Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Twitter - An Introduction for Businesses

Welcome to our My Town Homepage Training Manual #4 - Twitter for Businesses. If this Manual whets your appetite for more, details of our other services are given at the end of the Manual

This document is a step-by-step guide through the items which were discussed during Session 4 of the “Social Media for Business” Training Course organised by My Town Homepage and delivered recently to local organisations including Greenock Chamber of Commerce.

This session covers “Twitter for Businesses” and should give you a sound introduction into how you can use Twitter as a tool to help your Business.

It is mainly aimed at the level of those people who are wanting an introduction to Twitter and want to know how to use it effectively for Business.

We're also convinced that it is better and easier to be able to build Twitter and Facebook at the same time rather than individually and separately. We'll show you how we like to do that.

The key topics to be discussed in this Manual are as follows;

  • Why Twitter?
  • Knowing your way around your Twitter Account
  • Twitter General Basics
  • Twitter Business Tips
  • Facebook and Twitter - Why do both?
  • Tools to help you

1. Why Use Twitter in General?

So why use Twitter? Why spend MORE time on ANOTHER Social Media platform for your Business

Quite simply, as one of the major social media platforms, it allows you to do things better and more easily than other major social media platforms like Facebook. In general there are many reasons why you should use Twitter including;

  • It's (relatively) simple.  In our view, it’s certainly a lot easier to use than Facebook
  • It’s easier ...
    • to find things. The search capacity on Twitter is superb and vastly superior than Facebook
    • to find followers, colleagues, gurus, competitors etc. In our opinion, the speed that you can grow on Twitter is much faster than on Facebook.
  • It’s good for ...
    • discussing a subject or topic
    • finding out what the current topic of conversation is
    • finding out what’s being talked about in your local area
  • It’s mobile
    • You can obviously use Twitter effectively on your PC in the office but it’s also effective and easy for you to use on the move using your smartphone. The nature of Tweeting, i.e short messages, lends itself well to a mobile platform

2. Why Use Twitter for Business?

We’ve listed below some business activities that lend themselves to being done very well on Twitter.

From a business perspective, Twitter is good for...

  • Publicising Promotions, Sales & Offers
  • Organising and Promoting Events
  • Use as a Search Engine
  • Giving and Finding Information
  • Conversations, Communication and Engagement,
  • Listening, Responding
  • Building Relationships
  • Sharing
  • Asking
  • Linking

These are all activities that you’ll probably want to take part in if you’re a business. We’ll discuss HOW you can do these things later in the Manual.

3. Getting Started on Twitter

Getting started is EASY. It's not like Facebook where you have to have a personal profile before you set up a Business Page. With Twitter if you want to set up a Twitter account for your Business, just do it.

All you need to have is an email address that you own.

1. Go to
2. Put in your name or your company's name, your email and a password.
3. You'll be sent an email to your address to confirm
4. That's it! All done.

4. The Twitter Homepage

We’ll spend a bit of time taking you through the main parts of the Twitter Homepage. This will ensure that you know your way around.

Figure 1 - Parts of Your Twitter Account

BOX 1 - Background Image - The background image on your Twitter account can either be one of the templates that Twitter offers you or a bespoke image that you can upload.

To choose a template or upload your own image

  1. Click on the Wheel icon (see number 7 in Figure 1 above)
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Click on Design
  4. Pick a Template or upload your own. We recommend that you use an image that is 1920 x 1080 px

BOX 2 - Your “Home” View. Figure 1 shows you what your screen will show when you are in the “Home” section of your Twitter Page. Your “Home” shows you the latest “stream” of Tweets from everyone that you are following. The stream will be in chronological order and will not (yet) be filtered in any way.

It’s easy therefore to look at this stream and see a great deal of irrelevant information. Our analogy is that it’s like getting a radio and hearing all of the stations all at the one time. You’ll hear a lot of NOISE and you need to “tune in” to what you want. We’ll cover how to do this later.

