Twitter – A Quick Start Guide

If you read my post last week about using Twitter for business, I hope that you are now seriously thinking about whether or not Twitter is a suitable fit for your company and if so, how you might integrate it into your overall digital marketing strategy.

As a follow up to that post, I think it’s worth while to take some time thinking about how best to set up your account and look at some of the tools you can use to maximise your experience.

Setting Up An Account

Setting up an account is straight forward enough. You will need:

  • A Username: You will need to decide if you want to tweet as your company, or as a person within the company. Either way remember to be human. Your user name should be simple and if possible be either your company or your name – don’t be cryptic!
  • An Avatar:  Depending on what you decide above, either include your company logo or a picture of yourself.
  • A Profile: You have 160 characters to tell the world all about you. Your profile will help you to attract relevant followers so think about the wording. Use it wisely!
  • A Link: Include a link to your company website or blog.

You may also want to register your mobile phone number (under Settings>Devices) which will enable you to update Twitter by text message.

Finding People To Follow

There are a number of tools available to help you find relevant people to follow on Twitter. Directories such as WeFollow and Twello are a good place to start. Don’t forget to add yourself too so people can find you.

Once you start following people, have a look at who they are following, you are sure to find more interesting and relevant people.

One of the major features of Twitter (and why Google is said to be intersted in it) is its live search capability. You can discover people talking about specific things in real time through search.twitter.com (this functionality is slowly being integrated into users homepages).

You’re All Set Up, But Now What?

Start tweeting! The best way to get to grips with what to say and how to say it, is to jump in and feel your way into it. Remember, you only have 140 characters to play with so make them count!

A couple of things you’ll need to be aware of:

  • Everybody who follows you will be able to see your tweets. To direct a tweet to a specific person then remember to start your message with @theirusername.
  • You can send individual Direct Messages to your followers. DMs are private and cannot be seen by anyone other than the recipient. Don’t be tempted to send unsolicited promotional DMs – this behaviour is frowned upon by the Twitter community!
  • If you see a tweet that you think is interesting or funny and you want to share it with your followers, then you can retweet (RT) it. Twitter etiquette requires you to include the user name of the person who wrote the original tweet

  • If you want to share links it is best to use a URL shortening service such as tinyurl or bit.ly to save those valuable characters!
  • If you have a company blog then be sure to announce new posts on Twitter. You can do this automatically using twitterfeed.

Useful Tools and Applications

 

Desktop Applications

There are a number of applications available that offer additional functionality to your Twitter homepage. Two of the most popular ones are:

  • TweetDeck gives you the ability to to split your main Twitter feed and group people together. and search across the twittersphere
  • Twhirl allows you to manage multiple Twitter accounts from the same application. You can also update other social networking sites such as Linkedin and Facebook

Mobile Applications

Twitter on your mobile might seem a bit much if you’re just getting started, but believe me being able to view and update Twitter on the move is incredibly useful.

  • m.twitter gives you pretty much the same functionality as the main site
  • dabr has been described as m.twitter on steroids! It has bags of functionality and is my personal favourite!

If you have an iPhone you may want to check out:

So there you have it – a quick start guide to Twitter. If you have any questions, suggestions or anything else you think should be added to this post then please let me know in the comments.

3 Responses to Twitter – A Quick Start Guide

  1. Timely information — I’m just getting my wings flapping in Twitter. We have a team account for our blog, so I need to decide a strategy for my personal account — I may focus on my web design business. Thanks for this handy reference.

  2. Good call Claire – Twibs currently has a fairly low number of businesses registered, so good opportunity to get on early.

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