Twitter and why New Zealand businesses need to get onboard

My profile

I use Twitter alot. I love it. I love those 140 characters that I get and I love it for finding out news and info straight away. A good friend of mine gave me an amazing description of what it is when I said many businesses here in New Zealand don’t use it because they don’t ‘get it’.

“Google is like the dead internet (i.e. stuff that’s happened) and Twitter is like the alive one (stuff happening right now)” and I totally agree.

If there’s a world event happening, a conference in Ethiopia, a concert, a new book, an earthquake in NZ, a Twitter chat (I’ll explain later), a cat meme (ok ok some of us) the first place I head straight for is Twitter.

Twitter and why New Zealand businesses need to get onboard

Example of how a Twitter chat works. See ‘top’ and ‘latest’

I either head straight for the magnifying glass, type in the event or situation and it brings up a hashtag (or I put in the # I already know for the event). From there all the ‘Top/ Latest’ info I can then see. That design workshop in Madrid, Spain you couldn’t get to? They have a hashtag that you click into and you can follow along. The general election in Mumbai, they have a hashtag you can click and see what’s happening too (in real time). All the info, right there, up-to-date. You can follow along and see what’s happening just as though you were there. You can retweet stuff you find interesting and think your followers will like and comment on other stuff you want to say something about. You can also ‘heart’ something if you want them to know you like it.

Twitter and why New Zealand businesses need to get onboard

Why some twitterers use it

It drives me crazy (and I’m talking PULL MY HAIR OUT) when I want to follow along with something here and 1) the business/ event isn’t on Twitter and 2) they don’t have a hashtag. It’s the quickest easiest way for people to get to your stuff. And that’s what we want don’t we? For people to see our amazing stuff, listen to our awesome new workshop and find out about it all. That’s all of you- real estate agents, cake shops, teachers, bloggers, ski fields, runners, hotels. The list goes on….

Twitter and why New Zealand businesses need to get onboard

Reasons for using Twitter

Twitter chats
Another amazing source of information and connection on Twitter are the ‘chats’. These usually start and finish at the same time every week/ fortnight/ month and are on a certain topic. So for example the clever people at Buffer schedule one every week on a certain topic eg. ‘Instagram Stories’ and how to get the best out of it, or ‘business for beginners’. They have a hashtag that you can click into and follow along and if you want to answer their questions (generally written Q1: and you answer A1:) you add the hashtag to the end of your answer so everyone else can see it. All around the world.

New contacts and connections BINGO! There’s Twitter chats for blogging, writing, art, culture, football, dolphins (I assume). All there ready for you to watch along with or join in with your piece of gold. They have set rules about being nice (of course) and should be a safe place to disagree with someone and add your bit. You can also find the hashtag days later and have a read as to what happened because you couldn’t make it that night.

I tend not to use it as a selling point, but I do use it to promote my blog posts and ask questions, make connections and find out interesting stuff.

I recently travelled to the UK and was blown away by how many of the small businesses were on Twitter. I’d head to a teeny tiny cake shop in the middle of nowhere and take a picture of their scones. I could then write a post using their handle and add the picture to my 140 characters. Add hashtags #scones #uk and then my followers and all the people in the world looking for scones could find that little cake shop too. Brilliant. Genius.

Twitter and why New Zealand businesses need to get onboard

Some of the chats I follow along with-
Buffer chat (social media management platform) @buffer (hashtag for chat #bufferchat)
Blogtacular (all things blogging) @blogtacular (#blogtacular)
TheInstaChat Chats on all things Instagram (#theinstachat)
New Zealand Bloggers on all things NZ blogging (#nzbloggers)

How not to use Twitter
Many people connect it to their Instagram posting e.g when they post to Facebook or Instagram they automatically send one to Twitter. Generally this is just an annoying link to a photo. This is not how Twitter works well. You have to be real. You have to talk to people, you have to communicate- as in ‘social’ media.

Many also just use to to try and sell their stuff. This also doesn’t work well as you have to get quite clever with language (you only have 140 characters) and also this is not 1952. People don’t want to be sold to anymore. They want to buy stuff don’t get me wrong but they also want a real person to tell them why they should part with their hard earned cash. Sometimes tricky when you’ve only got 140.

You can also lose 12 hours of your day scrolling your feed and answering people you like to chat to. I try and only follow people I’m really interested in/ admire/ love what they do/ find their stuff useful. So it doesn’t become a ten hour job of trying to catch up.

How to set it up
First set up an account with your business. You have a short profile spec to add what you do (see mine as an example) then get following. See who you like, find out who’s doing good stuff (like you would with other platforms) but also see what they’re saying. Look at hashtags. Use them in your post (usually two/three is ample- this is not Instagram) and see what happens.

The last amazing thing
Because Twitter is so amazing (it is it is) you can directly send people you completely love (Kylie Minogue for example) a question and there’s a huge off-chance (more than the other platforms) that they’ll answer. Me? Stephen Fry said hello. I was gobsmacked.

Got a beef with some company not replying to your emails? Head to twitter and tweet them the complaint. They’ll come back to you sharpish I promise.

It’s such a good way of connecting outside your world too – there’s a whole world out there using it and they WILL be your customers who are not hearing about your stuff. If people retweet your posts thats a great thing! If they also take pictures of your scones in your cake shop, retweet them. It shows the world others love what you do too.

I hope this has been helpful to get your started! I’d love your questions, queries, worries and I just don’t get it. I’d love to help and try and get you to a place where you love it as much as me.

Do you use it? If so why? If not why not? I’d love to know….