In today’s world, it becomes very essential for each veterinary practice to engage with their clients on social media. One very important social media network to add to your public relations portfolio is, Twitter.
For those that does not have a personal or practice Twitter page yet, this entry will serve as a guide to set up a decent, professional looking portfolio that will be difficult for users to turn away from.
Twitter makes it easy for a practice to promote products, services and events. It is also a popular medium to supply links to blog entries. When done correctly, Twitter can serve as a great way to engage with clients (unfortunately not with their pets) in the form of likes, shares and comments.
Before setting up a Twitter account, it must be decided weather it will be a personal page or a practice page. I recommend a practice Twitter page, but there might be a few good reasons to use a personal account instead. For the most convenient and comprehensive set up, it is recommended to use a personal computer. I will use Mind Your Whiskers’ Twitter account as an example.
In order to set up a complete and decent, professional looking Twitter page, the following will be required:
- An email address – must be accessible immediately
- A phone number – immediately available & able to receive calls
- A square page profile photo or logo (at least 400 x 400 pixels) stored on a known location – will be used as an image representing tweets
- A header image (1500 x 500 pixels) stored on a known location – will be used as the header image of the Twitter page
The process should not take longer than 25 minutes.
Creating a Twitter account
The first step is to claim your little space on Twitter. The account will be identified by an unique email address and will be accessible through an unique username (build into the Twitter address – e.g. https://twitter.com/mindyourwhisker).
To start off, browse to Twitter.com with your favourite internet browser. On the top right corner, click on the button. From the sign up screen, complete the Full name, Email and Password fields. Before pressing the button again, look at the following:
- The Full name will be the name of the practice or the person’s full name and surname. This will be the full name that represents the Twitter page.
- Use a strong password (indicated by the extend of the green bar). Remember to note it down somewhere safe.
- Leave “Personalized Twitter based on where…” unchecked for now.
- All the fields are required.
After completing these, the account with be authenticated using a phone number. In order to prevent bots from creating accounts, Twitter will attempt to phone the supplied number to give a verification code.
After pressing thebutton, Twitter will ask for a username. This is the page’s @ handle name and will be automatically build into the Twitter URL. Although not case-sensitive in the Twitter URL, uppercase and lowercase will be showed on the Twitter page.
When selecting a username, it needs to be unique to Twitter and less than 15 characters. Hyphens and other punctuation should rather be avoided. Twitter will give suggestions and tell you if this username is available.
At this point, a username has to be selected, but it can always be changed later on.
With the next few screens, Twitter will attempt to get the account connected to as many as possible users. Recommended accounts will be based on interests, mail contacts and location. These screens will not be discussed in any detail, but my advise is not to connect to anyone at this point. Select thebutton, choose and deselect all recommendations based on your location and .
This will ultimately bring you to the Welcome home! screen.
At this point, a confirmation email should have been send to the supplied email address. To finalise the Twitter account set up, click on thebutton.
Updating the Twitter account
Now that the account has been created it is time to start updating the Twitter page with the fancy stuff – the images, location, biography information, colour and website address.
After the account email address has been confirmed, a new Welcome home! page will be presented in the internet browser. To add a page profile image (the image/photo that will be presenting each tweet), click thebutton, choose Upload photo and browse and select a representing square image. After using the slider to position and size of the image, select .
On the next few screens, type in a short introduction, the birthday and the location of the practice. Chooseor after each step. Also supply a practice Website and choose the Theme colour from the options available.
The last update step is to add a Twitter header image. To do this, click on thebutton and choose (on the right of the screen). To choose the header image, click on Add a header photo, choose Upload photo and browse and select a representing rectangular image. After using the slider to reposition and scale the header image, select . The header image might take a short while to update.
After choosing M, the Twitter account is ready for posting the first tweet. Twitter has some options available to choose from.
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