January 1, 2012

Unlocking Twitter Terminology

One Page Guide to Twitter

Terminology

  • Twitter handle – Think of your "handle" as Twitter’s version of an email address or website URL, but instead of @something.com or www, there is an "@" symbol before your Twitter username. For example, my Twitter handle is @RachelStrella
  • Follower – On Twitter, you don’t "friend" someone or "like" a company page, you "follow" them
  • Tweet – When you post a message on Twitter, that message is known as a "tweet"
  • Mention – You can mention others in your tweets by typing their Twitter handle. For example, you can mention me in your tweets by including @RachelStrella in your message.
  • Retweet (RT) – When you see a Tweet from someone you follow that you want to share with your audience, click the "retweet" button below the message to instantly forward it to your followers
  • Direct Message (DM) – This feature allows you to send a private message to someone who's already following you. It's the Twitter equivalent to sending on email.
  • Hashtag – The pound sign or "#" sign is used to categorize content and allow you to join a conversation based on common interests. For example: You can search #NFL to find tweets that contain that hashtag. You can also use #NFL in your tweet so that those searching that hashtag find your message. Hashtags.org allows you search for all the hashtags in Twitter.
  • Lists – When you follow hundreds of people, it can be overwhelming to receive every tweet from every person. Using the "Lists" tools allows you to categorize who you follow and identify those from whom you want to receive every tweet.

How to build a following

  • Email all of your contacts and invite them to follow you on Twitter
  • Follow leaders – local and national – in your industry. Some may even follow you back!
  • Use hashtags in tweets. Many companies create search streams that they check on regularly based on hashtags they follow. Use Twitter or Hashtags.org to search for terms associated with your business and review the results to see what hashtags are most popular. Use these hashtags in your tweets – preferably at the end of a tweet. The person searching for that hashtag may stumble upon your tweet and follow you.
  • A popular hashtag is #FF, which stands for Follow Friday, an online endorsement of another person by using their handle. For example, I might tweet: #FF @AmandaJHarrison – a great social media marketer!
  • Mention other Twitter handles. Research the leaders ("influencers") in your industry that actually engage with users. Use your knowledge and experience to get involved in conversations by mentioning them or giving them a shout out. If they respond by mentioning your handle or if they retweet you, your handle has now been seen in their stream of followers.
  • Offer valuable content. Rather than tweet about your product or service, tweet information that is relevant and useful to your target audience. The better the content, the stronger the probability of a retweet.
  • Participate in Twitter chats. A chat is a scheduled discussion that occurs on Twitter and includes a predefined hashtag, which you can follow and tweet in a virtual conversation. There are over 800 chats with hundreds of different topics. To view the chat schedule, go to: http://bit.ly/TwitterChatLists
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