Article: Twitter: Join the conversation

A complete beginner’s guide to Twitter by @TalkingSpeaking

A tweet is a comment in 280 characters, including numbers, symbols, spaces and punctuation.

Considering and using your Twitter feed as part of your marketing strategy will help establish you as a person of note.

If you’re not already tweeting, you may find you enjoy it and come to realise how useful it can be to promote yourself, your business and your causes.

Choose a memorable name starting with @ that’s easy to type quickly into a phone.

Use a photo of yourself and a relevant banner, and use all the space to describe what you do, including your web links. Their decision to follow you or not is influenced by what they see here, as well as by what you say, support and promote.

Follow people and organisations you admire, would like to work with and learn from, and who can help and promote you. If they have a lot of followers, so much the better. Follow back those who follow you if you’re interested in what they have to say. It’s all about creating and using networks.

Use #hashtags [no spaces] to organise and highlight your tweets. They act as labels, helping the world to find you quickly. You can create your own, but remember that using multiple hashtags in one tweet can make it difficult to read.

Use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation, and avoid text-speak. Abbreviations that anyone would understand are OK.

Keep an eye on tweets by people you follow and what’s trending, search for comments on interesting subjects using hashtags and retweet [pass on in entirety or quote and comment on] anything useful that others have said.

Include website address links to your own website, articles and blog and other useful online content. You’ll be able to see how many readers are attracted to your website after you’ve linked to an item by looking at your analytics.

All this shows you’re in the loop, making you a helpful, interesting source and provider of knowledge. And thank tweeters for adding their voice, if they’re actively in support.

Add photos – images help attract attention and interest.

Tweet several times every day, to keep your profile up and attract followers who are interested in what you have to say.

Anyone reading your tweets forms an opinion – you need to come across as professional and knowledgeable. Defamatory and inflammatory remarks could harm your reputation and damage your cause. People have been sued, and have lost their jobs through being careless. You can unretweet if you have second thoughts, but it may be too late – screenshots may already have been taken … so always think before you tweet.

Philippa Hammond