A 10-Step Guide to Twitter in 140 Characters or Less

Twitter is a complex, often befuddling stream of babble, endless rants, linking, lots of spam, and other seemingly useless information. But with well over 100 million users, there are lots of good, useful conversations occurring on the sprawling social media website on a daily basis. And though a large portion of these conversations might be highly egocentric musings from all-star celebrities, many of them might also be about local businesses, events, and other relevant news that could be hugely important for businesses.

But of course, there are ways to sort through that babble in order to find those relevant conversations. Here’s a simple guide to help any user and/or business sort through the mess that is Twitter. In 140 characters or less, naturally. 

1. Define Your Goals: What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to talk to? Customers? Influencers?

2. Establish Content: Pictures, videos, links, blogs, etc. What you want to share. How you want to share.

3. Develop a Schedule: W/ that content, develop a daily calendar. Amount of tweets varies on type of business. More active w/ customers = generally more tweets.

4. Retweet v. Reply: Retweet something that you find interesting, moving, and want to share with users. Reply when you want to start a conversation.

5. Hashtags: Hashtag when you want to organize something. Search hashtags when you want to find conversations. Engage w/ them. For more, click.

6. Use Apps to Stay Organized, Manage Presences: For multiple accounts, Sprout Social and HootSuite are great tools to manage, organize presences. Use them. They are awesome.

7. Stay on Track: Sprout Social, HootSuite have discovery tools. Twilert is also great for discovery and alerts. Google Alerts, too. Find content w/ them.

8. Use Analytics: Track, analyze, judge current results w/ HootSuite, Google Analytics for websites, Sprout Social. Tweak current strategies. Try, try again.

9. Twitter on Mobile: Management tools have mobile apps, so does Twitter. Use them to keep track of presences.

10. Be Consistent, Timely: Engage with any, all relevant conversations. Retweet, reply in timely fashion. Try within a few hours, at most.

These are simple, basic outlines for any user or business, and everything can obviously get far more complex. The best way for any business and user to become familiar with Twitter and all of the resources surrounding it is to simply start using them. Tweet, retweet, reply, link, post pictures, etc. etc. Simply becoming involved in the massive conversation that is Twitter will help you to familiarize yourself with it and develop a real, comprehensive strategy.