Last month we covered marketing your business on Twitter. Now let's get your Twitter Account up and running, learn the language, structure and hopefully focus on enough Twitter positives to keep you from becoming a "Twitter Quitter."
The beauty of Twitter lies in its simplicity and ability to allow you to connect and interact with a large audience, sharing ideas, product information and expertise in a manner that can help solidify your brand within your target market. Figuring out the logistics of getting a Twitter account up and running, however, can be challenging for those who don't have a lot of experience on the Internet.
We've developed a "Twitter Social Networking User Guide" for our clients which explains all of the functions of Twitter, including everything from how to log in to Twitter to how to navigate through the links. If you're ready to give Twitter a try, but worried you won't be able to find your way around once you log in, feel free to download or print this handy "cheat sheet" and use it to help you navigate through the "Twitterverse." Just head on over to http://GJBPartners.com and look for the link that says "Twitter Social Networking User Guide".
This guide is intended for elementary instructional purposes and doesn't contain all the information relevant to navigating the entire scope of programs and/or services designed and currently available for Twitter.com users, but hopefully it will give you a good start.
Learning Basic Twitter Language
Understanding basic Twitter terms and how to use them is the key to managing Tweets effectively. I'll share two common Twitter terms, Re-Tweeting and hashtags, and their uses in this article, but you'll find a complete listing of all the Twitter Terms listed in The Twitter Dictionary, also known as Twittonary, along with explanations of Twitter-related words. You'll find this helpful tool at http://Twittonary.com.
RT: The letters RT are shorthand for the term Re-Tweet. A Re-Tweet is something that is shared, usually a link, quote or request, from one Twitter account to another. Twitter users place the letters "RT" in front of whatever information they are sharing (Re-Tweeting), to give credit to the original poster and let other Twitter users know the source of the original information.
How are Re-Tweets structured? Here's an example from one of our clients, Milkins Jewelers (Twitter user name @MilkinsJewelers) in Wyandotte, Michigan. The first post listed below is the original "Tweet" from Milkins, which contains a link to a news article, and reads:
Egypt Signs $34.5 Million Energy, Gold Agreements: Egypt signed 4 energy & gold exploration agreements valued at $34.5 @ http://tr.im/wNmo
A little later that day, another Twitter user, @Egytweets (which Tweets and Re-Tweets information about all things related to and relevant about Egypt) picked up the Milkins tweet and put it out to their follower list. Their Tweet reads:
EgyTweets RT @milkinsjewelers: Egypt Signs $34.5 Million Energy, Gold Agreements: Egypt signed 4 energy & gold exploration agreements valued a ...
So, EgyTweets passed along relevant, timely information to their followers while giving credit to the original source, which was Milkins Jewelers.
What about structuring a Re-Tweet for interesting information? Here's an example of a perfect one, from Twitter user Kathy Beall (Twitter user name @k_beall), K. Beall Associates & Executive Director of the Alabama Jewelers Association.
The first post listed below is an original "Tweet" from Southern Jewelry News (Twitter user name @sjmajewelrynews) and links back to their Southern Jewelry News website. It reads:
Rash of shipping losses calls for attention to proper packaging: Outbreaks of shipping losses affecting several Jewelers @ http://tr.im/xOT8
Kathy felt this information would be both timely and interesting for members of the Alabama Jewelers Association, especially with the holiday season fast approaching. After she read the Southern Jewelry News "Tweet" she passed it along on her Twitter account, and her followers saw it as:
RT @sjmajewelrynews Rash of shipping losses calls for attention to proper packaging: Outbreaks of shipping losses calls @ http://tr.im/xOT8
By structuring her "Tweet" to give credit to the original source (Southern Jewelry News) and including the link, Kathy's followers are now able to access information from Southern Jewelry News that they may have otherwise missed.
Hashtags: One of the most perplexing things to new Twitter users is the hashtag symbol. If I had a dollar for every time someone asks me about the "pound-sign thing" - well let's just say I'd be buying a lot of shoes, or Debbie Brooks handbags for every outfit! Hashtags are used to help track, organize, filter and facilitate searching by word, subject, trending topics or categories.
A common use for hashtags within the Twitter space is "Follow Friday." Follow Friday is a great concept and used to recommend Twitter users to each other. Think of it as a personal recommendation or introduction, but on a much larger scale.
A recent Follow Friday "Tweet" from our @gjbpartners account looked like this:
sending #FollowFriday hugs out to @mama_red, @schnacksjewelry, @gtbundy, @sjmajewelrynews, @nickeyh, @centurionshow, @joyero
You can use a hashtag to flag any topic. Back during the Stanley Cup playoffs, we tweeted about Lord Stanley's Cup and it's origins. Because there were a lot of people on Twitter looking for information about the playoffs, we always included a hashtag in those playoff tweets so users searching for information on the Stanley Cup playoffs would be able to see our tweets. We picked up a lot of additional followers during that time because of our strategic use of hashtags.
Tweeting and Re-Tweeting and Hashtags - oh my! If you're reading this information and starting to get discouraged, don't worry, you aren't alone. Like anything new, it takes a little while to wrap your arms around the concept of Social Networking. There's a term for people who start Tweeting and then become overwhelmed - it's called a "Twitter Quitter". A Nielsen report back in April of 2009 states that about 60% of new users quit the service (hence the term "Twitter Quitter") within a month of joining. The challenge with Twitter is not the technology itself, it's the lack of understanding how to harness that technology to make it work for you and your business.
Use the K-I-S-S rule with Twitter. Start Tweeting what you know about and grow from there. If you're ready to get serious about adding Social Networking to your business mix, but don't have the time, interest or ability to do it yourself, pick up the phone and call us, or any other company that has social networking experience. Our job is to make it work for you, not to make you work for it!
Next month - An overview about Push on vs. Pass on marketing, and we'll take a look at how Southern Jewelry News is making Twitter work for them.