Business Guide to Twitter – Part 1

Intelligenthq Business Guide to Twitter

Intelligenthq Business Guide to Twitter

Introduction

In the Business Guide to Twitter – to be published in 7 times – Intelligenthq will be looking at the best ways to help grow your online presence using Twitter. We have looked at some of the best and informative Twitter guides out there, written by social media and Twitter experts. With these sources in mind, Intelligenthq will show you how to increase the amount of followers you have, ensure your business message gets to the right people and show you how to optimise all the tools available on this social network giant.

“A business must evolve and change with the times in order to survive, businesses that harness the power of twitter now will reap the largest rewards in the future.” – Alexander Aranda, SEO and social media Consultant, Head of Online Strategy IntelligentHQ

Many people take one look at Twitter and come to the conclusion that it’s a waste of time. For some it may seem too daunting a challenge to integrate their business into this new digital technology, some may see it as a shortlived fad that will all blow over in a couple of years.The point we must remember however, is that businesses all over the world are beginning to use Twitter as part of their steps into the social media landscape. It’s true that some sectors, like the financial industry, are being hesitant when it comes to joining the social network, but it’s fairly safe to say that in the next 10 years every business will have a strong social media presence and those that don’t will be left behind. Looking at it like that, it would seem common sense to try and get your foot in the door sooner rather than later.

However, like all social media and marketing tactics, before you can determine if something makes sense you need to take stock of your objectives. To see if Twitter could work well for your business, ask yourself these questions. IntelligentHQBusinessGuidetoTwitter

  1. Would you like a way to connect and network with others in your industry or others who share you views? Twitter can be a great connector.
  2. Would you like a way to get instant access to what’s being said, this minute, about your organisation, people, products, or brand? Twitter is a good source of viewing public opinion.
  3. Would you like a steady stream of ideas, content, links, resources, and tips focused on your area of expertise or interest? Twitter can provide you with a stream of information that is relative to you and your interests.
  4. Would you like to monitor what’s being said about your customers to help them protect their brands? It’s a good tool for that.
  5. Would you like to extend the reach of your thought leadership – blog posts and other content? Twitter can put you in touch with people all over the world.
  6. Would you like to promote your products and services directly to a target audience?

Before you take the first leap into a service like twitter, it’s important that you identify at least one objective from the list above and focus your efforts on learning how to use the tool to that end.

Twitter Platform Overview

Twitter was founded by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams in March 2006 (launched publicly in July 2006). To put it in basic terms, Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to post updates 140 characters long. Twitter is a real-time information network that connects users to the latest stories, ideas, opinions, and news.

twitter infographic

To the newcomer, Twitter can seem like a daunting and sprawling concept, but the basic mechanics are actually quite simple simple. Users publish tweets — those 140-character messages — from a computer or mobile device. (The character limit allows tweets to be created and circulated via the SMS platform used by most mobile phones.) As Twitter is a social network it is based around the principle of followers. Followers is a term for other twitter users who, based on the quality and usefulness of their tweets, you may want to follow and vice versa. When you choose to follow another Twitter user you will receive updates of every Tweet they post on your main Twitter page, and if you follow a number of people you’ll see a mix of their Tweets scrolling down the side.

Expanding Network

Twitter is still a rapidly growing social network, with over 140 million active users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion per day. Since its launch, the Twitter website has become one of the top 10 most visited on the Internet. We are now starting to see big businesses getting involved, keeping their customers updated with any changes in their products, or monitoring large quantities of Twitter feed to interpret and predict changing market trends.

As the tools have multiplied and evolved we’re discovering extraordinary new things to do with them. Last month an anticommunist uprising in Moldova was organized via Twitter, and it has also become widely used among political activists in China, so much so  that the government recently blocked access to it, in an attempt to censor discussion of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. A service called SickCity scans the Twitter feeds from multiple urban areas, tracking references to flu and fever. Celebrity Twitterers like Kutcher have directed their vast followings toward charitable causes (in Kutcher’s case, the Malaria No More organisation). Twitter has also been the first to broadcast worldwide news events, like the death of Whitney Houston and the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.

Twitter Terms

There are certain words and jargon native to Twitter that you may already have heard. These terms and their abbreviations are essential for understanding the network. Take some time to have a look through them and get familiar with their names.

  • Tweet: A 140-character message.
  • Retweet (RT): Re-sharing or giving credit to someone else’s tweet.
  • Feed: The stream of tweets you see on your homepage. It’s comprised of updates from users you follow.
  • Handle: Your username.
  • Mention (@): A way to reference another user by their username in a tweet (e.g. @intelligentHQ). Users are notified when @mentioned. It’s a way to conduct discussions with other users in a public realm.
  • Direct Message (DM): A private, 140-character message between two people. You may only DM a user who follows you.
  • Hashtag (#): A way to denote a topic of conversation or participate in a larger linked discussion (e.g. #economy, #Obama, #euro). A hashtag is a discovery tool that allows others to find your tweets, based on topics. You can also click on a hashtag to see all the tweets that mention it in real time — even from people you don’t follow.

See the other parts of the Guide

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