Internet Marketing Weekly Feature: The Basics of Twitter for Business

Twitter for your businessWhat’s Twitter?

Twitter is an information network made up of 140-character messages called Tweets. It’s an easy way to discover the latest news (“what’s happening”) related to subjects you care about.

At the core of Twitter are small bursts of information called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters in length, —you can share a lot with a little space. Connected to each Tweet is a rich details pane that provides additional information, deeper context and embedded media. You can tell your story within your Tweet, or you can think of a Tweet as the headline, and use the details pane to tell the rest with photos, videos and other media content.

How is it Useful?

Twitter contains information you will find valuable. Messages from users you choose to follow will show up on your Twitter homepage for you to read. It’s like being delivered a newspaper whose headlines you’ll always find interesting – you can discover news as it’s happening, learn more about topics that are important to you, and get the inside scoop in real time.

How to Start Using Twitter:

Reading Tweets and discovering new information whenever you check in on your Twitter timeline is where you’ll find the most value on Twitter.

1. Find and follow others
Begin by finding and following other interesting Twitter accounts. Look for businesses you love, people you know, or news sources you read. Tip: One great way to find more interesting accounts is see who those you admire are following.

2. Build a Voice: retweet, reply, react
Use existing information (other people’s Tweets) on Twitter to find your own voice and show others what you care about. Retweet messages you’ve found and love, or reply with your reaction to a Tweet you find interesting. Tip: If you’re a new user, others are more likely to find your messages if they are retweets or replies.

3. Mention: include others in your content
Once you’re ready to begin writing your own messages, consider mentioning other users by their Twitter username (preceded by the @ sign) in your Tweets. This can help you think of what to write, will draw more eyes to your message, and can even start a new conversation.

4. Pay attention to what’s happening
Messages from others you follow will show up in a readable stream on your Twitter homepage timeline. Once you’ve followed a few people, you’ll have a new page of information to read each time you log in. Click links in others’ Tweets to view: images and videos they have posted, the profiles of users mentioned in their message, or Tweets related to a hashtag (#) keyword they used.

5. Connect your mobile
One of the best things about Twitter is that it’s portable. Connect your account to your mobile phone or download a Twitter application to begin reading Tweets on the go. You can get updates about traffic problems if the weather turns bad, or catch up on the buzz about an event you’re about to attend.  Tip: Using Twitter via SMS allows you to pick and choose which updates you want from those you follow, so you can get mobile updates from the accounts that matter most to your life.

6. Advanced: explore extra features
As you become more engaged on Twitter, others will begin to find and follow you. Once you’re familiar with Twitter basics, consider exploring the site’s more advanced features: listsdirect messages, and favorites. Learn how to include images or videos in your Tweets, or consider connecting your Twitter account to your your blogFacebook, or website to display your updates across the web. Tip: The best way to gain followers on Twitter is to regularly engage and contribute in a meaningful way.

 What can Twitter do for your business?

As a business, you can use Twitter to quickly share information, gather market intelligence and insights, and build relationships with people who care about your business. Perhaps there is already a conversation about your business happening on Twitter.
Twitter connects businesses to customers in real-time. Businesses use Twitter to quickly share information with people interested in their products and services, gather real-time market intelligence and feedback, and build relationships with customers, partners and influential people. From brand lift, to CRM, to direct sales, Twitter offers businesses a chance to reach an engaged audience.

Build your following, reputation, and guest’s trust with these simple practices:

1. Share: Share photos and behind the scenes info about your business. Even better, give a glimpse of developing projects and events. Users come to Twitter to get and share the latest, so give it to them!
2. Listen: Regularly monitor the comments about your company, brand, and products.
3. Ask: Ask questions of your followers to glean valuable insights and show that you are listening.
4. Respond: Respond to compliments and feedback in real time.
5. Reward: Tweet updates about special offers, discounts and time-sensitive deals.
6. Demonstrate wider know-how: Reference articles and links about the bigger picture as it relates to your business.
7. Champion your supporters: Retweet and reply publicly to great tweets posted by your followers and guests.
8. Establish your voice: Twitter users tend to prefer a direct, genuine, and of course, a likable tone from your business, but think about your voice as you Tweet. How do you want your business to appear to the Twitter community?

Glossary of Twitter Terms

Twitter users have developed short-form syntax to make the most of 140 characters. Here are the fundamentals.
Mention: Once you’ve signed up and chosen a Twitter username, you and others can mention an account in your Tweets by preceding it with the @ symbol, eg: “Glad your confirmation arrived @guestjanesmith!”
Retweet: When you see a Tweet by another user that you want to share, click Retweet below it to forward it to your followers instantly.
Message: If you want to privately Tweet to a particular user who’s already following you, start your Tweet with DM or D to direct-message them, eg: “DM @guestmith123 what is your arrival date?”
Hashtag: Users often prepend # to words in their Tweets to categorize them for others eg: “Check out our new breakfast goodies for the #breakfastitems” Think of hashtags as the theme of your Tweet. Users can then click on a hashtag to see other similarly-themed tweets and find yours in search.

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