#Twitter: A quick guide

Following our recent discussion on Linkedin (which can be found here) about your thoughts on Social Media communities, this blog is dedicated to the wonderful world of Twitter!

With a large proportion of people preferring to use Facebook and YouTube, it seems that Twitter has been left in the dark due to users feeling less confident with using this platform and wondering how they can use it for business and/or personal use.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online social network and micro-blogging service, enabling users to send real-time ‘tweets’ to one another, which can only be 140 characters long – so you have to keep the messages short and snappy!

Unregistered users can read anyone’s tweets as long as they haven’t set their profile to private, and registered users can send tweets via a computer, tablet device or mobile phone.

What do I tweet about?

We found this great quote that pretty much sums up the value of using Twitter and what you should be tweeting:

‘Twitter becomes more beneficial to you, when you give value to others.’

Basically, the more you put in, the more you get out, as with anything we do in life. This may be information, advice or entertainment; it’s 100% up to you and what you decide you want to communicate.

Although Twitter is a fairly playful and casual social networking site, you should always keep in mind your objectives for sending tweets and the content you are putting out there. When you first set up your Twitter account, you might decide that you want to tweet about a specific topic, for instance exercise and the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle; therefore all tweets should keep this original objective in mind to increase your Twitter following.

Top Ten Twitter Tips

1)       Set up your profile (Settings > Edit Profile): Create a simple and succinct bio that describes you and what you do. You could even include a link to your blog or website here. Additionally you’ll need to upload an image of you or your business with your objectives in mind. Differentiate yourself from the millions of Twitter users.

2)       Follow, follow, follow: Once your profile is set up, start following people with similar interests, motives, topical tweets. Following similar ‘tweeters’ will make it easier for you to build up your social community.

3)       Start a conversation: Go ahead and tweet, ask questions; anything related to your business and/or key topics. Respond to many of the queries that you’ll find people tweeting about and ‘re-tweet’ other people’s comments.

4)        Don’t SPAM: The Twitter news feed moves quite rapidly in real-time, however it could be seen as spamming if you send many Tweets all in one go. Remember to keep your tweets relevant and timed to ensure you don’t annoy other users with constant tweeting – they may un-follow you!

5)       Share tips related to your business and work-life balance

6)       Link to useful articles: Simply copy and paste the URL (Twitter will automatically shorten it for you) and include a brief summary of why it’s valuable to your followers.

7)       Refer other people and they will refer you back!

8)       Share your Twitter ID: Publish it on other websites (Facebook, your blog and Linkedin etc), maybe on business cards and your email signature.

9)       Make those 140 characters count! 140 characters isn’t a lot; keep it simple – use keywords and hashtags.

10)   Be real: Be authentic and be yourself. It’s a digital platform, but meaningful relationships can still be created from here as a fantastic starting point!

What is the hashtag used for in tweets? (#)

Often people don’t use hashtags because they’re not entirely sure what they should be using them for.

Put simply, it’s a (‘#’) symbol, followed by the topic you’re discussing. This is so that other users can easily search for that term to find the conversations related to it. If a topic (with the hashtag attached) is discussed regularly by many people, then it will appear in the trending topics section.

If you want to create a new hashtag that you’d like others to start using when they discuss your topic, create a short tweet explaining what it is and what you’re using it for. For example we created a hashtag for the March Launch Events 2012 – #NikkenLaunches2012 for any tweets we sent relating to the launches. Using hashtags is a conversation organisation tool.

Twilert is a good website for setting up Twitter search terms, that can be sent straight to your inbox whenever you would like them to (a bit like Google alerts), keeping you on top of the latest information related to that search term.

There are many useful resources on the internet about using Twitter for various purposes, we like Mashable’s Twitter Guide book, particularly chapter 3 ‘Twitter for Business’. Take a look here.

Want to know more about Social Media?

Please let us know if there are any Social Media topics you’d like us to cover in our blog and we’d be more than happy to provide some tips and advice on how to use it for your business.

Follow us and our tweets @NikkenEurope

Happy Tweeting!