After all, everybody's doing it so maybe you should too.
What is Twitter and why should businesses care?
In simple terms, Twitter is a free service that allows users to communicate with their followers to tell them "what they are doing". Twitter has become one of the biggest social media websites on the internet and is used for both personal and business purposes, resulting in a ton of relationships with people all around the world.
So how does it work? It's very simple, you can say almost anything to anybody in 140 characters or less (that is the space Twitter gives you per message). You are probably thinking "is that it?", well, no, not quite. While there are those using it to tell others what they had for lunch or what movie they watched, millions of people are using Twitter as a way to network and communicate with new and old contacts. Additionally, Twitter is designed like most social media tools with the ability to subscribe or share as many twitter feeds as you like.
So first things first, create your twitter account at Twitter.com by clicking on the 'sign up now' button. Once you create your account, you will be given a homepage and a profile page. From these pages, you can update your profile, add your domain name and find other twitter streams to follow, post your own messages and watch the public stream of comments (don't do this unless your bored). It is also a good idea to create an image or avatar in your profile so that it appears next to your twitter message when you tweet.
Some basic Twitter etiquette you must know:
- Tweet: When you post 140 characters on 'what you are doing now"
- Handle: that is your twitter name, for example mine is @aimeevo. It doesn't have to be your own name, it could be your business name or any name you want it to be.
- Follow: this is adding someone to your list of people who are following you.
- Replies: You respond by someone's tweet or to direct a conversation to someone by putting an "@" in front of their username.
- DM: this a direct message that is sent directly to another user. They must be following you for you to DM them, but this is a very useful tool for private messages and generally a good choice when you start going back and forth with
- someone on something your entire base of followers might not find interesting.
- Hashtag - this is a way people categorize tweets so that others might use the same tag and effectively create a way for people to view related tweets. For example, something like #marketing - more on this in search will allow users to view tweets on that topic or category.
Now in regards to business, you can use Twitter for the following:
- A help desk: businesses are now using Twitter for customer support or enquiries. For example, if your business sells software and a client has troubleshooting problems, you may post a twitter message which will be picked up to the whole twitter community.
- Employee interaction for your business: a great way is to set up an account that everyone in the company or business can direct tweets to as they find content and want to bookmark it for others to quickly view.
- Getting leads: Getting leads and business by participating on sites like twitter is an interesting concept. I'm not saying you should just sell and promote your goods and services online but tweet information of value that is related to your business. Perhaps offering a solution to a specific problem which entails explaining your product or service. Use the 'Advance Search' to find certain keywords that relate to a problem your business deals with.
In general use Twitter wisely for business, do not spam or market your products endlessly. It's like going to a party, seeing a gorgeous girl and asking her whether she like to go to bed with you. Yes I know it's not the same but remember, Twitter was design as a social networking site and for that you must be social and interact with your fellow followers. In return, you build relationships and as they get to know you, your next tweet about your product or service won't seem so evasive.