Introduction to Twitter

Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets”. These tweets typically contain links to articles, videos, music services etc.

Twitter is a real-time information network that connects people to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what they find interesting. Twitter is especially good for interest driven thematically driven discussions and networking.

Twitter was founded in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and the service rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with over 500 million registered users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day.

Every day, millions of people turn to Twitter to connect to their interests, to share information, and find out what’s happening in the world right now. Anyone can read, write and share messages. These messages, or Tweets, are available to anyone interested in reading them, whether logged in or not. Your followers receive your messages in their timeline – a feed of all the accounts they have subscribed to or followed on Twitter.

You don’t have to tweet to get value from Twitter

You don’t have to build a web page to surf the web, and you don’t have to tweet to enjoy Twitter. Whether you tweet 100 times a day or never, you still have access to the voices and information surrounding all that interests you. You can contribute, or just listen in and retrieve up-to-the-second information.

Twitter for beginners

The home page

The page where you’ll land whenever you sign in to Twitter. On the right is a stream of Tweets posted by all the people you “follow” on Twitter. The more people you follow, the more interesting this page will be.

Post your own Tweets.

To post your own Tweet, click the compose Tweet button in the top right corner of your page. You can link to images, videos, or web URLs in your 140-character message, and add location if you want to show users where you are.

Track your interactions

Your Connect tab’s Interactions timeline, shows you how others have been interacting with you on Twitter. It’ll tell you when someone marks your Tweet as a favorite, mentions your username, follows you, or retweets your content.

Monitor your mentions

When another user includes your username preceded by the @ symbol in a Tweet, we call it a “mention.” Your Mentions tab collects Tweets that mention you by your username, so you can keep track of conversations others are having with you. Click a Tweet to see the conversation.

Discover what’s happening

Your Discover tab displays the top Trends and Tweets on Twitter. Tweets shown here are personalized for you based on:

  • Your connections
  • Your location and language settings
  • Recent spikes in a topic’s popularity

Keep tabs on what others are doing.

Your Discover tab’s Activity timeline shows you real-time information about the actions being taken by people you follow. See who they’ve retweeted, followed, replied to, and more. This is a good way to discover interesting content on Twitter.

Follow interesting accounts

Find and follow people whose Tweets interest you from your Discover tab. Browse tailored recommendations on the who to follow page, find friends using your address book, or browse categories of popular accounts.

Search to discover even more

To search for Tweets, people, hashtags, or topics, type your query into the search box in the top navigation bar. From the Connect tab, results default to people; from the Discover tab, results default to Tweets. Toggle between results at any time using the menu on the left.

Check out your profile page

Accessing your profile from the Me tab in the top navigation bar will display a general overview of your account with your Tweets, photos, stats, and information about who you are. Edit your profile by simply clicking on the gear icon in the upper right corner of the screen, and selecting Edit profile.

Send and receive direct messages

A direct message is a personal Tweet seen only by the sender and the recipient. To read yours, click on Direct messages from the gear icon drop down menu in your navigation bar. To send one, just specify the username of the account you want to communicate with (they must be following you).

Anatomy of a Tweet

Tweets are the building blocks of your communications on Twitter.

You’ll be surprised by how much you can say with 140 characters or less.

1. HASHTAG

A hashtag is any word beginning with the # sign. People use hashtags to organize conversations around a specific topic. Clicking on a hashtag takes you to search results for that term.

2. MENTION

Sometimes you want to bring a Tweet to someone’s attention, but you still want all of your followers to see the message. So instead of a reply, use a mention. Include the @username of whomever you want to mention in your Tweet, and it will appear in the Mentions section (in the Connect tab). All @username mentions are clickable and link back to the mentioned individual’s profile.

3. REPLY

You can respond to a Tweet by hitting the reply button. When you reply, your response is public, and will show up in your home timeline and the timeline of the person to whom you are responding. The reply will also be visible in the home timelines of people who follow both you and the person to whom you sent the reply. Meaning, someone not in the conversation has to follow both of the people replying to be able to read both sides of the conversation.

4. RETWEET

You can pass along someone’s Tweet by retweeting it. Just hit the retweet button to send the original message to all of your followers.

Re-tweeting can also be done by writing the following syntax:

Your message RT@username (of the person who wrote the original tweet) original tweet.

