Six things you need to know about Twitter

Contributor - Luan Wise

Twitter is used by millions of people and brands. It's a great way for small businesses to reach a wide audience, says Luan Wise

Founded in 2006, Twitter's stated mission is to "give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly". Fast and concise in its messaging, Twitter can work well for both businesses and individuals.

1. What is Twitter?

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform where individuals or businesses can post short messages called tweets. A tweet is limited to 280 characters (140 characters prior to November 2017) and can include images, videos or links to websites.

You can "follow" other accounts, meaning you will see their tweets appearing in your timeline as they are posted. You can also "retweet" them, to share their message with your own followers.

2. What is the Twitter audience like?

Twitter has a huge user base of 328 million monthly active users worldwide; demographically users are more likely to be male, and in younger age groups (under 34).

3. What are the hot topics on Twitter?

Twitter is the place to find out "what's happening in the world that people are talking about right now".

Twitter is instant and is particularly suitable for sharing breaking news events. Users can follow popular events or issues through the use of hashtags.

From news to entertainment, sports, politics and everyday interests - as it happens you'll find conversations on Twitter.

4. What's special about Twitter for businesses?

The great thing about Twitter is that an individual or small business can get attention. It's quick to use and doesn't require advertising budgets to get results. You do have to show up regularly though - at least once or twice a day - to get results.

5. Which businesses are using Twitter?

Twitter attracts a diverse audience from politicians to celebrities as well as business leaders.

Twitter is a social media platform that can have multiple business uses, from creating awareness to lead generation and customer service. In fact, many organisations opt for multiple Twitter accounts.

People like to follow accounts that post topics that interest them, so if you have multiple messages to send on different topics, creating separate accounts can be a great way to stay relevant to the needs of your different audiences.

You could consider having:

  • a corporate account dedicated to providing updates on your company as a whole;
  • a customer service account to answer questions and comments;
  • a product-led account to provide product news and information;
  • audience-led accounts focused on the needs of a target audience: for example, this could be location-specific or subject-specific to cater for niche groups.

6.How do you get started?

It's easy! Visit Twitter, create an account, complete all the profile details and start posting some tweets.

Use hashtags to identify the nature of your content and start following other users; hopefully lots of them will follow you straight back.

Written by Luan Wise.

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