It doesn’t really matter what you do. Whether you are a musician, a jazz club owner, festival director or a passionate fan who wants to share his/her hobby with others: (if you aren’t already) you should start using Twitter today!
Right now you might be thinking “I am already on Facebook, so why Twitter?”. For starters, Twitter is the most immediate and “straight-to-the-point” social media out there. It allows you to instantly connect with your bandmates, favourite artists, clubs, festivals and fans around the world. More and more often, Twitter is becoming the place where artists share their new tunes, upload pictures, give information on upcoming gigs and share personal thoughts.
Is Twitter Better Than Facebook? Yeah!
Here are a few reasons why Twitter can help your online promotion more than Facebook:
- With Twitter you can reach everyone for free (the Edgerank algorithm on Facebook prevents a percentage of your followers from seeing your posts unless you pay Facebook for promoting yourself…this is not the case on Twitter!)
- On Twitter you can tweet – post – as much as you want (on Facebook, the more you post and the more your Edgerank will suffer)
- Twitter is more dynamic, more “real time”: conversations on Twitter happen much faster than on Facebook (sometimes this can be a little overwhelming, but it’s what makes it a very dynamic platform)
- You can mention other users, favorite or retweet their tweets without the need of following them (unless their tweets are private). In theory, you could be following ZERO users, but still be very active with mentions and retweets
Twitter 101: Crash Course on How to Get Started with Twitter
1. Sign up (for FREE) here https://twitter.com/signup
2. Choose your username (if it’s available, try to stick with the username you are already using for your brand on other social media)
3. Start following you bandmates, favourite artists, jazz clubs or festivals and import your email contacts to make sure to follow people who you already know and who are using Twitter
4. Get creative and customize your profile! Make sure to upload a profile, background and cover pictures and fill out the bio (make sure to include the link to your website)
5. Look for more users to follow and start tweeting!
These are the terms that form Twitter’s basic terminology:
- Handle: handle is a Twitter username
- Tweet: a tweet is a 140-characters long post/status update. Note that, unless you set your tweets as private, whatever you tweet is public and available to everyone, even those who are not following you
- Retweet: a retweet, commonly known as RT, is simply a tweet by one user who is being tweeted again by another user
- Hashtag: hastags, known on Twitter simply as #, mark topics or keywords in a tweet. Tweets with the same # are grouped together. You can also look for popular # on Twitter to see what are the most hot topics of the moment. (Note: after Twitter, several other websites and platforms introduced the hashtags concept. You can learn more about that here)
- @reply: you should use an @reply (the symbol @ followed by the username of the person you want to mention) to mention others. You can also use it to reply to users who are tweeting you.
- Favorite: if you see a tweet you like, you can “favorite” by simply starring it. Favorite tweets are grouped together and appear on the tweets stream on your profile page
- Direct Message (DM): a direct message is a private message you send to a user. He/she will be the only one to see it. At the moment, you can DM only people that are following you
Now you are ready to go: you have your Twitter account set up, you are familiar with the basic terminology and are about to send you first tweet… but before you do, make sure to take a look at the best practices:
1. Use it! Your profile is ready, so you want to take advantage of it! You don’t necessarily have to become addicted to Twitter, but you should also try to be an active Twitter user
2. No Need to Re-Invent the Wheel…If you don’t feel like starting a conversation you can search for the popular #hashtags and follow an ongoing one. Many niches and groups of interests also hold special daily/weekly/monthly chats that can be find using specific hashtags. Twitter is a very friendly environment and you are more than welcome to join whichever chat you feel like joining
3. You are not shy? Then interact! When you tweet, make sure to interact with other users. Remember the @reply we talked about? This and relevant #hashtags are a great way to engage other users and make new followers
4. Share! See a tweet that you like, made you laugh or feel like commenting on? Retweeting is not only a great way to share other people’s content, but it’s also a way to enter in someone’s “radar” (as users are notified whenever their tweets are retweeted or favorited)
5. The world is watching…right? Well, this is true for the most part. However, timing on Twitter is very important. Even though something is always happening on Twitter, the giant wave of tweets makes it easy for your tweet to get lost in the background noise of the Twitter world. When you tweet, make sure to keep in mind you potential audience. For example, there wouldn’t be much purpose in tweet something that targets people in the UK, if a tweet comes out at 3 am – when pretty much everyone there is sleeping. Scheduling tweets is a great way to make sure that your message goes out at the best time
6. Use visuals: tweets containing pictures are more likely to be retweet than tweets without visual elements
Schedule, Shorten Links and Track Interactions
To take your Twitter experience to the next level, there are a couple of tools you should look at.
