Answering the question of “what is Twitter” appears easy. Twitter is called a microblogging platform because you only have 140 characters to write a tweet — an update — of what you’re doing or thinking about.
Yet the truth is that answering “what is Twitter and how does it work” is anything but simple.
First, Twitter is different things to different people, ranging from a fun way to update your friends about what you ate for dinner to an integrated part of an online social media marketing strategy.
And, second, depending on what Twitter is to you impacts “how does it work.” Why? Because although you only have 140 characters for your tweeted update, what you do with those 140 characters determines how Twitter works for you.
Basically, you join at twitter.com by providing very brief information – no detailed questions such as Facebook collects.
If you are planning on taking full advantage of the opportunities Twitter offers you to connect with your target markets, you should upload a good headshot of yourself and write an interesting 160-character-maximum biography.
FYI – Make sure that people can read your bio easily. This means that you do NOT want to choose a dark sidebar color that makes it almost impossible if not impossible to read your bio.
Then you should spend some time “watching” what other people tweet before you start to follow people. And also before you follow people you want to do at least two tweets of your own to indicate the kinds of worthwhile information you plan on sharing on Twitter.
Another FYI – You do not need to tweet “just joined Twitter.” That will be obvious if you don’t have any other tweets on your profile page.
It’s also a good idea to read blog posts and free articles about how to effectively use Twitter as part of your online social media marketing strategy. Many people offer very good Twitter tips and techniques.
I personally believe that, at this time, Twitter is one of three main elements for an effective online social media marketing strategy. The other two elements are a Facebook fan page (think business page rather than a Facebook personal profile) and a marketing-driven website that you control. These three online activities should present a consistent message in connection with promoting your brand, book or business.
If you want to join Twitter now or check out if your Twitter account is as optimized as it could be, get the free report “Twitter, Facebook and Your Website: A Beginning Blueprint for Harnessing the Power of 3 for Your Business” at www.millermosaicpowerof3.com
Then you, too, will be able to confidently answer “what is Twitter and how does it work.”
© 2010 Miller Mosaic, LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is an Internet business consultant. Her new FREE report is “Twitter, Facebook and Your Website: A Beginning Blueprint for Harnessing the Power of 3 for Your Business” – download the report now from www.millermosaicpowerof3.com