To Tweet or Not To Tweet? This seems to be a hot question with businesses new to Twitter. Why do I need to hear what people had for lunch, or that they’re walking their dog? While these posts do exist they do not make up the majority of the Twittersphere and they do allow a brief glimpse into their personal world and an opportunity to connect with them more. The majority of posts are not lunch or dog related, but rather helpful and useful information that you can then share with your followers. So how do you use this social media platform? Lets take a look at some of the basic features to get you started.

The Tweet

This is a 140 character mini blog post. This will post will appear to each of your followers and is public (unless you set your account to private, which I do not recommend.)

Who to Follow?

Twitter is about connecting and networking. People will follow you and you can follow people. When you have found someone that peaks your interests you can follow them and receive their Tweet updates. When you are on their Twitter profile you will see their picture and just below will be a follow button. In one click you are their newest follower. Do you have to follow someone who is following you? This is up to you. You do not have to, but keep this little tidbit in mind. If you are not following someone they cannot direct message (private message) you in the future.

Finding people to follow:

Search on Twitter. If you know their user name, first name or last name this can be the easiest way to find them. To do this click on the Find People button at the top of your Twitter page.

Your other networks. If you are on Facebook, LinkedIn or other social networks check your connections and see if they are on Twitter. This is an easy way to get directly to their page and follow them. You also use Google search to find Twitter followers.

Email/RSS/or Text follow. You can invite your connections to Twitter if they are not Tweeting yet. Send them an email with your information and invite them to join you. If they do not want to sign up for Twitter at this time let them know they can subscribe to your RSS feed and get your updates that way. To do this all they need to do is click on the RSS button in the right column and insert that URL into their RSS reader. The other option they have is to receive your updates to their wireless device as a text message. All they have to do is “follow [user name]” to 40404.

If you decide you do not want to follow someone any more, just visit their page and hit the unfollow button below their picture.

The Art of the @ Reply

You received a Tweet that must be shared now what do you do? Quite simple, from the Twitter interface click the little grey arrow to the right of that specific Tweet. Now you will be taken to a Tweet post that will display @ and their name (ie. @ErinTillotson) Then be sure that you paste in their original message, if you have room you can add a statement about it.

I just want to send a message to one person. This is also a function of the @ reply. Just type in the post box @ and their username proceeded by your message. Now remember this is not a private message, your whole network will see this message.

Direct Message Anyone?

Now here is how you send that private message. To do this type a capitol D followed by a space and then the username, then of course your message. This will arrive to that user only.

Favorite Tweets?

Here is a nifty tool. You can use this in a few ways. I use this as Twitter Testimonials. The other use for this feature is to remember Tweets. Favorite it for future reference, because you like the quote or what ever reason you want to!

What Twitter questions do you have?