Whenever I meet someone new I try to connect with them via both LinkedIN and following them on Twitter, as well as keeping in touch via email or the occasional coffee catch up of course. At a rough guess I would say 80% of the people I meet in a business context are on LinkedIN whereas only about 10% are on Twitter and find myself wondering why this is the case? anyone I’ve asked just says “I don’t get Twitter” so here is a blog to help you not only get it but hopefully love it as much as I do! I will follow this up with a blog on getting the most from your Twitter account later in the week.

LinkedIN on the face of it seems to be more accessible to the masses, you don’t need to “do” anything once you’ve joined up and written your profile but it is so pervasive it annoys you to engage with it (and therefore your connections) on a very regular basis. My dearly beloved for instance joined about a year ago, linked to just me and elected to only accept invitations from others and now has 126 connections with this passive style – so very accessible and hands off. It looks and feels more like Facebook (well kinda) and it delivers key information on people you know personally (I only link to people I know, I never accept links from random strangers) like when they move roles, connect with other people you know (interesting when your competitors connect with your own customers for example) and increasingly it is becoming an industry specific news magazine with content served up like top news, blogs, articles highlighted that you might be interested in. Sadly most of this content seems to come from the same few sites so it’s not as diverse as Twitter.

Twitter – the reason I am writing this blog so time to get to the point. I love Twitter. It took me a while to “get it” so I completely understand if you don’t. Now it’s an indispensable part of my daily reading and our external marketing strategy.

What is Twitter you might be wondering? some call it a micro-blogging tool, others call it a short status update tool or describe it as a way of reading announcements, and others again consider it a tool for connecting with anyone you like or use it exclusively for marketing their brand. In my mind Twitter is primarily the place I go to get up-to-date information on anything I am interested in knowing about – anything at all. Twitter isn’t really about personal connections, you don’t need to know the people you get updates from – they might be celebrities, politicians, companies or industry leaders – it’s about what you are interested in. I do like to follow people I know as it’s a great means of reading the same articles they are commenting on or share in their local news, personal and business successes etc.

Key Twitter Facts –

  • The short status updates are called Tweets
  • Tweets can be no more than 140 characters long so people get very creative
  • Tweets are grouped via a tagging system called HashTags, these take a format of #HashTag and allow you to filter or search just to see Tweets on a specific topic. When I am talking about stuff at Optimal I use the #OptimalOrange but there are common ones like #NZ or #Business
  • People have twitter user accounts, these accounts become your means of direct interaction with others and take the format of @AccountName eg: mine is @OptimalHQ or Kathryn’s is @KatGreenbrook
  • To see what other people are tweeting there is a concept of Followers – you can follow other people so their Tweets (updates) will appear in your feed, and if you start to tweet yourself, people can follow you and see your Tweets
  • Tweets are delivered to you in a chronological series or feed, either via a website or on a mobile application.

More complicated stuff you need to know –

  • Tweets can be replied to – so there can be a conversation between people
  • Tweets can also be retweeted – if you are really taken by something then you can share it with your own followers as a retweet
  • You can filter who you follow into private (or public if you prefer) Lists
  • You can customise your account, add artwork and information on you or your business
  • Many webpages have a twitter button so you can tweet a link to an article directly from the page you read it on, most of my tweets are links to articles or blogs
  • LinkedIN now allows you to post directly to both their site and Twitter in one update

Next edition – later in the week I will post a follow up to this blog on getting started and making the most of your twitter account. I hope this basics intro helped some of you who say they don’t get it, hopefully by the end of the week you will be ready to get started and join me on Twitter.

Want to read more? because I love Infographics this one is instructive on what and how to use twitter http://twiends.com/blog/217/what-is-twitter

Here is another local blog I came across explaining “what is twitter” http://socialmediasorted.com/twitter/what-is-twitter-how-does-it-work/

Happy reading! Vic