By Thomas Lashier
Happy Monday! Oxymoron? Maybe, but nevertheless we will forge onward on our quest to bring your local business more customers through social marketing. We’ve covered an array of Twitter topics on this blog, including when to tweet and how to find potential prospects on Twitter. Today we are focusing on the basics: 3 basic skills you will need in order to get started on Twitter.
1. Learn How To Use The “@” Symbol
When you are composing a tweet, you can mention another Twitter user (person or company) in that tweet. You do this by typing their Twitter handle (@ExampleName) into your tweet. Whenever someone is mentioned anywhere within your tweet, they will be alerted and they will see that specific tweet. For example:
— FreakyFreshMarketing (@FreakyFreshMktg) February 13, 2014
Here, we mentioned Nick Ellison (@NKEllison) to tell him we downloaded his special report. Nick will see this tweet from us at Freaky Fresh Marketing the next time he checks his Twitter account.
IMPORTANT: When your tweet begins with the “@” symbol, like the tweet above, only the people mentioned in that tweet (or followers of all the mentioned users) will actually see the tweet in their Twitter feed. That is why tweets beginning with the “@” symbol are referred to as “replies”, because only the people involved in that Twitter conversation will see them. So in the tweet above, only Nick Ellison and followers of both Freaky Fresh Marketing and Nick Ellison would see that tweet in their Twitter feeds. If you only followed Freaky Fresh Marketing (which you should do if you haven’t already!) you would not see that tweet in your feed.
If you want to mention another Twitter user in your tweet and you want your entire following to see that tweet, you need to enter something before the “@” symbol. For instance:
— FreakyFreshMarketing (@FreakyFreshMktg) February 12, 2014
All of our followers could see this tweet in their Twitter feeds, even if they don’t follow Erik Qualman. (You can put anything before the “@” symbol to make your tweet public, including punctuation marks like a period or quotes.)
2. Learn How To Use Hashtags
A hashtag is the pound sign (#) followed by a word or phrase without any punctuation or spacing. For example: #marketing or #Sochi2014 or #StPattysDay are all hashtags. Within Twitter, hashtags help to organize worldwide conversations. Hashtags become live links, meaning that you can actually click on any hashtag within Twitter and you will immediately be taken to a live feed of everytweet that contains that same hashtag. So if you clicked on #marketing, you might see this:
You need to identify which hashtags your target audience is following and then use those hashtags to join in those conversations. We go into more depth on hashtags in this blog article, so click here if you would like more information.
3. Have Conversations (Just Like In Real Life)
Twitter may be the most truly “social” of all the social networks because it allows you to talk directly to anyone at any time, regardless of your relationship. You can join in worldwide conversations through hashtags and this network is live and talking 24/7/365. This means that if people have followed you or mentioned you in a tweet, you need to respond. They are reaching out to you and trying to start a conversation. Would you ignore them and walk past them in real life? On Twitter, everyone can see how you respond to others. You don’t want to be that Twitter account that doesn’t listen to customers and doesn’t answer questions because you are “too busy” or are “afraid of feedback”. Talk to people just like you would in real life; it shows the human side of your brand and allows people to feel a true connection with you.