Social Media Guide for Business Part 3 of 5

Continued from Social Media Guide Part 2.  The buzz about Twitter began a few years ago. Although Twitter had been up and running for a while, when top-name celebrities started signing on and posting updates for the whole world to read – the Twitter train began! Twitter is a social media site that gives up-to-date news and events on things happening around the world. Contained in a 140-character status update called a “tweet,” Twitter is a great way to share new information to an ever-growing network.

The Twitter craze continues to grow each year, with Twitter now boasting 500 million profiles and 100 million active users it is a significant social medium.

Twitter for Business

Twitter encapsulates the “pull” marketing philosophy – and does an even better job at this than Facebook. Those who sign on to Twitter (over 500,000,000 registered users to date) are looking for information. Sometimes it’s personal, like Facebook status updates, and they’re looking for the scoop on their friends or celebrities. But others use Twitter to highlight their expertise and learn more about their interests.   Twitter is very topical.  Several accounts are used to create conversations surrounding very specific ideas – such as sports teams, writing blogs, movie buffs, health advocates and more. If you can think of any special interest group or topic, there will be several Twitter accounts dedicated to it.  For any business, Twitter is a great way to position yourself as an expert in your field, especially in the area you live. You will gain followers based on both your geography AND your area of expertise. By posting topical, relevant tweets, you will gain followers who will begin to see you as a source of information and will interact with you. Not only will Twitter allow you to share information as a business, but you’ll also be able to gain understanding about the current market, your customers, trends and relationships. Plus, this social media network – like Facebook – comes FREE.

The Twitter Basics

Before you dive into using Twitter, know that there is a special language taking place.  It’s very easy to use and understand – but it’s important to know what’s happening so you don’t get lost or intimidated. Just think of all of the reasons it’s hard to stuff a single thought into 140 characters. That’s why there’s a special language when it comes to Twitter – so you can get just about all of what you’re thinking to fit into the update.
The first term to understand is “tweet.” This is simply a status update on Twitter.
Next are a few symbols often found in tweets…

  • @ – The “@” sign is used in front of a person’s Twitter account name (like @TurnThePage) when someone is talking to you on Twitter. It’s called a “Mention.” If you’re wanting to get a specific person’s attention – or if they’re directing a post at you – use the “@their account name”.
  • RT – This means “re-tweet” and it means that someone has copied someone else’s tweet and used it as their own. People often do this to agree with what they read, or expose the tweet to others who follow them. Typically – and especially for a small  business – having someone “RT” or re-tweet one of your posts is a great thing!  It not only shows that you’re creative and credible – but it also increases your Twitter exposure to others.
  • D or DM – You can send personal messages to other Twitter users so that they are not seen by others. Typically, everything you post on Twitter can be seen by those who follow you (even when you reply back and forth to others, if they follow both of you.) To send a private message, begin your tweet with D or DM, followed by the Mention. So for example, to send us a Direct Message on Twitter, asking for our phone number you’d say “D @TurnThePage What’s your phone number?”
  • # – The pound sign is used for common topics in Twitter called “hashtags”. This can be used in a multiple set of ways. First, it can be used to set a trend or category. If you’re hosting a seminar, for example, and you’d like to get feedback or know what others are saying about your seminar, you can use this tool to easily see the comments. Just tell everyone in the audience to use the hashtag of #TurnThePageEvent (for example). Then you’d log onto Twitter, search for #TurnThePage, and a list of what everyone said while tagging the post with the hashtag will populate. The hashtag can also be used in a common tweet – almost as a sarcastic remark. For example, someone could tweet “I put my orange in the toaster today #roughmorning” as their tweet. The use of hashtag #roughmorning is a way of saying something obvious or direct.

Twitter Goals – for Business

The goal of Twitter for the local business owner is to develop relationships with others in your community, share your wealth of information, and gain unique insights into your current and potential customers. Twitter isn’t as much about self-promotion as it is serving others in the community. The more you can position yourself as a resource, the more people will want to do business with you.  Create your Twitter Profile – Here.  Come back for Part 4 Next week when we talk about Linkedin.

Author Amanda Hall

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