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Introduction to Twitter: The Basics and Beyond

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					INTRODUCTION TO TWITTER:
  THE BASICS AND BEYOND




       Erika O. Blanchard
                           Table of Contents
Overview
    Profile and Bio
    Handle (Username)
    URL Shorteners
    Tweets
    Lists
    Retweets (RT)
    Direct Messages (DM)
    Hashtags (#)
    Replies and Mentions (@)

Why Use Twitter

Twitter Tools

Native Twitter Apps and Goodies

Twitter Clients and Tools (not native to Twitter)
    Advertising
    Analytics
    Auto follow
    Contest
    Directory
    Events
    Finance
    Followers
    Local
    Multimedia
    News
    Polls and Surveys
    Productivity
    Search
    Trends
    Firefox Browser Extensions
    Mobile Apps for Twitter

Conclusion

Additional Resources

About the Author
Overview
Twitter.com

Twitter is a free micro-blogging (social networking) service that allows you to share what
you’re doing in a message which is 140 characters or less called a tweet. You can follow
friends, coworkers and people you’ve never met before who may share similar interests.
And, they can follow you and your updates. While the service itself costs nothing to use,
accessing it through SMS may incur phone service provider fees.

Profile/Bio – Twitter allows you to create a profile/bio which lets you share information
about yourself or your company. You can include a link to your website or blog. The more
followers you get, the more you can increase traffic to your site.

Handle (Username) – Once you set up your account and choose your username (handle)
you can then let people know how to contact you on Twitter by using your handle. This is
also how you can communicate with other people on Twitter. To send a public message to
someone, it looks like this: “@theirusername: Thank you for your feedback!”

URL Shorteners - Because you can only send messages that are 140 characters or less,
you will more than likely need to shorten any links (URLs or Web Addresses) that you
mention in your tweets to save room. I recommend bit.ly as you can view statistics of your
shortened link, such as how many times your link was clicked on. This is helpful to see what
your followers are interested in.

Tweets - You can send and receive tweets (messages) via the Twitter website, Short
Message Service (SMS) or through various external web and mobile applications. Your
tweets are displayed on your profile page and delivered to your subscribers (also known as
followers). You can restrict delivery to those in your circle of friends (or followers) or, by
default, allow open access so anyone who comes across your profile can view them.
The goal is to get as many followers as you can to share your information with. It is polite
to follow back anyone that follows you. Problem is, the more people you follow the more
updates you will see – and can easily lose sight of those you are really interested in. This
can be remedied with lists. Read on…

Lists - Twitter recently rolled out lists which make it a million times easier to keep up on
the tweets from the people you’re most interested in. You can create your own private or
public lists and include as many people as you want on each list. If the list is public, other
people can subscribe to your list. Adversely, if you see a list that someone else has created,
you can follow it. This truly is a huge win for Twitter. To create a list, simply click on “New
List” from your Twitter home page. Choose a name for your list, enter a description and
select whether you would like it public or private. You can then add as many people to your
list as you’d like.

Retweets (RT) – When you see a tweet from someone that you like or see an article on
the web from a fellow Tweeter and want to share it with your followers, you can retweet (or
repost) the message in Twitter. Either hover over the original tweet and click on the retweet
link or type: “RT @username - The original message followed by a link (if appropriate)” This
gives the original sender credit for their tweet.
Direct Messages (DM) – You can send direct messages which are private messages sent
to the recipients Direct Message Inbox in Twitter. With DMs, you can only send them to
people who are following you and you can only receive them from people you’re following.
This is so how they control spam. DMs will appear in your Direct Message inbox and a
notification will be sent to your email. DMs do not appear in either person’s public timeline,
nor do they appear in the search results. Only you and the sender can see them.

Hashtags (#) - Hashtags were created to categorize things in Twitter. To do so, simply
type the # symbol followed by a keyword (term, product, or service). This helps when
people are searching for something specific. It is best to do some research to determine if
the subject you're tweeting about already has an established hashtag.
You can easily track tweets on the subjects you're interested in by putting the keyword
preceded by the hashtag in the search box. Now all of the tweets that include that hashtag
will be displayed. For example; let’s say you want to learn more about Apps, simply type
#Apps into the search box and all related tweets will be displayed.

If enough people use the same hashtag at once, the term will appear in Twitter’s Trending
Topics which are displayed on your homepage.

Be sure to use them sparingly and respectfully! They are a useful tool, but when used in
excess, they can be annoying and confusing which may result in lost followers. It's best to
use them if they add value, rather than on every word in an update.

To see popular hashtags by category, visit http://twubs.com

@ Replies and Mentions – This is how you reply, mention or direct a public message to
someone on Twitter. This is also the only way to directly communicate with someone who
isn’t following you. You can start a tweet with “@theirusername” and it will appear in the
person's @mentions tab. A mention is any Twitter update that contains @username in the
body of the tweet.

