Like many things in life, Twitter shouldn’t be taken too seriously. That being said, with the new President of the United States repeatedly taking to Twitter in a scary, potentially fatal war declaration with Kim Jon-Un, we can’t help but wonder if social media has evolved to the point of no return…
Twitter can however be a fantastic tool for your business if you use it right, but to be able to do that, you need to understand what it is and how it works.
So, what is Twitter?
Twitter is a social networking platform where you can write posts of 140 characters or less, sharing your ideas, images and other forms of multimedia, such as news, jokes and even your thoughts on tonight’s episode of EastEnders with your followers and others using the same hashtags as you. In most cases, profiles are kept public, as the majority of those using Twitter do so to network with other users who tweet about likeminded topics. There is an option to remain private, although this is usually utilised by personal Twitter accounts. We wouldn’t recommend setting your business profile to private, as this can make it really difficult to reach new audiences.
What is a Tweet?
So, you communicate in the form of tweets, which is basically a quirky way of saying post. Your tweets can be 140 characters or less, not including attachments (although there was once a time where your attached images/videos would take up some of your character allowance… #scandalous). You can share articles that your audience may find interesting, share a picture of Dave from I.T. with his birthday cake, or even a funny GIF of cats with the hashtag #FridayFeeling (what’s a hashtag and a GIF? That’s all to come!).
What is a Retweet (RT)?
Ever seen a post from someone and liked it so much that you wish you could post it yourself? Retweeting is basically sharing that post on your own profile with the ability to add your own comments to it, for your followers to see.
What is a Favourite?
If someone ‘favourites’ your tweet, it means they’ve liked it! The little heart shaped button underneath a tweet is the ‘favourite’ button and the Tweeter will get a notification telling them that you’ve favourited it.
What is a Profile?
Your profile is a page dedicated to your business! It shows your tweets, your followers, who you’re following, your profile picture, your biography and various other features. If you’re public, anyone can view your profile.
What is a Newsfeed?
Your Newsfeed can be accessed when navigating to ‘Home’. The tweets and RTs of the people who you follow will be shown here, along with what’s trending, suggestions on who to follow and potentially some adverts.
What is a Follower?
These are the people who want to see your posts. They could be your friends, family or just people who generally enjoy what you post. These people will have your tweets appear in their newsfeed.
What is a Hashtag?
This is self-explanatory. It’s a literal hash (#) which makes the word which is directly followed, become a tag which you can search and see what others have tweeted about the same word. For example, #MADesign – This would take you to a results page for all those who have tweeted using the same hashtag. This feature has become extremely popular and has been rolled out over various social media platforms as a way for users to attract likes and followers and for their posts to be seen.
It’s a great feature and is widely utilised during popular TV shows, world disasters, special holidays etc. for people to share their thoughts and opinions. It’s also quite popular to make use of the weekly motivational hashtags which are great for businesses who are networking, for example #MondayMotivation and #HappyHumpDay.
What does Trending mean?
The trending bar displays the hashtags which are being most frequently used and tells you how many tweets are currently being posted about the topic. It could range from the fact that there’s a new episode of the Great British Bake Off on tonight, to the sad news that a much-loved celebrity has passed away. Using most popular hashtags is a great way to reach a wider audience as the trending bar was created for people to view what’s being said about certain topics, so you know it’s going to be populated with users. You may get a few likes or RTs from it, or maybe even some new followers!
What is a Mention?
A mention is basically another user involving you in their post. A company that you work closely with may write a tweet and mention you in it for example...
Or you may post an interesting article for your followers to see and you may like to mention the author in it for them to see you’ve shared it. This is another great way to network.
What is a handle?
Your handle is your username with an @ in front of it and this is what other users will use to mention you in tweets. This will then appear in your notifications. When other users see a tweet that you’re mentioned in and click your handle, it will take them to your profile.
What is a direct message (DM)?
This is when a user privately messages your account so it’s only those in the discussion who can view the messages. Although depending on your settings, users may only be able to DM you if you are following them. A lot of companies like Boohoo and ASOS run their customer services team through Twitter and work through DM-ing their customers. This is useful to keep in touch with clients as 71% of internet users world-wide use social media frequently, which makes it an easy way to contact customers and get fast replies, hopefully resolving queries/problems fast.
What is a Moment?
Twitter describe Moments as ‘curated stories’ that showcase the best of what’s happening on Twitter. They allow you to piece together different tweets into a slideshow-type-story. It lets tweeters keep up with what people are talking about without having to spend a lot of time searching.
Twitter say that they’re giving users a new and dynamic way to tell stories and with 82% of users watching video content on Twitter, this new feature makes for an interesting, easy way to keep up to date with the world.
