What’s your Twitter handle?

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What’s your Twitter handle?  Perhaps you don’t have a good handle on what Twitter really is and all the ways to use it?  (its ok really…we are all still learning).

Twitter is above all else a communications tool, a vehicle for any business or person to build buzz, discuss topics of interest with like-minded people, a place to engage in a conversation with your customers and colleagues, a customer service tool – and a way to increase reach much quicker than traditional media.

Unlike Facebook and other Social media channels, Twitter is about forming new connections with people you don’t necessarily know (or will ever know) in person.

Twitter can be used to push out content (new blog posts, articles of interest, photos and videos), to stay up to date on trends, and to drive awareness to brands and businesses, and most importantly – the people behind the brands.

Twitter’s greatest power, once you have developed a twitter tone, a good following – and you have figured out how to provide your followers with valuable, engaging content – is its ability to communicate quickly to large numbers of people.

Twitter is a great tool for crisis communications, for extending customer service online, and above all, a great tool for building brand personality and credibility.

Not a place for pushed out marketing messages, Twitter allows you to communicate and engage with your target audiences. Use twitter to draw attention to other places where your brand lives such as a company website, or Blog, or even your company Facebook page where there is more room for expanded messages.

You will need time and resources to set up and manage a good twitter account, and not having a Twitter strategy will certainly lead to poor ROI and possibly some mishaps along the way.

Twitter Tips from the Chicks:

• Make sure your Twitter handle (your Twitter name) is reflective of your brand, and ensure the bio is more personalized to the Tweeter

• Be strategic when developing your tone – be conversational and add value to the ecosystem

• Share and RT (re-tweet) newsworthy or quality content. It is a good practice to “return the favour” with re-tweets and thank those who RT your content

• Use @username (the Twitter handle!) when referencing another person in Twitter

• Mark positive feedback as “Favorites” in Twitter

• In general, follow people who follow you – but not always. It is not about how many followers you have on Twitter – tweeters will look to who you follow as an indication of who you are.

• Tweet interesting news and info related to your company and industry, and follow colleagues, industry associations and even competitors.

• Twitter lists allow you to categorize Tweeps (Twitter people) and better organize how you follow their content

• Use Hash Tags # to index and label your event or content in Twitter. ie. #TwitterTips and #Socialmedia for this Blog post will ensure that this content will appear in a Twitter stream of content related to using Twitter – and may then be seen by more people

• Set-up scheduled updates and manage your Social Media postings through tools like www.hootsuite.com

• Use tools like www.twitalyzer.com to track community engagement, and hootsuite.com

There are so many great resources we recommend including mashable Twitter Guide book, and Chris Brogan’s Power Tips.

Twitter takes time and commitment but can open you up to brand fans, brand champions, and new customers far beyond traditional marketing communications channels.

Be authentic, show some personality, don’t sell, make sure to drive traffic back to your transaction point (your website, a phone number, email sign up, Blog etc) use Twitter as a part of your overall marketing communications efforts – and have fun – it is ‘social’ media after all!

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