People have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. I can tell you that kids left Facebook in droves and headed to Twitter, because their mothers were logging on to Facebook. The people who love Twitter are tech savvy and like the quick messaging platforms. The people who hate it just don't understand how the platform works.
With the explosion in video broadcasting platforms, (Periscope.tv – owned by Twitter, Blab.im, and Meerkat), Twitter is experiencing a renaissance and rebirth in popularity. With over 300 million active users, Twitter is clearly the 2nd most active social network and with the addition of multimedia past users have been revisiting and giving it a second look!
Below is the way I explain Twitter to the people I teach in college classes and in the general social media presentations I give:
At any given time, there are dozens of signals floating through the air (in the form of TV and radio broadcasts). In order for you to consume (watch or listen), you need a radio or TV tuned in to a specific channel.
On Twitter, you tune in by searching and using hashtags (#) like #bacon or #breakingnews. By searching, you filter the information you are looking to find. Also using the @ (mention) @bbasilico, you can find tweets where you or other users are mentioned.
Twitter has some basic functions or commands that you will need to know about … (if this is too basic for you, then skip to the next section)
@ = Reply
This is how you send a tweet and mention someone. If it’s at the beginning of the post, it’s considered a direct reply. If it’s somewhere else in the message, it’s considered a mention. To see them in action … search for @UserName (@bbasilico). People with protected tweets can only send @ replies to their approved followers.
DM = Direct Message
This is a private message between you and the person you send it to. It looks like this … d UserName (d bbasilico) message. This only works with people that YOU follow!
RT = Re-Tweet
This is how you share a tweet that you like. It helps create virility for posts and people you like … RT UserName (RT @bbasilico) send the tweet to all of your followers and adds the user name of the original author, so then people can follow them if they choose to.
OH = Overheard
This is just a way of quantifying a tweet and is not a method of sharing … OH in a networking group (message).
# = Hash Tag
Hash Tags are a way of categorizing tweets making them easier to search and follow. They are composed like this … #socialmedia or #bacon. They are usually all lower case with no spaces or other symbols. You may see these on your twitter page as Trending Topics. They also make it easier to search for content you may be interested in.
For more information … check out the Twitter Glossary
The Anatomy Of A Perfect Tweet
The perfect Tweet has just 3 basic components (with a few others that are optional). Even though you have a 140 character limit, you only want to use 120. I will explain why below.
The Headline – Like any good marketing or advertising, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Your first text should be short, but compelling. Asking questions or making it personal (about them) is the best attention getter. If you make outrageous claims, they better come true later or you will lose people for future action.
The URL – This is the Tweet CTA (call to action). Because URLs can be very long, you may want to use a URL shortener. My favorites are Bit.ly or Snip.ly, however you are free to choose the one that suits you (tinyurl.com, goo.gl, Ow.ly, and many others). You need to save precious character real estate. As a bonus, many offer statistics and analytics. In Twitter, this is totally accepted, but URL shorteners are not always accepted in eMail marketing (masking URLs is often a spam or hacking technique).
The Hashtag(s) – # is the secret weapon to getting your message found. Make sure it is relevant to your audience and your posts. Add multiple if you have the room with the 120 character limit. It makes searching and finding your content easier in the Twitter-verse.
Options – You can add mentions, Overheard, or any other additional info, but you have to stay within that 120 character barrier. That is because you want to leave room for other people to add content @mentions and comments to their re-tweets. The extra 20 characters should allow room for that!
This is all good, but you are probably thinking, how can Twitter make me money? Multiple ways! First off, the most important thing in the perfect Tweet is the link! If you are creating great content (blogs, articles, podcasts, videos, etc.) then you are driving traffic to your website or content property. Twitter can be an excellent customer support platform. You need to be monitoring your brand there (Comcast has staff that do this 24/7). It can also be an excellent research platform. Don't forget that most breaking news happens on Twitter, so you can find a wealth of knowledge there as well.
So, how is Twitter working for you? Are you new to it, or have you already used it to grow your business? Whether you have 10 or 10,000 followers, I would love to hear your comments and feedback!