Exploring Twitter Basics

The following is some great information submitted by Guest Author, Gini Dietrich, Chief Executive Officer at Arment Dietrich PR. The information explores Twitter basics and how to get started using this innovative tool in your social networking efforts. Gini fully understands franchisors’ public relations and communications needs and was a keynote speaker at the Franchise Finance and Development Conference recently held in Las Vegas. Arment Dietrich PR is among the country’s fastest growing boutique public relations agencies. Their motivation is a relentless drive to find new and better ways to help clients boost their businesses and bottom-line results.

twitter cartoon 2Getting started on Twitter

As budding experts on social media, believe us when we say Twitter is not dominated by gossiping teenagers and social butterflies (though they are there). Many corporate executives, reporters, and entrepreneurs recognize social media not only as a powerful tool for communication, but also as a resource for networking and attracting new business. And though the excuses people use to avoid social media are plentiful (”I don’t get it,” or “it takes too long,” or “I don’t know how to get started”), it really isn’t painful or difficult, as long as you commit a little time to get started.

So what is Twitter?

Twitter is a social networking site where you can meet new people and exchange ideas and information. You are allowed to say whatever you want, as often as you want (in 140 characters or less), in a message called a “tweet.”

Types of Tweets

DMs, RTs, and @replies. What do all of those mean? A DM is a direct message you send to anyone in your network who is also following you (we’ll get to following later), and is not viewable by anyone else. It is like an email between you and another person. If you find a tweet of particular interest, you can RT or retweet it. All of your followers may not be connected, and retweeting a post shares the information with your network. Lastly, @replies are simply a reply to someone else’s tweet. Your followers may not see the initial message, but they will be able to read your @reply on your Twitter page.

When you’re tweeting, don’t forget that Twitter is just like any other information source, so it’s important to give credit where credit is due and reference your source when sharing other people’s tweets.

Getting started

First create a Twitter handle (also known as a screen name), upload a picture, and write a bio. Use your real name and a current picture so people recognize you. (For some quick tips on how to write an online bio, check out Gini’s recent post on the Geek Girls Guide.)

Start networking

If you want anyone to read what you are writing, you need some followers. When you subscribe to someone else’s Twitter stream, it is called following. The easiest way to build your online community is to search for people you already know using Twitter and start following them. (Follow the Arment Dietrich team here!) You can also search keywords to find like-minded people. And, start tweeting! Use DMs, RTs, and @replies to engage and connect.

Making time for TwitterCheck Twitter morning, noon, and night. Or, at least three times per day at first. Once you get used to checking it and reading your updates, you’ll see you don’t have to make a huge time investment to become involved.

There are many programs out there to make your Twitter experience as easy as possible (such as TweetDeck), and allow you to group your followers and track tweets based on interests or people. Programs like these are a big timesaver.