Getting Started with Twitter for Business – Part 2
Everyone’s talking about Twitter but how can it help you do business? This is Part 2 of Ash Mashhadi’s guide to getting started with Twitter for Business and in it we learn four key principles. Read part 1 here.
Tweets and Retweets
There’s little more satisfying than thinking other people appreciate what you have to say. Having it confirmed is even better. I often read a tweet and think ‘I wish I’d said that’. The good news is that you can legitimately repeat it to your followers by retweeting it. When you RT someone’s message it sends a signal of respect to the original tweeter and gives your followers something of value. Value is the key word here. Every tweet you send or share must have something of value to your followers and potential customers. It must reward them for giveing up their valuable time and attention to read it. If all you share is of low value, then so are you. Business Twitter is not about making yourself feel good. It’s about showing respect by giving value to your followers.
Saying ‘Thank You’
I know I said this in Part 1, but it’s so important, I’m including it again here: Twitter is a friendly environment and if you find you’ve been retweeted or named in a #followfriday tweet, remember to send a thank you tweet. Consistently displaying appreciation (as well as good manners) sets you apart from the thousands of people who can’t be bothered to show this simple courtesy.
Hashtags are a great, simple way to group tweets together. This can be for a multitude of reasons such as communicating with other members of your online community or other members of a social movement. It can be used to share tweets with people who share your political viewpoint or your musical tastes. The scope for using hashtags when you’re getting started with Twitter for Business is unlimited: it’s up to you how you use them. There are many to choose from but as a beginner you should remember at least this key hashtag which is only used on Fridays:
#ff (or #followfriday)
This is used to recommend other tweeters who you think are worth following. It tells the rest of us that you value these people enough to share them with your friends. If you want to use the #ff hashtag, the simplest way is by sending a tweet like this:
substituting the name with whoever you like. You can even string a number of recommendations into one tweet, thus:
‘#ff @inplymouth @inspirationguy @planetplanitbiz’
Although some people prefer to send them out one at a time, it’s really up to you.
140 Characters is Good but 120 is Even Better
Many people bemoan the lack of space available in a twitter message but I love it. Here’s why. In business, clarity is essential. There is nothing more frustrating than listening to someone waffling on for hours without ever getting to the real point. Being restricted to 140 characters or less is a great discipline. It forces you to be concise and address the issue. Learn to make every syllable count. Now, here’s another key point: whilst being restricted to 140 characters is good, if you want to make it easy for others to retweet you, keep it to under 120 characters. In fact, research has shown that keeping your tweet to less than 100 characters makes it seven times more likely to be retweeted, so keep it brief.
So now you know enough to get started, you’ll pretty quickly want to do a few things to stand out from the crowd. The foremost among these is to be interesting, but you should also move quickly on to complete your profile details by adding the URL of your website, uploading a profile picture (this can be a photo of you, or a combination of both you and your logo), your location, a bio (a brief description of what you do) and a customised background to really make you stand out. If you need help with any of these, contact Design Inspiration who have an enormous amount of experience in this area.
Remember: getting started with Twitter for Business is where you begin. Power Users will want to start users software to manage their tweets. I recommend Tweetdeck because I love it’s easy interface and wealth of tools to track mentions of you and make retweeting, manage multiple accounts and Direct Messaging easy, but plenty of others are available such as Hootsuite.
Keep this crib sheet handy as you join the Twitterati and you’ll be a power user in no time at all. If that’s what you want. You may be content to just use Twitter occasionally and that’s fine too, but remember that Twitter is essentially a social environment. If you want people to listen to what your business has to offer, then you need to take part in the conversation. Most businesses need to be much more social media savvy and this is particularly true of new and small businesses. It’s up to you to manage your brand on-line as well as off-line.