The Basics of Twitter and How to Tweet!
I was teaching my Website Basics Course at PACE LA last night, and some students had some very valid questions about Twitter. Those who have a Twitter account, are “in it” and either love it or hate it. But when you first created that account, did you fully understand what it was all about? Probably not. That is to say we didn’t have any formal overview or set of instructions on what it was all about, let alone how to exactly use Twitter. So in helping my students out, I thought I would go search for a video that would help them understand it a bit more. I tried to explain the process and use of Twitter, and even the other students helped describe Twitter. But we were all users of Twitter. It’s funny how we can miss the broad strokes of new social media and new technology in general. Sometimes it is even more difficult to back track and explain something after you have been using it for sometime.
The first video is more instructional on the How-To part of using Twitter, which I honestly wished I had when I started playing with Twitter. The video is simple, professional and easy to follow. I could have made one myself, but I don’t like to reinvent the wheel and why should I when someone else has done a perfectly good job at it! Thank you to HowCast.com for the video on Youtube!
The second video I found also come from HowCast.com (found on youTube as well) but this was specifically How to Use Twitter for Business. This was perfect for my students as they all had some type of small business. So here is the second video for your learning pleasure.
Now let me explain the evolution of Twitter as we have it today. It was originally set up to answer that question, “What are you doing right now?”. As the video described, it allowed people to learn more about people in a casual manner and in between formal settings. However, it has evolved more into a megaphone of sorts for events, news, updates, PR, marketing and resources. Your posts on Twitter for business can be an extension of your marketing by using it to announce sales, website updates, coupons, new products, exhibitions, partnerships, and just keeping your clients or customers aware that you are there when they need you. It’s a “Hello I am here” wave of the hand in the middle of the crowd. I teach in my classes that you your website is the center of your cyberworld and that social media platforms like Twitter are tools to drive traffic to your website. You only have a 140 characters to utilize in your announcement, but that is all you need to announce some tidbit of information to grab some interest. You direct visitors to your website to get the full story. And don’t forget the call to action on your website. Once you get people there, ask them to do something like subscribe to you newsletter, follow you on Twitter, Like you Facebook page, or bookmark your website.
If you are using Twitter for your business, I want to stress something that alot of people are forgetting. Using any social media platform like Twitter is only good if your target audience can be found there. If your business customers do not use Twitter, then skip it! Don’t waste your time trying to create micro campaigns if it is not going to enhance your business potential. On that note, I also tell my clients that they should offer their clients alternative methods to connect and build relationships with their customers. Some people prefer a monthly newsletter in their inbox, others are addicted to the cell phone and use Twitter because it’s perfect for mobile phones. Still others maybe wired into Facebook on a daily basis and prefer to connect with you that way. If you are not certain where your clients may be found, then set up the accounts and offer your customers the freedom of choice to decide how to connect with you online.
Social media platforms are always changing and a moving target for businesses at this stage of the game. Use them to connect with your client base whether you are a brick and mortar or e-commerce store. The relationship and connection online is just as important as your customer service. Finally, try it and if you find that Twitter is not working for you and your business, then don’t focus on the account, and don’t delete it. Leave it open and re-visit the idea another time. The web is fluid and always changing, so give it a try and see what happens.