How Tweet It Is

Last week, we started looking at social media for marketing a home-based business, starting with blogging and podcasting.

The blog evolved (or devolved, some would say) into what is called microblogging, or very short blog posts. Exemplified by Twitter, microblogging functions like a blog but posts can only be a maximum of 140 characters. That sounds like scarcely enough space in which to say anything particularly poignant, but you’d be surprised. Users who have a Twitter “feed” attract “followers” and in turn follow others. Twitter also fosters more or less real-time conversations, and “tweets” (as Twitter posts are called) can be “retweeted” by a particular user’s followers, which can attract other followers. Any respectable person or event these days has an accompanying “hashtag” (#) which indicates that it is something that can be followed on Twitter. Like other social media channels, Twitter is free, but does require a more or less substantial time commitment not only to do the actual tweeting, but also to monitor others’ feeds for mentions.

It is common practice and Twitter etiquette to follow those who have followed you. However, don’t feel obligated to follow everyone; some tweeters just seek to maximize their followers, regardless of how relevant or receptive those followers may be. Try to limit the users you follow to only the most relevant to your business.

Retweeting—sending a tweet from someone you follow to your own followers—can be good public relations, and if your own retweets get retweeted, it demonstrates a certain level of “influence.” It can be a good marketing gambit.

Twitter has evolved over the years (can you believe it’s about10 years old now—and in fact, next Monday—March 21—will mark the 10th anniversary of its founding) to handle images and videos. It is also not unusual for “Twitter wars” to break out, and a number of high profile tweeters quit platform after being inundated with negative or downright nasty comments.

Still, the average home-based business person is probably not going to fan the flames of the Twitter trolls.