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Twitter Basics for Beginners – Learning the Lingo

Recently, I made the case for why financial professionals should be on Twitter. I wanted to provide some more helpful tips for getting started on Twitter. After we clear the basics, I’ll be writing more specifically about how you can grow your RIA business through Twitter.


I found this helpful guide on BlogWorld to get us started on our Twitter journey. Once you crack the Twitter code, you can start using it as part of an overall social media strategy to grow and market your business.


From “A Beginner’s Guide to Twitter Basics”


To use Twitter effectively, you have to know the lingo. … There are three terms that are most important for you to understand:


@ Reply: If you see an @ (that isn’t part of an email address) on Twitter, it is typically followed by someone’s screen name. It’s a way to hold a public conversation with that person.


DM: DM stands for direct message. It’s a way to hold a private conversation with another Twitter user, but you can only DM people who are already following you.


RT: RT stands for retweet. If you like what someone says on twitter, You can retweet it to spread the message to your followers as well.


Other lingo that may come in useful to know:


Hashtag (#): If you see the pound symbol (#) before a word or phrase, it is essentially a keyword tag for the tweet so that others can find it more easily. On Twitter, this is called a hashtag, and they can be serious, to help people search for your tweet (like #advice or #blogging) or funny (like #ImSoDarnTired). Not every tweet needs hashtags. Basically, it’s a way to follow the stream of everyone talking about a specific subject.


OH: Overheard – usually this is something funny or profound that someone overheard while going about their daily tasks.


FF: Usually written with a hashtag, (#FF), this stands for Follow Friday. Every Friday, users recommend other people to follow to spread the Twitter love. …


Twitter Chat: A Twitter chat happens when several people get on Twitter at once to share ideas with one another. They do this by using a specific hashtag. For example, every Sunday, bloggers participate in #blogchat. …


Lists: Once you start following lots of people, you can put them in different lists to keep them more organized. People can also add you to their lists to keep their own streams organized. Lists can be public or private.


Favorite: If you want to save a Tweet for later, you can favorite it.


Now, aren’t you feeling better about Twitter already? Knowing the language is half the battle! Also, I thought it would be fun to give you a few Twitter basic ideas. These are not new, but if you’re new to Twitter, these are some fun ideas to get you started.


From “50 Ideas for Using Twitter For Business”:


1. Build an account and immediately start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)


2. Add a picture. ( Shel reminds us of this.) We want to see you.


3. Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. I know this doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.


4. Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.


5. Share links to neat things in your community. ( @wholefoods does this well).


6. Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead. ( @jetblue gives travel tips.)


7. Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.


8. Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories. ( @TheHomeDepot does it well.)


9. Throw in a few humans, like RichardAtDELL, LionelAtDELL, etc.


10. Talk about non-business, too, like @aaronstrout and @jimstorer.


11. Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”


12. Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.


13. When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.


14. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.


15. Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her.


16. Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes us feel like you’re not “that guy.”


17. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.


18. Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.


Remember, life moves fast on Twitter. You don’t have to read or respond to every tweet. There are third-party applications, like Tweet Deck, that can help you better manage the tweets from your desktop. And finally, remember quality over quantity. That applies to who you follow, as well as what you tweet. I like to think of this as Virtual Feng Shui. It’s better to have a relationships with the people you follow than to just randomly try to follow as many people as possible.


Let me hear your Twitter stories!



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