Twitter – when & what to tweet
What is Twitter?Twitter is an application to send messages of 140 characters. A message is called a Tweet. Twitter started in 2006. The total number of active users (at least one message per month) is more than 250 million.
Although Tweets are basically text messages you can add photos, videos and links.
The Twitter logo is easily recognizable:
Getting started with TwitterFirst things first, you need an account: Signup for Twitter.
The user name is the account name, the one that is used to refer to your postings. It identifies you on Twitter. No spaces are allowed.
The name is a more description one, on various places it is shown behind your user name. You can use you real name for it. Spaces are allowed.
Publishing or reading TweetsOnce you Tweet, it is publicly posted on your Twitter profile. In addition, people can follow your stream of Tweets called a timeline so that they automatically appear in their own timelines.
Every Twitter users has a timeline which is basically an overview of the Tweets of all the Twitter users they follow. They are placed in order of date & time with the newest on top. When you follow a lot of other Twitter users or if they post a lot of Tweets this overview becomes overwhelming. Sort and search functions can help. Special programs deliver various functions that help you organize the Tweets.
Important keywords in Twitter
HashtagA hashtag is a word (or combination of words without spaces) with a # Before it. Like #halloween. The purpose of a hashtag is to find subjects in the enormous amount of Tweets that are published. This is used often for events or topics that get of lot of attention. The latter are called trending topics.
Trending topicTopics that people talk a lot about, at that moment. There are lists with these trending topics. Even per country and per city. Newspapers like to quote them in columns like "What is trending?". Topics often concern sport events, artists, new movies, politics and rumors.
@ followed by a usernameTo refer to a twitter user that users name preceded by a @ is used. Searching for Tweets of a specific user is also possible in this way.
Twitter streamYour timeline built with your messages.
Retweet (RT)Resending a posting of someone else (a kind of "like" or "me too"). I can also be used just to refer to a message, with or without your comment to it.
A message that is retweeted by you becomes part of your Twitter stream.
FollowersThese are the people that subscribed to your account in order to read your postings.
Note that a lot of people subscribe to others because they hope that you'll follow them likewise. It used to be polite, or the right thing to do in the past.
Do's & don'ts
- Don’t tweet things that you would not say in person to someone. Or line some people say: do not post things that you don't want your mom to read.
- Use keywords and hashtags in your Tweets.
- Keep below the 140 characters to allow others to easily retweet your messages.
- If you want to be noticed it is essential to post regularly. At least a few Tweets per week. Still better -in some scenarios- a few per day. But is all depends what you or your organization has to say. Do not repeat the same messages, people will see it as spam (what it probably is).
Tweets on websitesIt is easy to show your postings on your website as well. After adding some code the website displays your latest Tweets. These messages are shown in a list, often at the right side of the screen. It gives the visitor of the website the idea that 'there is something going on'. Website owners like it because they can use their Tweets to 'update' the website automatically. To give the website visitors a good impression the Tweets have to be current and relevant.
Tweets on your website can give the impression that the company is hip and 'on the move'.
Statistics about Twitter, Tweets and Trending TopicsStatistics about Twitter are used more every day. When certain topics get a lot of postings conclusions are drawn that these topics are important. Newspaper and online columns are filled with these (trending) topics because the postings are about popular contents, and columns can be easily produced.
As is often the case, statistics can be misinterpreted or can be manipulated to shown what you want to prove. When a small group of people write a lot of messages about something than that's different than if a large group is writing one or two Tweets.
But social media are hot so an article about a trending topic is news in itself. So the same applies to topics that are popular on Facebook, Google+, Instagram or other networks.
Reasons to Twitter
- Everybody else does it....
- See what your friends are doing (or see what they say they are doing).
- Get engaged in a network or topic.
- Promote yourself or your organization.
- Be informed quickly about news, be the first to know.
- Want to be heard / read.
- Passing time / having fun.
Comparing Tweets with newsletters
what to use to create business and profit
- It is difficult to measure if your Tweets are read. Software for newsletters use statistics that give you insight in how often newsletters are opened and how articles are read.
- To read Tweets someone has to login his or her Twitter account of use a program that displays the postings more or less automatically. Newsletter on the other hand are delivered is someone's mailbox. So you can be pretty sure that a subscriber of a newsletters gets the message that is sent to him of her. The receiver of a newsletter can ignore of delete the email but that's something different.
- Tweets have to compete with al lot of other Tweets, from other persons or organizations. But sometimes to have to compete with Tweets of the same sender when that account produces a stream of 'content.
- It is easier to get followers for a Twitter account than subscriptions for a newsletter. People that sign in on a newsletter are often more engaged.
Webcare - customer serviceCompanies noticed that complaints from their customers sometimes got a lot of attention. People like to retweet such problems. This can lead to bad publicity.
A way out of this is the forming of webcare teams and webcare Twitter accounts. Essentially it is just a form of customer support. Support can be delivered via telephone or e-mail but when it's done via Twitter it is 'cool'.