Monday, 20 May 2013

The Basics Of Twitter

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Every single person knows what Twitter is, whether you use it for your business or just to keep up to date with trends news and information, overall it's a valuable tool, but more importantly it's a powerful platform. Just the other day one of my friends came to the office to discuss having a website and coffee of course, and he’s Twitter profile now has over 41K followers compare to the 600 he is following. All he’s doing is sharing and tweeting the latest news about a certain sport. The frightening thing is he states, he didn't know it was going to get this big, and that he was going to have such an authority. He now gets messages and mainstream media contacting him asking to do interviews and whether he would just have a chat with them on air.

Now the real scary thing is that this individual just tweets, and doesn't know fully what Twitter has to offer.

We all know how to create an account and upload a snazzy picture of our self or our business logo. I want to go beyond that, and look at how to actually make the most of Twitter for whatever cause we are using it for. I’m sure there are many out there, that just DO NOT UNDERSTAND Twitter, rest assure I was one of them. Facebook seemed a piece of cake to master, but getting my head around Twitter just wasn't happening. - Don't worry it's not difficult as it sounds.

I usually get asked a few questions by colleagues, friends and family, which I will aim to cover below in a simple manner.

Who should I follow?

This is like saying, who should I be friends on with Facebook, or whose business page should I like. Even though Twitter has a limit or cap, on a ratio of people you follow, Its about 2000 people. Some people go crazy and follow every single person they come across on Twitter. Fair enough, but would you actually interact and be interested in what all of these people post out, every single day, hour and minute.

What you will find if you are following a HUGE amount of people on Twitter, your Twitter stream will just be full of tweets, you may even find it difficult to keep up with everything, and what everyone is saying. It's like being in a room with 2000 people all talking at once, and you trying to listen to all of them. - tuff hey.

What should I tweet?

It's just a social networking site, you can tweet anything you like, whatever crosses your mind, or if you find something interesting on the web, that you feel like sharing with your followers.
You may just want to share your thoughts, or similar to many others, the reason why you have created a Twitter account is so that you can stay up to date with news and events, so you may not want to tweet anything.

When should I tweet

You need to find what you are comfortable with, there is no pressure that now you have a Twitter account, that you need to be tweeting all day long, some would say couple of times a day is sufficient, and what you will find others saying and even doing is tweeting on the hour. There is no hard written rule. You also don't want to come across as spammer, if you are tweeting every other minute or hour, your followers may get upset, or more like fed up of seeing you again :) - Just be yourself

Hashtag - you what?

You have probably noticed in front of certain keywords within a tweet there is at times a # (hashtag), such as #SEO. This is how everyone stays connected in a certain way on Twitter. Everyone that mentions a hashtag before a word can be potentially exposed to thousands of others that are following that hashtag. All you have to do, is click on the hashtag and see who's following this certain hashtag.

When you create a tweet, if you feel that you want to create an hashtag, you just need to enter # before the word, which will then add your tweet to the stream of hashtags on-line.
If you are still unsure on #Hastags, this article has a list of resources and guides all related on the use of hashtag: Secrets of Twitter Hashtags (For Those Still Unsure)

Someone invited me to a Twitter Chat, - what's that?

Unlike the standard instant messenger chat box we usually have, Twitter chat is basically everyone having a conversation, at once but agreeing to a certain hashtag. A business could have a Twitter chat about their products and services, for instance we would have a hashtag called #alrayeschat, which would be passed around to all, and then on a decided time, which is convenient for everyone, we would start chatting and discussing our services and products, but including the hashtag on every tweet. In other word we are having an open public conversation .

You could have Twitter chat about your products, services, general about your industry, or even just with your friends and family. Whatever you may feel comfortable with.

Can I connect and chat with someone famous.

Oh Yes you can, if they are on Twitter, you can always tweet them by mentioning them in your tweet such as. If you wanted to mention me in your tweet you would start with @wasimalrayes (my Twitter bio name) or mention that within your tweet. - now you can imagine someone famous will have thousands of these happening so your tweet can just be buried in the midst of all the others.

You could also re tweet what they post out once in awhile, by adding a few of your own comments at the end of it. If you are following them for a while, you may notice that they have asked a question or are encouraging some sort of a conversation, a perfect chance to respond and start the conversation.

Just like offline, we would not force anyone to start a conversation, adopt this same habit on-line too. Keep it natural.

What's # Discover

It’s basically a discovery page :) - okay it's a page where Twitter uses your data, such as your location, the profiles you follow, and what you re-tweet to present you with tweets, activities and recommendations of whom to follow.

You can find out more about the discovery tab in detail on this page: Using the Discover tab

Twitter Lists

Twitter lists allows you to put tweeters into a category of your choice for you to monitor, and the best thing, is that they don't get to know that you have them on your list. So for example if you are interested in “Baking Cakes” you could create a Twitter list with that name, and individuals whom you feel are experts in this industry you could add them to this list. So when you want to view a wall just related to Baking Cakes, you can click on your list to view all the tweets done by those individuals that you have added.

Twitter lists are great to reduce the noise and pollution on your main stream, if you are following a lot of individuals you your main stream can be quite nosy and populated, and there's a good chance that you may have missed something, hence creating a list can help you be more productive and organised. You can also have the list as private so only you can see it. Below is a quick video overview of Twitter Lists.

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