What is Twitter?
According to Wikipedia, Twitter is defined as:
An online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called "tweets". Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them.
How does Twitter work?
Twitter users can share messages that are 140 characters in length. Users can also share images as well as videos up to 30-seconds long.
Basically, people follow your Twitter account, which means that the content you “tweet” gets pulled into their Twitter stream. Tweets show up in chronological order so the chances of people seeing your content depend on when they go online and if your content appeared (and was noticed by them) as they scrolled through their Twitter stream.
Some users follow a lot of people on Twitter, which means content moves quickly and depending on how many followers they have, people may miss content shared by the people they follow.
What makes Twitter a great tool for businesses?
Twitter is more than just telling people what you had for lunch. Conversations are a huge part of the magic of Twitter.
You find your audience and you have conversations with them. You can have conversations with people you never would have had the opportunity to have conversations with anywhere else and this not only includes your audience, but also thought leaders in your industry.
Twitter has amazing potential for relationship building – I’ve made great friends and have also found great clients through Twitter.
What is a Twitter handle?
A Twitter handle is the @ symbol followed by the person’s Twitter name i.e., my name is @larawellman. When you put someone’s Twitter handle in a tweet they will have that show up as a notification in their Twitter account.
What is a hashtag?
Hashtags are a great way to follow a conversation or event that is being tweeted about. People use the hashtag symbol “#” followed by the word, and when users search for a specific hashtag i.e., #SocialMediaSimplified every tweet that uses that hashtag appears in a list.
When should a hashtag be used?
If you’re having an event and you share a hashtag, people will start talking about your event using that hashtag. This is great because people start to follow each other, and it makes it easy to find other people who have similar interests.
To be a part of the conversation and to expand your following, you should be tweeting and paying attention to hashtags at events you’re at or events of interest to your audience.
More Twitter Tips
Once you find the right people to follow add them to a list, i.e., Lifestyle Bloggers. Put together a list of industry experts, businesses you support or want to help, and users you want to interact with. By creating these “channels” you make your time on Twitter more efficient.
Look at other people’s lists
To find out what lists a specific Twitter user is on go to their Twitter page. Right above their tweets you’ll see Tweets, Following, Followers, Favorites and Lists. Click on lists. You can also just go to twitter.com/username/lists. Once you’re on that page you’ll see the lists that person has created. Below their avatar on the left you can switch that to “member of” and then you’ll see all the lists that person has been added to.
From here click on the list and then on the left hand side under the name of the list click on “members.” You can now easily follow people from this list.
Don’t read it all
People have a tendency to think of Twitter as an Inbox. Instead you need to think of it more like the radio. Just pay attention to what you see while you’re there, but don’t be afraid to close it and return again later.
Use DMs for private messages
Don’t broadcast your personal information on Twitter, instead use the private DM (direct message) feature to share personal information. You can only DM someone who follows you.
Links mentioned in this post + extra resources:
Lara Wellman’s Twitter
Blog post: How to create Twitter lists
Blog post: Managing Twitter with lists