By Samantha Scott, APR
Moving on to a new network, this month’s Social Media Corner features Twitter. Many are intimidated by this social networking platform, but it’s really just micro-blogging. Here’s a few facts, resources and tips to use it effectively.
Twitter is one of the top tier social networks active right now. Even if you don’t fully understand it or use it, you’ve probably heard of it or seen the twitter icon (lower cased blue “t” or little blue bird). Self described as “an information network,” the company states “Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting.”
With roughly 175 million registered users, it’s no small potato. People that use the site can create an account, load a profile picture and custom background and engage with users around the world. Unlike Facebook, connections aren’t mutual. If I, for example, start to “follow” someone, they don’t automatically follow me back. They have to choose to do so. Likewise, I don’t have to follow everyone connected to me.
It’s a highly organized social network, allowing people to create lists and follow people that way and there are many directories in place (via third party sites) to help users connect with others based on similar interests. Searching the main Twitter feed for keywords or phrases of interest, including hashtags, is also a good way to find new connections.
The only limitation it has, which sets it apart from other social sites, is the length and style of posts – commonly referred to as “tweets.” Users can only share 140 characters in each post. That includes letters, numbers and spaces. Enter abbreviations, shortened links and other creative ways to briefly get the point across.
Overall, Twitter is a good tool for businesses to listen to consumers (complaints, compliments, needs) and share news. Just keep a 4 for 1 rule in mind. Twitter users want information, not sales. Share useful, on-topic information 4 times for every 1 self-serving or self-promoting post. Engage. Connect. Share. Listen.
- Twitip – “Getting More Out of Twitter,” includes user provided articles, tips, a beginner’s guide and more
- LINK: http://www.twitip.com/
- Search.Twitter.com – Exactly what it sounds like… search for a client name, phrase, keyword, sentiment, etc. by date range location and more
- Twitter for Business – The company’s site dedicated to helping business leverage their site to connect with consumers
- Hashtags – Used to connect with more than just your followers on a certain subject. Examples include #swfl #pr or #fpra
- Twitter Chat Schedule – Topics cover everything from stay at home moms to interior design, PR and more, this includes a date and time listing for all the chats taking place on Twitter
- LINK: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhisaMy5TGiwcnVhejNHWnZlT3NvWFVPT3Q4NkIzQVE&hl=en#gid=143
- TweetChat – an excellent website resource for participating in live chats