Many companies use Moments to showcase their new products and what people are saying about them, or to publish something fun for their followers to view and retweet, which makes for good networking.
What is a Pinned Tweet?
Imagine you’ve come up with a really brilliant idea and you need to put it somewhere it won’t be forgotten, so you pin it to your notice board. Well this is in the same respect; if you write a good tweet that gets a fair few RTs or favourites, you can pin it so that it stays at the top of your profile, even when you post new content.
Many companies pin tweets with content about their new product or competition that they don’t want their followers to miss; anytime their profile is viewed the pinned tweet is shown right at the top of their feed. This means the user isn’t required to scroll through potentially hundreds of tweets in order to see or find it.
To pin a tweet, you click on the arrow next your tweet and click ‘pin to your profile page’.
What is a List?
Lists are what you could call a hidden gem within Twitter and they’re not used nearly as much as they could be. You can categorise those that you follow by allocating them into the relevant lists by topic, category etc. For example, you may allocate your competitors into a list so that you can spend some time each day checking out their posts. In turn, this could give you some ideas and inspiration about the type of content you could share, or what’s popular among your target audience.
Twitter allows you to create unique lists or join other users’ lists. You can add people to lists by navigating to their profile, clicking on settings and clicking ‘Add or remove from lists…’.
Top marketing tips
Now that you’ve had a run-through of Twitter’s features and how to use them to market your business, here are some #MarketingHacks to help you utilise Twitter in the best possible way.
Shortcuts are something that many people do not utilise because they don’t know about them. Just like you’d Ctrl C to copy something onto your dashboard on your laptop, you can use these shortcuts on Twitter. Please note, the shortcuts mentioned are for PC, shortcuts will differ for Mac.
If you work in marketing, you may manage your social media from a desktop, or you may just prefer it this way. In this case, these shortcuts may save you a bit of time or just generally improve your ease of use.
Tweets with images receive 150% more RTs than those without. 37% of marketers said that visual content was the most important form of content for their business. Looking at these statistics, it seems silly not to use visual content in your tweets as these receive the most attention from Twitter users. You can now add up to four images to one single tweet, improving your chances of engagement with your followers.
You can also tag up to ten users in one Tweet, which will increase your tweet’s exposure and the chances of its success with regards to RTs and favourites.
It is estimated that 90% of Twitter video views happen on mobile and this is a great excuse to utilise video content and reach out to your followers in real time. Struggling to come up with video ideas? Keep it light, relevant and good quality. Show your followers around your work space, sneak peaks of your new projects or even film a little bit of the conference you’re attending.
Twitter now allows you to add GIFs to your posts. GIF is short for ‘graphics interchange format’ and is basically a short, soundless video clip that repeats itself. Using a GIF is great for comical affect and can work amazingly in creating good quality marketing content as it is attention grabbing and engaging.
Twitter’s advanced search feature can be a great tool to do some in-depth brand research and try to get ahead of your competitors. You can find the advanced search here and you can use it to track:
• Local tweets
• Super marketing content
• Find out users’ opinions
• Follow the right types of people
By turning on your alerts, you can get a notification every time someone you consider to be important shares a tweet. Tweeting can be rather frequent and your newsfeed will see hundreds of tweets daily so you may miss out on the ones you want to see. If you’re monitoring specific companies to observe their techniques, you can set your account to alert you when they make a post.
What’s that I hear you say? Is politics a good idea on social media? Ha! You have no idea. Twitter seems to be the ideal place for people to share their political opinions and Twitter couldn’t resist a good polling feature to pay tribute to this! Of course, it doesn’t have to be kept political, it could be as simple as ‘Which colour do you prefer our new product? Red, blue or orange?’. This feature can be a fantastic way to interact with your audience, make them feel valued and gain some excellent customer insight.
If you have an actual base, for example a coffee shop, turning your location on can be a fantastic way to convert your followers to customers. They may be scrolling and see your post, not realising you’re so close and decide to pay you a visit. Also, if people are searching for a specific location, your post will show up in the results, and people love supporting local businesses.
Social media manager
Twitter was designed for people to share their thoughts, and perhaps it could be said that those who share more regularly, build up more of a follower base who interact with the user. If it’s all getting a bit too much and you don’t have the spare time to be sat writing tweets all day, consider using a social media management tool like Hootsuite, which allows you to schedule your tweets in advance.
All you’ll have to do is clear an hour and sit down with a brew and try to plan as far forward as you can get to within that hour. It would be good to login to Twitter itself for five minutes maybe once or twice a day to interact with any potential responders and keep in touch with your followers and network.