Tweets from Tom Egelhoff's Twitter Page. Screen capture by Tom Egelhoff.
Tweets from Tom Egelhoff's Twitter Page. Screen capture by Tom Egelhoff.

Most everyone has heard the word “Twitter” but fewer know exactly what it is and even fewer how to use it effectively. But used properly, Twitter can be a fun way to make new friends and a useful business-marketing tool.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social media program similar in some ways to Facebook. What makes twitter unique is it’s posting length. You are only allowed to use 140 characters and spaces to get your point across. This make Twitter easy to peruse and pick the stories or items you find interesting. More on how to do that later in the post.

News organization often quote “tweets” of famous people on news of the day. Everyone from athletes to movie stars or political figures show up on Twitter and are sometimes taken to task for what they post.

Twitter for Personal Use

Twitter is very useful in people’s personal lives. Ancestry, hobbies, household tips, gardening, medical, investing information can all be found on Twitter. You can search for topics of interest and follow people with similar interests. You can follow anyone you like and anyone can follow you. However, you can only communicate with each other if you both follow each other.

Twitter tries to keep followers and those following in balance. For example you can’t follow 2,000 people if you only have 20 followers yourself. So based on what you post people will find you and follow you because they have similar issues. How do they find you?

Hashtags (#)

A “hashtag” is a capital 3 on your keyboard. It’s used by twitter to alert others that a particular “keyword” is in use. For example, if I post about “#entrepreneurs” anyone who searches for “entrepreneur” on Twitter can see my post. A hashtag in front of any keyword will bring your tweet up in any searches for that keyword.

Those who see your tweet and like it can “re-tweet” it to their followers and that can bring more followers to your Twitter page and that’s another way people can find you.

Twitter for Business

Although I will occasionally post something political on my Twitter page I use it primarily for business. I mostly post my own business information or links to articles and tips I think will help small businesses become more successful.

If I find a useful article for retailers I will post it including “#retail” in the tweet plus any other keywords.

For example, “Here’s an #article on# tax tips for #retailers – with the link to the article.” Anyone searching for articles, taxes, or retailer will see my tweet because of the hashtags.

Some Final Thoughts

Google, “How to Use Twitter” and you can find the basics on signing up and tips on how and what to tweet. YouTube also has some helpful videos to teach you the ins and outs of successful tweeting. The best advice I can give you is give good, helpful information that’s valuable on your page. Do that and you will grow a following in either your personal of business page very quickly.

Give Twitter a shot. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how much fun and how informative it can be. Happy Tweeting.

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