You can also reply directly to someone's: every tweet you see has a curved arrow, just click




Why Use Twitter
it and it will automatically add “@TheirUsername” to your reply.
Want to see if anyone has mentioned you, or sent you any public messages or replies?
Simply click on the @YourUsername link on the right of your Twitter page.




Here are some tips on why and how you should use Twitter for Success:

To Build your brand - Put a face and a “voice” to the name

Share don’t sell – You can provide coupon codes specific to Twitter, link to your blog posts
(which will drive more traffic to your blog) and announce new products or specials

Build credibility - Create a reputation as a trusted resource or as an expert in your field or
on a particular subject

Communicate with influentials - Find, follow and communicate with highly relevant
people and companies, such as executives or celebrities
Customer Service - Resolve problems and disputes or acknowledge your faithful
customers. Using Twitter can save you money since it takes little or no time to quickly react
to customers, via this free service

Monitor your brand - Track the keywords that are related to your brand, product or
service and find out what the masses are saying about it

       Monitter - Track multiple keywords on one page using columns in real-time. Add
       additional keywords (columns) by simply clicking the + button on the bottom right.
       Tweets will be displayed as they are mentioned on Twitter. You can also choose to
       view only tweets within a certain distance from a particular location (i.e., city or zip
       code).

Track the success of your tweets - Aside from the number of followers and the amount
of @mentions you receive, it is good to know if people are clicking on the links you tweet. If
you use bit.ly (and create a free account), to shorten your URLs, you can view how many
times your links are clicked on

Learn a lot - Gather real-time market intelligence and get feedback. If you follow the right
people, they can direct you to great sources of information that you normally wouldn’t have
the time to find on your own

Get to know your Competition - Easily see what your competitors are doing in real-time




Twitter Tools
Survey and poll your followers – Twitter is a great (and free) micro-crowdsourcing
vehicle




So you want to get the most out of Twitter? You probably know that there are hundreds, if
not thousands of Twitter tools out there. Keep in mind, that YOU are the most important
tool and the key to your success. In order to increase your followers, you must tweet a lot,
and your tweets need to be interesting and informative (or at the very least witty and fun).

Native Twitter Apps and Goodies

Send Tweets Using Text (SMS) Messages:

From your Twitter account, go to Settings, then mobile or direct:
http://twitter.com/devices. You will need to verify your phone/device by sending a text to
Twitter.

Setting up your phone allows you to:
   • Send tweets with text messaging on your phone.
   • Receive texts for direct messages (DMs) and the tweets from users you want to be
       notified about by clicking the phone icon on a user’s profile.
   • Do more than Tweet!

Send these commands to Twitter:
FOLLOW username - Start following a user
UNFOLLOW username - Stop following a user
ON/OFF - Turn all Tweet notifications on or off
ON/OFF username - Set Tweet notifications for a user on or off (you'll still be following
them even if you set it to off)
GET username - Shows you the latest tweet from any user




Twitter Goodies
RT username - Retweet a user's latest tweet
FAV username - Favorite a user's latest tweet
D username your-message - Send a direct message to a user




Twitter Widgets - Widgets let you display Twitter updates on your website, blog or social
network page (such as Facebook, MySpace, Blogger or Ning).

Profile Widget - Display your most recent Twitter updates on any webpage.
Search Widget -Displays search results in real time! Ideal for live events, broadcastings,
conferences, TV Shows, or even just keeping up with the news.
Faves Widget - Show off your favorite tweets! Also in real time, this widget will pull in the
tweets you've starred as favorites. It's great for moderation.
List Widget - Put your favorite tweeps into a list! Then show 'em off in a widget. Also great
for moderation.

Profile Widget Sample:




Twitter Clients and Tools (Other)
Add Twitter to Facebook - The Twitter app for Facebook integrates Twitter into your
Facebook experience.
Twitter’s Mobile Website – Logon to Twitter from your mobile phone
Advertising
Twittertise (Advertising) - Allows you to advertise on Twitter and track the success of




Analytics
branded communications with your customers.
twtQpon (Advertising) - Enhance your social media marketing by offering discount coupons
to the Twitter-sphere!




Friend or Follow (Analytics, Productivity) – Find out who you are following that's not
following you back and who's following you that you're not following back.
HootSuite (Analytics, Productivity) - Manage multiple Twitter profiles, add multiple editors,
pre-schedule tweets, and measure your success with "click-through" stats.
Trendistic (Analytics) - See trends on Twitter.
TweetStats (Analytics, Productivity) - An app that tracks Twitter stats; number of tweets per
hour day, and month and tweet times, etc. It creates graphs based on a user’s tweets. Find
out the best day/time to interact with someone on Twitter.
TwitterCounter (Analytics)- A very detailed analytical web app for Twitter. Get a clear




Auto Follow
overview and graph of your twitter stats.
Twitterholic (Analytics)– Shows the most popular Twitter users, based on number of
followers.




