before your business name, or a topic that you want to start ‘trending’.
- Trending – you’ve probably heard people say ‘Mr B was trending on Twitter this morning’ – this means that lots of people are referring to Mr B in their tweets and could be using #MrB . Tweets get picked up by Twitter HQ and put into the ‘trending’ page which you can view on your Twitter account.
- Tweet-up – an event when tweeters actually meet up (face to face) and network (mainly in a pub!)
And if you are unsure if Twitter is for you: in September 2011 there were 100 million active users, and 33 billion tweets sent each day. It’s not the only way to promote your business, but can you afford to not join in?