Initially, like a commuter who has missed his train, I thought I was far too late to the scene. I thought I was far too late to bring a blog to market about the Twitter universe in general, especially when you factor in how many other blogs and companies out there have already focused in on this part of the marketplace, and also with so many other social media platforms out there now muscling in on the SM scene.

I thought, there is nothing more I can add because, like our commuter friend, I had missed that train. Yet after doing several talks at business centres across Sussex in the past 6 months, I have come to the realisation that there are still a LOT of people out there who just aren’t utilising Twitter, either to its full potential or at all.

Companies and individuals seem very apprehensive about it and shy to explore it, some have even bypassed Twitter altogether, choosing to go straight to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. But what are you missing by ignoring the little blue bird of Twitter? Businesses are still unaware of the power Twitter holds, and the benefits it can bring to a business, hence it is so important to understand the basics to show how and why Twitter is a must-have for your Social Media Management (SMM) arsenal for 2017-2018.

Twitter VerseI see you now, pulling at your hair, “Ok, BUT WHAT IS IT?”
Twitter is an online news and social networking service where users post and interact with messages, known as ‘tweets’ which are restricted to 280 characters. Generally, these ‘tweets’ will use hashtags to generate interest and allow people to find relevant tweets. Registered users can post tweets, but even those unregistered can read them.

Twitter – Basics Explained
Each business is different and so use different hashtags to profile what they do in their profiles, posts and re-shares, but first to get to grips with the world of Twitter…

Tweet: 280 character messageS (It used to be 140)
Retweet: [RT] Re-sharing or giving information to someone else's tweet.
Feed: The stream of tweets you see on your homepage, comprising of updates from users.
Handle: Your username.
Hashtag: (#): A hashtag is a discovery tool that allows others to find your tweets, based on topics.

Now you’re up to date with the Twitter language and lingo, you might now be wondering where to go next.
With so many Twitter tools out there, it’s hard to know which ones to trust with your Twitter account management, so here are a few which we use at Sussex Pages to give you a head start.

Twitter – Advanced Tools (Our Top 3)

1. Buffer
By far this is one of our favourite management tools for use with Twitter due to its social media interface. Buffer makes it super easy to share any page you're reading. Keep your Buffer topped up and they ‘automagically’ share them for you through the day – with a twist of the imagination, their use of the word magic is ingenious and makes you think.

An area of Buffer which we really love is the scheduling process. Instead of having to manually focus on adding in the exact date for each post. Buffer allows you to choose from 3 different concepts to get your blogs and articles out there and it’s so very simple but overwhelmingly clever.

You’re able to tell Buffer when you want your posts to be sent out. This is much less time consuming than having to do it manually as you do with other platforms. You can see from our Net XP account attached how easy it is to do, forget about manually scheduling and Buffer does the rest! Proof it doesn’t have to make you cry!

2. Hootsuite
Save time by managing all of your social media marketing efforts from a single dashboard. With Hootsuite's platform, you get the tools to manage all your social platforms – this is aimed to include not just Twitter, but Facebook, Instagram etc. You get three platforms if you want to use the basic version which is free and then a simple upgrade to the PRO version if you have more profiles.

3. TweetDeck
TweetDeck is a social media dashboard application for the management of Twitter accounts. Like other Twitter applications, it interfaces with the Twitter API to allow users to send and receive tweets and view profiles. It is a free resource currently, but this is may change in the near future. With a very intuitive interface, it allows you to span and opens up to 9 windows on one screen. It’s the perfect tool to profile every type of feed: Notifications, Mentions, Messages and Followers ETC!

Twitter – Free Resource
Using new tools with Twitter for the first time can feel overwhelming – but Twitter in March 2016 had over 320 million users, showing the power it holds. Blogs are bountiful with free advice on how to Tweet and RT, but still, lots of companies have not embraced Twitter. We're not 100% sure why; some industries work better with Facebook, the same can be said for Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest, but the views from our window to the world show that the choice of platforms at our disposal is growing all the time.  Personally, I am still using three free resources and tools for Twitter campaigns which make it easier for staff at Sussex Pages to choose the correct keywords across a spectrum of social media platforms, and these are the three must-have FREE RESOURCES if new to Twitter.

All Hash Tag - The Hashtag Generator that generates 30 top random hashtags from the cloud. This free resource for those using Twitter and Instagram is perfect for one-word searches, it allows you to simply insert one word into the generator and it will produce 30 random hashtags. As well as this simple process, it also allows you to see the ‘Most Popular Hashtags of all time’. This will improve your visibility and ensure your posts don’t get lost in the Twitter Feed.

Twitter might seem complicated, or even scary to newbies, but rest assured, everyone had to start somewhere. The tools and resources are out there, and if nothing else, have a bit of fun exploring Twitter yourself and see the benefits for your business roll in.

Drop us a Tweet on Twitter @SussexPages and we’ll share your content with an RT, good luck.