The purpose of this post, like others by WEBS4SEO, is to help answer common questions asked by some of our Customers. We write posts to help eager Business Owners who have a gap in their knowledge.
This article will help those who have heard of Twitter, but don’t understand what it is, how to use it and more importantly, how to utilise it to open new business opportunities.
Read on, understand the basics and allow us to get you started on your way to using this simple, effective and sociable marketing tool for business.
Twitter – One of the many Social Media sites
Unlike other Social Networks, Twitter is all about short posts (or Tweets as they are called). These ‘tweets’ are only 140 characters long. Think of it like texting someone on your mobile phone, but a tweet has a lot more power than a standard text.
The constructs of a Tweet
Your tweet is a message with 140 characters (including spaces) which can be about anything you wish.
When you start tweeting you need to be creative to make the best use of the small 140 character limit.
You can include the following with your tweets:
- Links to Websites
- GIF Animations
- Mentions (with the @username)
- Useful Information
- Marketing / Promotional Updates
- Points of View
Let us delve deeper into this and understand the format, constraints and protocols to turn you into a confident Twitter user.
Sending a Tweet
The screen shot below is taken from my own profile. The arrow shows the button which lets me create my Tweet.
An example of a Tweet
Decided to learn more about Twitter and this is my first post. Thanks @websltd
Understanding the Tweet
You might wonder, where does it go? Who see’s it? …
Let me explain
If you sent out the Tweet above, it would be seen by your followers in their stream, alongside tweets from others they follow.
As you mentioned @websltd in the Tweet, this would inform me (@websltd in this example) that you had tweeted and mentioned me in it.
Why might you @mention someone?
Twitter is all about being helpful. Tweeting a message and mentioning someone with the @ is a way to let them know about your tweet. Think of it like a nod to that person.
Example of a real life situation
A customer of WEBS4SEO.co.uk was unable to contact us by phone a few months ago, because the phone lines were down in the office (unbeknown to us at the time). Our customer chose to tweet us to ask if we knew.
They tweeted this:
@websltd tried to call you but it seems your phones lines are down. are you aware?
Their tweet notified me, due to the @mention (the @websltd in their tweet) and I was able to investigate the problem, rectify it and interact with our client by responding to their tweet on Twitter.
What is this #HashTag thing?
This is the cool part of Twitter. It allows tweets to be grouped by topic.
Let’s look at another Tweet example below to give you an idea of how to use it and what it does.
@websltd Your tutorial got me started. #FeelingSmart #SEO
Understanding the Tweet
The example tweet above does 5 different things as follows:
- Displays the tweet on your profile timeline
- Displays the tweet to all those who follow you
- Notifies @websltd that they have been mentioned in a tweet
- Displays the tweet in the hashtag timeline #FeelingSmart
- Displays the tweet in the hashtag timeline #SEO
When the tweet is posted, the #HashTags you have included in the tweet become clickable. This allows the reader of your tweet to click it and access other tweets, by other users, who have used the same Hashtag as yours.
The screen shot above shows what a user would see if they clicked the HashTag #SEO
Tweets are grouped by #HashTag
You can include one, or multiple HashTags in each of your tweets. Some people can go overboard, in my opinion, but nevertheless it’s possible and perfectly acceptable.
Getting used to Twitter now. It’s actually quite good. #TwitterNovice #Technofobe #ITheadaches
Understanding the Tweet
This time, there is NO @mention in the tweet but there are three HashTags. This means that your tweet will appear alongside others who tweet using the same Hashtag as you. It’s handy, as this potentially exposes you to people searching for information by HashTag in Twitter.
Clarifying where this tweet would appear
The example above would appear:
- On your profiles timeline
- On the home stream of those who Follow You
- On the timeline stream of the hashtag #TwitterNovice
- On the timeline stream of the hashtag #Technofobe
- On the timeline stream of the hashtag #ITheadaches
Still with me?
In simple terms, the more HashTags you use (ensuring they are relevant and popular) the wider the potential audience. Monitoring and interacting with popular hashtags can be hugely beneficial.
How do users interact with my tweets and why?
Those who follow your Twitter account are called Followers and they can:
- ReTweet your Tweet (resubmits your tweet to their followers)
- Reply to your Tweet (interact with you and comment on your tweet)
- Quote your Tweet (retweet to their followers with their own comment assigned to it)
- Like your Tweet (adds the tweet to your profile page liked tweets area)
Trending HashTags / Popular HashTags
You must have heard the term ‘Trending’. This basically means a HashTag is being used by a large amount of people and is currently ‘Trending’ on Twitter.
Look at the image below for an example of what was trending when I took the screen shot.
Basically, ‘Trending’ is a term associated with a topical subject of the moment.
You can find out a bit more on this subject on Twitters support page here.
If you are interested in one of the currently trending #HashTags, you can involve yourself in the conversation by tweeting something with a Trending #HashTag, or reply to a tweet within the live stream.
Remember, it’s called Social Media for a reason
Get involved. Tweet, Reply and ReTweet using popular HashTags to involve yourself in the topic being discussed. Interact with people and try to engage. It’s your opportunity to be heard.
You can post text, images, links and videos as required, to get yourself noticed.
Respond to other Tweets in a #HashTag / Trending Topic
If you read a Tweet and want to reply, click the small curved arrow icon and make your comment.
The reply you make will:
- Add your comment to the original tweet as a reply, visible by others
- Notify the original tweet author you have interacted with their tweet
- Display your reply to the original tweet on your own timeline
This is how conversations begin, as others can see your reply and choose to add their own comment to it.
Difference between Retweets and Likes
When you Retweet, it shares that users tweet with those who follow you.
When you like a tweet, it adds it to your ‘Liked Post’ grouping in your profile. Users who visit your profile look at the tweets you have liked.
Some people use the Like feature to give virtual ‘Thumbs Up’ where as others, selectively Like Posts to make up a relevant information resource for their own profile page. This might be for your benefit, or your followers.
Rarely will Social Media bring you overnight success
It takes time and effort but if you persist, interact and help fellow twitter users by providing useful, engaging information and interact with the community, it can build new contacts and potential business opportunities.
Automation and Accelerated Growth
There are ways to boost the growth of followers via automated tools. Sometimes, this can be good (if done carefully) but remember this, if you wish to utilise Twitter (or any other Social Network) for business purposes, it is more important to be concerned by quality and not quantity.
Concentrate on building followers who are interested what you have to offer, rather than focussing on building thousands of followers with little or no interest in what you do.
Following and Following Back
When it comes to who you follow, my advise is to follow those you are interested in. This may be customers, suppliers, industry leaders or Twitter users who offer something of interest to both you and your customer base.
When another Twitter user decides to follow you, it’s generally considered polite to ‘follow them back’. I screen all my followers and decide if they are relevant to my business and worthy of a follow.
Keep clear of controversial subject matters. If you are planning to use Twitter for business, my advise is to keep business and pleasure completely seperate. Take time to understand how Twitter works and involve yourself in a way which marks you out as a leader in your field.
That’s all folks …
I could go on. This could be an extensive post which delves into far greater detail, but where is the fun in that for you? I have explained the basics and it should be enough to give you the confidence to give Twitter a go.
WEBS4SEO.co.uk – Helping Smaller Business Owners Understand the Basics
My aim to is to drive awareness and help small business owners make the best possible use of the internet and its fantastic range of tools. If you need help, get in touch. Send me an email here or phone me on 0800 756 9975.