How to use Twitter and Twitter hashtags for business
Chances are you already have a Twitter account - or if you don't you can get set up in a few minutes - but how do you use this effectively? First you have to find your sources by finding and following others to grow your reach. Secondly, you have to check it often and pay attention to what is happening. As the number of people you follow grows this will become harder but technology is here to help you and the bright side is... you don't have to follow all Twitter users to monitor a particular subject (hint: hashtags). Third, show that you're human by responding and retweeting so as to acknowledge and give credit to others.
1. How do I get more Twitter followers?
This is a question that many people ask as of course your influence is directly proportional to your reach. Here are a few tips that help to grow the number of followers on Twitter:
- Start following people yourself. Part of the people you follow will reciprocate and follow you back. Of course they will check you out so make sure you have your profile page up to date (upload a picture and a short bio) and that you’re actively tweeting. No one want to follow a sleeping or abandoned Twitter account.
- Be active. People that tweet often have more followers. You cannot grow a large audience if you’re not sending multiple messages per day. Reply when people tweet about you, favorite and retweet positive messages and thank those who are praising you. However, take the conversation offline when there is too much going back and forth as this is cluttering up the twitterstream of your followers.
- Make sure people can find you. Look at the hashtags that are used in your business and use them, where appropriate, in your tweets. Just continue reading if you're unfamiliair with the concept of hashtags.
- Promote your Twitter @username online and offline. In your e-mail signature, on your website, on your product packaging etc.
2. What is a hashtag and why would I use it?
You may have seen words in your Twitterstream with the # symbol attached in front. This is called a hashtag. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages around brands, topics or happenings. Here's an example. You can click on the word with the hashtag to find all related tweets.
- You can monitor conversations that use the same hashtag, even if you're not following everyone involved in the discussion. You can compare this to an unmoderated ad-hoc discussion forum. It's is a great way to start learning about Twitter... by just watching and monitoring others. Of course there are multiple hashtags that are relevant to your business. BuzzTalk will make it easy for you to find them all and monitor all relevant tweets for your business.
- You can be part of a conversation if you use the appropriate hashtag. People will find you, may interact with you and start following you.
- Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.
- You can also introduce your own hashtag. First check out whether it's already being used (search on search.twitter.com) then decide whether it's useful. Keep it short, simple and make it unique. Have patience and perseverance when you introduce a new and unknown hashtag. Also use it during events such as presentations and seminars. But be realistic... the probability of a 'trending topic' is very small.
- Don't use more than two hashtags per tweet or you'll come across as spammy. In the infographic below a decrease in engagement is reported when one uses too many hashtags.
3. Are people in the countries we target active on Twitter?
If you want to use Twitter for business you at least want to know how active Twitter users are in the countries you target. The French company Semiocast has investigated this. It will be of no surprise that the U.S. is the largest country on Twitter when you look at the number of Twitter accounts. However, size isn't everything so let's look at the activity per country.
Looking at which country is the most active this appears to be the Netherlands. Oh yes, we love to tweet. The Netherlands now counts about 5 million Twitter accounts and this is growing rapidly. Other active tweeting countries are Japan, Spain and the U.S. Last in line is India where only 1 in 5 Twitter accounts has tweeted in three months time.
Of course these numbers are different when zooming in on your niche. A country may be less active than average, but if the active Twitter users are the ones that you want to target and engage then you're fine.
Analyze conversations and grow your social media presence with BuzzTalk
BuzzTalk mines over 55.000 sources, only one of them being Twitter, across the globe and translates over 33 languages to English so you can analyze what is happening in your field nationally and internationally. You can zoom in on Twitter alone and look at the trending hashtags that are relevant to your topic. Using the BuzzTalk toolkit you can segment and filter to find nuggets of information. It's easy to find the most influential Twitter users in your field and directly follow them from within BuzzTalk.
Also, keeping your Twitter account active and relevant is a breeze when you use a application like Buzztalk. It's a huge time saver and accelerator for your social media presence.
Do you have specific questions about how to use Twitter or how BuzzTalk can help you monitor the conversations that matter? Let us know via the comments below or ask for a personal demo.