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Twitter, Explained

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Terry DohertyBy Terry Doherty

Like most social platforms, Twitter offers you a global reach. It is considered one of the Big Four (the others being Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+). Whether or not Twitter is the right platform for you depends on your marketing goals, not how much time you have for using it!

I hope you find the information here helpful. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section…I’d love to hear from you!


Verbs: Tweet, retweet
Users: “followers”
Launched: July 2006

  • A social networking service where users can post messages of up to 140 characters.
  • A free, real-time information network where users can share content instantly.
  • A micro-blogging site that allows users to amplify content from other platforms (e.g., website)

Like most social platforms, Twitter offers you a global reach. It is considered one of the Big Four (the others being Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+).

Again, whether or not Twitter is the right platform for you depends on your marketing goals, not how much time you have for using it!

The Benefits

twitter-bird-white-on-blueOne of the reasons I love Twitter is that it forces me to be concise. I have no more than 140 characters to convey an idea, make a recommendation, or share something from my website. If I want my followers to share my Tweets, I have to stay within the 110-115 character range.

I am reticent to say that I talk in “ad-speak,” but the general KISS concept is definitely the best for this platform. The format also creates a channel for you to direct people to places where they can learn more about you – a website, a blog post, an interview, etc.

In general, the purpose of Twitter is to share content “instantly.” For me, one of the primary values of Twitter is its value as a source of intelligence. Think of Twitter as an online trade journal. It is a ready-made source for helping you discover what’s happening in your field or area of expertise. It also allows you to find and connect with peers directly.

Twitter can also be a listening post. Are your competitors using Twitter? If so, how? Understanding how others use Twitter effectively can not only improve your effectiveness with the platform, but it could also spill over into other areas of marketing.


Being on Twitter is like old-school networking. Calling someone on the phone to ask a question is real-time (it just wasn’t a group call). Taking that a step further – effective networking takes time. You nurture a relationship from “how’s the weather” to more substantive exchanges and discussions.

So too, with Twitter. To be valuable for your brand and marketing you need to participate. Retweet something that you think has value; thank someone for an article they posted.

Tweets don’t last very long – a couple of hours at most. That means you may have to tweet something three or four times – just not 20 minutes apart. Using a “time zone” model can help. If you tweet at 1 o’clock Eastern Time, then tweet the same thing at 1 o’clock Central Time, and maybe 1 o’clock Pacific Time.

Tools like Tweriod and FollowerWonk can analyze your followers and suggest the best times for you to tweet.


Consider Twitter if your goals are to build relationships, expand brand awareness, and by extension, develop trust with consumers and consumers-to-be. To make that happen, your efforts will focus on engaging followers to share (aka retweet) your content to their followers.

twitter-listsThe odds are pretty good that they will. A December 2012 analysis by Digital Buzz revealed two key things for Twitter marketing –

  • 66% of followers retweet because they have a personal connection to the person tweeting.
  • 25% of followers retweet because the word “please RT” is part of the message.

When used effectively, Twitter is a way to turn your current customers and fans into loyalists and brand ambassadors, at the same time they are introducing new customers to your product or service.

Fun Facts
  • Available in 20 languages
  • According to an October 2012 study, the #1 reason why people stop following a brand is because of too many updates. 33% of those respondents said it is the “worst offense.”
  • Most of the sharing is done between Noon and 2:pm … and remains consistent from 1:00pm to 6:00pm
  • “THE” optimum time for Twitter is 1 o’clock in the afternoon.

Reading Worth Your Time

Terry DohertyAbout the Author: Terry Doherty is a voracious reader with a keen analytical eye and a lifelong passion for writing. Combine a passion for reading and kids, a natural affinity for analysis, and a love of solving puzzles, and you’ve got Terry.

Before becoming a Mom in late 2001, she spent nearly 20 years as a research analyst, supervisor, mentor, trainer, and analytical program manager with the federal government. She has drawn on her acclaimed expertise as a national security analyst in her roles as senior editor and publishing director for an independent house; and mentor for both her consulting business & flourishing literacy nonprofit.

Now, she uses those extensive skills in research, analysis, writing, editing and interpersonal communication, in three roles: Mom; Executive Director of The Reading Tub®, a family literacy nonprofit; and Director of New Media & Alumni Education for the Mom’s Choice Awards.

Terry is a dedicated, lifelong student, always eager to share her expertise with those eager to learn. She heartily ascribes to Thomas Jefferson’s statement: “I cannot live without books.” Learn more at maestromarket.com.

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