FlashTweet (Auto-Follow, Productivity) - FlashTweet is a Twitter application that simplifies
the process of acquiring more targeted followers. You can add multiple Twitter accounts to
your profile, discover who you are following that is following you back, mass follow users




Contest
based on search terms and location, unfollow multiple friends at once, schedule tweets in
advance to run throughout the week, insert RSS feeds that will automatically tweet the title
and link of your blog or another site.




Directory
Twtaway (Contest) - A contest manager twitter app. Create Twitter contests, set a
date/time and they randomly select a winner.




Just Tweet It (Directory) - Just Tweet It makes it easier for tweeters to find other tweeters
with similar interests.
Twellow (Directory) – The Twitter Yellow Pages
Twibs (Directory) - Find businesses on Twitter and add your own.
Events
WeFollow (Directory, Search) - A directory of Twitter users organized by interests.




Finance
TwitterCal (Events, Productivity)- Connect your Twitter account to your Google Calendar
and add events directly from Twitter.
Twtvite (Events) - A simple event manager twitter app.




Followers
Tweet What You Spend (Finance, Productivity) - Cash-tracking made simple with Twitter.
TwitPay (Productivity, Finance) - Send payments via Twitter.




Local
MrTweet – (Followers) Your personal networking assistant for Twitter. Identify relevant
followers, get recommended to other users and see your Twitter usage statistics.




LocalTweeps (Local) - The user-created ZIP code level Twitter directory.
LocalFollow (Local) - Search Twitter users by keywords in their Bio and Location fields.
Locate Twitter users that live in your city and create Twitter Lists.
NearbyTweets (Local) – Monitor buzz and connect with your customers (and potential ones




Multimedia
too).
TwitterLocal (Adobe Air, Productivity) - an Adobe AIR based application that allows you to
filter Tweets by location.




BubbleTweet (Multimedia-Video) - Simply a fun, easy-to-use, free video solution to use
anytime you want to visually interact with your followers.
TwitPic (Multimedia, Productivity) - TwitPic lets you share photos on Twitter. Post to TwitPic
from Twitter, your phone, or the TwitPic home page.
TwitWall (Multimedia, Productivity) - When its too long to tweet, just TwitWall it! TwitWall is
the easy-to-use, quick-to-blast-out, instant blog companion for Twitter. Embed your favorite
videos and widgets and upload your photos, MP3 music, podcasts and more.
Twixtr (Mobile, Multimedia)- Share pictures from your mobile phone. Automatically publish
them on social networks and photosharing sites. Tell your friends where you are and what
you are doing. Automatically add your location to your pictures and status updates.
News


Polls and Surveys
Twitturly (News, Trends) - Twitturly is a service for tracking what URLs people are talking
about, as they talk about them, on Twitter. Also, search by user and see every link they’ve
ever posted




Twtpoll (Poll) - A feedback tool that helps you to conduct polls/surveys on Twitter,




Productivity
Facebook or any other social media site.
TwtSurvey (Survey) - A featured version of Twtpoll that allows you to create online surveys
and share them on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media site.




FlashTweet (Auto-Follow, Productivity) - FlashTweet is a Twitter application that simplifies
the process of acquiring more targeted followers. You can add multiple Twitter accounts to
your profile, discover who you are following that is following you back, mass follow users
based on search terms and location, unfollow multiple friends at once, schedule tweets in
advance to run throughout the week, insert RSS feeds that will automatically tweet the title
and link of your blog or another site.
Friend or Follow (Analytics, Productivity) – Find out who you are following that's not
following you back and who's following you that you're not following back.
GroupTweet (Productivity)- GroupTweet turns a standard Twitter account into a group
communication hub where members can post updates to everyone in the group using direct
messages. When the group account receives a direct message from a group member,
GroupTweet converts it into a tweet that all followers can see. Want to keep your updates
private so that only your group members can see them? Simply protect your group account
on Twitter.
HootSuite (Analytics, Productivity) - Manage multiple Twitter profiles, add multiple editors,
pre-schedule tweets, and measure your success with "click-through" stats.
MarketMeTweet (Productivity) – Manage unlimited accounts, Schedule Tweets, Search,
Brand Management, Location targeted following, and much more.
SocialOomph (Formerly TweetLater) (Productivity) - Schedule tweets, Auto follow anyone
that follows you, Send automatic Direct Messages to each new follower, Unfollow those who
unfollow you.
TweetBeep (Productivity) - Keep track of conversations that mention you, your products,
your company, anything, with hourly updates! You can even keep track of who's tweeting
your website or blog, even if they use a shortened URL (like bit.ly or tinyurl.com).
Tweet Deck (Adobe Air, Productivity) - The leading browser for the real-time and social web,
allowing users to connect with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace. TweetDeck shows
you everything you want to see at once, so you can stay organised and up-to-date.
TweetStats (Analytics, Productivity) - An app that tracks Twitter stats; number of tweets per
hour day, and month and tweet times, etc. It creates graphs based on a user’s tweets. Find
out the best day/time to interact with someone on Twitter.
Tweet What You Spend (Finance, Productivity) - Cash-tracking made simple with Twitter.
TwitPay (Productivity, Finance) - Send payments via Twitter.
TwitPic (Multimedia, Productivity) - TwitPic lets you share photos on Twitter. Post to TwitPic
from Twitter, your phone, or the TwitPic home page.
TwitScoop (Trends, Productivity) - Track what’s hot on Twitter. Send tweets, see your
friends, save searches & more.
Twitip (Productivity - Info) Learn more about Twitter.
TwitWall (Multimedia, Productivity) - When its too long to tweet, just TwitWall it! TwitWall is
the easy-to-use, quick-to-blast-out, instant blog companion for Twitter. Embed your favorite
videos and widgets and upload your photos, MP3 music, podcasts and more.
TwitterCal (Productivity, Events)- Connect your Twitter account to your Google Calendar
and add events directly from Twitter.




