“Every day, millions of people use Twitter to create, discover and share ideas with others. Now, people are turning to Twitter as an effective way to reach out to businesses, too. From local stores to big brands, and from brick-and-mortar to internet-based or service sector, people are finding great value in the connections they make with businesses on Twitter.” ““ Twitter 101 A Special Guide
So far we have learned about how you can use a blog and YouTube to promote your video. We talked about how you can share your video to social media sites. Twitter is one of those sites that let you share your thoughts to others in 140 characters or less.
Twitter has only been around since 2006, but has exploded out of nowhere. Anyone from the average individual, business to movie star is on Twitter, either using it to promote a cause, a business, an event or to let the world know what they are up to. It’s not just people talking about what they had for breakfast this morning.
The first thing you need to do is setup a Twitter account at http://www.twitter.com. It’s free!
Choose a user name that is either the name of your cause or business. If you have a blog, website, Twitter and Facebook page, try to keep the name the same. Keep in mind that it is possible your name might already be taken.
Make sure you add your website or blog address to your profile. In the bio field include important information about your cause. Customize your page to match the theme of your website/blog so you have that same look and feel across all your social media properties. Find free backgrounds at http://www.twitrbackgrounds.com or search “Twitter Backgrounds” for other websites. Below is the Twitter account for my hosting business IgniteHost. If you go to the website for the business you will see the same background used.
IgniteHost Website showing the same graphic as the above Twitter Page
Notice the Follow Us button on the right on the Ignite Host website. This is another way you can fully integrate social media into your sites. Make sure you make it easy for someone to follow you on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.
Spell it right
When you are ready to send out your first Tweet, there are some important items you should not miss. You are broadcasting your views to thousands of people around the world. Spelling and grammar are important if you want others to take you seriously. I suggest that you use a browser like Chrome or Firefox that have spell checking built-in. There are also apps out there like HootSuite and Seesmic Desktop and web version. These applications can be used on the desktop, your web browser or mobile device.
Download Seesmic: http://seesmic.com/
Download HootSuite: http://hootsuite.com/
Tweet 140 characters
Getting your point across in 140 characters or less might seem a little tough. But if you plan ahead, it can be pretty painless. Here are a couple of things to remember when sending a tweet. Any links in your tweet should be near the beginning of the tweet. If you put them at the end of your tweet and someone re-tweets your tweet, the link might get cut-off. I recommend that you don’t use the full 140 characters. The power of Twitter is when someone re-tweets your tweet. What the heck is that, you are probably asking? Re-tweeting is when someone else on Twitter sends out your tweet to their followers. This is a great way to give your cause more exposure to those on Twitter. Here’s what a re-tweet looks like:
Note that the Twitter name of the person posting the original tweet is first. In the example that happens to be @ConanOBrien. Next is a link, which happens to be a photo uploaded to TwitPic. This is one of several sites you can post a photo for others to view. It might be a photo of a political rally, your volunteers, your businesses storefront or maybe even one of your products.
There are many services available to shorten the length of your website links. Bit.ly allows you to track stats on how many have clicked on your links. Do a search for “shorten URL” and you should get a list of several to pick from. Get your tweet across by making it short and sweet and to the point.
Just like WordPress, Twitter has its own tagging system. In Twitter they are called a hashtag because they start with a hash symbol # or pound symbol. It was created by users of Twitter as a way to filter tweets and group them together. If your cause is about cancer, you would want to add the hashtag #cancer to your tweet to group it with other tweets about cancer. I suggest you do some research to find out what hashtags are already being used. You can do that by utilizing sites such as http://www.hashtags.org for real-time hashtag tracking.
#hashtagtip – use a hashtag when it is beneficial and not all the time, so you don’t annoy your followers. Only use them when they add value to your tweet and will help others find your cause.