12 Jul Social media basics: How does Twitter work?
Social Media is a marketing priority for many companies. With so many platforms to choose from, and so many different channels to take advantage of, how does one know where to begin? Our new series, Social Media Basics, will explore a very basic overview of the dominant channels. This week, we will answer the question ‘How does Twitter work?’
Twitter is an online social media networking tool that prioritises short, effective messages that prompt communication. Some people use twitter as a ‘newsfeed’ or as a form of chatroom.
In order to tweet, i.e. create messages and comments consisting of 140 characters or less, you need to have an account. These are easy to set up. You choose a profile name, add a photo, complete a short bio, and add a website address (if applicable).
The next step would be to start following other profiles that are relevant to your business, interests and industry. Hopefully, these users will follow you back and you can start generating a solid following. Your twitter community will be the source of valuable information, as well as receptors to your information that you choose to share.
The mechanics of Twitter
Now that you are set up, you can start exploring with content – both creating and following. The purpose of twitter is essentially a microblogging platform. The platform is most commonly used for news, commentary and updates. The platform provides a channel for quick and effective communication to a large audience.
Twitter is known for their ‘hashtags’ which takes keywords and trends them for the sake of searching and staying relevant. The hashtag allows users to search for relevant content. It helps draw attention, organise and promote content.
Another mechanism included on the platform is the ability to ‘mention’ other users by using their ‘handle’ i.e. their profile name preceded by the ‘@’. This will tag other users in your status updates and is a great way to grab attention or reply to a tweet.
Conversation is a vital part of Twitter’s mechanics, so don’t forget to regularly check if you have been mentioned in any one else’s tweets. You can ‘retweet’ someone else’s tweet which essentially duplicates the tweet. This is normally done when you find the tweet helpful, amusing or impactful in whatever way.
The difference between Facebook and Twitter
One of the main differences between Facebook and Twitter relates to the connections. If someone invites you on Facebook and you accept, then you automatically follow each other. In contrast, Twitter gives you the option to follow the person, regardless of whether they are following you or not.
Twitter also has a character limit in the posts as opposed to Facebook which does not restrict a user’s character count.
In many ways, Twitter is simplified with limited character counts and bio details. This makes the platform a great tool for professionals who wish to engage with others, communicate their brand and stay up to date with industry happenings.