Over the next several months, we’re going to offer you some simple tips on how to make the most out of your social media experience. But this week, we’ll focus on how to get started on Twitter.
If you’re new to the social media realm, we recommend starting with Twitter. Not only is it the most effective and efficient social media tool, it’s the easiest to set up and use. You can also build up a worldwide following faster than any other social media site.
Registering an Account
If you do not have a Twitter account, go to www.Twitter.com and click the “Sign up now” button. When you click on that, you will be asked for some very basic information: full name, username, password, and your email address. Your full name will appear on your profile page. Your username can be either your name or the name of your practice. Ask yourself what’s going to be more recognizable. After you’ve entered your password and email address, you’ll come to the profile page where you can add your bio (160 characters or less) and your website.
Twitter lets people post “tweets,” (text-based messages up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter website. When you’re on your Twitter page, you’ll see an ongoing stream of information, almost like you would in a chat session. On this page, you’ll see the tweets of the people you’ve chosen to follow.
Underneath each of your followers’ tweets, it tells you when they posted their current status update. You can also click on one of your followers and look at their feed to see their most recent tweets. You can also check out who they are following—these may be thought leaders in the healthcare industry or just interesting people who you may want to follow as well. If so, click on the icon with the “+” sign to follow them as well. In turn, that person may choose to follow you.
How to Tweet
Always keep in mind that Twitter is a communications tool and not a broadcast platform. Write to engage, entice, and interact with people just like you would face to face. It’s important to be a good conversationalist when using Twitter.
First, ask questions, solicit advice, educate, share interesting articles or links, have a sense of humor, connect with others on a personal as well as on a business level.
Next, keep it simple. Don’t try to cram too many ideas into a simple tweet. Remember, too, you only have a maximum of 140 characters.
If you share a news link about an healthcare trend or a valuable how-to link, link directly to the page that you’re referencing.
Finally, be thoughtful. Just like in real life, people appreciate someone who takes a little time and is thoughtful with their conversation. Don’t just blurt. Consider who your audience is and speak to their needs directly.
What Should You Tweet About?
Some of our colleagues’ approach is part business, part fun, and often a mix of the two. They talk quite a bit about their jobs and ask for advice about new technologies that can make their practices a little easier. They also share links to interesting articles for others in the healthcare community.
But they also tweet about their personal life. So they write about their favorite baseball, hockey, and football teams, their latest trips, or even about their favorite TV shows or movies. Just decide what works best for you.
How are you using Twitter? Let me know and we’ll share your experiences. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.