A Dummies’ Guide to Twitter


Twitter almost needs no introduction. Along with Facebook it’s one of the most well known and ubiquitous social networks in the world, with millions of users and a (sometimes notorious) reputation.

Perhaps it’s best to look at the facts first. The service launched back in 2006, and has an annual turnover of about $140 million. As of February 2013, the service has over 200 million users, generating 400 million tweets each day.

The sheer volume of tweets should tell you what makes Twitter both unique and desirable to its users. Its bite-sized, 140 character “tweets” can be reeled off ridiculously quickly from a PC or smartphone, and makes it useful as a means of keeping up to date with the latest news stories and developments as they emerge. Naturally, the site is used for more frivolous purposes: there’s an endless number of spoof accounts and trends such as #EnglishBoybandMeetandGreetSunday. By the time you’re reading this, that hashtag (a word or phrase prefixed with a #, and reposted in connection to a relevant tweet) will be long gone, to be replaced with a new one. Like Pinterest, Twitter is very interconnected in terms of its content.

In terms of demographics, Twitter is fairly broad: the sheer volume of users means you’re likely you’re likely to find an audience for most products, popular or less so. At the same time, Twitter is very popular with young people between the ages of 18 and 29, as well as people living in densely populated urban areas, so a more targeted approach can indeed work well.

It’s possible to use a Twitter account for your business: to use it to highlight new products, promotions and much more. Crucially, though, it’s something that needs to be used as more than a simple corporate message board. Social media is a conversation, not a speech: retweet, share pictures and videos from customers, where appropriate. Show you’re immersed in Twitter on a frivolous level as well as a business one.

As a social network, Twitter is for the most part vibrant and ever changing. Coupled with its popularity and large userbase, it’s an ideal starting point for anyone looking to build an online presence.

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