The Official (Unofficial) List of Twitter Tips for Newbies
In no particular order…
#1: Get to Know Twitter – Do your homework! This follows the age-old Internet rule of “Lurk before you leap”, meaning spend a bit of time reading the tweet streams of a bunch of different people. The key to remember is not everyone on Twitter is doing a good job of it so choose your mentors wisely.
#2: Fill Out Your Profile – Take the time to fill out all the details about yourself, where you’re from and add a REAL picture of you instead of that silly Twitter egg! Not only does this give potential new followers the information they need to decide whether to follow you back, it allows people to find you!
#3: Get to Know Twitter Search – Familiarize yourself with Twitter search, which if you are looking for it, it’s that little box on the top right with the word “Search” in it. You can use it to search for people, hashtags (more on them in a moment) and key words (useful if you are using Twitter to generate leads).
#4: Play with Hashtags – Have a little fun with hashtags (any string of characters proceeded by #). There are two main uses of hashtags: 1) to tag a post with a key word or key word phrase as in #smbiz which is short for small business or 2) to add sarcasm or playfulness to your Tweet as in #justsayin.
#5: Join Twitter Chats – Jump in and join a Twitter chat (a threaded discussion using a designated hashtag string to track the conversation). There are Twitter chats daily and on every topic imaginable. The best place to start is by participating in a chat hosted by someone you already follow.
#6: Be Consistent – Don’t start tweeting, take 3 weeks off and then jump back in with a flurry of activity only to disappear again. The key to being successful at Twitter is being consistently present. What that looks like is up to you, but you should try to be active at different times during the day.
#7: Build a Tribe – Think of Twitter as a virtual networking tool that allows you to connect with an engage with a group of likeminded people. Build your own tribe of individuals who support and share your work.
#9: Engage with People – Start commenting via @ replies and retweeting the people who you follow. It’s the best way to grow your followers and start building your tribe.
#10: Don’t Overautomate – Don’t give in to the temptation to use every single Twitter automation tool out there. Instead think of scheduled tweeting as a way of handling the base content and your job is to check in throughout the day and create conversation.
#11: Stop Obsessing Over Numbers – Stop worrying about the number of followers or your Klout score! Neither matters because both are easily manipulated and wildly inaccurate. Instead measure follower engagement.
#12: Report Spammers – Whenever a follower (or more likely, a non-follower) tweets you with a suspect link and you visit their tweet stream and see an entire page of @ replies followed by the same link, report that profile as a spammer. It helps everyone to report spammers!
#13: Build Follower Lists – Use follower lists to organize your followers. A few suggested groups are: new followers (or people you want to get to know), twitter rockstars (or people you admire and want to suck up to), and your people (or people who fall into your target audience). If you don’t want people to know they are on your list, simply make it a private list.
#14: Tweet Photos and Videos – Get in the habit of sharing different types of content. Photos and video content is especially good because your followers can review it without leaving Twitter.
#15: Curate Content – Become THE source for all things wonderful and valuable on the Internet. That means setting up systems to find interesting and worthy content to share with your Twitter followers. Read this post for more on how to curate content.
#16: Manage Your Twitter Time – Know that Twitter can be a sucking vortex of time. Decide how much time you want to allocate to Twitter and be strict about managing your Twitter time. Many people use timers and tweet in short burst of 5 to 15 minutes.
#17: Tweet from Other Networks – Don’t forget to click the Tweet button when sharing content on other platforms, like Pinterest and Instagram. It’s a simple way to generate additional content for Twitter plus it helps build your followers on those other platforms.
#18: Ignore the Trolls – Learn how to deal with difficult people. Typically, trolls fall into one of two categories: 1) the nasty, snarky people who randomly attack people for the sole purpose of starting a fight, or 2) the people who have a vastly different world view who criticize you for yours. In both cases, ignoring (and possibly blocking) them is the best approach.
#19: Retweet, Retweet, Retweet – Find people who share amazing content, tips or inspiration and retweet them! It is by far the best way to build a relationship with people who you admire, especially if you retweet with comments (and it benefits your followers by introducing them to awesomeness)!
Happy Tweeting! (And if you don’t already follow me, you can tweet me at @CarlaYoung)!