Twitter 101 - Balcom Agency

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Twitter 101

twitter 101 Do:

Engage! Twitter isn’t just a megaphone; it helps create discussions with consumers. Respond when people tweet you, retweet (RT) relevant content from influencers and users, and make your brand a part of positive conversations online.

Monitor conversations. Not everyone will always tag your brand on Twitter. Have search streams set up (on a platform like Hootsuite) to watch what’s being said about your brand. Remember to praise the good and work to fix the bad.

Test content and schedule tweets. Different people are online at different times, and different content performs better or worse throughout the day. Test, test, test to see what times and types of content are most successful for your brand to be sharing on Twitter. You can’t always be online all the time, so again, use a third party platform to help – Hootsuite has a very simple scheduling function.

Complete your profile. Create attractive graphics that align with your current branding (and that fit the proper dimensions), complete your “About” section, link to your website, and supply users with the best information you possibly can.

Proof-read. Once you send that tweet, there’s no editing. Read and re-read.

Integrate your marketing efforts. Twitter is a place to share promotions, get ideas for new products or services, drive traffic to your website, brand your profile, and help extend virtually every part of your marketing strategy.


Retweet without checking the links. Nobody wants to click on an article expecting fishing advice, and end up on a women’s weight loss website.

Send automated Direct Messages to new followers. It sounded like a neat idea at first. “Hey we can send a personal message to EVERYONE!” But wait… isn’t that less personal? And really annoying? Yes. Yes it is. Don’t do it.

Forget who you are. Know your audience and speak to them in a pre-determined social media “voice” or “personality.” We recommend writing characteristics down and re-visiting them often to remain “in character” online.

SPAM with the same content. You’ve got a huge contest going on – we get it. In fact, we’ve already entered, but if we see one more tweet within the hour promoting it we may just unfollow you.

Overuse hashtags. Hashtags are a way to categorize content, to make your information searchable to specific individuals online. #DontOverdoIt #ItDetractsFromYourContent #AndMakesYouLookLikeAMiddleSchoolKid

Just RT content. A robot can sit online and retweet content. Make an effort to add your brand’s personal flavor, opinion, or praise.

Mix up business with personal. You hear story after story about Community Managers getting fired for tweeting inappropriate private information to the wrong account. Be especially mindful when posting content to your own social media profiles.

what? What is Twitter? Twitter is a conversational information network that is constantly updating with real time content. Twitter allows users to “follow” people, brands, companies, or topics of interest, and share their own content with their followers. Users can sign up at with a username (sometimes called a “handle”) where their profile will be stored. For example, my Twitter username is alijlamb, so my public profile can be found at Content is shared via tweets: 140-character bits of text and links to articles, pictures, videos, etc. #Hashtags are used to categorize content. For example, users can share solutions for potty training dogs with other dog owners in #petchat, stylish young ladies can share summer trends by sharing #fashion tweets, and so on. Hashtags are a great way to get content in front of an audience looking for information on that specific topic, and it can also be a great way to find information on a given topic.

Twitter has many uses for brands. Here are a few of them:

resolve the

issue publicly

Promote your brand: • Share links to articles showing your involvement in the community • Share new product launches • Share contests/promotions/discounts • Share fun personal components of your brand to show your human side Interact with your fan base: • Reply to tweets from consumers • Retweet (share a tweet from another user’s account with your following) content that highlights your brand or consumer • Ask questions to drive conversations regarding your products/services Monitor conversations about your brand: • Positively resolve any negative issues a consumer may have with your brand online and out in the open (transparency is key to consumers these days) • Share positive feedback (note: it that may not have been given directly to your brand online, but about your brand because the consumer may not have known your Twitter username, so be watching) • Insert your brand into relevant conversations, or provide your product/service as a solution to issues Twitter users are facing. Customer Service: • More and more people are turning to social media to hear their complaints, and they expect (and often get) quicker, more personal, resolutions • When people complain publicly, resolve the issue publicly to show you care and are quick to keep customers happy • Sometimes these customers become stronger brand advocates than a customer who has a good experience the first time around

hashtags help categorize content


5 Quick Twitter Tips and Tricks 1. Schedule tweets: Don’t let social media management clog up your workday. Use a free third party platform, like HootSuite, to pre-plan content to free up your schedule. Of course, be mindful of current events… can you imagine the PR crisis of sharing low airfares in the aftermath of 9/11?

2. Make your copy count: 140 characters can seem exceptionally limiting, but it’s actually helpful in your marketing. People aren’t used to having to read much more than that, so make it count. Prioritize content so you know what elements you can fit: the hashtag, other parties’ Twitter handles, a link to more content, etc. Try to keep tweets to 120 characters in order to keep your content safely retweet-able.