Search
TwitterFeed (Productivity) - Post your RSS (blog) feed to Twitter, Facebook and more –
automatically
Twuffer (Productivity) - compose a list of future tweets, and schedule their release.




TweetMeme (Search) - Search and Retweet the Hottest Stories on Twitter. Aggregates all
the popular links on Twitter to determine which links are popular. TweetMeme categorises
these links into Categories, Subcategories and Channels, making it easy to filter out the
noise to find what you're interested in.
TweetVolume (Search) - Enter words or phrases and see how often they appear on Twitter.
TwitterTroll (Search) - Real-time Twitter search engine.




Trends
WeFollow (Directory, Search) - A directory of Twitter users organized by interests.
WhosTalkin (Search) - Search various social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace,
etc.) for conversations on keywords or topics that interest you.




TwitScoop (Trends, Productivity) - Track what’s hot on Twitter. Send tweets, see your
friends, save searches & more.
Twitturly (News, Trends) - Twitturly is a service for tracking what URLs people are talking
about, as they talk about them, on Twitter. Also, search by user and see every link they’ve
ever posted




Firefox Browser Extensions
URL Shortener and Tracker (where applicable)
TweetBurner (URL Shortener, URL Tracker) – Shorten and track the website links you post
on Twitter and find out how many times people click on the link.




Twitbin (Firefox extension, Productivity) - A Firefox extension that allows you to keep up
with all of your Twitter conversations right from your browser sidebar. Send messages,
receive messages, share links, and more
Mobile Apps for Twitter
SimplyTweet (iPhone) - It lets you tweet easily and keep you informed via push notifications
when someone messages or mentions you.
Tweetie (iPhone) - Handle multiple Twitter accounts, explore all of Twitter, from your own
timeline and mentions, to the favorite tweets of your followers and friends. Offline mode;
read, tweet, favorite, follow, save to Instapaper and more even when you don't have a
connection. Your actions will be synced as soon as you go back online. Create tweets longer
than 140 characters with longertweet, translate tweets, add pics and more!
TwitterFone (Mobile) - Send Tweets by dialing a local number and speaking your message to
TwitterFone. Sweet!




Conclusion
Twixtr (Mobile, Multimedia)- Share pictures from your mobile phone. Automatically publish
them on social networks and photosharing sites. Tell your friends where you are and what
you are doing. Automatically add your location to your pictures and status updates.




I know it seems like a lot, but once you get it down, there are a ton of tools out there to
help you out and streamline the process. Your first objective should be to sit down and
come up with a game plan. Decide on how long you will spend on your social media
campaign per day, week, etc.




Additional Resources
There are many rules and tips for using Twitter. It’s simple to use, so get started and you’ll
get the hang of it.




There are also an enormous amount of tools on the market that were built for Twitter. Do a
little digging (search on Google or Bing) and you’ll find lots of great information. You can
also check out:

The Twitter Book by Tim O'Reilly, Sarah Milstein. O'Reilly (2009). This is one of the most
recommended Twitter Books on the market.

Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time by Joel Comm. Includes
a forward by Anthony Robbins.




About the Author
Twitter For Dummies by Laura Fitton, Michael Gruen and Leslie Poston

Twitter Tips, Tricks, and Tweets by Paul McFedries
Erika Blanchard (@TechToolGuru) is the author of Appity Slap: A Small Business Guide to
Web Apps, Tech Tools and Cloud Computing. Read more about it:
http://www.appityslap.com

Blog: http://www.thisweekintechtools.blogspot.com.

On Twitter: @TechToolGuru - http://www.Twitter.com/TechToolGuru

				
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