Example:

I just did and I love it!! RT @LadyGaga Hey followers check out my new album on Spotify

5. LINKS

Twitter’s link-shortening feature allows you to paste a link of any length into the Tweet box and it will automatically be shortened to 19 characters. This makes it easier to fit long URLs into the 140 character limit. You can also use bit.ly and goo.gl when shortening links. If you do you will also be able to track how many people who click on your links. Read more about both tools under the tools section.

How to build a Twitter profile

Get started – Create a new Profile!

Visit the following page to sign up for Twitter: https://twitter.com/signup

Choose a good username

When choosing a username for your new Twitter profile your first thought should always be: What do people search when they try to find this profile? There is no use in having a good profile if people cannot find your profile when they search.

Note: Try to be as accurate as possible when you choose username. Unfortunately Twitter`s search engine is not the best or most flexible search engine and you need to take this into consideration when you choose your username.

Example: If your band/artist is called “Foo Fighters” you should try to get the username FooFighters not the “FooFightersMusic” or “FooFighters_com” as they might not be found when people search for “FooFighters“.

In social media it is important to have a short and simple web address. The perfect web address is ”easy to guess, easy to remember, easy to share“ so keep it simple! The username you choose for your Twitter Profile will become a part of your profile`s URL (web address). If you choose the username FooFighters the URL to your Twitter profile will be www.twitter.com/FooFighters.

You should make sure to sign up for an account and secure your username as soon as you know the name of your brand (for future use). Even if you are not planning to use Twitter much. If you don’t secure it yourself other people might “take” your username and lead all traffic into their own channels.

If you find yourself in a situation where someone has taken your brand`s username on Twitter, contact Twitter`s customer care and they will help you get it back.

Profile Pictures

Pictures should always be a part of your marketing! Your Twitter profile picture appears next to every tweet you send. It’s an opportunity to associate an image with your business / brand in the minds of everyone who follows you.

Keep in mind that 60% of Twitter users also use Twitter via mobile. This means that your tweets often will be shown in list together with a lot of other tweets from other profiles. Make sure to choose a picture that will stand out in the crowd.

Tip:

  • If you are planning to use a logo make sure your logo fits into the square size. Cropped-off logos look unprofessional and give the impression that your business doesn’t care about the details.
  • Make sure your logo is readable. If your logo contains words that cannot be read, you are wasting the space. Create an image without the words that captures the essence of your logo.
  • Consider switching to a headshot. People connect with faces, not logos. If you are the driving force of your business, why not use your face to make your business seem more human and approachable?

Optimize your Bio

Your Twitter profile bio tells your brands / artists story in the length of a text message. That’s a lot of information crammed into just a few words.

The best Twitter profiles include these components:

  • Links that leads to conversions
  • Tell people what you do
  • Explain how you help people
  • Show a little personality
  • Keywords

There is a few services out there helping people to find relevant accounts to follow so listing keywords in your bio might help you get more followers. Make sure to list @usernames to other relevant Twitter profiles if you have any. (if you add a @ before the username they will become click-able links in the bio section) Example: In a bands profile list @usernames to all the band members profiles.

URL / Web adress

You area allowed to list a web address together with your bio. This will become a click-able link from your profile.

You can also list URL to other social media profiles such as Facebook or Instagram. You should consider to use bit.ly or goo.gl to track this URL so you can see how many people is clicking on your links. Read more about how to do this under the tools section.

Background Pictures

Twitter allows you to customize the look and colors of your Twitter profile page. This gives you an opportunity to provide additional information about your brand to everyone who checks out your profile. Your Twitter background helps convey your brand and convey a positive first impression.

When you customize your profile design, everything you see on Twitter will be set in the theme you have chosen. Others will see your theme on your profile page.

Whether you represent a business and want to create a Twitter background to maintain consistent branding across all of your communication platforms, or just want a custom Twitter background, you can try to do it yourself if you’re handy with creating images or you can have it done for you. If you want to create your own Twitter background, you’ll need to create a specific-size image. You’ll also have to remember to view the finished result on different screen sizes.

There are two main limitations with setting up your custom background: It’s an image and won’t have any active links. This means you should try to use easy-to-remember links and not clutter this space with too much information.

