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Using twitter to create impact

This short blog will introduce twitter. We will discuss the main ways of using twitter and the ways in which you can make twitter have an impact.

American writer and consultant on the social and economic effects of the Internet, Clay Sharky was asked which service caused the greatest impact – Blogs? Facebook? Twitter? In his view Twitter is changing the Internet more than any other social media development. Twitter being so simple and open, is easier to integrate and harder to control than any other tool. Whether you agree or not, Twitter is an excellent, free networking and research tool. You can let people know what is happening with your programme and find out what others in your field are talking about. A  message or ‘tweet’ has a maximum length of 140 characters which is sent to your your friends or ‘followers’.

Twitter enables you to:

  • Stimulate conversation and project your companies personality and brand.
  • Highlight when and where people are talking about you.
  • Increase the footfall to your content by sending out links using twitter.

Make it worthwhile

It takes time and patience to build up a following on twitter – it won’t happen overnight. So if you choose to create a twitter account, you need to ensure that you have the time and resources to stick with it.

  • Twitter should be part of your overall marketing and communications strategy if it is going to be worth your while.
  • If you work for a large company it is worth setting you a group of people who will tweet. By sharing your workload and expertise there will be more to tweet about and it avoids making it a chore, better still, create a calendar with different people scheduled in and aim to tweet between one and three times a day.
  • Set up a management system for your twitter account. You have two main choices, a desktop application or a browser application, examples include Tweetdeck and Hootsuite (a desktop and browser based application retrospectively).

Tips on content

Tell your audience about projects that you are working on.  Direct people to your blog by tweeting on your area of interest but don’t limit your twitter to what you are doing! Comment on other people’s tweets and link to other news/discussions/sites that interest you. Interaction and engagement with others should be prioritised over endlessly pushing your own content– it is first and foremost a social media tool, so be social. Do this and you will increase your friends and referrals through to your site will soon follow.

Getting started:

Ultimately your twitter feed should be a careful balance of news and discussion about your content and re-tweeting or commenting on what others are saying – it should include some personal information so people know you are a human but don’t go overboard, keep it professional. Make yourself known as an expert on your specialism so that others will follow you.

  • Don’t choose a username that is too long. The shorter the more space you have to tweet!
  • Start conversations with the ‘@’ command, don’t just wait for people to talk to you. If something is going on in your industry don’t be scared to ask for opinions and feedback
  • Make sure to respond to people that ‘@’ or direct message you, this is just a matter of courtesy, if people are taking the time to message you, respond.
  • Promote your twitter name, link to your twitter profile in your email signature, business cards and at the end of posts.
  • Want to add an image? Use applications like TwitPic lets you share photos on Twitter.

You can post pictures to TwitPic from your phone, our API, or through the site itself.

Reasons to make people follow you:

  • Write every word like they matter, because they do!
  • Tweet for your specific audiences
  • Ask people following you what they think
  • Link to interviews/other content audience interactive experiences on your website. Twitter attracts an engaged audience who are active; these are the kind of members you want reading your content – they are more likely to share their views by commenting in response to your blog!
  • Offer previews and rewards to your followers. Make them feel special for following you.
  • Give-aways and competitions are great ways of getting people following you.
  • Share links, share ideas, ask questions, answer questions — anything but “what are you doing?” unless it’s really interesting.
  • Keep your Twitter updated and the followers will come. Stay up-to-date and you will reap the benefits.
  • Upload a photo – if you don’t want to make it one of yourself – use a logo. People love to know who they are chatting with and are much less likely to follow a profile that has been customised.
  • Don’t make your background look like some sort of advertisement, it turns people off.
  • Follow people you think are interesting, don’t just follow people because everyone else is.
  • Avoid following more people than you can handle. If you’ve got too much going on, you miss a lot of the good stuff.

Spread your tweets

Twitter is meant to be fun, not a chore.  The focus of having an account should be on learning, sharing content and getting involved in discussion with new people. Avoid sending all your tweets at once like a task ticked off, it sends out the wrong message. If you prefer to write them in one go then consider signing up to a service such as TweetLater which allows you to send out twitter messages to a schedule set up in advance and also includes the ability to automate reciprocal follows.
Are people talking about you?

  • Check what others say about you through the tweet deck and sites such as social mention which track what other people say about you.  [Social mention is a real time social media search engine which allows you to track what other people say about you along with keyword analysis].
  • Twitter Search the simplest way to see trends on Twitter is on their official search page. Hot trends on Twitter appear on the search page and on the Twitter homepage, and clicking any will bring up a feed of the public conversation.
  • Monitter: Monitter is one of the best ways to track trends in real-time. Type in keywords and it will automatically update with the most recent tweets containing those terms. Add or remove columns to give you the right amount of information.
  • The popular webpage on Twitter hashtags also provides graphs on hashtag use just by hovering over the hashtag. There are also pages that show the most popular and newest hashtags, but their uptime is unreliable.
  • PowerSearch: PowerSearch not only tweets about emerging trends, but daily and weekly trends that you may have missed out on.

twitter terminology

  • To follow somebody is to subscribe to their messages
  • A tweet is an individual message
  • A DM or direct message is a private message on Twitter
  • RT or retweet is to repost a valuable message from somebody else on Twitter and give them credit
  • Trending topics are the most-discussed terms on Twitter at any given moment’

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