Handles, Hashtags and Retweets. Oh, My!

You've just been told to include Twitter in your company or organization's social media strategy. Facebook has been hard enough to master. However will you learn the ropes of the Twitterverse? There's no need to pick up Twitter for Dummies just yet. While getting used to this platform, start by keeping a few things in mind.

Twitter Logo

Avoid "I," "me" and "my." Save the first person singular for your personal social media profile(s). When signed in to your company's account, you're representing the company, not yourself. (The same goes for Facebook, by the way!) To eliminate confusion, stick to "we," "us" and "our." Consistently using first person plural will help build the organization's collective voice.

Don't @mention yourself. Okay, maybe this is just one of my pet peeves. But if your company's handle is @SmallCompany, there is absolutely no reason to tweet, "Come see us at @SmallCompany today. We're open 9-5!" Ditch the @ sign! The purpose of the @mention is to reach out to other Twitter accounts. That way they can engage with you by replying to your tweet or retweeting it (which says, "I like what you said. I'm going to share it with my followers!").

Only tweet if it's relevant. This goes along with avoiding first person singular. Whatever you do, don't use this new account as if it's your own. In other words, @SmallCompany should not be tweeting about a series premiere on TV tonight, the fantastic Groupon deal you just scored or what you ate for breakfast.

Use hashtags. Correctly. By incorporating relevant hashtags into your tweets, your audience automatically grows beyond your Twitter followers. If speaking directly to a local audience, use your city's hashtag. (For Charlottesville, the widely adopted hashtag is #Cville; Richmond, #RVA.) If speaking to those interested in your organization or company's work, use hashtags related to your industry, field, cause or general topic. Because hashtags are also a way to join regional and even global conversations, monitor the trends box on your accounts profile--taking advantage of entering a relevant conversation could increase brand awareness. Hashtags can be used within a sentence (SmallCompany has a new location in #Philly!) or inserted at the end of a tweet (Blah, blah, blah. #Philly). #Just #be #sure #not #to #overdo #it.

The search field is your friend. Use it to find out what others are saying about your brand, generate leads, confirm the correct handle before @mentioning another account or check the popularity of hashtags before you use them.

Mind your Ps and Qs. What's the point of having followers if you don't acknowledge them? Thank new followers for following you. If the account is 1) relevant and 2) not a robot, then follow back! "Retweet" anything your followers may find interesting, and respond in a timely fashion to tweets that @mention you (as long as they're not inappropriate or clearly spam).

Take these tips into consideration, and you'll be fluent in Twitter language before you know it. Happy tweeting!

Category: Social Media
Tags: social media