We’re always writing about the importance of social media for event organisers and small businesses and often giving you creative ideas for ways to use it.
However, we often take it for granted that our readers know exactly what we’re talking about when we use terms such as ‘profile’, ‘status’ and ‘feed’.
If you’re new to social media, you may well be intimidated by the seemingly confusing interfaces and special languages that accompany them. If you simply wish to know how to set up an account and send out your first updates, as opposed to planning a six-month strategic social media plan, then this is the post for you!
Read on to discover how to start using Twitter and Facebook for business in this absolute beginner’s guide to setting up your social media.
Step 1. Visit www.twitter.com and enter your name, email address and a password of your choosing in sign-up box. Click ‘Sign up for Twitter’.
Step 2. Select your username. This is also called a ‘handle’ and comes with prefix ‘@’ (this is automatically added). Usernames must be fewer than 15 characters
Your handle should be the name of your company or event (or a shortened version thereof). However, avoid including the year in your event name i.e ‘@GreatEvent2015’ or you will not be able to reuse it next year.
If your chosen name is not available, you can try adding something like a hyphen or underscore until you find a unique combination.
Complete the phone verification process for security purposes.
Now click on the ‘Create my account’ button. That’s it. You are now officially a member of the Twitter community. Congratulations!
Step 3. Next, Twitter will assist you in getting started. It will ask you about subjects of interest and then give suggestions of accounts to ‘follow’. You can click ‘Follow all’ or deselect those that are not of interest.
Step 4. Click on ‘Upload image’ and navigate to the image you wish to use for your profile (this is your ‘avatar’), probably your company or event logo. Remember that the maximum upload size is 700k, so you may have to re-size your image to meet this requirement.
Now enter some information about your company or event in the ‘Bio’ section. You only have 160 characters so you’ll need to keep it succinct and include the most relevant keywords.
Step 5. Now you can find people you know using Twitter. This function works by connecting to the address book of your Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL or Outlook email account. If don’t want to do this, simply click the ‘Skip this step’ link and you can add friends later.
Once you are finished doing this, you will be prompted to confirm your email address, which you can do by clicking on the link sent to you by Twitter via email.
Step 6. You are now on your ‘Home’ page and will be able to see the tweets of the people you are following down the centre.
To the left you will see your profile picture (avatar) and underneath details of how many tweets you’ve sent, how many people you’re following and how many are following you back. You will not have many followers by this point, apart from maybe a few that ‘auto followed’ when you selected them at set-up.
Underneath you will see trending topics that are being discussed on Twitter. To become part of the conversation, simply insert the relevant ‘hashtag’ in your tweet i.e. #ThisIsAHotTopic. You can create a unique hashtag for your individual events or marketing campaigns – find out how here.
To the right side of your screen you will see further suggestions for who to follow, while at the top you will see a box saying ‘what’s happening?’. You can click here to write your first tweet. Click the camera symbol to add a photo to your message. Don’t forget, messages must be 140 characters or under (or 120 characters if you’re including an image).
Step 7. To further tweak your settings, click on the small profile picture in the top right hand corner. A drop down menu will appear – select ‘settings’. Here you can adjust your time zone and country, amongst other things.
Step 8. Return to the drop down menu and select ‘View profile’. This is what your public profile looks like.
Towards the top, on the right hand side, you will see an ‘Edit profile’ button. Click here to edit your bio, location, profile picture, website address and profile theme.
Step 9. You can find people you know by searching for them by real name or username in the ‘search’ box located on the top bar. Simply click ‘Follow’ to begin following them.
Step 10. To the left of the search bar you will see three tabs: ‘Home’, ‘Notifications’ and ‘Messages’.
Click on Notifications to see any new followers you’ve gained or ‘mentions’ you’ve had in anyone else’s tweets. You can direct a tweet to another user by inserting their Twitter handle in the message. It will then show up in the Notifications section of the user’s account. However, be aware this is public messaging and will appear on your profile timeline.
If you’ve had a mention, you can ‘reply’, ‘favourite’, and ‘retweet’ it which enables your followers to see the message. These options appear as symbols underneath each tweet.
Now return to the top and click on the ‘Messages’ tab. Here is where you will find any private messages that have been sent to you. You can send a private message by clicking on the blue ‘New message’ button and entering the Twitter handle of the recipient. Due to some users’ privacy settings, you may only be able to send a private message to an account that’s following you.
This blog post is part of the IAB Social Media Council Blog Series – read more posts here >>