Twitter has been a player in the social media sand-pit for some time now, but I have recently had a number of students asking me how to use it effectively.  I think the biggest issue people face with Twitter is the limted space for expressing yourself and getting started.  So here is a Quick Start Guide to Twitter.  This guide is not designed to teach you everything there is to know, especially when it comes to using Twitter for business, but it will help you to jump in and get started and really that is the best way to learn how to use Twitter, by using it and watching others.  Make sure you follow the NZ Academy of Wedding & Event Planning on Twitter too.  Via our own Twitter page, we will introduce you to a lot of the people and businesses you need to know when it comes to the wedding and event industry.

Learn how to write in 140 characters

Twitter is the one medium that lmits how much you can say, but this is what I like about it.  When using Twitter you need to get straight to the point.  Initially this is much more challenging than it sounds, but with practice you will get used to it and learn how to say a lot, with a little.  Along with being concise, watch how others shorten words and emulate this with your own ‘Tweeting’.

Use hashtags for your searches

Hashtags (#wedding for example) are your best friends on Twitter.  They enable you to search for trending topics and do your research on specific issues via Twitter.  Twitter is a great place for connecting with others, but it is also an excellent place to head to learn more about what people in your industry, or target market, are talking about and how they feel about certain products and services.  Hashtags are your key to this information.  Likewise, if you want people to find something you say on Twitter, add a Hashtag (think about the word you would use to search for the information you are posting and add # to it).

Start a conversation

Because you only have 140 characters it can be tempting to use Twitter for just making statements, or promoting yourself, but the magic happens on Twitter when you engage, so don’t be afraid to start conversations with people you don’t know. There is a lot of debating that goes on via Twitter and this type of healthy conversation is a really good way to connect with others, share opinions and learn things. Be polite and social though. There is no place for rudeness on Twitter.

Mind your words

Twitter gives you the ability to reach millions of people, right around the world and in a very short space of time.  Unless you have made your account private and locked your Tweets (and why would you do this if you are Tweeting for business?) anyone can see what you say on Twitter, not just your followers (this happens when someone retweets you or when you use hashtags).  This means your words have a lot of power, so be careful how you use them. You will see people using Twitter to make BIG statements and proclamations and you will even see people using Twitter for outbursts. Think about the image your want to project and who you are hoping to catch the eye of via Twitter.  If you are using Twitter for business, you are better to avoid using it as a Platform for sharing your personal views on devisive topics.

Don’t get too personal

This goes hand in hand with ‘mind your words’.  If you are using Twitter for business, have a business Twitter account and try not to mix personal and pleasure. A littke bit of personal sharing is fine, but you don’t want to give away your personal details here, save that for your personal social media accounts (Instagram is not a bad place for mixing a little bit more of personal and business).

If you are wrong do not delete but apologise

Twitter is live and fast moving. So if you say something that you regret, or hasn’t come out right. Don’t delete it, own up to it and apologise.

Use DMs and Mentions

If you follow someone and they follow you back (or vice versa) you will be able to ‘Direct Message’ them a private message.  You may do this if you want to connect with someone outside of Twitter or having something specific to ask them.  If you want to mention someone on Twitter within a post, you can do this by adding their username after the @ symbol.

Learn more about how to use Twitter effectively from Twitter themselves, here.