The visible area on either side of your Twitter feed will be different sizes depending on the size of the screen used by your viewers. For example, let’s say you set up your Twitter background to look good on a large computer screen. However, if a large portion of the people you want to connect with use smaller screens, your communication will be lost.

Personality

Of course, your Twitter background is a great place to get creative and show some personality. After a little Twitter networking, you’re sure to find a wide range of creative Twitter backgrounds. You don’t need to get carried away with design; simple designs also work well to connect with people.

Extended bio

You can also use your Twitter background image to share more information about yourself not included in your bio. Consultants and businesses may want to put their phone number, email and other relevant contact details here.

Again, these won’t be active links and you need to verify that everything fits well when viewed from different screen sizes. But this can help you to connect with your Twitter audience. Keep in mind that you can’t scroll Twitter backgrounds. Rather, they remain fixed on the page and content scrolls on top of them. So don’t extend your design too far down the page or it may not be visible for some users.

To customize your design with a premade theme:

  1. Sign in to your account.
  2. Go to your Settings and click on the Designtab.
  3. You will see a Pick a premade theme menu, select a premade theme by clicking on the design you would like to use.
  4. Click Save changes at the bottom of the page when you’re done. It’s as simple as that!

To customize your own design

If you want to upload your own background image or customize the sidebar and color scheme of your page, follow the steps below.

  1. Sign in to your account.
  2. Go to your Settings and click on the Design tab.
  3. Scroll down to the Customize your own section.
  4. Click on Choose file to upload a background image. Images justify to the top left of the screen. You cannot stretch your image to fit. It will display as the size you uploaded (file must be smaller than 2MB).
  5. Check the box to Tile background if you want your picture to repeat across the background.
  6. Choose whether your Background position will be left, center or right.
  7. If your image isn’t very large, choose the background color that will show behind the image.
  8. Choose a color for links.
  9. Choose a black or white transparent overlay.
  10. Click Save changes.

Note: Background images must be in PNG, GIF, or JPG format, smaller than 2MB. If your image’s file size is too large, use an image editing program or web app to shrink the image. Animated GIFs are not supported as background images.

Settings

Control when and how often Twitter sends emails to you: http://twitter.com/settings/notifications

Save Search

Saved Search is a good way to stay up to date on certain keywords.

To save a Twitter search:

  1. Sign in to your Twitter account.
  2. Type your search query into the search box at the top of the page and hit return.
  3. Click on the gear icon and select Save search from the drop down menu.

Note: You may have up to 25 saved searches per account.

To revisit a saved search:

  1. Sign in to your Twitter account.
  2. Click anywhere in the search box at the top of the page.
  3. A list of your saved searches will appear below the search box.
  4. Click on the saved search to revisit results for that query.

To remove a saved search:

  1. Sign in to your Twitter account.
  2. Click anywhere in the search box at the top of the page.
  3. Click on the saved search query in the drop down.
  4. When results appear, click the gear icon and select Remove saved search from the drop down. This search will no longer appear in your saved searches.

Twitter Lists

A list is a curated group of Twitter users. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the users on that list.

Note: Lists are used for reading Tweets only. You cannot send or direct a Tweet to members of a list, for only those list members to see.

To create a list:

  1. Go to your Lists page. This can be done via the gear icon drop down menu in the top right navigation bar or by going to your profile page and clicking on Lists.
  2. Click Create list.
  3. Enter the name of your list, a short description of the list, and select if you want the list to be private (only accessible to you) or public (anyone can subscribe to the list).
  4. Click Save list.
Note: List names cannot exceed 25 characters, nor can they begin with a number.

To add or remove people from your lists:

  1. Click the gear icon drop down menu on a user’s profile.
  2. Select Add or remove from lists. (You don’t need to be following a user to add them to your list.)
  3. A pop-up will appear displaying your created lists. Check the lists you would like to add the user to, or uncheck the lists you’d like to remove the user from.
  4. To check to see if the user you wanted to add was successfully included in that list, navigate to the Lists tab on your profile page. Click the desired list, then click Members. The person will appear in the list of members.
Note: You cannot add yourself, or a user who has blocked you, to a list.

A list is a curated group of Twitter users. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the users on that list.

To see lists that you are on:

  • On your Lists page, click on Member of. This will show you what lists you are on.

