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Getting Started with Twitter for Business

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  1. 1. TWITTER (Part I to Having a Successful Life on Twitter) The First Question Everyone New To Twitter Asks: Why should I get on twitter? And the second question is always – What should I say? Twitter is the fastest growing social medium on the internet today. It can no longer be considered a ‘fad’ as there are literally hundreds of applications that have been built supporting and expanding twitter as well as a participation level that grows daily well into the millions. Although Twitter is shy to release the actual amount of tweeters, the numbers have been established well into the millions. Who is on Twitter? There are kids, top level CEOs; staff from companies that range in size from mom-pop stores to mega conglomerates, gee the US Military and NASA are on twitter now along with a long list of celebrities and politicians. If you followed the Obama campaign then you know that this unlikely candidate gained national support and used twitter as a rally call for grass roots growth. Twitter is NOT a sales and marketing tool and twitter is NOT a fast paced deal maker. Twitter is like jumping into the largest cocktail party in the history of man and if you wander around and listen to the conversations then you will know where you belong. Remember your school socials when the jocks hung out near the bleachers, the cheerleaders and pep squad weren’t too far afield, the chess club was off in a quiet corner somewhere and well, you get the idea. The twitterverse is similar to that. So chances are you would not wander over to the chess club and ask if they want to join in on a football scrimmage. Twitter should not be a race to get more followers than anyone else in the universe otherwise you’ll have to compete with Ashton Kutcher with 1,986,817 and Oprah who has 1,260,871. First, set clear goals. These aren’t goals like ‘drive more traffic to my website’ or ‘sell more of my books’. Although that may be the end result, but your goals need to be drilled down to who do you want to get into relationship with and how do you plan to achieve that? The true path to Twitter enlightenment is: • LISTEN, • LEARN, • KNOW YOUR GOAL, • SPEAK LIKE A PERSON, • HAVE A PERSONALITY, • BE INTERESTING AND EVEN PLAYFUL, • SHARE THE GOOD STUFF, • AVOID INANE STUFF, • SURPRISE THEM NOW AND AGAIN.
  2. 2. Basic Vocabulary Twitter Handle: Also known as a username. This is the name you select to represent yourself. To Follow: To subscribe to someone’s updates on Twitter. You do this by clicking the “Follow” button on that specific person’s Twitter page, which can be found at (Insert the specific person’s username into the URL. When you follow someone, their updates will be displayed on your Twitter page so you know what they are doing. To Follow Back: To subscribe to the updates of someone who has recently started following you. Whenever a new person follows you, you receive an email alert from Twitter. In the email, there will be a link to that person’s profile. By clicking the link, you can check out who they are and decide to follow them back or not. It is not required to follow everyone back, but many people like to. Follower: A person who has subscribed to receive your updates. You can see your total number of followers on your Twitter profile page. Update: Also known as a tweet. They can be no longer than 140-characters. You post your update in the white text box under “What are you doing?” @Reply: A public message sent from one Twitter user to another by putting @USERNAME at the beginning of the tweet. Direct Message (or DM): A private message sent from one Twitter user to another by either clicking the “message” link on their profile or typing D USERNAME. Twitter Stream: A list of a person’s real-time updates. Every time you post an update, it goes into your Twitter stream, which is found on your account page also at Tweet‐up: An event specifically organized for Twitter-users to meet up and network, usually informal. Hashtag (#): A tool to aggregate the conversation surrounding an event or theme. Created by combining a # with a word, acronym or phrase (#WORD). Retweet (or RT): To repeat what someone else has already tweeted. People do this if someone has said something especially valuable and they want their own network to see the information too. (Example: RT @USERNAME: Check out this cool resource).
  3. 3. Using Twitter in Business Company account: Represents the company as a whole. Use this type of account to: • Keep your customer base up-to-date on your events • Promote recent blog articles or news • Update your consumers about products/services • Give real-time updates at conferences and events Personal account: Used by an individual employee at the company. This account type is more personalized, can be used to talk about non-company related things and is better for direct relationship building. Use this type of account to: • Act as a liaison to the public for your company • Update people on what you’re working on • Share tidbits about your personality • Expand your company’s network and make connections GET STARTED: All you have to do is click on this button! Go ahead – don’t by shy.
  4. 4. WHO AM I?: The first item in your profile is your name. Always list your real name when using Twitter for business. You wouldn’t introduce yourself with a fake name at a networking event now would you? Be legitimate – tell us who you are Your name or company name…. Try something you will remember… A work acct or other email account Yes, I hate these too but it is a good practice Presto Right away Twitter wants to help you connect you. You can skip this portion and come back later if you like.
