It’s easier than it looks fitting your Businesses into the Twitter culture. We show you how.
Twitter is more than just posting what you had for breakfast and reading about other culinary feats. It is a powerful information tool that is excellent at delivering short, sharp messages. Where Facebook employs its post ranking algorithm EdgeRank that filters out unpopular Facebook posts, Twitter has no filtering mechanism. The catch here is that it is harder to appear in a user’s stream.
What does it all mean?
Twitter has its own vocabulary which can be daunting at first, however hopefully we will break it down for you. Firstly, on your profile page you can see your ‘Tweets’, ‘Following’ and ‘Followers’. A Tweet is essentially a status update. Twitter limits this to just 160 characters and only text, fortunately links are easily shortened. ‘Following’ shows you the activity of other Twitter accounts you have subscribed to i.e. following, whereas ‘followers’ are the people who have subscribed to your twitter account.
This is Psych Press’ Twitter profile. In a profile you are allowed to have a description of up to 160 characters, a location and a web address.
When looking at your tweet stream you will notice people using @ and # symbols in their tweets. An @ symbol is used to talk to or mention a particular person/profile through using their twitter username. When clicking reply on a tweet, twitter will automatically put who you are replying to as @username at the start of the tweet.
So in this example @latrobe means that Patrick is both mentioning La Trobe as he is speaking there and informing Latrobe that he has mentioned them (you get emailed if someone mentions you in a tweet, unless unchecked in settings).
As a result La Trobe has “retweeted” his post. A retweet happens when another user likes your post and decides to share it with their twitter followers. This way your post will appear in the feeds of people who are not following you but are following the user that retweeted you. The other users are informed who retweeted the tweet by the note under it.
Using the # hash symbol in a tweet is to hash tag the Tweet. In the above example the hash tag is #seewhatididthere. Hash tags make your tweets searchable, furthermore when clicking on a hash tag Twitter will show you a list of all other recent tweets from anyone in the world who recently used that tag. Using hash tags makes it easy to track and join in conversations, which is a great way to find people to follow who you may be interested in and vice versa!
Here is the Twitter Trend list. This can be changed to show any particular geography. As twitter is used in many different languages, what is trending locally is more useful than global trends
Twitter also trends current topics, and more often than not they are hash tags. An easy way to gain some publicity is to tweet using a hash tag for a trending topic and socialize with others in the trend (as they will with you, if your input is useful).
Your Business and the Twitterverse
The uses of Twitter for business vary dramatically. Some businesses use it to post all the latest current sales and deals. Others use it to post about general business updates. Then there are those who use it to post articles and interesting links. General Twitter guidelines suggest posting from 10 per day to 3 per week. The trick is to find something on a time budget that will work for you. There are services such as Triberr which you can use to automatically retweet other people’s content, however make sure you trust whoever you will be automatically retweeting if this is the avenue you chose, you don’t want to mention an advertiser or completely irrelevant material.
Twitter Tips and Small Business Examples
Retweeting - You can click ‘retweet’ to repeat someone’s story exactly, although sometimes it can be truncated if it is too long. If someone says something about your business and you’d only like to repeat a part of it, it is widely accepted to tweet “RT” short for ‘retweet’ before their input.
Eg. @James - “My foot is feeling a lot better. @JTPodiatry is the best!”
@JTPodiatry “Thanks James J RT “@JTPodiatry is the best!””
Following - Remember to follow any happy customers and anyone who gives you good publicity. This should be done as soon as possible, that way they are more likely to keep in touch again in the near future, or thank you for following. It is also a good idea to follow anyone that follows you, but avoid any spam looking accounts or adult content profiles. If you are followed by someone who looks like a potential customer, follow them back and thank them e.g. “Hi @Barbara. Thanks for the follow J” Just be sparing with this, as you don’t want to appear desperate. Generally you would not follow competitors - it’s not a good look if people find an alternative service while surfing your profile. Other groups to follow are: opinion leaders relevant to your industry, publishers who make news stories related to your industry, any partners or affiliates of your business, adding staff and having staff add you is also a good idea. The key is to make it a frequent habit!
Tweets – At first, you will be very tempted to tweet content that focuses heavily on gaining attention such as adding on very general questions to the end of each tweet or appearing amazed at the news you’re sharing. Twitter savvy users will catch onto this behaviour immediately, see you as less of a ‘human’ business and ignore you. Instead, put a bit of humour into what you’re posting and only ask questions if there are obvious opinions to be had. You don’t always need to add a link or join a # hashtag, sharing something timely or interesting about the business can be just as good. Remember, many enjoy using shortened slang online but you’re a business so watch your spelling!
Trends – Popular trends will show at the left of your page for the selected country (or you can opt for global). There are many ongoing trends that people often use such as #nowplaying if you’re playing music or #ihateitwhen. Ideally, about half of your tweets will add to or include a # to increase your chances of being exposed to new people. Most trends are about entertainment or sports celebrities, breaking news or the funnies (#foodmovienames types are always fun). If these have little to do with your business you don’t have to avoid them completely but may need to search #yourparticularindustry in the search bar to find something that has been trended at least an hour or two ago that is still relevant. If you’re not sure what trends to join, have a look at what your opinion leaders are using, (shortened terms are common, especially for institutions ie. #MTVawards) look up events that are coming soon or checkout trend sites such as http://trendsmap.com/
Searches – People don’t always use a hashtag for the topic they are Tweeting about, so frequent searching is very important. Be sure to search for your business name (or similar variations that people may write) often, and reply where necessary. Be sure to search for key terms related to your business to see if anyone is looking for your services. Tapping into those “Hey, anyone know where I can find a good xxxxxx?” tweets can be priceless! As long as your tweets are called for you will remain relevant and helpful!
o Once your account is setup, explore trends and searches
o Follow relevant accounts, retweet and respond
o Utilise hashtags that are in use and add something of interest
o Fit your Tweets and regular checks into your Social Media schedule
For those in Allied Health + Small Business
For you, joining in on discussions and news updates related to health and then linking it back to your product is quite easy. There are always new findings and updates going on related to your profession that will undoubtedly hit Twitter. If you can get into these updates or trends and add your own expertise you will reach new crowds and hopefully focus on a centralised group closer to your location!