03 Mar, 2010

Tweet or twit? Understanding Twitter – the basics

Posted by: drobs In: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)|Social Networking|Twitter

Tweet or twit? Understanding Twitter – the basics

Is there any point to twitter? Is it worth using? Can it help my web business? These are all common questions relating to twitter asked by clients of Gator Web Design, a SEO company in Reading, UK.

I think it’s worth providing some brief information about twitter and how twitter works. Essentially you set up a twitter account and then send your tweets, which are messages up to 140 characters.

These can be viewed by someone who clicks on your twitter profile and they are automatically sent to anyone who has chosen to follow you. Therefore in order for your message to reach people, you are reliant on people either choosing to click your profile or deciding to follow you. A third way is for someone who receives your message as a retweet from a follower of you, which means the message is resent to their followers. A retweet is a good achievement because your message is spread wider and hopefully some of the recipients choose to subsequently follow you. You can hope people like what you have tweeted and want to share it via retweet or you can actually ask; Twitter slang for this is pls RT.

Why would people choose to follow you? Either they know you or they are likely to be drawn to you by your twitter id/name. They could have found you via a search of a your name, word contained within your name or they might have seen your name when looking through the followers or who is following another user or they may have received a retweet. It is worth emphasising the point that anyone can view who is following or being followed by another user. Therefore, if you are using an account for business purposes, it is probably sensible not to choose to follow those that could have an adverse affect on your business image. Leave those for your personal account. It doesn’t matter about followers so much because anyone can choose to follow anyone they want. I would consider all followers and good followers.

Therefore it is recommended that you choose a catchy name that reflects what you’re about and the content of your tweets. Take for example the tweets in respect of a site we run: www.caversham.info. The twitter id, cavershaminfo is virtually identical and tells people who see it that the tweets are likely to include information about Caversham, a town in Berkshire, England. This will attract all those who find us as followers or followed or if someone does a search for Caversham.

A quick way of expanding your follower base is to follow other accounts that are closely related to your own. If, for example, your tweets are in respect of the sport rugby, it is a good idea to follow other rugby accounts and then people might find you by looking who is following them and see you. It might be slow to start with, but things will hopefully speed up exponentially. A fair bit of time and effort will be required to start with by then you should start to organically gain followers.

When you send out tweets it is good to include a link back to your site, to draw visitors in and so that they don’t have to exert much effort finding your website. Website URLs can quickly and easily be shortened using a service such as bit.ly or TinyURL.com so that you minimise the number of characters you use from your 140 limit.

You can also create tags of keywords using hashtags; by placing a # in front of the keyword. If then someone searches for the keyword via twitter, it is likely to bring up your tweet. For example, if discussing Reading (the town in Berkshire), you might use #Rdg and if talking about Caversham you might use #Caversham.

If you are running a blog it is possible to install a plugin, such as WP to twitter for WordPress, that automatically tweets new posts. This is very useful as it automates tweets and updates followers of changes to your site.

You can follow Gator Web Design on Twitter. Gator Web Design undertakes ongoing SEO campaigns for it’s clients in Reading and UK.

Drobs - Gator Web Design – Web Design and SEO services in Reading Berkshire, UK

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