Using Twitter is a great way to start building your online brand. If you can send a text message, you can tweet. You can only communicate using 140 characters on Twitter, but if you want people to Retweet (RT) or share your content, you should cut your tweets down to 125 characters. Here a few quick rules: Listen first, then engage with people directly, then start sharing articles of interest to attract your target audience. Once you establish relationships on Twitter you can then start writing your own blog and tweeting your original content.
- Decide what you wish to accomplish before using Twitter. Are you trying to establish your expertise, looking for a new work opportunity or simply want to connect with others who share a special interest or expertise?
- Figure out who your target audience is and where these folks hang out online. (You want to be as specific as possible in targeting your efforts.)
- Establish your own website. It does not make sense to use social media if you do not have a place to drive traffic, like your own website.
- Developing a list of 3-5 blogs or websites. It’s a good idea to develop a daily habit of going out to a few websites and finding content to share on twitter
- Remember that social media marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. You will get out of it what you invest in it.
5 steps to Establishing Your Twitter Account:
- Set up an account
- Enter your profile information & photo
- Find your friends
- How to follow someone
- How to post messages
Step 1: Set up an account
- Go to http://twitter.com and click the big green “Get Started — Join!” button.
- On the resulting screen, enter the username you want, your desired password, your email address and complete the spam checker
- About your username:
- Use your whole name, nickname, name of your business or a description of your service, examples @comcastcares @jenny55 @bizsavvymom @smallbizlady
Step 2: Enter your profile information
- Your profile information is important. If you want people to want to connect to you, you’ll need to tell them a little bit about yourself. Try not to write anything scary or silly; or too personal. You need just to explain your expertise and/or interests. And your location should be a larger city nearby.
- Log into Twitter, and click on the ‘Settings’ link at the top of your Twitter homepage.
- The ‘Account’ tab of the ‘Settings’ section includes a text box that lets you input a 160-character blurb about yourself, along with a link to your website.
- The ‘Picture’ tab lets you upload a picture to your profile. It is best to post a smiling picture of yourself
Step 3: Find your friends
- There are a few simple ways to find people to follow on Twitter:
- Click on the ‘Who To Follow’ to search for people who Twitter suggests you follow.
- Invite from other networks will search your email address books (aol, hotmail, gmail etc.) to see if anyone has associated any of those addresses with a Twitter account.
- Invite by email is a way to invite your friends to join Twitter through email.
- Search tab allows you to search for new people to follow. You can mimic this function by using http://search.twitter.com.
- You can search for the city where you live to find other users in your area. Enter your industry to find business peers. Enter your hobbies to find people with shared interests. The potential list is endless.
Step 4: How to follow someone
- You can log in twitter from anywhere, you can use desktop applications, or you can connect from your phone.
- To follow someone
- Hover over their @username, click link, read their bio & recent tweets. If they seem interesting, hit follow
Step 5: How to post messages
- To post a regular message
- Just type it into the box that says “What are you doing?” and hit the ‘update’ button below
- To send an open message
- When sending an open message to someone publicly, type “@” followed by their username, then the message. Here’s an example:
- encouragement4u @smallbizlady How did you overcome your biggest business challenges? Check out these stories! http://budurl.com/eqbx
Send a Direct-message
- To send a private direct message to someone, type “d” then a space and then their username. So, to send me a direct message you would type “d @smallbizlady That was a great #smallbizchat on Twitter last night!”
- Note: you can only send direct messages to people who you follow, and who follow you back.
How to Retweet or RT someone else’s message
- If you like what someone says, and want to show your followers that message.
- Copy the tweet (not username), then hit grey arrow to reply, add ‘RT’ before the @username Put one space after @username & paste original tweet. If it is too long, You can edit, but only for space. Here’s an example of a Retweet:
- Holly_Hanna RT @smallbizlady 32 Tips to make online customers love you —http://tinyurl.com/op9bbk (this is really well done)
Quick Twitter Tips
- Remember to click your @username to see messages/tweets folks are sending to you openly.
- Remember to Follow your Followers
- Under your username & photo click followers to see who followed you and decide to follow back or not. When you have time its nice to send a thanks for the follow note.
- Now you are ready to get started. Welcome to Twitterverse!
Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is one of America’s leading small business experts. As a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach, she develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. As CEO of MFE Consulting LLC, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. Forbes Magazine recently named her one of the Top 20 women for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog www.succeedasyourownboss.com Melinda is also the author of the national bestseller Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works. (Adams Media 2010)