BOX 3 - Your “Connect” or “@” View - This view will let you see who has "interacted" with you. It will show you

  1. who has followed you
  2. who has Re-Tweeted (RT) any of your Tweets
  3. who has marked any of your Tweets as a “Favourite”
  4. who has mentioned your username in any of their Tweets.

BOX 4 - Your “Discover” or “#” View - This view will let you see some of the activity of your followers. For example it will show you;

  1. who they’ve followed so that you might decide to follow them too.
  2. a sample of some of the Tweets that they have marked as a “Favourite”
  3. recommendations on who Twitter recommend you should follow.

BOX 5 - Your “Me” View - This View will let you see all of the Tweets that you have made in chronological order. It will also give you access to the following very useful information, for example you can see;

  1. details of everyone who has followed you
  2. everyone who you follow
  3. a list of all the tweets that you have marked as being a “Favourite” of yours
  4. details of all your “Lists”. We’ll discuss Lists, how to set them up and what you can use them for later.
  5. Your “Direct Messages” - these are private messages that have been sent to you and can be seen by clicking on the “envelope” icon at the top right of your Page under your photo. We’ll discuss how these later.

BOX 6 - The “Search” Box - This is obviously where you can search for things that have been said by any person on Twitter. Because it searches through what is being said by anyone and everyone it’s actually a very powerful tool and something that will be extremely useful for you and your Business. We’ll discuss ways that you can use this effectively later.

Box 7 - Settings - This gives you access to your settings where you can adjust things like;
  1. your password
  2. your username
  3. background image
  4. how you receive updates and notifications
  5. the profile info and images people see when they look at you on Twitter

BOX 8 - New Tweet - Click here when you want to add a new tweet.

BOX 9 - Your “Stream” - This view changes depending which section of your Twitter page you’re on or whether you’ve searched for something. For example, in "Home" you’ll see a list of tweets from everyone you follow. In "Me" it shows all your latest tweets. In "Search" it gives a list of your search results. Whichever page you’re on it will show you a “Stream” of Tweets. What you can do with these will be discussed later.

BOX 10 - Who to Follow - Some Twitter suggestions about who to follow

BOX 11 - Trends - Some Twitter categories and subjects that are currently popular. You can change the settings of this so that you see the trends i your nearest city or in a city or country of your choosing.

5. How to Use Twitter - Basics and Vocabulary

Here’s a list of some of the basic things that you should be able to do on Twitter if you’re going to be using it for your Business;

1. “Send” a Tweet - Tweets are 140 characters long within which you can use things like links, a location, photos, videos etc. The language that you use in a Tweet is explained below.

2. “Reply” to or “Mention” someone using @ - If you put an @ sign immediately before a username then this provides a link in your Tweet to that person's Twitter account. Anyone clicking on the “@username” will be taken to that person’s Twitter Page. It also lets that user know that you've mentioned them. It's like sending a message to them that everyone can see.

Anyone can put your “@username” in their Tweet. When they do that you’ll receive a notification that that person has “mentioned” you.

Figure 2 - Example of a “mention”

In the example in Figure 2 above, both “Mytownhomepage” and “wisepc” will receive a notification that cloudCEO has mentioned them in a tweet.

3.   “Discover” or “Search” Using # -  You can search for something or discuss a topic using the # (hashtag) sign.  The # sign immediately before a word provides an easy way to search for that word or an easy way to group replies around a topic.

For example, if you say #Greenock it means that people clicking on that word will see all texts that have mentioned the same "hashtag" i.e # Greenock. Similarly if you want to discuss a topic like #Morton then then hashtag #Morton lets people see all tweets that have #Morton in them. It also lets everyone following that hashtag to see your tweet.  

