Thinking about using Twitter? Not sure why you would or if it’s even worth it? Twitter is many different things to many different people. It’s a great place for keeping in touch with friends and family, staying current with what’s happening in the world, and informing others about your business’s products and services.
Twitter is like blogging (it started as a micro-blogging service) and instant messaging combined. It is the ultimate in social messaging, as you can connect with lots of people whenever and wherever you want. It is an event coordinator, a business tool, a news reporting service, and a marketing device.
In order to effectively use Twitter, I’ve put together a list of things to keep in mind as you enter the world of Twitter and get ready to “tweet” (or post) a brief message:
- Maximum length of username is 15 characters—the shorter the better. It will be easier for people to find you.
- Maximum number of characters per tweet is 140. Leave at least 20 characters free as space for people to retweet you.
- Twitter shortens links with their internal shortener, or you can use bitly.com. Each link uses up 22 or 23 characters.
- Starting the beginning of a tweet with @username is a reply. It will only be seen by that person and people who are following both of you (it will also show up on your profile page and in Twitter search). If you tag a username anywhere but at the start of the tweet, everybody following you (including the user) will see that message. This is called a mention.
- Images dramatically increase social media engagement. A picture on Twitter uses up 23 characters.
- If you make an error in a tweet, to fix it, delete it first and then re-submit. You cannot edit tweets.
- To be social, when you are mentioned (@username), you should respond to that tweet.
- Retweet, reply to, and favorite other people’s tweets.
- People who tweet frequently attract more followers. An active Twitter presence can help a business generate more revenue.
- Link your tweets to interesting articles you find.
- Hosting a creative contest or sweepstakes is a great way to improve engagement for businesses.
- Join a worldwide public conversation by participating in Twitter trends (#hashtags). Twitter provides a daily list of trending topics near the top of your Twitter page on the lefthand side.
- Behind-the-scenes info and photos are a great way to humanize your business.
- You can live-tweet anything that would interest your followers and friends. Concerts, low gas prices, Elvis sightings, etc.
- Quotes are always popular no matter what social media platform you’re on.
- Create an original meme that fits with your company or product. Everybody loves memes and they often go viral.
- Use one to two #hashtags per tweet for maximum engagement.
- Become an expert: inform, talk about your company and other things your audience is interested in.
- Use Twitter daily—search, lurk, post, retweet.
- To grow your community, add your Twitter ID to your email signature and other content, both online and off.
- It’s OK to schedule tweets, but don’t automate anything.
- Don’t be a salesperson on Twitter. Instead, be informative, entertaining and social.
- Don’t ask people to follow you. They probably won’t. Some may unfollow you.
- Everything you say can be seen by anyone, right from the start.
- Your tweets can be found in Twitter search and also by Google and other search engines.
- Search your company on Twitter. See what people are saying about you. Respond whether good or bad—make things right!
- Follow 20-30 good users.
- Google search companies doing well on Twitter and check out what they do; follow them.
Don’t be nervous! The best way to learn is to jump right in and as Nike says, “Just do it!”