People can be daunted by Twitter (the character limit is often cited), but it’s a great platform for certain businesses. And a great way to network and create relationships with people in your area of expertise. As social media managers, one of the first things we do is assess what platforms will work for your business.
So where do you start?
If you’re doing it on your web browser, simply visit www.twitter.com and click on the “Sign up” button on the bottom right of the screen.
You can click Log in in the bottom right and I can assure you that the world will not explode. You will simply start your journey to a new Twitter account.
Generic Aberystwyth Business is about to start its Twitter journey. You can include your telephone number or, if you don’t fancy that, you can use email instead – but frankly, you’ll be on their hit-list whatever option you choose; that’s the perils of social media use. For the purposes of this explanation we’ll be using a telephone number. And no, I’m not giving you my number.
You can connect with people you might already know by clicking on the box above – it will allow people to find you based on your telephone number. This will only be if they already have your number, and you can turn this function off if you find it a bit scary. Rest assured though, that Twitter will not publicly display email addresses or telephone numbers on Twitter, even if you have enabled the setting that lets others find you using that method.
As the note says, there’s no escaping from ads on Twitter. What happens if you choose to click this box is that ads will be tailored to reflect your Twitter use, and your online activity “from other partners”. This is third-party platforms like Google. So, cookies will track your searches on Google and tailor ads in Twitter to reflect those searches. You can change this at any time in your Twitter settings.
Step 3 of 5
Verification code and password
If you’ve put a mobile phone number in as your method of contact, you’ll now be sent a verification code to that number. Twitter will want you to input that code and press Next. You’ll then be asked to create a password. Really now; make it a good one. Best practice for the creation of passwords is that it should have:
- 12 characters
- Include numbers, symbols, capital letters and lower case letters
- Isn’t a dictionary word or combination of dictionary words.
- Doesn’t rely on obvious substitutions. Don’t substitute a 0 for a O, for example. H0use is a crap password. Don’t do it.
Don’t be grey
You’re now going to be asked for your profile picture and bio information (bio is short for biography). Once again, this becomes a very easy process if you have a logo and a strong brand identiy. If you don’t have these things, I cannot stress enough that you need to be thinking about them. Kerry’s blog over on her new website discusses how it important it is to have a strong brand.
It’s generally considered a bad thing if you don’t have a proper profile picture on Twitter. You’ll be left with just a grey outline instead of a picture. People will simply assume you’re a fake account, or a troll. And this will seriously undermine your business identity. So get a picture up there quick, and if you don’t have a logo designed, do that as soon as you can. There are free logo designers online. Failing that, we can advise you on a great logo for your brand.
After that, you’ll be asked to pick a couple of your interests, and Twitter will make suggestions as to who you might like to follow. Seriously, don’t follow Donald Trump.
And that’s pretty much it! The steps are easy, and once you’re set up you can get to play with some of the other features (like Bookmarks, account switching and a dark mode).
What if Twitter isn’t for you?
The mistake a lot of businesses make is assuming they have to be everywhere online. You don’t and, frankly, if you’re a one-man band you simply can’t be. A really word-based platform like Twitter won’t work as well for, say, a photographer, as a forum like Instagram will. And sometimes you won’t know unless you try it out. A prime example comes from amongst our own customer base. We represent a firm of plumbers who have a really strong follower base on Twitter. They’ve connected with other people in the trade, and experts in the field, and they’re much more dominant there than on Facebook. Instagram simply wouldn’t work for them, or Snapchat.
On the other hand, the letting agency we represent does spectacularly well on Facebook (with over 2,000 followers and rising) but fell completely flat on Twitter. It just wasn’t right for the business.
We wil never recommend multiple platforms unless we think they’re going to work for you. And if we start you on a platform and it turns out not to be right? Then we go back to the drawing board and figure out what’s your best fit.
Twitter can be an intense experience. With any use of social media we say, make provision for your own health and happiness.
And enjoy! It really is fantastic fun when it clicks for you.