Twitter for business 101: Tweet? #what?

Twitter lessons

“What is Twitter?” and “Should I be using it for my business?” are two questions that a couple of start-up owners have asked me recently in hushed, embarrassed tones.   If you’re in the same boat then a) don’t be embarrassed, it takes 5 minutes to understand and b) the answer to the second question is, it depends.

So for those of you looking for a short and sweet beginner’s guide to Twitter for Business, here it is:

What is Twitter?

It’s an online social networking service that lets users send and read short, 140 character messages called ‘Tweets’.

Why should a business use it?

There are lots of reasons but my top 3 would be:

  1. It connects you to your customers because they’re probably using Twitter
  2. It’s free to promote your brand, products, services and interesting content you’ve created
  3. Increase sales – here are some examples of Twitter for business success stories.

Why should I not use it?

Like any social media channel, if you don’t have the time to dedicate to it (it doesn’t need to be a lot of time) then hold off until you can do it justice.  The more thought and effort you put into it, the more successful you’ll be.  If you’re only tweeting twice a year, nothing’s going to happen.

If your customers aren’t on Twitter, it probably won’t be of much value to you.  For example, if your target demographic is the OAP market, Twitter wouldn’t be the best channel to communicate with them.  There may be a benefit for industry news or keeping an eye on competitors or channel partners but if you’re short on time, I’d concentrate on another, more effective form of communication.

What should I post?

If you find it interesting, the chances are your followers will find it interesting.  Tweets that contain images generally do better (people read them, click on the links in them and retweet them).  Tweets for business can be anything from congratulating a client on news, promoting an ebook you’ve written, offering a discount, commenting on something that’s happened within the industry, company news, industry humour or even friendly competitive banter (see what Air New Zealand and Qantas got up to during the Rugby World Cup!)

What is a hashtag?

Twitter users use # (hashtags) to make it easier to search for topics of interest.  For example, if I wanted to read messages about the new iPad Pro that’s just been released, I’d type #iPadPro in the search bar on Twitter.  Any message that has used the #iPadPro hashtag will then appear.

What is a handle?

It’s your Twitter username.  Mine is @AlmanacMktg.  If you start a tweet with ‘@AlmanacMktg’ it’s a reply and will only be seen by the person you replied to and people who are following both of you. Nobody else will see it in their stream (although it will show up on your profile page and in Twitter search).  If you use @AlmanacMktg anywhere but at the start of the tweet, it’s call a mention and I and everybody following you will see that message.  It might look like this: ‘Just finalised my logo with @AlmanacMktg here it is’.

Twitter vs. Facebook?

You may choose both but Twitter is more spontaneous, less time consuming, has huge reach and anyone can search your Tweets.  On Facebook your reach is only as far as the number of likes you have on your page (unless you go for paid advertising but that’s for another time).

There is is,  a quick guide to Twitter for business.  If you think your company could benefit from social media but you need help figuring out where to start, get in touch, we’re always happy to help!