Web 101: What Is Twitter?
by Lily Bradic
This week's Web 101 is all about Twitter — a platform that you'll certainly have heard of, even if you haven't used it yet. Want to know what the little blue bird has to offer? Read on!
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a microblogging platform. Each message, known as a Tweet, has to be under 140 characters long. Instead of adding people as friends, you follow them — and they can choose whether or not to follow you back.
Conversations take place through @replies and, less frequently, private messages. #Hashtags are used to group similar tweets, and by clicking on a hashtag, you can browse any other message or profile that also contains it.
Who uses Twitter?
Twitter has over 645 million registered users. The gender split is pretty equal, and the majority of users are under 35 (Twitter’s user-base isn’t ageing quite as fast as Facebook’s). Around 9000 Tweets are generated per second. Twitter is particularly popular with writers, bloggers, celebrities and journalists.
Why should you care?
Twitter is great for news. Whenever something newsworthy happens, you can pretty much guarantee that there’ll be eye-witnesses posting about it on Twitter. It’s important to remember that people aren’t always telling the truth, though.
And, like it or not, your business should be using Twitter. Although the platform isn’t very good for social shopping or pushing sales, it IS good for boosting engagement and building a relationship with your audience.
Is Twitter good for marketing?
If you know how to use it, yes! If you’re new to Twitter, you’re better off starting a personal profile, and creating one for your business once you know what you’re doing.
Twitter tools will really enhance your experience, but make sure you explore the free options first — they’re usually perfectly adequate for beginners. Hootsuite can help you schedule posts and organise yourself, and searching keywords on Followerwonk can help you find and analyze customers, influencers and competitors.
You can also use Twitter as part of your existing social media campaign — try offering discounts to Twitter followers, or using an image, video, or link as a call to action. Experiment, and see what works best for your brand — but whatever you do, don’t forget to interact with your followers!
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