To remove yourself from a list:

  • You can remove yourself from a list by blocking the creator of the list.
  1. Log in to your Twitter account.
  2. Go to the profile page of the person you wish to block.
  3. Click the person icon on their profile page. This brings up a drop-down actions menu.
  4. Select Block from the options listed.

To view Tweets from a list:

  1. Go to your profile page.
  2. Click on the Lists tab.
  3. Click on the list you’d like to view.
  4. You’ll see a timeline of Tweets from the users included in that list.

To edit or delete lists:

  1. Go to your profile page.
  2. Click on the Lists tab.
  3. You will see lists you’ve created and other people’s lists you follow under Subscribed to.
  4. Select which list you’d like to edit or delete from the lists you’ve created. Click Edit to update your list details or click Delete to remove the list entirely.
  5. You cannot add or remove people from your list on this page —you must do that from the profile pages of each individual you wish to add or remove.

To subscribe to/follow other people’s lists:

  1. Click on Lists when viewing someone’s profile.
  2. Select which list you’d like to subscribe to.
  3. From the list page, click Subscribe to follow the list. You can follow lists without following the individual users in that list.
Note: If the owner of a list that you’re following includes a public user that you’ve blocked, you will still see the updates of the blocked user.

How to build a fan base on Twitter

Before you get start with your online marketing and building a fan base on Twitter you should make sure your Twitter Profile is ready and conversion optimized. If you have not done so already, please take a moment and read the section covering how to build a Profile and how to measure success.

Start tweeting!

A good place to start would be to browse Twitter and have a quick look at how experienced users within your industry are using Twitter. You can learn much by watching others.

If you are new to Twitter please read the Twitter for beginners section on top of this page before reading more in this section. (Especially the topic “Anatomy of a Tweet”)

A good way to get people to follow your Profile is to post good tweets!

What is a good tweet?

  • Insights / behind the scenes. Add value to your followers! Show your followers insight to how it is to be an band/artist. (being in the studio, on tour, on stage or backstage)
  • Photos and videos
  • Respond to compliments and feedback in real time. This shows that you are present and available. Makes people want to interact with you and will get you more followers.
  • Retweet and reply publicly to great tweets posted by your followers and customers. This is showing gratitude and will help you build relations and more fans. This is also increasing the likelihood of other people re-tweeting your tweets in the future (gives you bigger range).
  • Use humor. Funny tweets Increase the likelihood of people re-tweeting your message. This gets you wider reach and also new followers.
  • Rewards. Tweet updates about special offers, discounts and time-sensitive deals.
  • Ask questions of your followers to glean valuable insights and show that you are listening. Creates interactions and motivates people to interact with you.
  • Demonstrate wider leadership and know-how. Reference articles and links about the bigger picture as it relates to your business.
  • Links to music (Spotify/Wimp)
  • Links to other social media

Remember tracking on links that you tweet to see if your tweets is leading to conversions.

Establish the right voice. Twitter users tend to prefer a direct, genuine, and of course, a likable tone from your business/band/artist, but think about your voice as you Tweet. How do you want your business to appear to the Twitter community?

Understand why people share things to create better Tweets.
Before you write a Tweet, consider how your followers will respond. Will they want to reply, favorite, watch or share that Tweet? People tend to share positive Tweets that solve a problem, answer a question, entertain or inspire. On Twitter, we see the most retweeted content tends to contain links, photos, videos or quotes. When you Tweet something interesting, it has the potential to travel to many prospective customers.

Twitter = Two ways communication so don’t forget to listen. Regularly monitor the comments about your company, brand, and products. Use saved search to monitor important keywords. Follow users mentioning your brand/products.

People are following profiles because they want to come closer to the real artist. (Not his assistant or the record label) So when you tweet remember to post in ” first person ” (not third person).
Example: Thank you for an awesome concert! Not: “The artist thanks you for an awesome concert!”

Tag your tweets! (# And @)

Motivate people to mention your username. All @ Your Username = link/gateway to your profile = Positive!

Promote your Twitter @username

There are many ways to promote your Twitter @username online and offline: business cards, newsletter and mail signature, advertising, delivery vehicles, product packaging, storefronts, your website, on stage etc. Anywhere your customers/fans interact with your brand is an opportunity to encourage them to follow you on Twitter. Note: You should link to Twitter Profile from other social media profiles if you have any.

Follow users to get new followers

The fastest way to get followers on Twitter is to start following new people!

