Welcome to our Mini Guide to Twitter.

Twitter unites the world through short messages, keeping you updated, informed and educated – And it’s ideal for engaging with your customer or fan base.

Membership is free and the platform can be accessed via SMS, web site and mobile app.

While Facebook is about “friends” and “liking”, Twitter is about following and followers. Twitter users do upload photographs and video, but the most common posts are text messages:  a process known as Tweeting.

Twitter is designed to be a quick and easy way to communicate. It’s quickly gaining momentum as a marketing platform too, but people use it for a variety of different reasons.

HOW DOES TWITTER WORK?

In brief:

  1. Search for people you know or like
  2. “Follow” them
  3. “Tweet”

Twitter users will discover you via key words on your profile page and your individual “tweets.” They may even “follow” you.

WHO USES TWITTER?

Anyone and everyone uses Twitter –  even experts in nearly every field.  With 236 million monthly active users, finding experts is easy. From business to entertainment, local law enforcement to breaking news – Twitter is more about getting the inside scoop before the story hits mainstream media.  It’s also great for just reading what others are saying about topics that interest you. Here are some more specific examples:

  • Authors and professionals promoting services
  • Activists and freedom fighters trying to change the world
  • Bloggers and podcasters getting their message out to followers
  • Celebrities and athletes keeping in touch with fans
  • Companies offering customer service
  • Doctors pursuing #Hashtags to track information on illnesses
  • Newspapers breaking and chasing top stories
  • Researchers posting facts and statistical data
  • Movie, Television and Radio interacting (on multiple levels) with their audience

FOLLOWING

You can search for friends, family, and famous people using Twitter;  Twitter will make suggestions for people to follow. Once you have followed 20  people, you can begin tweeting.

Note:  you do not need a user’s permission in order to follow them.  Just click the “follow” button.  Once you are following someone, you will be able to see their tweets on your page.

Follow the best and examine who THEY follow in your quest for inspiration!

TIMELINE

Your Twitter Timeline is the “stream” of tweets you see when you log on.  It is in real-time –  literally, it comes to life!  Every Timeline is unique every time you log on. The newest posts appear at the top and “stream” down the page into the past. Timelines often very busy places so the “lifespan” of each post on a Timeline can be seconds, minutes or hours – depending on how many people you’re following. Many Twitter users have thousands of followers. Some (i.e. celebrities) have millions.

– Initially, Twitter can be very much about the moment.

TWEETS

Think of Tweets like status updates on Facebook.  Tweets are a maximum of 140 characters.

#HASHTAGS

Much like key-words, hashtag (#) symbols “tag” your tweets. For example, if you’re looking for resume advice, you could type #resume. When someone clicks that hashtag, he/she can read your tweet, and the tweets of others who are using that hashtag. Hashtags are also searchable and give context to tweet content that might not make sense otherwise.

@USERNAMES and @REPLIES

The @ symbol in front of a username tags that user. If you want to mention or reply to someone, just type the @ symbol in front of their username and then compose the tweet.

RETWEETS

Retweets, or “RT” are a way to share a tweet from another user. Others can also see who you’re talking about. For example, @edythe_richards I loved your presentation today. Keep up the great work!

FOLLOWERS

The more you tweet, the more followers you’ll likely get. Remember that your tweets are in real time, so your tweets won’t necessarily be visible to your followers when they’re using their accounts.  Tweeting multiple times per day (1-4) is recommended as a starting point.

TWEET IDEAS

  • Ask a question or offer an opinion to someone (using the @username feature)
  • Get involved in a trending #Hashtag
  • Offer quality advice
  • Retweet (“RT”) quality posts (when you share a followers post it’s known as a Retweet)
  • Search the web and share links from quality articles (many sites have a Twitter button near each article)
  • Share a little of yourself
  • Tease out new clients with promotional messages
  • Tweet a famous quote

Although it’s possible to browse without joining, signing up for Twitter is recommended.

TWITTER Sign-Up REQUIRES

  1. Full Name – Any name (can be modified later)
  2. Email Address – one per account (many people have 2 accounts, one personal use and one for their brand)
  3. Username – up to 15 characters, this is UNIQUE and on a first come, first served basis. Owning your “brand-name” is always a plus.

TOP TWITTER TIPS

  • Click the yellow star to Favorite a Tweet – a great way to show you care about a post.
  • Direct (private) Messaging is allowed when people mutually follow each other. But many people avoid using this.
  • Learn #Hashtags to unite and categorize Timelines, people and subjects – If you’re posting career advice end your message #CareerAdvice
  • Post to anybodies Timeline by including the Username preceded by the @ symbol. For example “I enjoyed your Twitter article @atopcareer”
  • Top messages deserve a Retweet – share the information with your followers.
  • Tweets can be 140 characters
  • To encourage a Retweet, keep messages to 100 or fewer characters. This length also applies to text accompanying a photograph.
  • There is no obligation to follow everybody who follows you.
  • If you Follow someone it’s OK to Unfollow them later.

Consider Twitter like a nightclub. Enjoy a few dances but don’t over-drink, be respectful and remember: the manager is watching. 🙂

FINALLY…

  • People are unlikely to follow until you upload a profile photo.
  • Complete your Twitter Biography ASAP. Up to 160 Characters, this appears alongside your profile photo throughout the web.

Useful Links

I hope you enjoyed our Mini Guide to Twitter.  All the best!

Follow @atopcareer on Twitter