  5. 5. The following offers recommendations of where you might want to consider offering contacts the opportunity to follow you, you can select none, one or all just so that your fields are populated and you can begin to see what happens in the Twitterverse. Why should you do it here? For your URL, or web address, it’s best practice always to include a link. Put a link to your: • Company website • Blog • Personal website • LinkedIn Profile In the “One Line Bio” section, be as descriptive as possible. This is your elevator pitch—your opportunity to convince people to follow you back. Consider it a snapshot of your background. You only get 160 characters so think keywords and brand and you can include: • Your company • Your position • Your hobbies/interests • Your specializations • Your recent projects
  6. 6. What do 160 characters look like? (Buzz Maker & SNM Trainer We Create the Buzz You Can Bank On!) B u z z M a k e r & S N M T r a i n e r W e C r e a t e t h e B u z z Y o u C a n B a n k O n ! Think BRANDING: You can customize your Twitter homepage so that your brand is displayed whenever someone checks to see who you are.
  7. 7. Tweeting Types of tweets: 1) An observation: Tweet about what you’re doing, thinking or feeling 2) What you’re reading: Post a link to an interesting blog post or news article 3) What you’re watching: Post a link to a cool video from Hulu or YouTube 4) What events you’re going to: Share a link to the next conference you plan to attend 5) Promote your content: Post a link to your most recent company or personal blog article 6) Promote someone else’s content: Post a link to someone else’s blog article as a helpful resource 7) Chat with someone: Send messages using an @ sign (to be explained later) 8) Retweet what someone else has said: Retweet (using RT in the beginning of the message) to repeat what someone else has said Suggestions: Make your tweets useful resources so people need you. You are what you tweet. People will want to follow you if they think they will get value from your content. You want to avoid making your Twitter account purely a promotional tool. Would you subscribe to a newsletter if it didn’t have anything useful to say? What specialty knowledge do you have that you can share? Think KEYWORDS as you create tweets as to who you want to attract. Interact with those people you follow who don’t follow you back yet. Make sure to monitor your Twitter stream, and comment on what people are saying. Give feedback; compliment people. The key is to engage. You can connect openly or privately. In order to send a message to another person on Twitter, you need to use an @ before the person’s name. Think of it as the “address” of tweet. Remember that this type of message is still public, viewable by anyone in the world. Anytime you put an @ in front of someone’s username, it automatically becomes a link to that person’s profile. This feature makes it easy for you to check out those people’s profiles and engage with them as well. It is also possible to send someone a private message on Twitter. These are called direct messages or DMs. Send a direct message by either going to that person’s profile or clicking the “message” link on the right hand side of the person’s profile or by tweeting D USERNAME and then your message
  8. 8. Marketing on Twitter 1) Use Twitter to drive people to your company’s website. Tweet about interesting resources your employees have posted on your blog or website. Have you recently published a white paper that people can download for free? Tweet about it, linking back to the download page on your website. If the content on your site is truly remarkable, people may start tweeting about it on their own! They can share your resource to their friends on Twitter. 2) Monitor your brand on Twitter. Using the aforementioned Twitter Search tool (, you can search and track what people are saying about your company, products, competitors or any other hot words in your industry. Set up an RSS feed to receive all search results in Google Reader. If you find someone tweeting about your products or a person who is looking for a solution that your product provides, let them know! 3) Use the Twitter “Favorites” feature as a list of company testimonials. To the left of each tweet in your Twitter stream, there is a little star. When you click the little star, that tweet gets added to your Favorites Tab. As you track what people are saying about your company in Twitter Search, favorite all of the positive tweets. Third-party testimonials are valuable by showing the public what other people think of your company. The next time someone asks about your company, send them the link to your Favorites page. The URL for this page will be 4) Use Twitter to promote events. Tweet-ups are a great way to get to know your Twitter community offline. The next time your company holds an event, fundraiser or open house, tweet about it! Best practice is to send people directly to an event sign-up page. Think of a hashtag for your event before you start tweeting about it Selecting a hashtag for your own event will be beneficial in a few ways: a) During the event, people often use the hashtag while live-tweeting, or tweeting what they see/hear in real-time. The hashtag will aggregate the event tweets, building an online conversation around the event. b) People who are not at the event will see your hashtag and perhaps use it too. A popular #hashtag often sparks curiosity, and people will go to to follow the conversation around the event. 5) Use Twitter to promote new tools. Twitter users love new toys, especially if they create some sort of outcome, grade or analysis of the person using the tool. Make the results of your tool/grader as easy to Tweet as possible. Perhaps you could add a “Tweet this grade” function. Make sure your tool is as easy to share as possible! 6) Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. By tweeting about useful resources and thoughtful tips, you and your company will eventually develop thought leadership, and people will consider you an expert in that particular subject. Be sure to link to your own resources as well as others. Public Relations on Twitter 1) Develop relationships with reporters, bloggers and other media people through Twitter. Reporters and big-time bloggers are incredibly active in social networks, especially when gathering information for stories. Two resources that have a great list of the media people on Twitter are: Media Outlets: • Media People: • •
