Getting Started with Twitter

Twitter is a great tool that lets you connect with your clients, to follow others in your field and to keep you up to date on the news and trends – all in 140 characters or less. Need help getting started on Twitter? Read on.

Twitter Lingo: DM (direct message), hashtag, trending, RT (retweet), @reply, and follower. If you didn’t understand all of these terms, please investigate them before proceeding with your business account set up. It will make it easier for you.

In the Beginning

At this point, you’ve done your market research, decided that Twitter is the social media platform you want to use and you’ve practiced on a personal account so you know the difference between a tweet and a direct message (very important). You’re ready to sign up for a business account and start personalizing it! Change the profile picture and background to something that reflects your company – be it your logo or a picture of your storefront.

Once that’s done, write your first tweet! Most people’s first tweet goes something like ‘Just signed up, let’s see if we can figure this out.’ Maybe do a quick ‘Welcome to the Twitter feed of Acme Company.’ Remember to keep it company-related, professional and not too over the top promotional. You can also search by keywords in your field and re-tweet any messages that you find relevant and interesting. Your main goal is to have writings on your wall for when people start to show up.

Great 3rd Party Twitter Tools

Twitpic A great way to post pictures on Twitter

Qwitter A tool that allows you to see who has unfollowed you on Twitter

Twittermeme A site that showcases all the hottest links on Twitter

ManageFlitter A great tool that helps you manage your Twitter account by helping you to find new people to help build your followers, finding who’s not following you back and many other things.

Tweet Grader A free tool that allows you to check the power of your Twitter profile compared to the millions of other users that have been graded.

Showtime!

After you’ve posted a few non-promotional tweets, start following a few businesses and people in your field. Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn you don’t need their permission to follow. Use the search field at the top of the page and search for people by name, industry or keyword. When you follow people that you know, send them a direct message to say hi.

The general rule of courtesy on Twitter is to follow those that follow you. That doesn’t apply to all followers as you’ll notice quite a few people following you that are not in your field or don’t share the same interests as you. Be wary of who you follow and make sure that you keep your followings in line with your business interests. Open a personal account to keep on top of your personal interests.

Keep it organized

One of the simplest ways to keep everything in your Twitter account organized is to implement a social media aggregator. I use Tweetdeck to keep my business account organized. You can set up the screen to show what you need to keep organized. I have different columns that show different aspects of my Twitter account, such as: the tweets of select accounts I follow, whenever I’m mentioned in someone’s tweet, a search column detailing whenever specific keywords and hashtags are used in a tweet, my inbox for direct messages, my scheduled tweets and my previously sent tweets.

One of my favourite features in Tweetdeck is the ability to schedule upcoming tweets. I find one of the most cumbersome aspects of marketing on social media is the timing of content posting and being close to a computer when the time is right. With Tweetdeck I can schedule tweets for weeks in advance, choosing the most receptive times.

Points to Remember While Using Twitter

  1. Making your tweets informational, funny or useful will increase your likelihood of being retweeted and gaining followers.
  2. Retweet interesting posts that you think your followers will find useful.
  3. Add hashtags to your tweets. It increases the likelihood of your tweet showing up in searches.
  4. Keep some space available in your tweet for when your followers re-tweet your post.
  5. Tweet frequently. As with all social media, no one wants to follow a dead account.
  6. Keep posts positive and minimize the complaining – it’s the surest way to lose followers.
  7. Post during the times when you think your clients will be checking their feeds, be it over supper, during the morning commute, etc.
  8. Be courteous by thanking those who re-tweet your posts and commenting positively on other’s posts. Keep in mind that it’s impossible to read every tweet or thank every retweet so don’t feel guilty if you miss a few.
  9. Advertise your Twitter account on your business cards, websites, email signatures, forum postings and other social media accounts.
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