How We Did it:
A Beginner’s Guide to the Twitterverse
Here at JCALPRO, we have recently embarked on a social media journey and joined the micro-blogging sensation, Twitter. We are now confident enough in the twitterverse to share some of our top getting started tips with other industry insiders, who may be contemplating taking the twitter plunge. Simply by joining the conversation, in 140 characters, you can participate and follow industry conversations, gain brand awareness, engage your target audience, send updates about upcoming events and more. While we do not claim to be social media experts, we continue to learn, tweet by tweet. We hope that sharing our newfound social media knowledge will help you along your own social media journey, whether you are curious, a newbie, or have already dived right into the twitterverse. Here is how we did it:
Start by choosing a user name, or what is known as a “handle.” This will be your username with an (“@”) symbol in front of it. Perhaps, it’s @your name, @your company name or @your product name. Whatever name you chose, be sure to keep it meaningful.
Find a Resident Expert!
Our resident expert is Katie Hauser, who is the Communications and Social Media manager for the MCCA, whose facilities we operate in (find some of Katie’s top tips here). In choosing your expert, try to find someone who has been using Twitter for some time, and who may be able to offer you some hands-on training or insider information. If you get stuck, remember Google and YouTube are also great resources for how-to articles and step by step videos.
Search for and "follow" companies or people whose twitter streams you like, as well as those who are relevant to your business or industry. Consider occasionally monitoring your competitors’ tweets to find out what they are working on. Most importantly, don’t forget to add your clients! See who they follow and follow those who interest you. Remember, the more people or brands that you follow, the more will follow you, AND the more you will learn about navigating twitter.
Learn the Lingo!
Engaging the twitterverse can be intimidating, especially with all of the abbreviated lingo, such as #hashtags. This is a topic with a hash symbol (“#”) at the start to identify it. Twitter hashtags like #followfriday help spread information on Twitter, while also helping to organize it. The most important thing we learned first was the art of the RT (or the retweet). A retweet is when you see a tweet that you like that is written by someone else, and you want to share that tweet with your followers. There are two ways to do this:
Make it Personal!
Twitter (and most social media outlets) are more about creating buzz and awareness than conventional advertising and marketing. Therefore, save your big sales pitches for PowerPoint and conventional advertising channels. Think of twitter as a two-way dialogue and stick to fun, friendly, and meaningful tweets. For example, we don’t just tweet about what we do and why people should hire us, but we tweet more about WHO we are. We incorporate pictures of our staff members on the job, industry tidbits and ideas, along with local news items and information we feel might be helpful or exciting to our followers. We try not to be sales-y, just interesting. We believe that if we’re interesting, our followers will stay with us, and hopefully we stay top of mind.
Keep up the Pace!
After you get started, don’t let your momentum slow! Twitter is a real-time network and your followers will quickly forget you if you’ve been off their radar or feeds for a while. So, once you get rolling, don’t lose the pace. Developing a schedule of your upcoming tweets, or some twitter topics, can be extremely helpful in keeping you organized.
Assess the Benefits!
Twitter is a fun and fast-breaking social network. While getting started can seem a tad overwhelming, there are vast business benefits to using this tool. For example, you can use twitter to organize meetups, build an instant backchannel and camaraderie at an event, launch a product or service, bring great minds together for the opportunity to network and learn, and even help with your business development by spreading the word and getting name recognition. The possibilities are endless, so assess if it’s the right tool for you, and if so, what are you waiting for? Go get tweeting!
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