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A step-by-step guide to getting started on Twitter

Twitter has taken the social media world by storm and if you haven’t considered it as an opportunity to build business yet, you may be missing out.

Twitter is a great way to establish two-way real-time communication with potential and current clients, industry affiliates and professionals from external fields and industries whose ideas and advice, in the form of tweets, could lend to your business’ development.

Twitter can be used as a platform for research as it allows you to see what the Twitter community is interested in via their tweets. This information can be used to form good relationships with Twitter community members.

Once you have good Twitter relationships you then have the means to potentially communicate to a much larger audience than you would normally have access to.

Choosing your Twitter name
The first step to creating your Twitter account is choosing your Twitter name which, in Twitter language, is referred to as your Twitter handle. As with most social media platforms it is important to be transparent in order to gain trust. Your Twitter handle should communicate something about your Twitter identity.

If your Twitter account is for personal use, your Twitter handle could be your own name or initials. If you will be tweeting about your industry and business activities your handle could be your company name.

If you are trying to establish an online community your handle could be a name depicting the community. For instance if you solely wanted to build an online food community you could create the Twitter handle ‘foodie’ and tweet reviews on restaurants, recipes and food blogs.

Creating your account
To create your Twitter account go to https://twitter.com/signup and enter your details. This page will inform you what Twitter handles have already been taken and what handles are still available.

Once your Twitter handle is approved click ‘sign in’. Twitter will then guide you through the next steps which include posting your first tweet (a 140 character sentence), finding friends, and using Twitter on your mobile.

How to find Twitter friends aka followers
Twitter suggest friends for you, and follow the followers of the people you are interested in. Some people will follow you back once you follow them, although not everyone!

To geographically choose who you follow use the free application Twellow. Here, you can also find people categories such as PR, accountants or gifts.

What to tweet
If you are using Twitter for personal reasons, tweet whatever you want. Tweet about your feelings, your views on current affairs, daily activities, upcoming events- the world is your oyster.

If you have are using Twitter for business purposes you should have a Twitter strategy that aims to achieve specific objectives. Decide on what you’re going to tweet about. Ask the question: What is my target audience interested in? Do not just market your product on Twitter because the whole aim of Twitter is to establish two way relationships.

We tweet about our clients, upcoming events we’re excited about, our blog and about articles that relate to Public Relations and social media.

Our Twitter strategy is to teach our followers more about the field of public relations, to communicate who we are and to build our credibility by keeping our followers informed about what successes we achieve for our clients. We also use it as another mechanism to distribute our clients’ media releases.

Decide on how often you are going to tweet. We try to tweet around four times daily on our CP Communications Twitter account, @CPCPR.

Passing on other people’s tweets, re-tweeting
If someone you are following says something in their tweet that you agree with or like, you can promote their tweet to all your followers re-tweeting it.

This means that the tweet will be seen by the tweeter’s followers, your followers and the followers of anyone else who re-tweets it. This is a great way of connecting to new people and building two way communication.

Twitter is an incredible way of connecting with people, finding new suppliers, building your profile and even getting new clients. Really the only way of understanding Twitter is to do it. So what are you waiting for? Start tweeting today!

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Catriona Pollard

Catriona Pollard

Catriona Pollard is the founder and director of CP Communications, one of the most respected and innovative boutique PR and social media agencies. She is co-founder of Social Media Women, teaches a PR course she designed and writes the popular blog, Public Relations Sydney. Catriona regularly shares her expertise through articles and presentations to assist businesses grow and thrive by effectively using PR and social media. You can find Catriona on: Blog: www.PublicRelationsSydney.com.au Twitter: @catrionapollard Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PublicRelationsTips Facebook: www.facebook.com/cpcommunications

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