“When you follow people there is an percentage of those who will follow you back”

Before you start following new people make sure your account is 100% conversion optimized! This will increase your conversion rate and ease your job in increasing your fan base. In the very beginning when starting to build your fan base the main conversion is to get people you to follow you back. Therefor you need to optimized your profile so it is ready for your new visitors/potential followers. Both in terms of tweets and the way your profile appears. (Read more about how to build you profile in the “Build Profile” section)

Size matters on Twitter! New users tend to follow bigger accounts (Those with more than 1000+ followers from before) As a new Twitter user you should be prepared to work a little to get your first 1000 followers and also know that the job of getting new followers will get easier the bigger your account gets. (People will come to you instead of the other way around like it is in the beginning) .

Here is a few tips on things that will increase the likelihood of a person following you back once you follow them:
  1. Build a nice profile (read more about this in the build profile section)
  2. Prepare your account with posting a few good/relevant tweets. (read section “What is a good Tweet” on this page)
  3. Have fresh tweets! Max 3 days old while following new people.
  4. Start with following people you know in real life (Friends, family, colleagues, partners)
  5. Follow people who talk about you (Search via keywords)
  6. Follow people who follow similar/relevant Twitter accounts.
    (Example if you build a profile for a brand new festival follow people who follow another similar festival)
  7. Follow all people who interact with your tweets.
  8. Follow people who tweet about relevant /keywords content (Search via keywords)
    Example: Search for user posting Spotify/Wimp/Deezer links if you want to follow people who like to share music)

Who not to follow:

Many Twitter accounts are not run by real people. They are automated programs called bots . And some of them are spammers.

There are bots that provide useful information. However, most bots are spewing out tweets from other people and other sources that are not on target for your Twitter business goals. They clog up your Twitter stream and don’t provide any business value.

You may not have known you were following a bot. Bots gain an audience by following many people and taking advantage of people who automatically follow back.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Don’t follow people with a default picture. If they haven’t bothered to upload a real profile picture, chances are they are not going to say anything worth hearing.
  • Check their numbers. An account that follows many people but has only a few followers is probably a spammer.
  • Review their tweets. Are they all retweets or quotes? Did they send the exact tweet to many users over a very short time? It’s probably a bot.
  • They say it’s a bot in their bio . Yes, some bots will tell you they are bots in their bio.
  • No favorite tweets or lists . A bot or spammer doesn’t mark tweets as favorites or create lists.

In general, it’s better not to follow automatically everyone who follows you if you want to avoid having your Twitter stream fill up with garbage.

Use your followers to get even more followers

“When your followers retweet your content — or when they tweet about you — they extend your reach to their followers”

Create Tweets that encourage your followers to retweet. One simple method is to announce that you’ll offer a discount to everyone who retweets your offer, but only if you get a total number of retweets (like 10 or 25).

Offer your customers a reward if they mention your business — a discount, free trial, or extra service — whatever makes sense for your company. It’s a good idea to include a link to the terms and conditions of your offer in the Tweet.

If you have a store, ask people show you the Tweet on their phones at checkout. If you sell online, DM the follower with a discount code that you can track at checkout

TIP: People are more likely to retweet an offer that provides value to their own followers.

Work with others

“Connect with other businesses online”

When the 2010 World Series was played in Arlington, Texas and San Francisco, California, it was no surprise that the baseball fans from both cities tweeted up a storm. Surprisingly, so did each city’s major art museum: San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art challenged Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum to a tweet-off. Texas responded, mentioning both baseball teams and using hashtags that were a part of the larger sports conversation. Then the competing teams started retweeting the museums’ Tweets, and fans of both joined in the fun. Through local pride, the museums found common ground with the ball clubs and the competitive fun that comes with a major league sport.

Tools to get new followers

A quick Google search will give you hundreds of services offering you help with getting more followers on Twitter. Most of them is offering to find new target groups of users and then to autofollow these people for you. This can be handy and will give you a higher follow count. If you choose to use tools like that make sure to do a good background check on the service you choose. Choosing a wrong service can get you banned from Twitter. Most of them offer only robot followers that will not give you any value except from a increased follow count.

Use tools to post content

There are many tools out there that can help you to optimize, post and schedule your tweets.

One of the more popular services right now is the service called Hootsuite. Read more about how to use Hootsuite under our tools section.