The Why and How of Twitter

Originally posted on October 6, 2009 on emeryroad.wordpress.com

Since Twitter’s inception, there has been a great deal of talk about the value and purpose of Twitter. While it is true that many individuals use Twitter to tell followers what they had to eat or what they did the night before, many folks (business professionals included) use Twitter for useful reasons. What useful reasons could there possibly be, you ask. Those who gain value from using such an interesting tool

  • stay connected with their target audience;
  • follow others in their industry;
  • learn valuable information they probably would not have been exposed to otherwise; and
  • gain exposure for their business.

Here are some tips on how to use Twitter:

  • Develop a plan. Decide how you want to use Twitter. Do you want to get to know your followers, provide valuable tips and information to help others, use it primarily as a marketing tool? Will you plan your tweets?
  • Decide on a username. Keep your username short and easy to remember. By keeping it short, you’ll increase your retweetability.
  • Create a profile. Write a biography that explains what you do. Make the most of those 160 characters and use keywords that clearly describe your business. These keywords will help with your search engine ranking.
  • Upload a photo or a company logo, depending on your Twitter plans.
  • Tweet. Communicate with others. Post tips, links to useful information, and other content that you think might be valuable to your readers. Let everyone know about new blog posts, news about your company, appearances in articles, etc.
  • Recommend others. Friday is well-known to Twitter folks as FollowFriday when people recommend that followers follow certain individuals. Recommend one person or company at a time and mention why people should follow them.
  • Respond to replies and mentions. It is a nice gesture to thank someone for retweeting or including you in a FollowFriday mention.
  • Tweet on a regular basis. You want your audience to remember you, so tweet a few times throughout the day.

The nuts and bolts of tweeting:

  • Be sure to use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation when tweeting. Be professional and proofread before sending your tweet to the twittersphere. A bad tweet can haunt you for life as it gets indexed with the search engines.
  • Be tasteful. Again, you don’t want to post anything unprofessional or inappropriate, so take your message into consideration before submitting.
  • Avoid political statements. Politics should be avoided when it comes to business. You don’t want to offend your current or potential customers.
  • Keep your tweets to 120 characters or less to improve their retweetability. If your tweets are too long, people either won’t retweet them or they’ll butcher your tweet and you’ll risk appearing unprofessional.
  • Use a URL shortener to keep your links short and retweetable.
  • Provide valuable information. You want to earn respect and appreciation from your followers, so give them content they can benefit from. For example, if you own a fireplace store, you might offer tips on selecting the right fireplace, how to make the most of your stove, or how to save money on heating.

About the Author: Jody Calkins is a freelance business writer who writes about business development, risk management, security protection, and business standards. Visit www.emeryroad.com for more information and samples.

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