Twitter is more than a micro-blogging trend that has swept the globe’s 14 to 28-year-olds, it is a way for an individual or brand to easily make their way intocertain conversations, add or obtain insightful information or simply observe trends in order to further their product or brand’s awareness.
Although many will say that there is no ‘right way’ to use Twitter, I tend to disagree. By posting and responding responsibly, individuals will more often refer to your Twitter account as a valuable source of information and relate that value to the company as a whole, expanding your brand within specific communities and allowing more exposure to fall your way.
Since CES 2011 has recently passed us by, I will be using the event as our specific ‘conversation piece’ relating the following information about Posting/Responding and Retweeting best practices to CES.
The most important element of using Twitter to expand your brand is by posting responsibly. Responsible posting on Twitter will make or break your credibility as an individual, business or brand taking part in any professional or casual conversation pertaining to an area you are interested in discovering. Examples of poor posting are usually posts that pertain to personal information and do not benefit anyone short or long-term.
When posting, make sure that your content is beneficial to your audience.
Questions to ask before you post:
- Does the post give advice directly or indirectly to those involved with the conversation?
- Does the post reflect an opinion on something valid within the conversation?
- Does the post reflect how you or your brand would like to be portrayed in the conversation, specifically at CES?
The dreaded @ and #
If you use any sort of social media or follow any social media websites, you have inevitably ran into these two characters used as a prefix before words. This is more than a trend, these symbols actually have an important purpose within Twitter and more specifically, conversations using Twitter.
The @ symbol reflects the inclusion of a particular user on Twitter. This user will be notified that they have been connected or ‘mentioned’ in a post when the @ symbol is placed directly before their name without any spacing. This is called a Twitter Handle.
The # symbol allows the user to become part of a specific conversation that is already taking place or to begin a new one. The # is also the only symbol on Twitter that is directly traceable. This is called a Hashtag. When a Hashtag is used frequently enough across all of Twitter, a trend is formed due to it’s ability to be traced.
Most big Events such as CES have an official Twitter account (@) and Tag (#) so make sure to include these every time you Tweet as this will secure your spot in the conversation.
Even though you are confined to 140 characters, one of the most important things to not partake in is typing like a teenager. Do not ever substitute the number 2 for the words to or too as well as use other such abbreviations, this is a surefire way to immediately lose credibility regarding your posts no matter what the message.
Combining best practices pertaining to posting as well as tags, we can now expound on a specific example: There were 3 main hashtags used during CES 2011. I will be using CES2011 as an example tag as well as a handle
Here are some Good and Bad examples of Tweeting at a specific event like CES 2011
Bad: (I’m at CES, this place is crazy!)
Good: (I’m at @CES2011 looks like @lenovo has a great booth and is introducing something amazing soon #CES2011)
This Tweet directly includes a client (Lenovo) maintains your role in the conversation about CES (@ and #) and offers advice indirectly to those involved in the conversation. This also benefits the client included in the tweet by promoting their product.
Also, making sure not to drown your audience with your Tweets is a must. Although you are participating in a popular and well-regarded event, one or two Tweets per hour are a good maximum to maintain. If you plan on responding to other Tweets, remember that your audience may see that (this is how your Twitter account’s settings are set by default) , so again respond responsibly as well.
Responding and Re-tweeting:
A conversation is marked by at least a two-way communication, so answering questions posed on Twitter as well as moving a message for someone else is a valid way to allow yourself more exposure and to be taken seriously if done appropriately.
Again, applying the 3 rules of posting to responding and re-tweeting your voice can remain a prominent one in the CES conversation.
EXAMPLE FOR RETWEET:
Original Tweet from @Lenovo:
We will be launching our new laptop at noon today by our booth @CES2011, expect great things! #CES2011
One could simply ReTweet this message, which is fine, but taking the extra time to add a personal touch allows that who’s message is retweeted and those reading it to see that you took the time to alter the content it and make it your own.
When pressing the ReTweet button, Twitter will automatically attach the original message composer’s Twitter Handle using @, allowing them to see that it was in fact ReTweeted. If you wish to edit and then ReTweet, make sure to attach the composer’s Twitter Handle manually to make sure they see that you mentioned them specifically.
@Lenovo will be launching their new laptop today at noon! Come check it out! @CES2011 #CES2011
EXAMPLE FOR RESPONSE:
Original Tweet from @Lenovo
What is your favorite part of @CES2011? #CES2011
Bad: Everything! This place is so cool, I loved Canon’s new camera!
Good: @Lenovo @CES2011 is great this year! @Canon introduced an amazing new camera #CES2011
Again, making sure to include the original message composer’s Twitter Handle and any other Handles that pertain to your post and can give you exposure among more brands.
Also, including the CES2011 Handle will allow you to communicate directly to CES and adding the hash tag will allow you to maintain your place in the CES Conversation.
Following these specific practices and immersing yourself in Twitter for a short time will allow you to understand how Twitter functions. This way you will be able to see and study how people communicate as well as understanding which practices work to expand your brand and which ones doesn’t.