Don’t you just hate it when someone who knows about Twitter tries to explain it to you and all you want to scream is, “Stop, that’s all very well but I don’t know what a hash tag is!!” Well, no one needs to be patronising but as Julie Andrews said, “Let’s start at the very beginning…”
Twitter is a network where account holders can send Tweets. A Tweet is a short message with a maximum of 140 characters. It can also include photos, videos and links.
Any organisation or individual can set up a Twitter account, just like Facebook and then follow other Twitter accounts. When I say follow, there is no stalking involved; you aren’t at risk of being arrested. It simply means you find other Twitter accounts that interest you and follow. You’ll then begin receiving their Tweets. These Tweets will appear in your Home tab. As an added bonus the Tweeter you are following can send you Direct Messages. (A direct message means they can start a private conversation with you, and it’s not limited to 140 characters either.)
Don’t go crazy and follow everyone and anyone. There’s no need to be so needy. Rather pick the accounts that are relevant to you or your business. Check out key industry organisations or interests and hobbies or people. Find the ones that are “practically perfect in every way”, like Mary.
If you want other people to receive your tweets you’ll have to gain followers yourself. This may involve a bit of thought. Post Tweets that are eye catching and interesting. Including photos in a Tweet is always a good idea. Remember Following on Twitter isn’t mutual. Someone who thinks you’re interesting can follow you, and you don’t have to approve it or follow them back.
But do I really need Twitter?
If you let Twitter into your life you’ll discover the magic lies in easy access to real-time information that matters to you. As you use Twitter you’ll become more familiar with what Tweets you like receiving and this will help you improve your own Tweets.
From a business perspective Twitter is a powerful tool for engaging with your customer proactively and building your brand.
And as Mary Poppins said, ‘‘There’s the whole world at your feet”.
Useful tools on Twitter
Retweet – A Retweet is where you choose to take a Tweet from someone else and Tweet it to your own followers. You can either do this directly with the Retweet button or you can use the Quote Tweet button to add your own message to the original Tweet. This is often used to pass along news or other valuable discoveries on Twitter. Retweets always retain original attribution.
Hashtag – A hashtag is any word, or phrase without spaces, beginning with the # symbol. People use hashtags to organize conversations and make it easier to find all content related to a given topic. Click on a hashtag to go directly to the search results for that term.
- Most tweets will contain 2 hashtags as a maximum.
- Images have a huge positive affected on the appeal of tweets and should be used in least every second or third tweet.
- Writers will be referenced if an article is included. This can greatly increase your reach and retweets.
- If any have retweeted then ‘favorite the tweet’ can be clicked and a direct message of thanks sent.
Click ‘reply’ to respond to a Tweet. Replying to a Tweet is a nice way to build relationships with your followers and join in conversations.
Excuse the US spelling, but ‘Favorite a Tweet’ is a great way of acknowledging or showing your appreciation for a Tweet. It can also be useful to use as a bookmarking tool if you want to easily find a Tweet again.
Bring a Tweet to another person’s attention by including their @username in your message. You could use it to ask someone a question, to thank them or simply to highlight Its important to note that whenever you include any of these things they will be counted as a link and automatically take up to 22 characters.
And that’s Twitter in a nutshell. As Mary Poppins says, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and – SNAP – the job’s a game.” Have fun!