So you know you need to get into social media for business and you've heard friends talk about retweeting but exactly how does Twitter work?
Well before you do any of that, you have to create a Twitter account!
How does Twitter work for SEO
The most important thing to remember about social media is that it counts towards your SEO efforts. That's search engine optimisation - the stuff that needs to be done to convince Google, Yahoo, Bing and the rest that your place is where they will find relevant, quality content for the keywords that relate to you product or service.
As optimisers, we can do lots of stuff on the pages themselves but Google requires more positive human interaction to confirm that what we are saying is true. So it looks at the number of tweets, Facebook likes and Google +1s your pages are receiving to assess whether people are actually voting your work as quality.
How does a Twitter button work
Every time someone clicks the tweet button underneath some of your content, it posts to all their Twitter followers to alert them that there is something worth looking at on your site. But, even more importantly, it sends a nice direct link back to your site. The more backlinks you have from social media sites, the more Google knows that human beings love you.
If you have Wordpress, this is easy to do via one of the sharing plugins. But your web developer should also be able to code this for you easily.
In August 2011, Brightedge studied the effects of the tweet button on websites and discovered that it can increase your mentions on Twitter sevenfold. That's right, you're seven times more likely to be mentioned on Twitter if you have a Twitter button on your website - it's not rocket science really is it.
Well, actually it is! People need to be told what they have to do. It's called a Call To Action. So in your posts or content, you need to ask people to click the Twitter button to share your work. You can also ask them to Like your Facebook page at the same time. That way you're increasing your social engagement on the blog and on Twitter and Facebook, maximising your social media reach.
How does a Twitter profile work
Next up, set yourself up with a Twitter profile. Choose your Twitter username and real name wisely so that some of your keywords are included in there somewhere. The user name can be up to 15 characters and will become part of your Twitter address so make it count. Also make sure that you complete all the information in the bio, again bearing in mind your keywords.
Enter the details of your website - this becomes a hyperlink which shows in your profile when people look to find out more about you and also gives you a direct link from Twitter to your site. A backlink for the search engines to see and a click through for human visitors to come from Twitter straight to your content.
How does Twitter work for business?
- If you search Google for Twitter + conversation - there are 145 million pages of search results, that's an awful lot of people wanting to have a conversation.
- If you search Google for Twitter + relationship, there are 366 million pages, so people are more interested in building a relationship than having a conversation.
- If you search Google for Twitter + content, there are 3 billion results. So people are 22x more likely to want to find and create content on Twitter than they are in having conversations and 9x more than building relationships.
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But this is also a popular misconception about social media because there are two types - one which makes you money and one which doesn't. By all means go on there and chat about the weather but that will mean having discussions with people who are not interested in your business. You need to be having that weather conversation with someone who is interested in the effects the rain or sun will have on your niche. It's all about identifying targeted traffic, people who are interested in your product or service.
Having said that, your focus should not be trying to sell your stuff on Twitter. Apart from anything else, it's hard to do it in 140 characters. But you should also remember that there is nothing worse than receiving random @mentions with a backlink to some affiliate product from a complete stranger. That's Twitter spam.
It's the equivalent of cold calling someone out of the telephone directory and trying to sell them something they don't want. The whole point of social media is to find targeted traffic - people who are actually interested in what you're selling. If you can direct them back to your website, then the chances of conversion are far higher.
How to grow your following on Twitter and make it work for you
You need to find people who are interested in your product, service or niche. So you type twitter.com/search into the search bar and then enter your keywords.
A whole list of potential people to follow will appear. Check through their bios and previous tweets to make sure that they are worth following and that it wasn't just a random mention. You then click on the button that says follow and bob's your uncle. You will start seeing all their future tweets in your own stream.
If you use Hootsuite as a dashboard to run your social media empire, you can have an entire column just for searches of those keywords. It will show you each tweet that mentions the specified words or phrases and you can then start following those people as they come up.
You can also follow specific hashtags - #keyword - which can be attached to trending topics.
Wefollow.com has over one million users that have categorised themselves with tags
Twellow allows you to search people by location and also by keyword.
