Originally published in slightly modified form on New York Women in Communications.
On July 27, Jennifer Shaheen from the Technology Therapy Group (TTG) led a “Twitter for Business” webinar geared to small business owners. Jennifer’s webinars are usually held in a small setting, where all participants can raise questions and concerns and get individualized feedback, thus offering a much more personalized service.
Twitter has become a branding and marketing tool for businesses to expand their reach, but there are a few points to remember in using this social media platform. Here are a few key points from the event:
Choosing a Twitter Name
This decision depends on whether you are tweeting for yourself or for a company. If you are tweeting for a company, the account should be set up so someone else can take over in the event that your duties change. If you reserve more than one name, you will need to provide two separate addresses.
Setting up a Twitter Account
Setting up an account is straightforward, but you can customize the interface of your page, add a web site URL and bio to your profile. Tweets are limited to 140 characters, but bios can include up to 160 characters. In Settings, you customize the look of your page, as well as access your account, password, devices, notices, pictures, background design, connections and geo tagging. Geo tagging adds a location context to your tweets, which is useful when you want to connect to other users at a local level. There are several free Twitter backgrounds available on twitterbackgrounds.com, twitterpatterns.com, twitterbacks.com or twitbacks.com or you can upload your own image.
Finding People to Follow
Go to your favorite authors’ web sites or companies and follow them. You can also read the profiles of people following the companies and people you like. You can also look for people on search.twitter.com. Jennifer suggests deciding what you want from Twitter, like advice, business opportunities, support, entertainment, news, relationships. As a business owner, Shaheen suggests not to tweet about politics, religion or details about your family. Shaheen follows people who provide value in her industry or could be potential customers, and she recommends creating rules for yourself. “You don’t have to follow everyone,” she says. Not even if they follow you.
Types of Tweets
These include links, your opinions and comments, accomplishments, questions, pictures. As a rule of thumb, Shaheen recommends the following tweet ratio: Useful information for your market: 50% of your tweets; industry news: 20%; better life ideas: 10%; your web site resources: 10%; asking questions: 5%; about you: 5%
Twitter has its own jargon that you should follow:
- DM@twittername: Direct message
- @twittername: to reply to a post or address a person directly in a tweet
- RT @twittername: to retweet messages you agree with, giving credit to those who created the tweet. Jennifer adds that re-tweeted messages should not be edited. You can add your own comments before the RT, however. [My note: You can use MT @twittername when you edit a tweet]
- # followed by a keyword or phrase is known as a hashtag, a simple way for searching or tagging tweets that have a common topic. For more information on hash tags, go to http://hashtags.org/
Jennifer cautions that Twitter is not SMS and texting jargon should be avoided. She recommends using real language instead. For further reading, she recommends the book “Twitter Power” by Joel Comm, who stresses that Twitter is a community rather than a giant networking room: http://tiny.cc/44cs4
Categories: Social Media