3. When/what to tweet: Analyze your past tweets to see what types of content are more successful with your followers (i.e. including a link or just text?), what times of days your tweets get more RTs, Favorites, or Replies, and which types of content solicit positive vs. negative responses.

4. Finding hashtags: Contrary to popular belief, hashtags are more than an opportunity to add a punchline to your tweet. Hashtags help to categorize content, so that people searching for #MarketingTips or #Parenting stories can find them easily. They increase your tweet’s visibility to an interested audience. You can use to find and track hashtags easily.

5. Monitor with lists: Again, the third party platforms will come in handy for monitoring the Twittersphere for conversations regarding your brand. Not everyone will know you’re on Twitter, or bother mentioning you in a tweet (positive or negative) about your brand. Set up lists with variations of your brand’s name, product, service, or industry keywords to watch the conversations. As you begin following more and more people, you can use lists to make sure you don’t miss certain content. Set up lists to view close friends, retailers, loyal customers, marketing tips, or whatever categories of users you follow.

twitter dictionary

Learn the Lingo (Twittionary) Don’t let miscommunication take down your Twitter efforts. Learn the terms before you dive into the Twittersphere.

Bio: Short description of yourself for potential followers to know what you tweet about, and who you are.

Direct Message (DM): A private message sent between two users that only the two can see. In order to send a DM, the recipient must follow you. To send a DM, compose the message with “d (username),” or use the Direct Message inbox on

Favorite: To mark a tweets as a “favorite” by clicking the yellow star next to the tweet. You can return to these tweets at any time (say you want to read an article later, or remember a big event).

#FF: Follow Friday. Use the hashtag #FF to recommend people to follow on Twitter. Followers: People who choose to “follow” your account. They will see all of your public tweets in their timeline.

Following: People you choose to follow on Twitter. You will see all of their public tweets in your timeline.

Friends: People who have followed you, and who you followed back. Geolocation: Using location data in a tweet to show where you are. Handle (username): Your Twitter “handle” or chosen username. Appended to is links to your profile (i.e. My username @alijlamb links to my profile at

Hashtag #: A symbol used to categorize content on Twitter. By placing “#” before a string of character not separated by spaces, the text will become linked to a thread of content using the same hashtag. These are a good way to search for content, or provide content of a specific interest to that audience.

Lists: A curated group of Twitter users. You can separate the people you follow based on interests, how you know them, the content they share, etc. Using a third party platform, you can also create lists based on search terms or keywords.

Listed: To appear in on of your followers’ lists. See Lists. @Mention: A way to notify, credit, or include a specific Twitter user in your tweet (not at the beginning of the tweet). When you type “@(username)” that user will be notified of your tweet, and it will show up in their timeline and Connect tab. You can mention as many users as will fit in the tweet, just make sure they have an “@” before their usernames.

@Reply: Similar to a mention, but at the beginning of the sentence, a @Reply signifies direct correspondence between you and the person you @Reply to. Only the two of you (or other Twitter user who follow the two of you) will see the @Reply.

Retweet (RT): A tweet that has been shared or repeated. Your followers will see the tweet you retweet in its entirety (including the source).

Timeline: The feed you see on your homepage of all the tweets from accounts you follow.

Trends/Trending Topics: The most popular topics, or most tweeted topics on Twitter at a given time. They are worldwide by default, but can be toggled to highlight trending topics and hashtags in any location. Topics can include hashtags, names, current events, keywords, etc.

Tweeps: Twitter users in general (usually if they follow you). Tweet: A 140-character or less message sent on Twitter which can include text, usernames, links, multimedia, hashtags, etc.

Unfollow: To stop following a Twitter user. The account’s tweets will not show up in your Timeline.

Username: See Handle.

5 Easy Ways to Look Like the New Guy on Twitter 1. Begging for followers: It’s tacky and annoying. People will think you’re there for the rack up numbers, not provide thoughtful content and communicate openly with interested users.

2. Auto-DM’ing: How personal is a message everyone who follows you gets? Yeah, not personal at all. If you want to send a personal message to someone, that’s fine, but making an automated will only increase your unfollow count.

3. Tweeting too frequently (or infrequently): Tweeting once weekly is like showing up to your kid’s basketball games once a year. After a while, nobody counts on you, and in fact, it’s worse for your reputation than not being on Twitter altogether. Tweeting too frequently will annoy people and in an attempt to reduce what they see as SPAM, they may unfollow you.

4. Basing success on your follower count: You have 50,000 followers – great! But only 50% are active Twitter users, and only 10% of those speak the language you tweet in. Always remember than quality trumps quantity in the social space. Define metrics that are important and relate to interactivity to judge your success.

5. Over self-promoting: Shockingly, not everyone on Twitter wants to read your company blog. Keep content diverse, still relevant to your followers, but interesting and different (and not all from the same source).

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