Twitter is here to stay — over 145 million people use the service each day. World leaders, celebrity influencers, businesses and everyday people use the social platform daily to connect and communicate their thoughts, brands and ideas. Here are some tips to help you feel more comfortable with engaging your audience using Twitter.

1. Understand Twitter

Twitter is a social media platform used to connect with people and concisely share your thoughts. Tweets, the message you share, are limited to 280 characters.  Here are some basic Twitter terms to know:

  • Follow: Subscribing to a Twitter account is called “following.” After choosing to follow another account, you’ll see that user’s Tweets as soon as they post something new. Following accounts helps build content for your Twitter feed and informs you about what’s trending in topics you are interested in.
  • Retweet: When you click the Retweet button, you’re sharing another account’s Tweet to all of your followers. Retweets are used to pass along news or other valuable discoveries on Twitter.
  • Mention: Mentioning other accounts in your Tweet by including the @ sign followed directly by their username is called a Mention. Any time you mention another user, they’ll be notified of your shoutout.  
  • Hashtag: A hashtag is any word or phrase immediately preceded by the # symbol. When you click on a hashtag, you’ll see other Tweets containing the same keyword or topic. Hashtags allow you to contribute value to a conversation and gain insight into the general public’s view on a specific topic. A travel advisor specializing in Colorado ski trips, for example, may use #Colorado, #SkiColorado or #GroupTravel.
  • Like: Liking a Tweet indicates that you appreciate it. You can find all of your Likes by clicking the Likes tab on your profile. You can Like a Tweet by clicking the heart icon.
  • Direct Message: Direct Messages are private messages sent from one Twitter account to another account(s). You can use Direct Messages for one-on-one private conversations.

Twitter differs from Facebook, which focuses on more intimate personal groups, by focusing on news events, trending influencers and business branding. Additionally, it relies less on image sharing than Instagram.

2. Create a strong profile

Like every other social media platform, your profile is where you are going to make a lasting impression with other users. Twitter limits the number of characters used in a bio to 160, so be strategic. Most businesses use their business name for their handle; if it is not available select a handle that identifies with your business. Use your logo for one of the profile images to build your brand identity. Above all else, make sure to include your company website.

3. Follow and get followed

As you start out on Twitter, it is important to find like-minded people and brands to follow. By subscribing to a user as a follower, you are giving permission for their Tweets to show up in your feed and the user can direct message you. Twitter will suggest people or businesses to follow based on information you’ve put into your account. As you are more active, your Twitter account will build itself; other users will find you and choose to follow you in return.

4. Make lists

As a travel advisor, creating lists can help you keep your feed better organized and give you the ability to group your followers. Twitter allows you to group accounts by topic or interest. For example, you can create a list of tour suppliers, customers, DMOs or other tour operators. Lists make it easier to see the Tweets that interest you the most, so you’re not missing anything important. For step-by-step instructions on how to create lists in Twitter, click here.

5. Connect your touchpoints

Your Twitter account will be stronger if you connect all of your customer engagement outlets together. Connect your website to your Twitter profile to help drive traffic and build your following. You should also include a link to your Twitter profile in every email newsletter.

The best thing you can do to grow your business is to engage current and potential customers. Twitter allows for a quick and simple conversation that may lead to a great sell.