Social Media Savvy: 5 things I wish I knew then about Twitter now | SierraSun.com

Social Media Savvy: 5 things I wish I knew then about Twitter now

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — We know that Twitter is one of the main social networks when it comes to marketing your business.

The platform demographics skews young, with 37 percent between the ages of 18 and 29; 25 percent living in an urban environment; and 27 percent making over $75,000 a year.

But making sense of how Twitter works can be very time consuming and sometimes frustrating. Just sending out tweets on behalf of the brand won't take you far in the social media world.

Thinking back to when I first started using Twitter in 2006, these are the top five things I wish someone told me to do.

1. Use hashtags with your tweets: By researching the correct hashtags to use with your tweets you will join conversations that are relevant to your brand. Thus, you will find new people to reach with your message and they will find your brand. By using tools like Hashtags.org, Topsy and Rite Tag, you will understand the context of the hashtag before using it and research different hashtags that are relevant to your brand. A hashtag is a keyword that you use with the sign # prior to it.

2. Build lists: Building lists on the platform is easy and will help you organize your followers so you can monitor what they are saying without getting lost in the noise of the homefeed, which on Twitter moves like a high speed highway. Build lists with your customers, competitors, industry leaders, community partners and employees.

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3. Keep your tweets short: Just because Twitter is limited to 140 characters doesn't mean you need to keep your tweets to 140 characters. Shorter tweets generate higher engagement. Keep in mind that you can add a picture and a link to a web page, video, article, etc in your tweet. You want to keep your tweets to about 80-120 characters. This makes it easy for other people to retweet you and add their comment.

4. Don't start a response with @ sign: Twitter makes it easy to respond to people but don't start your tweet with the @ sign. This will limit the visibility of the tweet to people who follow you and the account you are responding to. Add a period or a word before the response.

5. You must engage. This is the main rule on Twitter and the one that marketers seem to ignore the most. Twitter is about having a dialogue. You must engage with people first if you want them to engage with you. Follow, favorite and interact with other people and they will do the same with you. It's just like talking to a stranger at first, but you will meet some really cool people on Twitter. I have made many friends in real life but we first met on Twitter. That's what makes this platform so powerful.

Milena Regos is principal and founder of Out & About Marketing, an Incline Village-based digital marketing and social media consulting firm. She can be reached for comment at milena@outandaboutmarketing.com. This post first appeared on Out&AboutMarketing.com.