How To Use Twitter To Its Maximum Potential: The Basics

Twitter is an essential component in any marketing strategy that seeks to involve a wide audience. Far from its original days as a niche, and bizarre, platform Twitter is used by over 319 million people worldwide. So, what's the best way to go about creating an account?

Here's how to get started:

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1. Create the dang thing โœ”

I'm not going to walk you through this step in too much detail because it's very simple, and anyone that can read a blogpost can sign up for an account with Twitter, so you're free to do this alone. Go to twitter.com to get started. If this is for a business, your account might need to eventually look a little different from a personal account but the process is the same. Unlike on Facebook, there are no business accounts at this point. Just choose a name and away we go.

Things to note:

  • choose the right @username the first time around: while you can change both your name and username later (and infinitely) it's a hassle in terms of brand if you keep switching things around
  • write a decent bio: this isn't just so that people know who they're following -- Twitter decides whether you are a spammer or not based on the presence of this and its content. Write something simple for now. Remember that this will appear in searches with the words you use. Try to write in full sentences to avoid being classed as spam, this is very important later for showing up in any searches.
  • don't be intimidated: there's a lot going on within Twitter when you sign in for the first time, so many buttons! Don't feel like you have to press them all and do everything just now. A this point it is enough to have an account.

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2. Plan ๐Ÿ“

In an ideal world, you've done a fair bit of planning before you signed up for Twitter or even thought about social networks at all but regardless of the amount of prep you've done now is an ideal time to take a step back and do a little more thinking.

Write down your own six month goals for the account you have created. What does success look like? Followers? Engagement? Mailing list sign-ups? How much time will you dedicate to this? How many posts will you create a day? Everyone does this step a little differently in my experience so it's really down to you what you note down. In a recent #bufferchat on Twitter it became apparent some people planned to post 20+ times a day all the way down to once or twice. I don't think there's a set answer to this (although 20 tweets a day does seem a little excessive, but considering the half-life of a tweet for many years was around 16-24 minutes perhaps it isn't too crazy) so it's really down to you to plan this carefully. You'll want your brand to be visible on Twitter, and in my experience posting at least once a day is a minimum on this platform to do that. Once you get into the swing of things it should be fairly easy to ramp yourself up to three to five posts a day without much stress.

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3. find the TOOLS ๐Ÿ•ถ

Nobody is asking you to be a super-human and never sleep as you attempt to manually post five tweets a day. We all have tricks of the trade to do this for us, and you need to find your's if you really want to get going. Scheduling tweets is a must for most people -- humans forget to post things where computers don't -- and since this is a basic Twitter article I'd suggest taking a look at Tweetdeck first. It's owned by Twitter so you need only sign in with your Twitter username and password to get started. Initially, it might look kind of like an air-traffic control program to you. Don't let it daunt you. Tweetdeck is sorted into columns of feeds, and you can customise them to your heart's content, but the really neat thing for you is when you click 'New Tweet', below the content box, there's a button that says 'schedule tweet' and this allows you to post a tweet whenever you want (but not be present).

There are a million more nifty tools like this one on the Internet, all of them designed to turn you into a super content posting machine, but for now Tweetdeck is definitely worth exploring.

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4. FIND SOME CHATS

Imagine a business networking eventโ€”but without a dress code and with a keyboard instead of a bar.
— Nicole Miller, blog.bufferapp.com

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Conversations are the reason Twitter was created, so it stands to reason that Twitter chats are some of the best, dynamic, and interesting conversations you can have on almost any topic in the world. There's nothing special to these chats, they're just linked by pre-defined hashtags (#), but there are great industry chats out there for you to get involved in! #Bufferchat is a great favourite of mine (generally happening on a Wednesday). This chat connects beginners and experts in social media content creators, community management, and marketing together to discuss pre-determined topics (normally tweeted out a few days before). Simply search for the hashtag in the search bar on Twitter and join in any chat you want! Remember to tweet with the hashtag of the discussion you want to join in with, if you don't nobody in the discussion will see it!

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5. Talk To People ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™‚

Like it or not, shouting into the abyss with posts about what you're doing or products you're selling isn't the greatest audience growth plan when it comes to Twitter. The best (and fastest growing) brands out there use Twitter for what it is best at: conversations. If you're using Twitter as a business you can still be professional and achieve this. All you need to do is work out what content best relates to you, your product, or your business, and join in conversations about it. Follow influencers in the field but also follow your customers, keep them engaged with genuine post and conversations that remind them you are human. The best account out there right now for this is probably a draw between @Wendys and @Tacobell. These accounts tend to skew towards casual conversation but that's because they know their audience and their customers well.

As ever, if you have questions or need help figuring out where to start you can always send me a message (the more emojis the better) and I can point you in the right direction.