Twitter, a popular social network, has moved into the mainstream. People are using Twitter everywhere, from schools and libraries, to home and work. Have you jumped on the bandwagon? If not, you are missing a powerful opportunity to establish your brand and grow your customer base.
Twitter is a free service that will not cost you a cent. But the return on your investment is priceless. The Internet providers in my area use Twitter to gain followers and turn them into customers. Thoughtful and timely tweets can do the same for your business.
A “tweet” is the informal term for a Twitter post. You can tweet about anything or nothing, in short bursts of 140 characters or less. Like other social media, Twitter lets you share, friend, and follow as many message feeds as you like. Unlike other networks, Twitter is public; everyone can view your feeds, so you reach a much wider audience.
How Do I Sign Up?
To start using Twitter, register for an account. An online help guide walks you through the process and answers your questions. A Twitter account gets you a home page and a profile page, which you can customize to build your brand. From there, you can read comments, post messages, and find other streams to follow.
Basic Twitter Concepts
For a better grasp of Twitter, you need to learn a few basic concepts and functions. Your “handle” is your twitter name, and your messages are called “tweets.” “Follow” is the act of adding other users to your contacts list so their tweets appear on your homepage. A “reply” is a message directed to a particular handle, while a “retweet” republishes another user’s post. A “direct message” is a private message. “Hash tags” categorize terms to enable access to related tweets.
Why Use Twitter?
Why use Twitter, or any social networking service? They can seem like a big waste of time. While Twitter does require a commitment, it is worth the time if it helps you achieve your goals. Before you dive in, identify your objectives to determine if Twitter is right for you. As mentioned, the Internet providers in my area use Twitter to build a customer base. You can use it to network with colleagues, connect with customers, build a brand, or market products and services.
Who to Follow, And What to Say
For Twitter to be effective, you must follow other users and they must follow back. But aggressive following can be counterproductive. In Twitter world, quality rules over quantity. Start with your current contacts, then search for people you know on Twitter. Then seek out people with a clear and focused interest. Twellow, Twitterpacks, and other online tools are a good way to find people who share your interests.
What can you say on Twitter? Revisit your goals and objectives. You can share information, promote an idea or product, retweet other posts, or pose questions for feedback. Stay active on the site and mix up your content.
Getting More From Twitter
Monitoring your brand is an underutilized Twitter objective. Online tools can help you track what is being said about your business — or anything else, for that matter. Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Twitter Search are good tools to consider.
To reach more people, tweet content at different times of the day. Engage your followers with questions, replies, and retweets. Make yourself easy to retweet and follow, by tweeting abbreviated posts and including your Twitter handle on websites, email, business cards, and stationery.
Twitter also has a very useful list feature that lets you monitor groups of people and niche industries. They are great for promoting customers or suppliers. Lists allow you to gain exposure and build a following. And list management is easy with a one-button follow function.
There you have it — the basic Twitter concepts. Of course, Twitter lets you do more great things, too. And other tools help you get more out of Twitter. But the basics are all you need to start using this powerful business tool.
I’m Ruben Corbo and I would like to thank TweeParties for allowing me to guest post. I’m a freelancer writer for a lot of websites including Maxymiser and Broadband Expert where you can find high speed internet providers in my area(as well as others of course). When I’m not writing, I’m composing/producing music for short films or other forms of visual arts.