Twitter is a different animal from most other social media platforms. Twitter is an environment where the ultimate "Belieber" can address Bieber directly, where baking enthusiasts can engage in confectionary conversation with bakers around the world, where upset cell phone users go to complain about their cell service, the list is seriously endless. Twitter can be scary and overwhelming to any new user. The format for direct conversation is unfamiliar, and the amount of seemingly "random" information being spewed into the Twittersphere can be hard to untangle. How do you demonstrate your relevance? Better yet, how do you cut through the noise? It recently occurred to me that what might be "common knowledge" to me may be absolutely foreign to so many other individuals. So, I’ve developed a "Twitter Cheat-Sheet" to get started in the event that you’re new to the platform: The Twitter Handle: Your Twitter "handle" is your username. For instance, mine is @jencoleict. I chose to use my name and the initials for the city that I live in to clearly define who I am and where I’m from. If someone wanted to tweet directly at me, they would include my "twitter handle" in the tweet to ensure that I see it.
1. The Hashtag: Essentially, a hashtag (#) is used to categorize a tweet in order to make it (your tweet) easily found by users who are also interested in the topic, and is places in front of the term. (example: #socialmedia) It’s important to remember that hashtagged terms cannot include spaces or any other type of punctuation besides the single hashtag. (Acceptable: "#prettyfood", Unacceptable: "#pretty food")
2. The Direct Tweet: This sort of goes hand-in-hand with the Twitter Handle, but it’s more of a side note. It’s very important to remember that when you begin a tweet with an "@mention," it is only visible to the person to whom you are directly tweeting, it is not visible to all of your followers. If you’d like for your tweet to be visible to all of your followers in addition to the person you are mentioning, you must put at least one character before the "@". See the example below:
3. The Retweet: The "retweet" is the holy grail of Twitter engagement. Like I mentioned above, when someone retweets your tweet, it is then not only visible to all of your followers, it is also visible to all of the followers of the person that retweeted your tweet. This can increase the amount of times that your tweet is viewed, sometimes exponentially, and sometimes you can even get some new followers because of it. When someone finds something that you’ve tweeted to be highly relevant, they will oftentimes retweet it. (quite a compliment!)
4. The Twitter List: Twitter lists are great for organizing twitter accounts that you find valuable by category. I have mine organized by some of my favorite places to visit and some of my interests. The members of these lists include accounts that I view as valuable for the list that I added them to. They can be publication accounts, influential accounts, or just accounts that I’m intrigued by for one reason or another. Please note: You do not have to follow someone in order to add them to one of your lists.
Twitter can be a fun and exciting platform for developing your community. It’s an easy place to expose your brand to potentially interested followers, simply by tweeting them directly or using hashtags. Twitter is often used as a search engine for breaking news, for latest sporting event scores, and for research on almost any topic. Questions? Feel free to reach out! Did you find this article helpful? Please let us know!