All too often, businesses start using Twitter without knowing their goals and see themselves unable to source the correct amount of time to support their workflow. Giving direction to your tweets will see you become more productive and accumulate a larger following.
That is key. There is quite a big difference between the professionals and the time-wasters when it comes to how each one perceives Twitter. If you think the online application is just a running tap that is losing you money by the second then read no further. Not only are you wrong but you’re already falling into the trap.
In this article we will look at the basics of how to use Twitter and create a plan that will see you succeed among the fast growing number of tweeters out there.
Twitter: Where to start?
1. Set up your account.
Go to Twitter to get started. Enter your name, email, and a password. Click Sign up.
You will now be taken to a second screen where can select a username. This is the name by which you will be known on Twitter.
What name should you use?
If you’re using Twitter for business you should always try to match your brand. If your business was called Suits for Sale, the username you should use is @suitsforsale. It wouldn’t be @Twilight_Fan112 and definitely not @5txc_Ujt (that’s just crazy!)
Now click on the Create my account button. Congratulations, you have now joined the Twitter community!
2. Your settings
From the user bar situated on the top of your Twitter page you can click the avatar which will bring up a list of options. Click “settings” to go your options page.
Do not check “Protect my updates” unless you want to lock the doors, windows and cash register of your shop. This option will keep all of your tweets invisible to other user unless they are following you. This will vastly stunt the growth of your followers and make your business less visible.
Go to the Profile tab and upload your image. This requires a little bit of thinking, you need to decide whether you want your image to represent you or your business. If you are a sole-trader and sell handmade crafts then your personality will want to come through with your tweets. In this case you may want to add an image of yourself. On the other hand if your business is large and offers professional services then you should opt for your logo.
Now, enter the rest of your information including your location, website and bio. The bio is limited to 160 characters so keep it short and to the point. You should summarise your business and services here but remember that is will be the first thing someone will see. Keep it clean and inviting.
You will also have the option to link your Twitter feed to Facebook. I recommend you not to do this as you use things like hashtags and mentions in Twitter that just look ugly on Facebook. There is also the fact that all your conversations will be posted to Facebook too which may look like spam to the average user. I would recommend this if you only use Twitter to update customers such as the status of a server for a hosting business.
When you are finished, click the Save button.
3. Followers and Following
First of all, add businesses that you already work with and individuals that are associated with your business by clicking the “search” field that is situated at the top of the page. You can either type in the users “handle” or full name. Once you have submitted your search term a list of relevant tweets and users will be displayed.
You can also do a more advanced search (e.g., searching by location) by clicking on “Refine results” or by going directly to the Advanced Search page.
You can begin “following” them by simply clicking on the Follow button near their profile. When you have Followed a user their name will appear under the Following section of your profile page. Most businesses/individuals will Follow back if you are relevant or appear interesting to them.
To gain more Followers you need to actively tweet about interesting topics that both relate to your Followers and your business. If someone likes your tweet they will click the Retweet button, that tweet will then be displayed on their feed so that more users will see your post. The more users viewing your posts the more chance you have of been Followed.
4. Learn the Lingo
When thinking about Twitter it is best to imagine you are in a room full of people. The people in your room or your “Followers” can hear everyone what everyone is saying and it appears as a feed running down your homepage. Keeping that in mind here are a few common terms to help you navigate Twitter:
- Hash tags (#) is a way to pick out keywords in your tweet that will a) Tell people what your tweet is about and b) allow your tweet to be searchable for that word. To search for a hash tag just type # followed by your word i.e. #sunbathing – Hash tags can be used to promote business events, special offers and your products.
Someone might tweet:
Hello everyone, we are new to Twitter but can’t wait to get started! Follow us for great deals on #laptops
- Mentions. If you want to directly communicate with a single person but still want your tweet to be seen by other then you can mention them using the (@) symbol. To mention someone in your tweet so that they are notified type @ followed by their username.
Had a great meeting with @DevonRPage will be bringing out a new range of clothes soon.
- Direct Message. This is for when you want to talk to a business/individual but don’t want the whole of Twitter to know about it. To do this you need to go to that persons’ profile and click the avatar that is to the right of the Follow button. You will then be given a list of options, click “Send a direct Message”.
Part One Twitter: Where to start?