How make the most of Twitter - the Marmite of social media

Lee Kenny from Snowflake Media, (left)
Lee Kenny from Snowflake Media, (left)

Twitter is the Marmite of social media. If you’ve tried it you either love it or hate it.

With over 15 million active UK users and with over seven million people using it every day, it is a great tool for reaching your customers effectively. However the telling statistic is that there are almost 15 million accounts that are no longer active, probably as a result of frustration in the early days.

Most business owners I speak to say the same thing about Twitter: “I don’t get it”. But if you don’t use Twitter for your business you could be missing out on new sales and opportunities to strengthen loyalty with existing companies.

Here’s a beginners guide to Twitter jargon.

140 characters: Each message has to be 140 characters or fewer. You should aim for 80-100 characters to allow for easy retweets (see below).

Handle: Every business gets to choose their user name, or handle, when they register. This can be up to 15 characters long and it’s how people will communicate with you. Mine for example is @SocialSnowflake.

“@”: Using this symbol followed by the user name sends out a public message to that person on Twitter and can be used to spark a conversation, acknowledge a tweet or thank a business. So for example “Got caught in the rain, thank goodness for @HarveysHalifax new umbrella range”.

Just remember anyone can read this public message. However if you start the message with the @ symbol, only those people who already follow you and that company will see the message

Followers: People who follow what you tweet.

DM: Direct Message. You can send a private message via DM, however only to people who already follow you

RT: Retweet. This is where someone shares your tweet with people who follow them. This is how your message is amplified via social media, reaching people who otherwise wouldn’t see your message

Next week I’ll cover Twitter in a little more detail, in particular the use of Twitter lists, hashtags #’s and for research.

Lee Kenny is managing director at Halifax-based Snowflake Media