  9. 9. 2) Watch for tweets about editorial opportunities. Because the nature of Twitter is very quick-response, it’s a great place for media people to look for last-minute, additional resources for their stories. When following bloggers and reporters on Twitter, keep close track of their tweets and scan for any opportunities. It’s also a great idea to send reporters tips to other links and resources simply to be helpful and improve your relationship with the media person, even if it’s in regard to another company. The media person will be thankful for your help and more likely use you as a reference when the subject is applicable to you! 3) Direct Message reporters instead of sending them an email. By sending a direct message, you are forced to create a short concise pitch that a reporter is more likely to read. Also, direct messages are very casual, and some media folks prefer DMs to email pitches. Also, it saves you the time it would normally take to write a lengthy pitch. Remember, you can only DM people if they follow you back. However, don’t pitch too much; they could easily unfollow you making it much more difficult to connect. 4) Use Twitter to check in on your media person before PR pitching. Check to see what the person you’re about to pitch is up to before contacting them. In the event that the person is sick, having a bad day or away on ravel—it may be best to contact him or her at another time. Deliver Outstanding Customer Service 1) Respond to concerns people tweet about your company or products. Designate a specific person in your company to track your company name and products in Twitter Search. That person can address any negative comments, give feedback and help customers solve their products in real time. The speedy response will impress the customer! Comcast at does a great job tracking and addressing customer concern. 2) Use your company account to update customers with any temporary down‐time. If you work for a company that offers an online service, let your followers know if you anticipate down-time or if there is a glitch you are working to fix. Your customers will be less upset and more appreciative that your company is trying its best to relieve the problem. 3) Be sure to follow back everyone who follows your Company Account. Although it’s acceptable to pick and choose whom you want to follow back in your personal account, there’s no reason to limit who your company follows. If you want, set up an auto-follow account with a third-party tool like Tweetlater Also, the added benefit of following back everyone who follows your company account is the ability to DM you. 4) Do not send an auto direct message whenever someone new follows you or your company. It’s easy to get into the trap of automating your Twitter activity. Many people will set up an auto direct message (or auto DM) to be sent to every new follower. This looks artificial, and could make you appear apathetic about building true relationships with your customers.
  10. 10. Track and Analyze Now that you’ve integrated Twitter into different elements of your campaign, it’s important to find components that you can track to judge its effectiveness. We recommend tracking the following metrics in your campaign. Reach: Total number of followers. This number is your raw distribution power. Response Rate: Average number of @replies per tweet. When you sent out a link or a question, how many people respond? Branding and Awareness: How often people reference your company or products. Use Twitter Search to track. Twitter Grade: Your overall effectiveness of your Twitter account. Calculates the number of followers and the influence of their followers. ( Sales Funnel: Number of visitors from Twitter who visit your company website that convert to leads. Using the data from these elements and tracking it over time, you should be able to make smart decisions about how to further utilize Twitter in your campaigns. MORE SUGGESTIONS: There is no right or wrong but yet, everyone has an opinion so test, test, test then test again. 1. Do/Don’t automate: If you’ve got a blog that’s connected to your business, you can use a service such as TwitterFeed to directly channel your new blog posts into Twitter posts. Sounds nifty, doesn’t it? However, you might want to think about hand-feeding to offer relevancy to each post. With automation, if you publish a flood of impersonal links, your Twitter account will just seem like a faceless promotion machine. And that’s not any way to engage people on Twitter. Link to the very best stuff on your blog, as well as relevant stuff you see elsewhere on the web, and also post items that don’t contain links at all. (Don’t forget to use a URL-shortening service such as tinyurl,, or for your links.) You can preset these tweets with a program such as 2. Have a Chat: Your business’s Twitter account should talk like a person—even if it’s a collective “person” representing your company or brand. Think of your Twitter account as a character in a little Internet play—it’s a walking, talking personification of your entire company. If you feel like it, take it to the limit: Use the first-person (“They’re putting my stuff on sale again!”), invent a personality. Or just use the royal “we” and “our”—” Be chatty. Some companies prefer to disclose members of their team when they’re tweeting from the company account. That’s a valid approach, too. For example, the clever group-tweeting service CoTweet can automatically append your initials to the tweets you make while representing your company. (Macworld is testing out this service to see if it makes it easier for a group of our editors to jointly operate our various Twitter accounts.) 