HootSuite is a social media management system that supports social network integrations with popular platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, MySpace and Foursquare. Do you remember when we talked about the importance of tweeting at the right time? Perhaps you thought that you should always tweet manually at whatever time you have planned to… Well, that’s wrong! Or to be more precise, there’s no need for you to manually send out your tweets every single time. HootSuite can do that for you.
HootSuite is great and very popular, because it allows you to schedule your posts on different platforms. Are you planning a campaign that focuses on a country that has a completely different time zone? Don’t worry, you won’t have to be up tweeting in the middle of the night! With HootSuite you can comfortably plan your social media campaign in advance and automatically send out your tweet/messages on social media at the chosen time and date.
HootSuite In a Nutshell
HootSuite’s scheduling messages feature allows you to take your social media promotion to the next level. You can plan your posts in advance, include images, shorten links (HootSuite uses its own link shortener), include hashtags, tag/@reply other users and check your stats.
In the dashboard, you can add your social media pages (the first time you add one, you will have to sign in using the username and password you use on that particular social media) and create streams. Shortly put, streams help you organize your social media communication and understand what is going on around you. In the picture above you can see three streams (“Home Feed”, “@PROSAR/Ottawa” and “@PROSAR/great-marketing-tweeps”) and the social media that have been added to this HootSuite dashboard: Twitter, Facebook pages, LinkedIn, Google+ and HubSpot.
If you are on a tight budget, HootSuite should definitely be your choice. Its free version allows you to quickly sign up and immediately start scheduling your messages. With HootSuite Free, you can include up to 5 social media you wish to publish to.
Are you on multiple social media or need more advanced tools? Then you should give HootSuite Pro a try. For about 9$ a month, HootSuite Pro lets you include up to 50 social media, create advanced stats report (with the free version you can only create basic ones), include up to 9 team members, create custom links and much more.
With the HootSuite apps for portable devices, you can always take your “Swiss army knife” of social media with you, wherever you go. The free HootSuite app is available for iPhone, Android and iPad. Once you have downloaded it, simply sign in with your HootSuite account details and start planning your social media campaigns.
HootSuite also has its HootSuite University, where you can learn more about how to master HootSuite and boost your online promotion through social media. For 21$ a month, HootSuite University gives you access to a variety of resources (videos and reading materials) and lets you test your knowledge with exercises and examinations. When passing these examinations, you will receive a digital diploma and you will become a certified HootSuite rockstar.
If you wish to get started with HootSuite, you can sign up to the free version or try the pro one (you will have a 30-day free trial) here. If you would like to learn more about HootSuite, take a look at HOOTSUITE ARTICLE TITLE
The second tool you should use to crush it on Twitter is the link shortener Bitly. There are plenty of link shorteners out there, but Bitly is probably the best. The signup is free and requires just a few seconds. In addition to using Bitly on you computer, you can also download the free app and use it on your portable device.
With Bitly you can shorten your links and track their stats: how many times have people clicked on your links? In addition, whenever you paste a link on Bitly the system shows you a window that illustrates whether the link is “hot” and is being shared a lot on social media, or if it was popular some hours/days ago or if you are the first person to post this link on Bitly.
You can get started with Bitly at www.bitly.com.
Check List: Promote Yourself on Twitter 15 Minutes a Day
[list icon=”moon-twitter” color=”#911938″][/list] Sign up to Twitter
[list icon=”moon-twitter” color=”#911938″][/list]Create your profile, add your bio (make sure to include a link you your site) and a profile, background and cover image
[list icon=”moon-twitter” color=”#911938″][/list]Start following other users
[list icon=”moon-twitter” color=”#911938″][/list]Sign up to Bitly to shorten the links to include in your tweets (with Bitly you can customize your shortened links)
[list icon=”moon-twitter” color=”#911938″][/list]How to plan your daily 15 minutes on Twitter: this really changes from user to user. However, you should try to spend a few of minutes a day looking for new people to follow, reply to tweets that mention you or retweet others’ tweets. If possible, try to look for the popular #hashtags of the moment and join ongoing conversations (if you can, look for Twitter chats that use #hashtags that are relevant to you).
[list icon=”moon-twitter” color=”#911938″][/list]Spontaneously tweet/reply to tweets, but schedule tweets too.
[list icon=”moon-twitter” color=”#911938″][/list]Visual is power: make sure to include pictures from Instagram or Pinterest pages or your Vine videos.
What about you? What are your top Twitter tips? Leave your comments how-tos and best practices in the box below.
Thanks for your support, you are awesome!