Figure 3 - Example of Using a Hashtag

Hashtags are good to use for events. For example if you give an event a hashtag then this groups together everyone who wants to discuss that event. E.g. #Rydercup

Figure 4 - Example of a Hashtag to promote an event

4. Distribute Tweets Using “Re-Tweet” or “RT” - If you like what someone has said you can "Re-Tweet" their tweet. This lets everyone that follows you to see what that person has said. When others re-tweet your Tweets it spreads the message of what you've said to a lot more people.

To Re-Tweet just click the Re-Tweet option at the bottom of a Tweet or copy the Tweet you want to re-tweet and begin in with “RT @Username”.

5. Send a “Direct Message” or “DM”  - This is just like sending someone a private email or a private text. Only they can see your message. Direct messages or DMs  can only be sent if both users are following each other.

To DM someone begin your Tweets with “d Username”

6. “Favourite” a Tweet - If you Favourite a Tweet, this is similar to you saying that you "like" a post on Facebook. The person gets notified that you've liked their tweet. The Tweet you’ve liked also gets put into your list of Favourites which can be accessed by clicking the “Me” View (see BOX 5 in Figure 1 above)

To Favourite a Tweet, click the “Star” Icon in the list of icons underneath a Tweet

7. Categorise Your Followers into Lists - You can categorise your followers into lists. You can then see a “stream” for each of your lists.

To set up a list;
  1. Click on “Me” (BOX 5 in Fig 1 above)
  2. Click on “Lists” in the left column
  3. Click “Create List” at the top of your Page.

From a business perspective, this is a very good way for you to categorise all the people who follow you.

8. Use “Links” in Your Tweets - You can add a link to anywhere else on the internet using links. Twitter automatically shortens all links to 20 characters. If you use other bespoke link shortening tools (like your links can use us even fewer characters. You can link to a photo, a video, a website page, a facebook page, etc.

Figure 5 - Example of Using a link in a Tweet

From a business perspective links are very important for you to drive traffic to your website, Facebook Page or Blog.

6. Other Twitter Tips for Businesses

There are obviously many different Twitter techniques that you can use that will help your business. However, we’ve come up with 3 things that we think you should try to do well if you want to use Twitter effectively for your Business.  

6.1 Searching

In our opinion, Twitter's search capability is MUCH better than Facebook or any other Social Media Platform. This can be extremely valuable for your Business. For example here are some examples of what you can search for on Twitter.
  • For a “Kilt Hire” Company - You could find everyone talking about “kilts” or “weddings” or “kilt hire” within 20 miles of your shop.
  • For a “Sandwich Shop” you can find people who have just Tweeted about “hungry” or “take away” from within 1 mile of your shop.
  • You can monitor every time someone mentions your product or brand or something that you produce
  • If you want to know what people are talking about in your town you can search for all tweets that have come from within 5 miles of where you’re based
  • Then of course you can use your Lists to filter your searches even more.

To take advantage of this, use Twitter Operators or Advanced Search. Twitter Operators are a set of rules that you can use when you are searching for an item on Twitter. It allows you to be very specific about what you are searching for .  Advanced Search is similar but uses a Form to define your search.

You can find Operators and Advanced Search at this link -

Figure 6 - Example of some Twitter Operators

6.2 Actions

These are the actions that you should try to cultivate on Twitter.
  • Listen (appropriately);
  • Respond
  • Share
  • Ask
  • Link

Doing these things will ensure that your time spent on Twitter will be more effective

6.3 Following

In our opinion, it's a lot easier to follow people and have others follow you on Twitter than it is on other social media platforms like Facebook. When you follow someone, they get notified that you've followed them. That means that there's a chance that they'll follow you back. Also when you favourite or RT one of their tweets, they get notified. Finally, you could just ask them to follow you by Tweet (everyone will see this) or by email or Facebook if they have given that info on their Profile.