3. Follow people who are relevant: From your Twitter account, follow everyone on your staff that uses Twitter. Follow colleagues in related companies and in your industry. Follow relevant brands and journalists and pundits in your market, even those who compete with you. It’s polite to follow people. And by following people you are creating an ecosystem— people will see who you are following and consider those as suggestions for users they should follow as well. 4. Get Your Staff on Twitter, and refer to them: Individuals tweet different things than companies. Its okay for your company’s employees to talk about making waffles or going out for drinks, as well as what they’re working on. Not
  11. 11. everyone will embrace Twitter, but many of them will—and even the most personal stuff that leaks on to Twitter can help make stronger personal connections with colleagues and audience members alike. This being said, you need to be aware of who your employees are—and make them aware that everything they write on Twitter (unless they’re using a “protected account” that limits access) is public. If there’s someone who works for your company whose Tweets are a bit risqué, you should consider whether or not you want to refer to them from your company’s account. An alternative is to ask employees to create two Twitter accounts—one for work matters and one for their personal lives—and keep them separate. Once your people are on Twitter, they’ll be able to mention what they’re working on—and reference the brand via Twitterspeak. For example: “Just wrote a cool story for @macworld about the iPod shuffle.” That will drive followers to your company’s Twitter account. Likewise, your brand’s account can drive followers to your people. For example: “Our very own @vacuumguy thinks the new Dyson is awesome:” 5. Answer your mentions: People will refer to your company’s account as if it were a person. You should reply to tweets that mention you, when relevant. This will give your account more personality and will make those people feel engaged directly with the brand. For example, a person might ask you a question directly: “@macworld Hi. Do you know when Apple will enable SMS message forwarding on the iPhone? Thanks.” “@janevans35 Apple’s not saying, but we hope it’s with the next major software release!” 6. Search for your name: Beyond mentions, which are specific references to your Twitter account, there are probably people using Twitter to talk about your business. Use Twitter’s powerful search features to find those references, either from the Twitter Web site, TweetDeck or Tweetie that supports saved searches, or even via your RSS reader by subscribing to the RSS feed linked to from every Twitter search results page. There are a lot of companies offering great customer service and support on Twitter by watching what people say about them. 7. Creating sub-accounts for sections of your business or customer base: If you’re part of a big enough company, consider creating smaller, more targeted accounts. Starting a new section of your site devoted only to fans of the banjo? It might be worth starting a new @joesmusicbanjo account, then Tweeting about it from your company’s main account: “Banjo lovers rejoice! Welcome our new friend, @joesmusicbanjo to the party!” 8. Ask your customers questions…and get answers: Twitter is a great way to get answers to questions. Trying to figure out what your customers want to see or are interested in? Use Twitter to ask them. Sure, it’s not a scientific survey, but it can give you an immediate snapshot of the zeitgeist. This can be both instructive and productive. About five minutes before I went into a product briefing with Apple, I used Twitter to ask readers what they wanted to know. I ended up with dozens of great questions, and used them as the framework for the article I wrote after the briefing was over. 9. Be a good Twittitizen: Can you persuade your Twitter followers to promote you to their followers? Sure, but be mindful: He who has the most followers doesn’t necessarily win. If you get people to promote you to their friends in order to win a prize or enter a sweepstakes, you may end up creating a harmful backlash. Recently, a software-deals site offered a free program to anyone who would tweet about its bundle to his or her friends. The people who tweeted were rewarded, but many of their friends felt like they were receiving spam. Even though the people who tweeted were complicit in the act, it was the company that induced the tweeting that received the bulk of the criticism. The etiquette of Twitter is still evolving—be wary.
  12. 12. Even if you’re not the type of person who uses Facebook or Twitter yourself, there’s no denying that these new forms of connection and communication are powerful and becoming increasingly important. That’s why your business should be on Twitter now. What does 140 characters look like? Use this grid to practice microblogging What’s Next? • Recommended programs to help you manage and maximize Twitter (top 20 of over 300) • Strategy – step by step planning to develop and execute a strategy on Twitter for your business