I admit it: I am a Twitter veteran. I can recall being invited to the Merz headquarters in Frankfurt in 2009 to brainstorm about the state of global aesthetics, and the marketing department were mystified by my fascination with the quirky pastime of tweeting. Fast-forward to 2013, and I still tweet daily on multiple accounts and have amassed a collective following well into six figures.

The Twitterverse has certainly evolved. Twitter has become a fundamental component of marketing for businesses. Although the US is still by far the largest user of Twitter, Latin America, Asia and Europe are tweeting at a record pace. For practitioners and clinics, Twitter is a platform that gives them a voice to communicate with their geo-targeted audiences, and grow their client base. It also serves as a connector to other social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and more.

Another thing that has grown out of this trend is that the relationship between social media and search has changed: they are now forever intertwined.

Reaping the benefits of Twitter

Twitter has become the most efficient way to instantly communicate with the masses, and  is now the leader in the social media world when it comes to conversations about brands. Users turn to Twitter when looking to speak directly to a brand or find out about other people’s experience with a brand. It is also used as a default customer service and complaint bureau. Once when I was stranded by JetBlue due to an emergency landing to refuel over New Jersey, I reached out to JetBlue on Twitter to find out when they would be sending a plane to get us to JFK.

Twitter is like a virtual word-of-mouth, that allows users to share their thoughts on people and places in real time. We all know that word-of-mouth is the most trusted form of advertising because the person providing the recommendation or shout out, has used the service or product and is speaking from personal experience, which is hopefully unpaid. Recommendations, reviews, and ratings have become a force to be reckoned with online for all service businesses. When choosing a restaurant, hotel, airline or vacation spot, a recommendation from a source we trust will more likely influence our decision. For medical aesthetic clinics, interacting with clients via Twitter can allow positive impressions to be built and shared, and brand ambassadors to be developed. By prompting users to retweet your tweets and share their favourable opinions with their followers, it may ultimately lead to an increase in business.

Clinics can benefit greatly from using Twitter as it allows a practice to announce milestones, such as an anniversary or a new office opening, and to get the word out about new offerings, special deals, open house events, and media appearances. It also drives followers to your website, Facebook page, YouTube channel, and blog when linked back to these sources.

Tweet and retweet

Even more so than Facebook, Twitter is an entirely portable method of communicating because the posts are so much shorter and less complex. Users can tweet through their computers, tablets or mobile phones, since Twitter is an instant form of communication.

To the novice, tweeting appears to be a relatively simple task. You open a Twitter account, fill in the blanks about yourself, upload an image and background, and you’re ready to tweet. But as you are limited to 140 characters, this rule ensures that tweets need to be well thought out and concise. It is an exercise in getting your message across quickly and efficiently, which can make tweeting a challenge for businesses and professionals, especially when conveying complex medical terms or explaining procedures in any detail.

Getting creative with your message is an important skill to master. Try using shorter synonyms for words to cut down on characters. Using common symbols, such as ‘&’ or ‘+’ instead of ‘and’ will save a few characters and can help convey your message properly. Shorten days of the week and months, use numbers instead of tweeting them out, minimise punctuation marks. Spelling doesn’t count so much either. The key is to strike a balance so that your attempts at skimping on characters without distorting the message so much that it appears like code.

To make the most of your tweets, it is best to include a link to a continuation of the message. Adding links to content posted on your own site, specific pages of your site, and blog posts can also help direct traffic there. A web address shrinker will help you do this efficiently by shortening long URLs and shrinking them to a manageable character count. There is also the option of automating Facebook posts to go to your Twitter, so every time you tweet Facebook sends out an abridged version along with links to the original post.

Bit.ly is one of the most popular online URL shrinkers. By copying and pasting your URL into the web page, you will get a unique, shortened URL that links to the same page. In addition, your bit.ly account stores all the URLs you have shrunk through the platform, so you can see how many clicks your URL has had. It is also a good way to track the results of a Twitter campaign or promotion. Another reason to shrink whatever you can is to leave room for someone to retweet your post without shortening it further.