How to start using Twitter
New to all this? Twitter can be a powerful tool for online marketing but first you need to understand the basics of using it, then move onto learning how to build an engaged audience. Here’s a basic 5 Twitter tips for beginners.
Basic Twitter guidelines
- Tweets are public, remember that! Future customers/employers, followers on Twitter can check out your Tweets and form opinions about you from what they read. Go slowly and carefully into the Twitter arena until you get a feel for the way others use it and can decide on an approach you’re comfortable with. NB Tweets using the @username are also public, direct messages (d username) are not. However, you cannot Direct Message someone unless they are following you.
- Tweets need to be kept to under 140 characters, which includes links to articles/photos etc. It’s a common mistake to lose the link you want to share through making the message before it too long, but with a bit of practice you’ll get the hang of it. NB If you tweet direct from Twitter you’ll see a count-down of characters used, underneath where you type your tweet.
- Followers and following. When someone follows you it results in your tweets appearing in their timeline, so then their followers can also read your tweets. In the same way, if you follow someone it means that their tweets will appear in your timeline. If you follow famous people, don’t be disappointed if they don’t follow you back! Perhaps it’s best to find a few people you know already, follow them and practice chatting until you feel comfortable with the process. I recommend bus-stop conversations with people to begin with e.g. “what’s on your agenda today”. This is a common opener I use to start a conversation with anyone who feels like a chat that particular morning. Don’t be afraid to reach out and chat. Learning to use Twitter for effective business purposes starts with actually engaging with people!
- Get rid of the egghead! I used the above Tweet as an example because I wanted to illustrate this next tip. It’s a common oversight by beginners not to replace the default egg symbol with a photo of themselves, or their cat, or something/anything rather than the egghead. Dodgy Tweeters have eggheads! Don’t know how to do that? Contact me or send me a tweet @SusanCollini and I’ll point you in the right direction. Lindsay, featured above, is very new to using Twitter and the egghead featured is quite understandable. It will no doubt be replaced very soon!
- DON’T click on links that say something along the lines of “You look good in this picture”, or any link from a source/Tweeter you don’t know and you’re not following. Better to be cautious until you’re a more experienced Twitter user.
- Tweet regularly and often. You don’t have to become someone who’s forever checking their Twitter account, but checking in at least 3 times a day is a good way to develop an ongoing awareness. The whole idea of Twitter is that it’s ‘immediate’. If you’re going to eventually use Twitter for business purposes it’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking into your account on a regular basis. If someone asks you a question they’ll think you a little rude if you don’t answer them and, as in real life, are likely to divert their attentions elsewhere.
Want more help with how to use Twitter?
I’ll be covering both the ‘how to’ of using Twitter and methods for using it to help grow your business. If you’d like to leave your email address in the box in the right hand column you’ll receive notification of all future posts, nothing else, direct to your email inbox.
Finally, learn to love Twitter. If you don’t enjoy using it you’re unlikely to be successful with using Twitter as an online marketing tool.