I am sure you have heard of Twitter. Of all of the social mediums, Twitter is probably the hardest one for the average person to comprehend. You can only use 140 characters to get your point across, people use strange acronyms and symbols (‘#’), and the information flies by at the speed of light.So how does one use Twitter to promote their information? Here are a few non-technical examples on how you can make this work for you.
To me, Twitter reminds me of the old New York Stock Exchange ticker tapes you used to see in the movies. Some old, rich guy goes over to this machine that has an aquarium sitting on top of it and starts pulling out slips pieces of paper with abbreviations and then goes crazy over the translation and jumps off the roof. Maybe that is how you see Twitter, as well. The web site is just more earth-friendly and there’s no paper waste for parades. Nonetheless, you’d like to give it a try. Why not? If Sarah Palin can do it, so can you!
Let’s start Tweeting. That’s the “savvy” term for writing your 140 character post.
Tweet. Alot. No, Really…
The key to getting a good Twitter following is to Tweet all the time. I mean all of the time. Your message is only going to get about 30 seconds of exposure on an average Twitter feed, so it is important to flood the feed with more posts. A good rule of thumb is about one Tweet every hour.
Whoa! I can already hear you saying, “Jimm, I don’t have time to do that! I have a business to run. Who has time to Tweet that much?” The answer is no one unless you are getting paid to do it. But there is a solution:
Use Hootsuite (http://www.hootsuite.com). It’s a free program to sign up for and it allows you to schedule your posts to places like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIN ahead of time. For me, I will schedule all of my Tweets on a Sunday and then just add in extras if I have some breaking “news”. I do the same with my articles because there are some that I want to get into circulation at prime times during the day.
Content Is Key
I know you are limited to the amount you can say on Twitter, but content is still king when it comes to Tweeting. You just can’t keep repeating yourself over and over. If you do, your fellow Twitter fans will leave you in a flat instant and look for someone else. Write interesting content that will interest people. This could be an article you just wrote, some words of wisdom, or observations about your day. Your goal is you need to have someone interested in what you are saying.
Hashtags, At Symbols, and Abbreviations, Oh My!
What are these hashtags (#), At Symbols (@) and abbreviations (RT) all over Twitter? They are actually pretty important in the Twitter world. I’ll break them down for you:
Hashtags (#): The hashtag, or tag for short, is a way of saying the word/phrase you are using is important. If you click on this hashtagged word, then it will bring you to a list of other people currently using that term. If enough people use it, then the word/phrase is considered trending. You can place a hashtag anywhere in the body of your Tweet. Typically, I have found that having a hashtag at the beginning of the post is better than at the end. Studies have shown that only one or two hashtags should be used in your Tweet. More than this drops the effectiveness of your post, significantly.
At Symbol (@): Oftentimes, you will see a Tweet with an Ampersand before a person’s name. If it is before your name (i.e. @yourname), then someone mentioned you in their post. Click on it to see a list of what was said. If you type in a person’s name with the At Symbol (i.e. @thepersonsname), then you are telling them you posted about them. It’s pretty easy! Note: Facebook is also using this same type of “mention” code.
Retweet (RT): You will sometimes see the term RT or the word “Retweet” at the end of a post. This means that the writer is giving you permission to pass his/her quote off to all of your friends. You want to do this in business because the more Retweets you get, the better your post takes off on the internet, as a whole. Always add an RT!
A Picture Says a Thousand Characters
When searching through Twitter, you may occasionally see an image. You may ask yourself, “What’s this all about? I thought you could only send text on Twitter. You can only send text ON TWITTER. This comes from a third-party web site that Twitter approves. There are a lot of them out on the internet, but I prefer to use Twitpic (http://twitpic.com/). It’s free to join and you can then add pictures, memes, and other visual aids to your Twitter feed. This is the program that Anthony Weiner, the NY Congressman, got in trouble for using on Twitter.
What Are Those Short Web Addresses?
You have probably seen very short URLS (web addresses) on some of the Twitter feeds. You may be afraid that those contain viruses or malware on your computer so you don’t click on them. Never fear! That link has no greater chance of giving your computer a virus than any other link you may click on. The reason it is there is because Twitter only allows you 140 characters and those include the link to your article, blog post, or web page. What people do is go to yet another web site and “shorten the URL”. I prefer to use “Ow.ly” (http://ow.ly/url/shorten-url). This site is pretty simple. You copy and paste the web address of the page you want to shorten (it’s up in the white box at the top of your screen) and then then prove that you are a human. Ow.ly will shorten your web address so you can copy and paste it into your Twitter feed. Simple, right?
Note: ALWAYS check to make sure the link works by pasting it first into your browser and clicking on it.
I hope these tips have given you a pretty easy grasp on what Twitter is about. You can feel free to email me at: info@myWebSource1.com if you have any more questions.
James Fowler is a writer and web marketer who lives in Wadsworth, OH. He is the creator of http://www.myfivebest.com, a trivia blog of top five lists. Among his interests, besides helping businesses succeed include: his wife, Maggie, their dog and two cats.