January 2014

After a short hiatus this winter, I’d like to do a series of posts on using social media in your business.  Not every social media is right for every business, so I encourage you to try them out and see what works for you.  See where your followers come from, and where your conversions are happening and focus your time and energy on that.

One of my favorite social media tools, and the focus of this post, is Twitter.

The setup

When you first set up your Twitter account, you will want to set up a profile picture and a header image.

The profile picture is what will show up next to all your tweets. This image should be 81px by 81px and depending on your business, this might be a photo of you or a part of your logo.  Remember it should be something iconic, as it will be the main thing people interact with.

The header image shows up at the top of your feed.  This image should be 520px x 260 px.  This needs to be somewhat simple, as there will be text over it.

You also have the option of setting up a background image for your Twitter.  Many companies use their logos in this to reinforce the brand.

The lingo

When you start tweeting, you will need to know a bit about the lingo.  Some key terms for Twitter are below:

RT or the retweet:  RT is used when want to share someone else’s tweet word for word.  An example of this would be, “RT @skleberdesign Today is a very cold day in DC”  You can also RT using a button below each tweet.

# or hashtags: Hashtags help users search your tweets and also make it easy to follow a particular conversation. Though hashtags have become increasingly fantastical, they should be used with good sense and care.  An example of a hashtag would be “Today is a cold day in DC #DC #weather”

Via: If you change some of the wording in a retweet, you might want to use the words “via” to give the original person credit.  An example of this would be “Today is a cold day in DC, via @skleberdesign”

H/T, hat tip or heard through: HT can be used to recognize a user who initially told you about a specific link or piece of information. This is much like via.

MT or modified tweet: A modified tweet indicated that the tweet is not original, but is also different from when it was originally posted by the credited user.

@ or at: You should use @ before a username when referencing a user.  This will make the user aware that you have tweeted “at” them or referred to them.

The results

When I recommend Twitter, I always tell people that in order to be successful, you need to interact with users.  You can’t set up auto posts and ignore all the responses.  And you can’t link it to your Facebook and never log in.  Start conversations.  Ask questions and respond to the answers.  These are all good ways to build a presence.

Following people is also a good way to garner your own followers.  Often, when you follow people, they follow you back.  There are sites out there that can help you see who you follow, and the last time they tweeted.  This will help you weed out those that you follow that are inactive, freeing you up to follow other people.

Another thing that I highly recommend with Twitter is to post more than once a day.  Many people follow over a thousand users.  If you tweet once a day, that tweet is likely to get lost in a sea of other tweets.  Tweet often and respond often – but do so conscientiously and with relevant content.

Hopefully, this post will help you to get a good start on Twitter.  Have something to add?  Feel free to post in the comments.