- Twitter is a fast paced social network oriented around short messages of 140 characters known as ‘tweets’, which are seen by the people who have decided to follow your updates or by those that find your Twitter profile through Google.
- The tweets made by the people you opt to ‘follow’ will appear on your news feed/Twitter homepage. Once you have created an account you can browse for relevant or interesting people to follow, then you can start ‘tweeting’ (your tweets can include links too), or start ‘retweeting’ what other people say and start to grow your own network.
- To get started, go to Twitter and create an account. To do this you will need to create a username (profile name). For example, our Twitter profile is simply ‘holidaylettings’.
Your Twitter profile
- Your Twitter profile homepage will be www.twitter.com plus your username, eg: www.twitter.com/holidaylettings. Think carefully about what you’d like your username to be. If it’s available, your home name is good as it will be memorable to people searching for you.
- When you join Twitter you are asked to write a short ‘biography’, which other users can see when they look at your Twitter page. Like your updates, this is also restricted to 140 characters. Your bio can include a website address and it’s a good idea to use your Holiday Lettings quicklink. Have a look at how one holidaylettings.co.uk advertiser uses Twitter to their advantage.
How can Twitter work for me?
- For Twitter to work well for you, you should approach it as if you were walking into a room for a networking event; prepare to engage in conversations with others. It is through having conversations and building Twitter relationships that your holiday home will benefit most. Find people to add to your community who have similar interests, homes in similar locations, share tips and best practice. The more interactive your posts the better, since this will make it more interesting for those who follow you. If you are offering a Late Deal or special price, you can also highlight this through Twitter to your followers. Within your tweets you can add links to websites and photos. For example, if you add a new feature to your property, tweet about it and add a photo for people to see. A useful service for adding photos to your Twitter page is TwitPic.
Working with the 140 character limit
- Adding links to tweets can exceed the 140 character limit, so most people use a URL shortner – you enter the original, long website address and the service dramatically shortens it. Some example services include: TinyUrl.com, ow.ly and bit.ly.
- To direct message (DM) another Twitter user you need to be following the other Twitter user and vice versa. DMs are not seen by your other followers. To do this start your tweet with DM followed by their profile name, e.g. DM @holidaylettings would send us a DM message.
- To talk directly to another user, you start your tweet by typing @ directly in front of their username. For example, to talk to us, type @holidaylettings followed by your message in your update box.
- To reply to someone else’s tweet, you can either click on the reply button or an icon that looks like a curved arrow, doing this will place @ and their username in your update box, as before, after which you write your response.
- Twitter.com is where you need to get started and create your Twitter profile and settings. After that you can continue just to use Twitter to manage your profile, but if you want to be able to groups the people you follow into categories and see multiple newsfeeds at any one time, you may want to explore TweetDeck or Hootsuite. Both of these tools enable you to categorise who you follow, and filter their tweets away from your newsfeed. They also enable you to view more tweets in one go, and to view your newsfeed, any mentions of your profile, and your DMs in one easy view.
- The Hootsuite app for iPhone is also very useful.
Building your Twitter network
- Even if none of your friends and family use Twitter, you can very quickly build up a network of contacts. Twitter has its own search facility. To find people you think would be useful to follow, type in keywords related to your areas of interest – travel, “holiday home”, “vacation rental”, Spain, etc., (for phrases of more than one word put “ “ around the phrase for more accurate search results). The search will then pull together recent tweets that contain the word you entered. If you click on the profile name of the person who wrote the tweet, it will take you to their profile page where you can read their bio and opt to follow them.
- There are several things you can do to encourage people to follow you in return. Firstly, before you start to follow people yourself, make sure you have posted a number of updates already. When you start to follow someone, they will receive an email notifying them. It’s likely they’ll then click on your profile to see who exactly has taken an interest. If there’s nothing on your page, then they probably won’t decide to follow you. If you’ve posted some interesting and relevant messages, then you stand more of a chance of a return follow.
- Hashtags are used to include keywords in tweets and to build communities around conversations. Within Hootsuite you can set dedicated tabs/columns to your favourite or most relevant hashtags, where you want to keep up to date with the conversations on those topics.
- You can also search for hashtags in the Twitter search tool. If you’re not sure what the best keywords would be, play around by typing some into the search tool and seeing how popular they are.