Twitter 101 for CPA Firms

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Some of our posts will be for power users while others will advise those just getting started. If you have recently decided to dip your toe into the Twitter pool, here are some tips to get you off on the right foot.

You’ve finally decided to try “the Twitter” about which all the kids are raving. You go to the main website, enter your email and create a Twitter name, or “handle,” and sit back to wait for the magic to happen. So now what?

Pick your avatar wisely. Your profile picture, otherwise known as an avatar, is one of the first things people see when they view your Twitter profile. The pictures are pretty small when in the Twitter news feed. People have the ability to click on your picture and view the full size version, but not everyone will take the time to do this. Choose a picture that even when very small is still clear and identifiable. It’s also advisable to steer clear of pictures with obscene material or ones that might come back to haunt you if the wrong person viewed it.

Take the time to create a background. Another major visual on your Twitter profile is your background image. Twitter has preset designs that you can use, with the standard being the “blue clouds” background. But since these are available to everyone, that means A LOT of people will have the same background as you do. If you are using your Twitter account for business purposes, you try to differentiate yourself. You can Google “Twitter backgrounds” and find tons of free backgrounds that have been created by artists and designers. However, it’s best to create you own if you have that capability. There are tutorials online for creating a background in pretty much any program, or you can always hire someone to create one that will look professional and reinforce your branding.

Tweet something interesting before you ever follow anyone. Most people sign up for a Twitter account and immediately start following other people and then wonder why no one follows them back. If you’ve not yet tweeted anything, someone visiting your profile will have nothing upon which to base an opinion and move right along. Before you follow anyone, take the time to tweet several items, whatever it is that you want to be known for, so that when you do start following other Twitter members, they’ll be able to see what you’re about. And please, whatever you do, do not do the obligatory first tweet, “Hey, just trying out this Twitter thing” or any variation thereof.

Participate in the trending topics. As long as you can make them work within the boundaries of what you wish to accomplish, participate in the trending topics. On the left side of your Twitter page, you’ll find a list of items that are trending in people’s tweets. Often, people will search for tweets containing this hot topic and start online conversations. You can take this opportunity to jump into the middle of a hot conversation and potentially make new connections and gain new followers. You can adjust the topics to be those that are trending locally or worldwide, whatever works best for you.

Write a proper description. This is especially true if you are Tweeting for your CPA firm. Write a clear, succinct and keyword-laden description for your account. While you’ll see a lot of people being “cute” with this space, I advise you keep it pretty straight here. Your space is limited, so you’ll need to write carefully. This is where people will decide if you are worth following or not (in addition to your tweets), so make it as good as possible. The keywords will help you show up in searches too, so throw in a few good ones while you are at it.

These are just a few ideas to help get you started with your new Twitter account. If you’ve got questions about anything in particular, let me know in the comments, and I may even use your question to dictate the next post. Or share your advice for the newbies too!

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Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk is the president and founder of bbr marketing. Bonnie’s 20 years of marketing experience is vast and varied, including serving as the marketing director for a mid-sized Atlanta accounting firm. Her focus on high-quality services and advice is bested only by her determination to constantly hone her craft and increase the strength and reach of her clients’ marketing efforts. Named "One to Watch" on AccountingToday’s list of the "Top 100 Most Influential People," she is the president of the Atlanta chapter of the Association for Accounting Marketing, a well-respected speaker and a regular contributor to a variety of news and industry sites.

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