Twitter, for some, can be a dirty word. I have heard many people tell me, when I mention that I used Twitter, how it is such a useless tool. Others say that it is just people talking about what they had for breakfast that day. I hate to say it, but those people are wrong – to an extent.
I used to be one of those people and then I decided to try out Twitter based on a random Facebook post that used good examples and a personal case study to prove their point. To this day it is still my social medium of choice.
So how does one use Twitter to their greatest capacity? Here are six ways to help you do this.
- Public or private?
This should be your first decision when trying to navigate the social media site. If you want to use it for tweets that are questionable or may be considered an off brand of humor, my suggestion is a private account. If you want to use it to promote your brand or profession, then public is a great idea.
- Follow your interests
This is the best part of Twitter. Just about anyone and everyone has an account. You can find news organizations, sports, parody accounts, professionals, businesses, celebrities, and everyday people like you and me. Find someone that interests you and click their follow button to start reading what they have to say.
- Use hashtags
Hashtags are incredibly vital to Twitter. A hashtag is that little pound sign you see before everything these days: #. A hashtag is essentially an indexing list that organizes tweets to a particular field.
For instance, if I tweet: Follow my #PR blog! This will show up to anyone that does a search for twitter on PR. My tweet can be read by thousands of people and may even increase traffic to my blog.It’s also a great way for other professionals to find me.
I have several followers that are PR professionals or industry professionals that followed me because I used a hashtag. One of those is Yumi Wilson (@Yumiwilson), who is the corporate communications manager for LinkedIn, a journalism professor at SF State, and an influencer on Twitter. Another person that follows me is Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_kovacevic). He is a former sports writer for the Trib, which is a Pittsburgh newspaper, and currently has his own freelance subscription website covering all Pittsburgh sports.
Give Yumi and Dejan a follow!
This one is the most obvious. Tweeting can help you get followers and increase your relevance online, if that’s what you want. Tweet significant information, use hashtags, and even tag other users to help gain visibility.
Many tweets have broken world news first. I find that many times I know something about my favorite hockey team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, before anyone else does. This is because someone tweeted it out before the Penguins released the information officially on their sites.
- Create Lists
Let’s face it, following a ton of people will create a mess of a Twitter feed. Think of all those posts on Facebook you never read because you never saw it due to the mass amount of posts always there. Now magnify this by hundreds more and you have Twitter.
This is where creating a list helps. The list can be set to private or public. Lists help to organize the users you follow into categories so that you can go to that list and read up on what was said so you don’t miss anything great. Creating a list is easy as well. Here’s how you do it:
- Favorite tweets
Favoring a tweet is a somewhat like “liking” a post on Facebook. You click the favorite and it adds it to your favorites list. Big deal you say? The great thing about this feature is that if you want to read that tweet, or view something contained in it, then the favorite is there forever so that you can go back to it later. This is extremely helpful for referencing past tweets when you are a busy person.
- Watch trends
Finally, watching trends on Twitter helps you to stay versed on topics that people are talking about. The news media often pulls tweets from Twitter and many times they watch the trends to see what the world is talking about. When someone says that something is “trending on Twitter” then this is what they are talking about.
A trend is typically a hashtag, but it can also be a person, place, or thing. The key thing to remember here is that trends are popular items.
Whether or not you start up an account, I do hope that you understand why Twitter is popular and used widely by the world. I also hope that this overview has helped you to better understand how Twitter works and realize that there really is a lot of value in those 140 characters. Please feel free to let me know what you thought of this article in the comments below.
Also, please feel free to follow me on Twitter via @renodarb7 or click on the Twitter social media button my site to open up my feed.