We recommend that you regularly spend time following people who are relevant to your business. Here are some ways to follow people relevant to your business.
  1. Search for people who are Tweeting about you; or your Brand; or your product; or your service and follow them
  2. Search for people who Tweet from near where your shop or service is
  3. Find someone who likes your product and follow their followers
  4. Find a competitor and follow the people following them
  5. Find someone who produces something similar to you and follow people who follow them

7. Connecting Facebook and Twitter

In our opinion you should share Posts and Tweets between your Facebook and Twitter Pages but you shouldn't use the same language on both. We wouldn't recommend you therefore using the setting on Twitter that automatically shares your Tweets on to your Facebook Page.

Having said that, you may have people on your Facebook Page that you want to introduce to your Twitter Page and vice versa. We recommend that you "welcome" all new followers with a brief Bio about your company with a short call to action.

  • E.g. To your Twitter followers you could send a message that says something like "Thanks for following us - Find out more here + LIKE us on Facebook too Thanks

We think that it’s possible to grow your Facebook and Twitter Pages faster if you have BOTH a Twitter and Facebook Page.

8. Twitter Apps and Tools

There are lots of Apps and Tools that you can use to make using Twitter more efficient for your Business. For example most people who use Twitter don’t use the Twitter Homepage to manage their experience. Many people use applications like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite to see what’s happening on their Twitter account.

The advantages with this is that these “Client Management” programmes let you look at many different aspects of your Twitter account at the same time and they also let you save time by managing your other social media accounts too. In the example below we discuss the tool that we use i.e. Hootsuite however other Client Managers are equally as useful.

Advantages of Using Hootsuite

We use Hootsuite to help us co-ordinate our social media activity. Here are some reasons why...
  • It allows you to see “streams” for lots of different searches all on the one page. For example we like to see what’s happening in the Inverclyde area so we have searches for “inverclyde”, “Greenock”, “Gourock”, “Port Glasgow” etc which we can see all on one Page.
  • It allows you to search for Tweets that have come from a specific Geographical Area e.g. within 10 Kilometres or Greenock
  • If you have more than one Twitter Account e.g. a Business Account and a Personal Account, you can see what’s happening on both without the need to log out.
  • If you have other Social Media Platforms e.g. Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, Foursquare etc it allows you to see what’s happening on all these accounts all ot the same time
  • It allows you to post updates to more than one Twitter Account and more than one Social Media platform at the same time e.g. you can write an update and post it onto your Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin Accounts all at the same time.
  • You can schedule your updates in advance.

9. Conclusions

While Twitter is one of the most widely used social media platforms it perhaps isn’t readily seen as having a place for businesses who often use Linkedin or Facebook as a first option.

In our opinion, Twitter is an excellent example of a social media platform that can be used in a way that can enhance your business marketing. It offers ways for you to specifically target and focus on the particular clients and customers that are relevant to your Business.

10 Further Information

My Town Homepage produced this series of 4 Instructional Manuals on “Social Media for Business” as a consequence of doing training for Greenock Chamber of Commerce, Inverclyde Council and a number of individual businesses.

In the near future we will be also adapting our knowledge and using our skills and experience with Local Government and the Third Sector to produce similar Manuals for Voluntary Groups, Community Organisations and the Public Sector.
If you think this might not be for you, check out our other services. 

  • Assessment - Where are you on the Social Media Evolution? - Free Analysis
  • Training - Introduction, Basics, Advanced - Free Manuals and Bespoke Training from only £15 per Hour
  • Establish - We Can Get you Started on Your Social Media Journey - From £30
  • Promote - Publicise You through our own Network of Followers - £40 per month
  • Strategy - Your 10 Point Social Media Health Check - Your Strategy From £49
  • Growth - We guarantee to grow your Likes OR followers - From only £10 per month
  • Management - Let us Manage Your Social Media - £49 per month or £499 per year
  • Entry Level Support - Find out what we can do for you for £10 per week

    If you would like any further information on anything discussed in this Information Manual please contact Willie Wilson on the details below.

    Willie Wilson
    Managing Director
    My Town Homepage
    Tel - 07932 644455
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