What do you need to know about Twitter?

This morning I attended a briefing by Bruce Daisley, UK managing director of Twitter (a privilege of belonging to the British Society of Magazine Editors – hurrah!)

He made quite a few interesting points, a lot of which were targeted at his audience of – you’ve guessed it, magazine editors – but many of which equally relate to how businesses and accountancy firms use Twitter.

Twitter is generally seen to have three purposes – to facilitate human interaction, to enable self-expression and to support content discovery. It’s this latter purpose that is most important.

Daisley described Twitter as a “bridge to other media”. So don’t use Twitter to tell people what you had for breakfast; use it to point them in the direction of interesting material that you have found elsewhere on the web. And make sure your voice is authentic. The people who are most successful on Twitter understand how to be three-dimensional ie they convey their professional expertise while being true to their own personality.

The kinds of themes that go down well on Twitter include sport (hmm, possibly a bit tricky for accountancy firms to cover off), music and basically anything that sparks a passion in people. So not tax returns, then? Er…… probably not. Although your followers would probably have plenty to say about tax rises / cuts should we get one. But if you can somehow combine tax and accounting with sport or music, well…

Humour apparently performs well on Twitter, too. So it’s time to churn out those accountant jokes … Anyone know any? Please tweet me if you do and I’ll get a list going and publish it on my blog.

Daisley also revealed that ‘moments’ are one of the biggest drivers of Twitter. It’s all about being in the here and now because the ‘moment’ quickly passes.

Ever wondered about whether it’s best to ‘own’ your own Twitter conversation with the use of hashtag or whether it’s preferable to jump into other people’s conversations? Well, Daisley said that if you’re a celebrity or you have a unique story to tell, you can get away with owning your own conversation. The rest of us are probably best off trying to jump on the bandwagon of existing hashtags as much as we can.

Then there’s the issue of trolls. Should you ever be bothered by them, what should you do? Daisley’s advice is to ignore them. You can also make use of Twitter’s reporting system in the event you are showered with foul remarks. “Retweeting abuse,” said Daisley, “is just about the worst thing you can do.”

Finally, Daisley emphasised the importance of picking one social medium and using it really effectively. He pointed out that it’s hard to be effective across lots of different platforms at once.

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