Join the Twitter Conversation.

4 minute read

Last week I asked the question “What is Twitter for?” and explained the ways that Twitter can be used passively. Hopefully that peaked your interest and you now have an account of your own, maybe even collected a few followers and started following a few people yourself. Today I’m going to go through a few things you may have come across which are crucial to the Twitter experience.

@name
If you are sending an @name as a reply and lead with @name this will go to the person whose name is prefixed by the @ symbol, and appear in the @name section of their Twitter profile page regardless of whether they are following you. @name replies will also appear in the feed of anyone who is following both the sender and recipient. If you mention someone by name inside a tweet and that person has a twitter account, prefix their name with @ so that they see the message even if they are not following you. This message will appear in your feed as normal with the benefit of making the name of the person you mention clickable to take people to their account.

#FollowFriday @signupto @seal @alexroots

#Hashtags
Hashtags are created simply by adding a hash (#) to the front of any word. Hashtags give context to your tweet, for example #FollowFriday is a tag used to on Fridays to suggest tweeple your followers may be interested in following. The #FollowFriday tag gives context to what would otherwise be a seemingly random list of @name entities. These tags can also be used to point out that your tweet is about a particular topic, for example a search for #startrek would find all tweets which are marked as being about #startrek.
RT @
If you read something that you think your followers would find interesting just copy the tweet, including their name, then pop RT @ in front of it. ReTweeting is good for you, because it gives your followers relevant, interesting content but also helps you build relationships with the people you follow by bringing them to a larger audience and hopefully when you have something to say, they will retweet to their own followers.

RT @signupto http://www.tweepular.com/ Brilliant tool for monitoring your twitter followers.

The bottom line for Twitter participation is to be friendly, be useful and be a person. Its very easy to set up automatic feeds to your twitter profile from your email newsletters or blog but if this is all you tweet it won’t gain you many followers, and if nobody is seeing your tweets, is there any point making them? Remember to ask questions, answer questions and generally be involved in the conversation around you. If your followers like you they will not only accept you advertising your wares, they will also help you to do so.

Twitter may seem like a fad, but try to think long term. You are building relationships with your existing and potential customers which could last a life time, so it is important not to abuse or take advantage of this relationship by speaking without listening.

Check back soon to find out how to maximise your Twitter potential.

Thanks for reading,

Gareth.

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