How to get started on Twitter
25th November 2011
Twitter has been mainstream for over three years now, and yet despite it being one of the simplest social networks to get to grips with, many businesses still aren’t on it. Here we discuss some of the Twitter basics, as well as what benefits it might have to offer for your business.
What is it?
Twitter is fundamentally a real-time online message client that allows you to broadcast 140-character messages, commonly known as “tweets”, for anyone to potentially read. It’s also possible to send tweets to other users individually. You can “follow” people to receive their tweets in your timeline, and likewise people can follow you to receive your tweets in theirs. In recent years Twitter has enjoyed a huge amount of growth, with recent reports suggesting that upwards of 300 million users are on Twitter.
In getting your head round Twitter there are a few terms and concepts that it’s worth knowing the meaning of before you get started.
- Timeline: your personal Twitter homepage. This is where tweets from you and people you follow will show up the moment they’re tweeted.
- Followers: other Twitter users who subscribe to receive your tweets in their timeline. You can follow or unfollow as many users as you like.
- Retweet: if you spot a tweet from someone else that you’d like your own followers to see, you can retweet it with one click of a button.
- Mentions: you can mention people by including their Twitter username prefixed by “@” in a tweet (for instance @XanderMarketing). This means that your tweet will show up in their timeline whether they follow you or not.
- Hashtags: by putting a “#” at the beginning of a word you’ve used in a tweet, it becomes a hashtag, which makes it more likely to appear when people search for that word.
- Trends: the most popular words and phrases that people are talking about on Twitter at any given time.
The benefits of Twitter
Whilst Twitter isn’t necessarily for everyone, it does have some excellent practical applications, particularly in marketing and customer service. Its ease of use and the immediacy with which you can tweet from anywhere at any time about anything makes it a great way of quickly conveying information to your followers, be it special offers, relevant links or content you’ve created. For organisations, it can provide a useful informal mailing list through which you can communicate with customers either individually or as a group, helping to establish a valuable two-way dialogue.
If you’re taking your first steps into social media and need advice, or want someone to take some of it off your hands, then get in touch with us on +44 (0)330 223 2770. Make sure you follow @XanderMarketing on Twitter too.