What Can Twitter Do For My BusinessAfter Facebook, Twitter is undeniably the most popular social media channel available. Twitter is similar to texting. It is an ongoing conversation with a specific audience. Many people enjoy the real-time interaction that Twitter provides. It is a great place to get to know people and spread the word about what is important to you.

How does it work?

In order to post on Twitter, you just need to set up an account at www.twitter.com. You will only need to provide your name and, email address. Once you have an account, you can get started. Each Twitter message, known as a tweet, is limited to 140 characters. This keeps your messages limited to tidbits, links, and brief commentary.

Who is on Twitter?

Twitter proclaims that more than 200 million people share 340 million tweets daily. Obviously, there is great potential in this forum. Among the active users are major influencers, people who have hundreds or thousands of followers. Connecting with any of them would mean that your tweets would be available to all of their audience.

What do I need to know?

  • Making friends on Twitter is called following. If someone follows you, you may want to follow them back, depending on your strategy. The more followers you have, the larger your audience.
  • One way to grab someone’s attention is to send them a private message or direct message. To do this you put the letters DM or D before an at symbol (@) and your target’s name within the text of your tweet. For example: “DM @santaclaus Thanks for all the great gifts!”
  • If you just want to call someone’s attention to your message, you can also use the at symbol (@) immediately before your target’s name within the text of your tweet. We had a great time this weekend at Rocky Mountain National Park. Come check it out @BearGrylls
  • If you like a tweet and want to share it with your followers, just click retweet at the bottom of the message. This is one way to develop relationships on Twitter.
  • When you read messages on Twitter, you may see words that have the hash tags (#) in front of them. This is a topic label. If you click on the term that has a hash tag attached, you will see a listing of tweets about the same subject. It is recommended that you use these sparingly in your own tweets. For example: “Let’s go to #Paris for the summer.”

Putting it all together

Now that you’ve got an account and you’ve got all the jargon down, let’s put this knowledge to work. How exactly can spending time on Twitter help your business? Well, like most other effective marketing tactics, it’s all about relationships. Just as you would when you start a new job, or walk into a strange place, take a look around first and observe what’s happening around you. Try to note the particular etiquettes that most people seem to follow.

Understand that as a worldwide forum, many of the readers will be in different time zones. The time you tweet matters as much as the time you would call someone at home. You can send photos, links, comments and questions but be sure to acknowledge and engage with anyone who responds.

But most importantly, keep all of your tweets within the context of the image you would like to present to your potential clients and employers. Be careful, just because the tone of this forum is informal, doesn’t mean that the Chairman of the Board or your soon to be mother-in-law won’t discover what you’re about. Make sure that you stick to the script of your brand image.