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Twitter: The Basics

The world has changed. Once upon a time, businesses represented themselves to their customer base through targeted marketing.

This was the age of ABC’sMad Men, an age filled with high-powered marketing meetings, whiskey and furrowed brows. This was the age in which marketing became crucial, and it happened because everyone was doing it. It got to the point where you couldn’t get noticed without a full page ad in the times.

But all that has changed. The Don Drapers of decades past have been replaced with a brand new way of reaching out to the customer: social media. That’s not to say that advertising firms have gone the way of the dodo, but they have gone through significant transformations.

These days, the marketers that used to push for expensive Super Bowl spots are advocating relatively inexpensive social media campaigns.

And why? Because they’re often much more effective.

We live in a time where the most viewed item in the world on a given day is just as likely to be a video of a cat in a box as it is to be a Quizno’s ad. So companies are starting to position themselves toward something new – something called “viral marketing.”

These days, advertisers often focus on creating intelligent, funny, interesting, or otherwise valuable advertising, which they rely on social media to spread. This means that, instead of paying however million for a successful advertising campaign, companies are able to focus on getting the product right, and providing the consumer with a better experience, rather than spending all of their energy on merely letting the consumer know they exist.

So, great, right? It seems like everyone wins in this scenario.

Well, not everyone. Just like those who failed to adopt traditional print advertising strategies, those who neglect their social media presence are being left out in the cold.

But even those who enter into this new method of discourse aren’t guaranteed success. Like every market, the social media market is becoming oversaturated. That means, if you’re going to enter this new medium, you’re going to have to do it right.

The good news is, it’s not too hard to do it right. The only thing to keep in mind is what is expected in the medium you’re working with. For today, let’s take Twitter as an example.

Twitter is a powerful marketing tool. It limits its users to 140 characters. For context, the paragraph above this one is 146 characters. This means two things. (1) It means that no one is allowed to drown out anyone else on Twitter. (2) It means that you have to get to the point to be heard.

It also means that your tweet has to be perfectly crafted. Many marketers I’ve met spend hours tweaking and fine-tuning a tweet to make sure it conveys exactly what they’re going for. Sometimes the debate about a tweet can be as simple as where to put a comma, or as complex as what kind of language to use.

The subtleties are many, but if you’re hoping to start tweeting, all you really need to do is study the tweets of others. And then copy them. Not word for word, but the tone and the direction.

A tweet has an approximate lifespan of 3 to 5 minutes. That means that, after about 5 minutes, a tweet is too far down the user’s page to ever be seen. And being seen is everything. Being seen means possibly being retweeted. And every time your tweet is retweeted, it is exposed to a whole new audience, maybe even a larger audience.

So take it slow. Think about each tweet before you tweet. You only have one shot at getting noticed, so make it count. Keep the language relaxed, conversational. Always reply to tweets, because that allows you to craft an image for yourself and increases your visibility.

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