Welcome to the Twitter jungle. Twitter is undoubtedly one of the largest internet success stories of the decade. From its humble origins it has become one of the big players in social media. There’s no denying that it’s here to stay, and most tech-savvy people and businesses now have a Twitter account in their social media arsenal.
But for some people Twitter remains a confusing jumble of hash tags, ampersands and a secret language all of its own. For those of you who haven’t signed up for an account yet, or have one that’s not being used, we have some handy advice on how to make the most of your Twitter experience.
So what is Twitter?
Twitter was originally a ‘micro-blogging’ service, and in the early days the only way to post an update was via SMS on a mobile phone. It’s easy to forget the original form of Twitter due to the push to make it as popular as Facebook and other social media platforms.
A service like Facebook bombards users with advertising, images, videos and all sorts of games and apps. With twitter, it’s all about the message – all 140 characters of it. It’s a purer experience, and the addition of the hashtag element (see below) adds a whole new level of potential.
The mystery of hashtags unveiled
On a basic level, a hashtag is a word or phrase prefixed with a hash sign. For example #TwitterTips would link the associated post or ‘tweet’ to every other tweet that shares the same hashtag.
The use of hashtags is important to getting the most out of your Twitter experience. Without them, your voice is only heard by a few people who are already following your updates. Hashtags link you to the world.
Search and you will find
So now you have written an amazing update, but only have a handful of followers. Why waste that impressive prose when you could be transmitting your writing to thousands, if not millions of people all over the world?
This is where the powerful search feature in Twitter comes into play. If you often update about a particular industry, topic or even celebrity, do a search for the subject and find out if there is a hashtag that fits. Make note of the hashtags used by others in your target group, and then add these to your own post. Instead of just broadcasting to a few people, you are now sending your message to a huge audience of relevant users.
Want to know what the world is talking about and join in on the discussion? Point your browser to the twitter search web page and find out what the ‘trending’, or popular subjects are. It’s a great way to stay up-to-date, and you can join in the active discussion right away.
The best way to increase your Twitter reach
So now that you have found the right crowd, how do attract them to become your loyal followers? The answer is deceptively simple: Be the twitter user that you want to attract. Find your niche and then start contributing to conversations, posting replies and following people who are interesting to you.
In no time at all, you will find more and more people start to follow your updates. You may even forge some new friendships, based on your business, interests or passion in life. There’s a hashtag for almost every subject.
- Search for the subject you are about to post on.
- Make note of any relevant hashtags that already exist, and create your own if it’s a new area.
- Make sure to include the hashtags as part of your post.
- Start contributing to the Twitter realm, so that other people will notice you. Consider setting up a separate account if you want to represent a business or group.
Follow these top tips and you’ll be well on your way to maximising your Twitter reach.
[author ]This post has been brought to you by Ed, a student who is currently studying for his masters in pubilc relations in London. Ed is interested in communications, specifically online social channels such as Twitter and Facebook.[/author]