Marketing Mondays – Twitter Part 2

Welcome to Part Two of our Twitter talk on Marketing Mondays. You can catch last week’s session here.

Today we’re going to delve into what all those little symbols, hashtags etc., mean in a 140 character tweet, as well as look at some cool tools for you. Without knowledge of the meaning behind the characters commonly used in a tweet, a stream of tweets can be as confusing as wall of bits you have no previous experience with. What to use and when?

1. # (hash tags)

What it is: In the language of Twitter, the # symbol is referred to as a hash tag. Including a hash tag at the beginning of a key word categorizes your tweet. For instance, if you have a tweet about the Calgary Stampede, you can precede it with a #Stampede. It might look something like this real tweet from the Calgary Stampede twitter feed:

For all the deets with the #Stampede Indian Princess Centennial pageant, follow@StampedeIP & @regtiangha for the latest! and your tweet will be listed with all of the other other tagged Calgary Stampede tweets.

When to use it: Following the #Stampede example above, your #Stampede tweet will be listed with all of the other #Stampede tweets for anyone who happens to be searching for Calgary Stampede tweets. It’s a sure way to be listed with like tweets on a certain subject.

2. @ (replies)

What it is: Adding a @westernhorserev at the beginning of your tweet simply says you are replying to Western Horse Review.

When to use it: You can employ a tweet much like an e-mail message by adding the @(name of user) to the beginning of your tweet. Just remember, it’s not a private message, but rather one viewed by all followers. Replies come up in your normal Twitter stream, but they’re also easy to find by clicking on the @{Mentions} navigational item from your home page.

3. DM (direct message)

What it is: If you prefer to send a direct message, rather than an @, compose it like this:

dusername your message

When to use it: Obviously, when you prefer the message to be between you and the user, not the entire twitter stream of followers. If a follower asks you to DM, he or she is asking you to respond privately.

4. RT (retweet)

What it is: Another favorite way for you to share a tweet you’ve enjoyed, found useful, or want simply want to pass on is to retweet it. In your tweet the composition for this will appear like this:

RT@username the post

When to use it: I will retweet a tweet through the Western Horse Review feed when I have reason to think it might be useful, entertaining or provoke conversation.

That’s the most common four twitter symbols you should know and begin to use as you continue your Twitter journey.

What are all the bitly links about?

P.S. – these are not my shoes. Just trying to keep you interested in the post with a visual enhancement. It is Monday after all.

One last common symbol you’ll see in a tweet is a url preceded by tinyurl or bitly.

Both of these tools are free and designed to help you shorten a long url. For instance, I recently tweeted about a Facebook post I wanted to share on Twitter. The original Facebook link was:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Western-Horse-Review/178276713247?ref=ts

Bitley.com converted it to http://on.fb.me/b1gqTW for me, granting me another 50 or so characters to use in the actual message.

What I really like about Bitly is that I can track my tweets and measure their success.

To do so simply add a + symbol to any bitly url, copy and paste it into your url. Bitly will post a chart for you detailing, how many clicks the tweet received, what countries the tweet was viewed in and what Twitter conversations arose from the tweet.

This is a great tool, for instance, to help you determine what times of day are best for releasing tweets – try, for instance releasing a tweet in the morning and the identical tweet in the afternoon, then track each to determine most views and retweets.

That’s what I have for you this morning. I hope you found it useful. And, please share, in the Comment section below your favorite Twitter tools and how Twitter assists you with the marketing – or otherwise – of your equine-related business.

Happy Monday, everyone.

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