Getting Started with Twitter for Business – Part 1
Social Networking is the biggest thing to happen to business and Twitter is currently making the biggest noise in the social networking world. So you’ve heard about Twitter and want to see if can help your business. Great, but how do you start? How do you make sense of the gibberish? This article gives you the inside track on getting started with Twitter for Business.
Choose a Good Twitter Name
The first step to getting started with Twitter for Business is to choose a good twitter name. Creating an account is as simple as choosing a User Name (sometimes referred to as your Twitter handle or ID) but it is important to choose a memorable name that is descriptive of either you self or your brand. Short names are best, but remember that Twitter names are unique so it’s a good idea to have a couple of options up your sleeve in case your first choice is unavailable. Choose a Twitter name that’s easy to spell (you’ll be surprised how often you’ll tell it to people it in a noisy room)
Your First Tweet
Okay, you’ve got your new account set up and you’re ready to join the Twitterati. But what do you say? Nobody wants to know what you had for breakfast (least of all you), so that’s out. How to be interesting in 140 characters? Well, tip number one is keep it short. Just because you have 140 characters, doesn’t mean you have to use them all. It’s a limit not a target, as my old driving instructor used to say.
Why not take the opportunity to introduce yourself or your brand. Give an indication of your approach or your USP. Remember to keep it light; a positive conversational style works well on Twitter. Read how other people are doing it for a while first, if you like. After you’ve done your first tweet, don’t leave it a week before your second one. Try to give value (why would another person follow you if you only tweet about what you’re doing?).
Next, when getting started with Twitter for Business it’s vital to learn some of the basic terms used so that you can blag it with the best of them and sound like an expert.
- Tweeter = you, me and anyone who uses Twitter (sometimes called ‘Twitterers’ or ‘Tweeters’ – never ‘Twits’ unless you want to lose followers)
- Tweets (or Updates) = the messages that we send out via Twitter
- Retweets =when you see a tweet you like and share it with your followers, this is called a retweet (often shortened to RT)
- Tweetup = a social gathering where groups of people who have met online via Twitter can meet in person
- Followers = the people who have decided to listen to your messages. All your tweets will appear in their stream (on their Twitter home page) except for a few @reply messages (see below)
- Hashtags = a very powerful way to group messages (See Part 2 – Getting Started With Twitter for Business)
- @reply = Useful when you want to address a remark specifically to one person (see below)
Followers and Following
Following people is an important step when getting started with Twitter for Business and afterwards too, but choosing who to follow can be trickier. Begin by locating some people who are in your industry and are also on Twitter. Take a look at their profile (go to http://twitter.com/ and then add their Twitter name e.g. http://twitter.com/inplymouth). Once there, you will be able to see how many people they are following and who is following them. Click on either of these and you will see the full list. Click on a few of their names and you will go to their profiles. The chances are that you will find some good people to follow this way.
Is it good to have lots of followers? In general, most business tweeters want lots of followers. Why? In order to extend the reach of their branding and messaging. It’s important to try and attract followers who are interested in your general ara of business activity but don’t be too restrictive about it. People know people and who knows when a connection could become a customer? Be careful though as there are some fake accounts too – they can usually be spotted if you look at their message streams (their profile pics used to be a dead give-away but it’s less obvious now) so I would advise a preference for quality rather than quantity. Always take a look at what they’ve been tweeting recently to measure what kind of person they are. If most of their messages are about how to get thousands of followers in a few days, it’s a pretty safe bet that they’re a fake account. Don’t click on any of the links they share. In the end it’s always better to have a small audience that has a genuine interest in what you have to offer than a large audience that has no interest in your business. Here are a few interesting accounts to follow:
- @inspirationguy = (me!) a wide mix of inspirational tips and advice on web design, social media, and small business success
- @inplymouth = (us!) the voice of Plymouth online, boosting local people and businesses every day
- @2morrowknight = regarded as the world’s top user of social media for business
- @planetplanitbiz = the online resource for anyone involved in event planning
- @Robert_Craven = business tips from the UK’s dissident marketer. Radical stuff, worth reading
- @kimgarst = shares a wide range of business and social media content and tips
Saying ‘Thank You’
Twitter is a friendly environment and if you find you’ve been retweeted or if you’ve been mentioned in a #followfriday tweet (sometimes shortened to #ff), remember to send a thank you tweet. It doesn’t take long and you’ll be amazed at how much it’s appreciated. Also, if you’re retweeting someone else, remember to attribute them. Be a good netizen!
Getting Started with Twitter for Business – Next Steps
Getting started with Twitter for Business is the beginning of your Twitter experience. Take these first few steps and you will discover a place where you can find interesting people, learn enormous amounts and be motivated to succeed. I have discovered so much via Twitter to inspire me that it has fundamentally altered and improved the way I do business. In the second part of Getting Started with Twitter for Business, I tell you how to retweet, introducing you to hashtags, helping you to understand why 140 characters is good and how to take the next steps to becoming a Twitter power user. Don’t miss it!
If you can’t wait to find out more, get in touch with Design Inspiration for a full intro to Twitter. It’ll probably be the best investment you’ve made in a long time.