The dummy here is me. Or was me up until just a couple weeks ago. While Twitter has approximately 4-5 million users, about 70% of whom are estimated to be active users, the concept was still somewhat strange to me. Twitter allows users to answer the question, “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less and, even though I can’t imagine why people would care that I am “Now contemplating marathon #3…” or was “In the middle of a nice little weekend =)” last Saturday, the site still grew 974% in 2008 and is now the 291st most popular website so it seems people are interested in that kind of information.
(Sidebar: If you do care, feel free to follow us on Twitter @skodaminotti!)
Since Twitter’s popularity is pretty undeniable, setting up business accounts has become a popular marketing tool that allows you to provide clients and contacts with up-to-the-minute information on your company, direct traffic to your website or blog, discuss what’s going on in your industry, solicit feedback from clients, highlight promotions, let clients know about upcoming events, etc. It’s important to be sensitive about your followers’ time, however, by not tweeting too often, being relevant and being clear.
If you’re ready to try it out, here are some Twitter basics to help you get started:
- Tweet: Your answer to the question, “What are you doing?,” a.k.a. Twitter updates, entered at the top of the Home page
- Following: People whose Twitter updates show up on your Home page
- Followers: People who see your Twitter updates on their Home page
- Finding followers: Click on “Find People” at the top of the page and select Find on Twitter to search by name, select Find on other networks to allow Twitter to access your email to look for contacts, select Invite by email to suggest your contacts sign up for Twitter or select Suggested Users to see some of the more popular Twitterers (that’s not official terminology, it just sounds fun)
- Re-tweet: Re-posting a tweet one of the people you follow posted; This is done by typing “RT@username” and then, their tweet in the box at the top of the Home page
- @Replies: A public message sent from one person to another, they’re distinguished from normal Twitter updates by the @username prefix and are visible to all users on the @username tab of your home page. Adding an “@” before a username is also a way to make a username into a link that goes directly to a profile.
- Direct messages: A private message sent from one person to another, they can only be sent to you from one of your followers & are visible only to you on the Direct Message tab of your home page
– Go to Twitter and click on Get Started – Join!
– Follow the instructions to get your account set up and maybe find some followers
– Personalize your profile by clicking on Settings at the top of the page – be sure to add a website and a one line bio on the Account tab and a picture on the Picture tab
– Follow @SkodaMinotti to link to recent blog posts, read our e-newsletter, hear what’s going on at the firm, etc.