The potential of Twitter is HUGE. Still, many companies do not benefit from the micro-blogging social media network – they just don’t see the use for it! Why do companies avoid Twitter? There’s no other network giving companies the possibility to get access to relevant information in a flash. This beginner’s guide will help you to overcome the inhibitions you might feel towards Twitter and will help you to get started!
The Basics: What is so Special about Twitter?
What makes Twitter unique is the possibility to share information, news and opinions in 140 characters (or less).
It’s easy to get in touch with people all over the world. Twitter profiles are usually public – everyone can see your tweets and the things you shared. Users “follow” each other to create a network. This is how you can contact specialists directly – an awesome opportunity for you to position yourself or your company as an expert. Best of all – you can build a relationship with your customers!
But beware: following someone on Twitter does not exactly mean “to be friends”. The reason for the follow is primarily about subscribing to the news you share. At the same time, you can see it as an informal offer to interact directly.
Before getting started, here are a few key terms you should familiarize yourself with before using Twitter:
- Tweet: A tweet is a message you’re sharing with your community, which is not longer than 140 characters.
- Retweet: If you want to react to a tweet, you have the possibility to share it with your network, which is called a retweet. But we recommend to comment on the chosen tweet to build your credibility and network.
- Feed: A feed is the stream of new tweets that you see when you open Twitter, which is updated on a regular basis. It’s composed of the news from all the accounts you’re following.
- Handle: A handle is your name on Twitter, which is immediately preceded by the @ symbol. For example, ours is @wbzndr. The maximum length for your handle is 15 characters – so try to keep it short and sweet.
- Mention: You can use @ + the name of another user (e.g. @wbzndr) to mention other people in one of your tweets. The user gets a notification and can join your conversation . And others can mention you in a tweet too!
- Hashtags (#): Hashtags are very important on Twitter. By using them you can relate your tweets to other topics (e.g. #socialmedia). Tags help users to find posts relating to specific topics, even if they’re not yet following the author. Get more stats about hashtags.
- Direct Message: You can write a direct message if you want to contact a user directly. You now have more than 10,000 characters to ask questions and get information from users! In your settings you can choose whether you want to be contacted only able by your followers or by everyone.
You can find more detailed information in the Twitter glossary.
Now that you have this information, you’re ready to start your Twitter adventure. But first you need to register. Don’t worry – it’s not very complicated.
- First you need to create an account. Take your time to think of your handle (username). It’s the way others will get in touch with you. Be creative and brand appropriate.
- Write a short description about yourself – who you are, who you are working for and which topics you are interested in. Ideally, add hashtags in your description to make sure you will be found if people search for #marketing.
- Add your location and your own website too. Last but not least, upload a profile picture and create a banner – and that’s it! If you want, you can choose a matching color for your design.
Followers and Following
Being on Twitter is like attending a big party: people are talking everywhere. Some take pictures of their food and share it with their family. Others participate in vivid discussions. Then there are people just standing somewhere and observing.
Now that you created your own profile, added a short biography and uploaded a profile picture, you can start to find people you would like to follow. There are many different possibilities.Start with your friends and companies you’re interested in.
Based on your current followers, the Twitter algorithm will suggest new people to follow. It’s not very personalized yet – that’s why you’ll get suggestions to follow random, popular personalities. Of course you can also check the people you already follow – maybe they know someone interesting you would like to follow too?. When you stay active, you will find more and more people, brands and companies you want to follow.
Enjoy the Feed
Now that you added followers, you’re ready to experience the magic of Twitter. The feed shows you a constant flow of news, entertainment, photos, shared links and much more. A nearly infinite source of information.
Sure, you can simply observe the flow to stumble upon interesting news. But guess what? That takes a lot of time!
There’s a better way to interact with people. Use the search bar to find an interesting topic using a hashtag, which means that all tweets with this tag will be shown in the feed. You can also search for people or topics without using a #.
Did you find an interesting tweet? Comment on it! The text box already mentions the author (@YourName). He or she will be notified immediately and your conversation is ready to start. In addition you can see comments written by other users. 140 characters are not enough for what you want to say? You can write a direct message to the author – which now has a limit of 10,000 characters instead of 140.
Share interesting articles with your followers by retweeting them. That gives you the possibility to add your personal thoughts. Answers to your comments are shown in your notifications. There you’ll also find your new followers, comments or likes.
The Mobile App
Twitter is probably the most up-to-date social media channel. You have the possibility to access information first hand, sometimes even before it is covered in the news. The Twitter app allows you to be well-informed everywhere. Plus you can embed videos or pictures from your smartphone without any problem.
Be aware that photos and videos shrink the number of characters you can use for your tweet. This also applies to inserted links. (Note: In fall of 2016, Twitter is supposed to change these rules so that links and handles will not be part of the 140-character limit. Follow us on Twitter to get the news as it becomes available!
The mobile app is a useful addition to your Twitter account. Sharing and spreading has never been easier. The app is available for free for android and iOs. Download it now.
Looking for an easy and effective way to oversee your social media activities and schedule your messages?