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What is Twitter?

 Twitter is a popular micro-blogging Web site, characterized for its under-140 character per post requirement. It’s got a longer history than many people think—it was started in 1996—but its use has evolved to much more than its developers may have originally intended. When it began, the site simply begged the question, “What are you doing?” Users were to respond using 140 character posts called “tweets.” Originally, the idea was to stay in touch with friends, but it has evolved to much more than that: now it's used to broadcast ideas, post questions and find answers, and for companies to engage with their customers. 

How Does Twitter Work?

Twitter users can post short “tweets” to the site. (Likewise, when posting a tweet, it’s called “tweeting,” as in, “I’m tweeting about yesterday’s conference.”) Tweets can include pictures, videos, and links to your content.  You can also select people to “follow.” When you are following someone, their tweets will show up in your home page—just as your tweets show up in your followers’ home pages. Users can have public conversations with other users by posting their messages preceded by the tag @username. Direct messaging for private messages is also available. Users can also identify topics for their tweets, by posting the topic preceded by the # sign, called a “hashtag.”

Who Uses Twitter?

There’s a misconception that social networking—Twitter included—is only for teenagers. However, a 2015 study by eMarketer found that almost everyone under 40 uses social networks, and the growth of these networks over the last year has come from older adults.  Twitter in particular has seen exponential growth.  According to Compete, a Web traffic comparison tool, in June of 2015 Twitter had over 88 million unique visitors.

Is Twitter Time Consuming?

Twitter can be time-intensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Depending on what you’re using it for (see section below), Twitter can be a good use of your time. And while there’s no formula for what the right amount of time to spend on Twitter is, as you use it you’ll begin to figure out what the right amount is for your business.

As you get started, you might want to allocate about fifteen minutes per day to spend looking for people to follow, searching for keywords relating to your business, following conversations, and checking out the Twitter blog. Once you start actively posting to Twitter, aim for at least three times per week, daily if you can achieve it. After a while you may find that you should increase your frequency even further—but this will depend on your business and your audience.

What are some the ways my business can use Twitter?

There are a variety of ways your business can benefit from using Twitter. Use it to share information with customers and prospects, gather market intelligence, and for customer service. Here’s a little more information about a few of the ways your business can use Twitter.

Share information: Sharing information is what Twitter is all about. Often, news stories break on Twitter before the traditional media even hear about them. If your objective in using Twitter is to share information about your company, make sure you’re tweeting about information that is relevant to your customers. People use social media for information, education, and entertainment—so be sure to provide one or all of these.

Gather market intelligence: Twitter is a wonderful research tool. Use the search function to uncover what your customers and prospects are talking—tweeting—about in real time. What are the hot topics in your industry? What are the late-breaking trends? What are some of the challenges people are facing?

Twitter also offers an analytics dashboard, which charts how many people view and engage with your Tweets.  The chart is updated in real time and is available when your account is two weeks old.  This tool is useful for understanding what your followers want to see from your profile.

Provide customer service: Lots of companies are using Twitter to help provide better customer service to their customers. By monitoring Twitter for mentions of their company, product, or brand, they’re able to respond quickly when someone tweets about a problem, complaint, or concern. The added benefit is that the company’s response is public—showing not only customers, but others as well, how committed the company is to their satisfaction.

Getting Started with Twitter

For more information about how your business may be able to benefit from Twitter, contact the strategic marketing experts at AVS Group. Whether you just need some consulting—or want us to develop your complete social media marketing campaign, we can help.

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