Twitter has over 500 million users… Are you one of them? Even though there are 500 million accounts, less than half of those are active accounts and use Twitter regularly. Also probably 1/10th of them live in the US. That means that your potential audience is 25 million Americans. That is still a pretty substantial audience.
Most people who attend my seminars and presentations don't understand Twitter. In the last two blog posts I showed you how Twitter is like broadcast TV that needs to be tuned in, and that people use Twitter in 3-4 different ways. In this Blog I am going to explain some Twitter Basics…
1) Twitter Components
Twitter has some basic things or commands that you need to know…
@ = 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 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 people can follow them.
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 #chicagobears. They generally are all lower case, have 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.
2) The Good Tweet – A Guide
Twitter limits your tweets to 140 characters. Most people struggle with this small about of space to say something. The best tweets have several characteristics:
Length < 120 characters
If you use all 140 characters there is no space to add a mention (@bbasilico) or RT or a comment. Give people the opportunity to share your thoughts, ideas or information.
Use a URL Shortener
I use Bit.ly. When I want to share an article like http://mashable.com/2012/06/21/twitter-down-june-2012/ which = 54 characters, Bit.ly shortens it to on.mash.to/NV1ebk – 17 characters (less than 1/3rd), leaving almost 100 characters to comment and acknowledge (@bbasilico). Most larger companies or groups can have customizable shortener prefixes (on.mash vs bit.ly).
Use Good Order
A good tweet does things in a particular order – Acknowledge: @bbasilico – Comment: Has Twitter been acting funky for you today? URL: on.mash.to/NV1ebk – and the Hash Tags: #twitter #mashable #socialmedia
It would look something like this:
@bbasilico Has Twitter been acting funky for you today? on.mash.to/NV1ebk #twitter #mashable #socialmedia – (A whopping 93 characters!)
Hopefully this gives you a better idea of how to compose good tweets. Hopefully, this and the last two posts give you a good idea of why Twitter is important to your business and how you can effectively use it!
I look forward to your comments, questions and feedback.