24 Sep 2014

Taking Your First Steps with Twitter

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Enhance Your Image with Twitter

In our on-going series on using social media to enhance your business, we’ve covered developing your presence on LinkedIn and Facebook. We’ve saved Twitter for last for a reason. Many people find it difficult to understand how Twitter works, but with your experience using LinkedIn and Facebook, you should be ready to tackle professional use of Twitter.

Joining the fast-moving social network

If you’re not already part of Twitter, sign up for an account at https://twitter.com. You’ll want to choose a professional sounding username for your account, such as your actual name or business name. As with Facebook, you need to understand that everything you publish—or “tweet”–on Twitter is publicly accessible.

Twitter offers a feature that allows you to “protect your tweets,” which means what you write will be visible only to your followers. If you decide to protect your tweets, you won’t reach as many people, and you’ll lose some of the benefits that come from being part of a network. You can read more about protected tweets here: https://support.twitter.com/articles/14016-about-public-and-protected-tweets.

Instead of protecting your tweets, it’s better to simply think twice before you tweet something. As with Facebook, it’s important to engage with others on the network using the same professional standards for behavior you hold yourself to at your office.

Setting Up Your Profile

Creating your Profile on Twitter is similar to setting up a Page on Facebook. You should add a professional image of yourself to your Profile and choose a background header that represents your business. You’ll find directions on how to customize aspects of your Profile at https://support.twitter.com/articles/127871.

Your bio should include a professional description of you and your business. For privacy reasons, some people prefer not to set a location on their Profile. However, setting a location can also help people find your business.

There is a place on your Profile for your business’s website address, but you can also include social media addresses and other contact information in your bio if you wish to. You may want to use the Twitter search bar to find people and companies in your field of expertise to see how your peers present themselves.

Finding People and Organizations to Follow

Now that you’ve set up your Profile, you’re going to need to find people to follow. Followers are like a combination of Friends and Fans on Facebook. They can be people you know (Friends) or people you don’t know (Fans). When someone follows you, your updates will show up on their Twitter page in their “Tweet Stream” or “Twitter Feed.”

You can import your business contacts into Twitter and it will match the email addresses to your contacts’ Twitter accounts, which you can then choose to follow or not. You should consider following people or organizations that you consider influential or a professional news source.

When you first get started with Twitter, it’s good to think of it primarily as a news service. Concentrate on listening, rather than Tweeting. In the next installment of our social media series, we’ll discuss joining the Twitter conversation and getting your business noticed

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