Twittercounter.com – allows you to search twitter descriptions for your keywords
Topsy.com gives you results for your keywords
How does retweeting work?
Keep on following users who are related to or interested in your niche and if you notice something interesting, then retweet their tweets. Go to the Home page on your Twitter page, you and look at the news feed there. This shows all the tweets from the people you are following and the retweet button is sited underneath each individual tweet. Hover over and you will see it appear.
If you retweet that content, it will appear in the home feeds of all those people who follow you.
There are two choices when it comes to retweeting.
1. You can either retweet by clicking the green double arrow icon below any tweet OR
2. You can choose to retweet with a little something extra, using the Quote Tweet feature
Did you find the tweet funny or interesting? Why not voice it by adding your own comment.
Your comment can be up to 116 characters long and using this feature can be a fantastic way to get a conversation going.
By adding a comment, the retweet will look different from an auto-retweet. It will become smaller and this includes any images used in the tweet.
Any links included will become unclickable to your followers, which could be a problem when you're commenting on all that great content! (See image above)
But remember, there's no point in retweeting rubbish. It has to be quality and relevant. If you find it interesting, then so might someone else who wants to know more about your niche.
Twitter tip: Keeping a good balance of both of the retweeting options will help to ensure users can still click those brilliant links.
And never use automated bots or other such programs as these cannot tell the difference between good and bad. They just retweet everything that is even vaguely related, resulting in a mess of rubbish that will not promote your reputation on Twitter.
A retweet includes the twitter name of the original poster – they get notified and it appears in their mention column. This is integral to the whole Twitter system. When you retweet it’s like calling their name across a crowded room and they notice you straightaway. Retweet someone often enough and they may well follow you back and start taking an interest in your other tweets.
If someone tweets something with a link and you think it’s worth retweeting, visit the link and if the post has social icons for Facebook or Google+1, Stumbleupon, etc, and it's captured your attention, then share it across the other social media platforms too. This all helps to get you noticed.
People will start to thank you for the retweet, so respond and show you’re human. The more you get noticed, the more likely other tweeters are to retweet you and your twitter following will begin to grow organically. You don't even have to write anything yourself, you can just retweet and share other people’s stuff because when you’re doing that only with interesting or related things, people start to associate you with good, absorbing content.
Other new tweeters will see your posts - remember they will also be doing twitter searches to find posters who are relevant to their niche. They will then retweet and follow you, so you get more followers because when someone retweets you all of their followers see it. They in turn may then follow you too, especially if they visit your twitter page and see other related and interesting stuff that you’ve put out there.
But won't people get cross if I just steal their stuff to retweet?
The original authors will be notified every time you retweet their posts. They don't mind that you’ve become an authority by piggy backing on the work of others because sharing is what Twitter is all about. So long as you give the credit for the source with an @mention, what better way of pleasing someone than by telling the world how great their posts are. Everyone likes to see their name mentioned.
Replying to tweets
If you see something that makes you want to ask a question, you can reply to that tweet. This will start your tweet with @UserName. Any tweet that begins in that way will only be seen by people who follow both you AND the person you are replying to. If you want your tweet to be seen by ALL your followers, you need to put something in front of that @UserName. Even if it's just a full stop. So .@UserName.
How Does Twitter work for customer service?
You should make sure that you set up search terms for your actual company name and your user name so that you can monitor your online reputation on Twitter. If someone says something negative, you need to deal with it openly and try to rectify the problem courteously.
I have had several experiences with customer service run through Twitter. Aviva were definitely the best. Royal Mail use their Twitter line purely for dealing with customer service and post their Twitter handle on their website when they should be using a phone number. BT talked the talk but it didn't actually translate into any useful real world assistance.
How does Twitter work?
What starts to happen is that you get noticed by people in your niche - the authors of content, as well as the readers of the posts. Your following will start to expand and you will be recognised as someone who consistently posts good, relevant, quality content. But you will also have started to establish trust that you are an expert at what you do. So when a potential customer is looking for a business that provides your product or service, you have already put in the work to build a relationship with them and they will come to you to find out more.
So, there you have it, the answer to how does Twitter work.