Posted by: jmwilsonmga | May 10, 2011

How to Make Social Media Work for You : Twitter

Through this blog mini-series, “How to make Social Media work for You”, I’ll be breaking down the basics of social media including; an introduction to the most popular networks, how to get started, and how to make them work for you and your agency.

Today, we’re going in-depth on Twitter. 

 Twitter is a social networking site which shares content using 140 characters.  It was originally created by Jack Dorsey in 2006 as an internal communication service for the company Odeo and was launched to the public in July of 2006.  It created quite a buzz at the 2007 South by Southwest festival and has been gaining popularity since.  In June 2010, nearly 65 milllion tweets were sent daily, which equates to 750 tweets a second (source Wikipedia).

Now that we have an understanding of the creation of Twitter, let’s take a look at what makes Twitter…Twitter.


Here is what you will see when looking at your Twitter profile.

On the left, you will see a tally of the number of tweets (140 character messages) you have sent, number of people/businesses you follow, number of people/businesses following you, and the number of lists you appear in.  Not sure what that all means?  We’ll look at each item.

 What does it mean to “Follow”? 

When you click “follow” on a person/businesses twitter page, you are saying that you want to see all of the tweets that this account posts to their twitter profile.

 What does it mean when someone follows you?

The same thing in reverse!  They want to see what you have to say through your tweets.

 What is a list?

A list is a tool that many people use to organize the people that they follow into categories.  As you can imagine, if there are 750 tweets every second, it can become difficult to sort through all of the tweets coming into your twitter (depending on how many people you follow).  You can organize those you follow by personal and private, or by type of business relationship.   It is completely up to you!  You can also choose to make these lists public or private.

Ready to dive into Twitter?  Just respond to the question “What’s happening?”


Want to communicate with someone privately?  Twitter has a tool for that too!

Direct Messages are a way to communicate with a twitter account privately, this means that it will not post to your twitter page or the recipients twitter page.  Note:  In order to send a direct message, you must follow that person and they must follow you.  No, you can’t just send Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie a direct message expressing your love! …unless of course, they follow you.

 Types of Tweets

There are several different types of Tweets.

    • First is the most basic – Tweet.  Simply enter your thoughts into the “What’s happening?” bar and click Tweet.
    • Second is to Re-Tweet.  This is to re-send a tweet that someone you follow has sent.  For example, J.M. Wilson tweets about a great blog post that you would like to share with your customers.  Just click Retweet (shown below), enter any other text you would like, and click Tweet.  You will see all of your Retweets under the Retweets tab on your Twitter Home Page.

  • Third is Reply.  This is if you would like to reply to the sender of the tweet with a comment regarding that tweet.  Twitter will automatically enter that person’s Twitter name, you can then enter your comment, and click tweet.  Since the person’s Twitter name was mentioned, it will pull into their Mentions and they will be alerted.  You can see all of your Mentions by clicking on the @Mention tab on your Twitter Home Page.

 Here is a view of your Home Page.

I hope this helps to introduce you to Twitter!  In the future, we will go more in-depth on Twitter’s applications for your business. 

Questions?  Just post them here and I would be happy to answer them!

About The Author : Kristin O’Leary, Marketing Research Coordinator

Kristin has been a proud member of the J.M. Wilson Marketing Team for over five years and currently serves as the Marketing Research Coordinator.  She graduated from Western Michigan University in 2005 with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing.  Outside of the office, she enjoys running, working with her family at their pet supply store, and spending time with her husband and their Miniature Schnauzer, Vinny.

Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use.

Copyright 2011 J.M. Wilson Corporation

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