So, um, what exactly is Twitter?
Well, here it is: the answer to that looming question you have been too scared to ask at the office, for fear of mockery and ridicule...
Twitter is a social media platform, designed for sharing short form messages (aka tweets) in 140 characters or less.
You can follow friends, businesses or personalities and be followed in turn by others.
Think of following like subscribing to the local paper - opting in to receive updates from that person, or 'handle' (online persona or name).
Confused yet? Well, it's really quite simple and in this day and age, to the chagrin of many, it's really quite necessary.
So how can a small business owner take control of this internet phenomenon and wisely utilise it to boost profitability and increase brand recognition? Easy!
Start by giving yourself a tutorial in tweeting. Search online for the 'how-to' guides, and make the most of your 140 characters. Much like Facebook, when not used efficiently, Twitter is hardly effective.
Tips for becoming a veritable tweeter:
- Choose your name wisely, oh tweeting one. Your handle should be easily recognisable and relatable to the business. Put your handle everywhere you have your phone number - websites, business cards, marketing materials, etc.
- Make your Twitter goals specific- what are you trying to achieve here? Lead generation? Brand recognition? Content development? Event promotion? A clear vision will help you keep tweets relevant and succinct.
- Treat your profile like your resume / CV and be brief, accurate, and professional - users will look at this as a reflection of the 'face behind the tweet'.
- Make the most of your content development - high visibility calls for high quality. Don't tweet just to tweet.
- Utilise the helpful Twitter Search tool to generate more followers and to follow relevant users. Also use this to search for mentions of your business and use the feedback as relevant customer satisfaction insight.
- Accept it, because it's happening. Twitter is part of the networking norm these days.
- Use hashtags - they are like the Dewey Decimal system of tweets. The hash tag places each tweet into a category, organizing content.
Wise words from Twitter's Vice President of Global Online Sales, Richard Alfonsi, "I would say a couple days or a couple weeks are not enough time to learn how to use Twitter and measure results...you have to think about the planning long-term."