An Introduction to Twitter

Posted by Nick Pizzolato on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 @ 02:51 PM

When people refer to social media they immediately think of Facebook. However, there are other social media networks that businesses can utilize to spread brand awareness and customer engagement. Let me state the case for Twitter.

twitterI love Twitter. It’s a great way to share news, get a quick laugh, and kill time while waiting for a movie to start. It’s also a fantastic way for businesses to interact with consumers.

Twitter has more than 280 million active users a month. Not all of those users create content, however, every user is engaged with the content they read. This includes posts from businesses and brands. In 2013, it was reported that 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy from brands they follow on Twitter.

My favorite thing about Twitter is the immediate reach every post has. From the moment you sign up, even before you have a follower, your messages are live and available for everyone to read. On Facebook, unless you pay for your post to be promoted, it will only be seen by the people following you.

Before we jump right into how Twitter can help your business, we have to understand how the tool works. After all, when fixing a leaky pipe at home, you can’t use a hammer as a wrench.

Twitter and its users have developed words and phrases that are unique to Twitter. If you understand what the terms mean, it will help you build your Twitter presence.

Screen_Shot_2014-10-31_at_11.26.04_AMHandle - This is your name on Twitter. People follow your feed by typing in your handle name ( and clicking “follow.”

tweet-1Tweet - This is the message that you will post. It can only be 140 characters. Twitter isn’t for long stories. It’s about short updates that connect you with your followers. You’ll be surprised how much weight 140 characters can carry.

Follower - These are the people that follow you. All tweets are public, but these are the folks that want to be connected to you and will see your posts without doing any type of search.

Replies - To engage with other users, you use the reply button. By clicking this button Twitter automatically prepares the text box for you to communicate with them. This conversation is public.

Direct Message (DM) - A direct message is a private conversation you can have with a follower. Note: Both people must follow each other for a direct message to occur.

trendsTrending Topics - A trending topic is a topic or event that people on Twitter are talking about at once. It could be the Super Bowl. It could be a political rally. These topics can be a great way to gain followers and increase your reach.

Hashtag (#) - For many of us, the # symbol is something pressed while signing into voice mail. On Twitter, the # has become a way to categorize events, topics and ideas. Keep in mind that topic can trend without using a hashtag.

Retweet - When a user reads a tweet you shared and likes it so much they want to share it with their audience, they use the retweet button. This type of engagement is a very successful way to build new followers. A tweet can be retweeted by simply clicking the retweet button or by copying the original message and typing “RT” before the handle.

Favorite - If someone reads your tweet and likes it, but doesn’t want to share it. They have the option to favorite it.

I have some homework for you. If you don’t have a Twitter account, start one. The best way to learn how to use Twitter effectively is to actually use Twitter.

Like any community, you need to become a member of it so you can belong to it. Sign up and follow your friends, favorite writers, local news reporters, and athletes.

Next time we’ll investigate ways for you to engage new and existing customers.

Nick Pizzolato is the Marketing Content Manager at Wicked Local Media Solutions. For questions, topics for future blogs, or to share your favorite moment from the film “Back to the Future,” email him at He manages the Wicked Local Media Solutions Twitter account. #FollowUs

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Tags: Social Media, Customer Engagement