By now, most people have heard of Twitter, but quite often people ask me questions like:
Can you explain Twitter to me?
How often should I post on Twitter?
Does Twitter help my business?
I speak, teach and coach on the topic of social media and compare it to a body. In this example, Twitter is the pulse: short, fast paced messages of breaking news, hot trends and updates. Twitter was first to implement the hashtag, which is a great way to really listen to what people (consumers) are talking about and take advantage of that to gather more eyes onto your services, products and expertise.
Twitter Basics and Vocabulary
Posts on Twitter are called ‘tweets’, and are limited to 140 characters. You can include links in your tweets including photos, videos and website addresses (and in a recent development, Twitter no longer counts the photos or links against the 140-character limit).
“Following” someone is similar to “friending” someone on Facebook – their tweets will appear on your feed after you follow them. You can choose to follow up to 5000 people, but you can be followed by an unlimited number of people.
“Retweeting” someone is similar to “sharing” their post – you share what they have said with everyone who follows you. You can simply retweet what they said or you can “quote” the tweet and add a comment such as “I agree!”
The @ symbol is how you identify yourself or others, (for instance, @ActuateSocial). This is also called a Twitter handle. By placing someone’s twitter handle in a tweet (“I saw @ActuateSocial speak at a conference today.”), that person you mentioned will be notified that someone mentioned them in a tweet viewable by the public. If you place the twitter handle first in the message (“@ActuateSocial So good to see you speaking at the conference today!”), that is a private, direct message to that person only. A direct message is the only private communication method on Twitter and allows people you follow to have email or messenger style communication.
What is a hashtag?
This is a common question and a good one because they have evolved a bit past their original fuction. Originally hashtags (older people like me remember when hashtags used to be called “pound signs”: #) were included in your tweet to help your tweet to be found in a search by topic, such as #Superbowl or even #JohnJansWedding. This is still true, but as time went on, many people began to use humorous tags such as #notonmywatch, which are meant to be more comical and novelty than searched.
A hashtag is a great way to brand a specific topic, interest or location. They are also good to discover what people are talking about, in or outside of your business.
Does Twitter Help My Business?
Maybe. Certain businesses will do better than others on Twitter, depending mostly on your demographics and industry. Having a Twitter profile is helpful in search rankings because it gives one more result for your name and/or company name when people search for you online. Leveraged properly, Twitter may be a great social media platform for your business.
If you are looking to learn more ways to utilize Twitter and other social media platforms within a social media strategy that will grow your business, we can help. Contact Actuate Social today to learn more about our social media management designed to increase your customer engagement.