June 04, 2012
/ by Emma Hardman
Twitter has become a must in social business in recent years. Its importance in marketing, sales, and basic relationship maintenance has grown and it is now typical for twitter handles to be included in email signatures and on business cards. This routine adaptation has resulted in a growing number of twitter users of all ages. For late bloomers too embarrassed to ask coworkers, friends or family for help in getting started we have compiled this quick cheat sheet so that you will be tweeting with the best of them in no time!
First and foremost: Twitter is a public platform. The level of formality is ultimately up to you, but it should be used as you would use any other form of semi-casual public communication. Don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t say at an industry meet-and-greet or company gathering. Remember this and you should be fine. Further tips:
Who to Follow?
This is up to you! Follow industry experts and thought leaders, clients, coworkers, friends—even your local coffee shop! Twitter does not need to be exclusionary. Remember that the tweets of all those you follow will show up in your stream—the more accounts you follow the noisier your stream. You can clean this up with the “list” function in twitter—this will sort various accounts into separate streams enabling you to view just one group at a time.
Although this word gets bandied about a lot, being genuine is possibly the most important thing you can aim for on Twitter. The majority of people will tune out technical jargon and the medium is certainly not set up for complicated ideas. You have only 140 characters and you have to make them count! Tweet interesting links, pictures, or just reflections (within reason—over-sharing may lose you some followers as well as lower your credibility). When in doubt, re-tweeting or replying to tweets of others will encourage engagement with followers as well as relay opinions and ideas.
Tweeting links is a great way to share good content, promote sites or blogs that you find useful, and give your followers information that they may find interesting. Link shortening tools, such as Bitly, have a twofold use: firstly, to reduce the characters used in your tweet (a 25 character link is condensed down to around 10, leaving you with more characters with which to comment) and secondly, as a way to track the number of click-throughs your links are receiving. This can give you insight into how interesting the sites you are linking are to followers as well as how engaged followers are. There are many link-shortening tools out there, to find out more check here.
You’ve seen them everywhere: the symbol formerly known as the pound sign now has a big significance in social media. The main purpose of the hashtag is to categorize and collect tweets. Certain events, industries, and subjects may have a widely used hashtag which, when used, will add the tweet to a hashtag stream. Anyone searching a hashtag, who may not be following you, will then see your tweet in the stream, thus giving you wider reach. If you want to use the hashtag in this way, make sure you check which hashtag is being most widely used and that the hashtag you use is not putting you in an unexpected group. For example, you may use #UK wanting to refer to commentary on the United Kingdom, but a search on Twitter will reveal that #UK is also used to refer to the University of Kentucky. A secondary use of the hashtag is also growing in popularity. This is to use them as a comment on your own tweet or a punchline to a tweet-joke. Steve Carell gives a good example of this use:
Want to learn more?
For a look at where is best to place your link in your tweet, check here
For tips on writing the perfect tweet, check here
For a more in-depth look at the wise use of Twitter, check here
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