This is intended as a quick guide to help people new to the Twitterverse get some down and dirty advice on getting started and getting the most out of their Twitter experience. Always remember, that there is no one right or wrong way to use Twitter, only the way that works best for you. That said, avoid selling, pushing a message over and over and focusing only on yourself. Most people who truly are successful in the world of any social mediums will be the first to tell you that engagement is key. You have to give before you ever get (just as in “real life”) and, typically, you reap what you sow. Translated: Give a lot, get even more.
Use a good photo as your avatar (one of just you, not you and your wife, cat, pet hampster or you when you were 3 years old and very precocious)
Have a handle that makes sense. Use your real name if possible, or some shortened version thereof. Less characters in your handle are always better than more, as that leaves your more space for your message.
Complete your bio and include a link to your website or blog
2. Words of Advice
Have Realistic Expectations —-> You only get what you give in the world of social mediums (this can’t be emphasized enough)
Don’t use the platform as a broadcast medium. If you do this, you will be quickly ignored.
Don’t spam others. Posting constantly about you, you, you and what you do, do, do is S.P.A.M. Don’t do it.
Finding time in already packed days to participate in any social mediums is difficult, figure out what works for you. Suggestion: Pick two 15-30 minute blocks of time that you allocate as “Twitter time.” Add them to your calendar and respect it.
Be yourself. Be real.
Next Steps ………………….
3. Jump Into Conversations
It’s expected. That’s how you integrate into the Twitter community and people are rarely surprised
when you contribute to a discussion.
4. Add Value – Establish Credibility
Content (Create content! Share a blog post, picture, video, etc.)
Tweet About What You Know (and you know a lot!)
Links (Links to information you have discovered and want to share)
Opinions (“I am using Google Chrome and it’s really fast!” or “I bought the new Kodak zi8 camera and highly recommend”)
Ask Questions (“Anybody use Vertical Response for eNewsletters? What do you think?)”
5. Be Generous – Be a Good Citizen
Comment on things people post, say or discuss. Engagement means being a part of things, not just an observer.
Give advice when someone asks a question or needs help (“My MacBookPro crashed after clicking on a bad link, what do I do?”)
Re-Tweet (RT) things that others post (Suggested guideline, for every 1 message about yourself, spread 8 messages or information shared by others)
6. Follow Back
When someone follows you, unless they’re a spammer or a bot, it is a compliment and should be considered as such. Twitter sends you a notification when someone new starts following you and you can check out their profile, links, etc., and then easily follow them back.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking someone not worthy of a follow, simply because they are not in your field
or don’t “seem” interesting to you. I personally think it’s a mistake as, by so doing, you limit yourself to people just like you. What about everyone else? Some of the best interactions and opportunities come as a result of things or people who are different from you, but who are interesting in their own right. Keep an open mind, be adventurous.
7. Using Twitter to find customers or search for subject matter that might interest you
Searches all tweets for your particular topic and returns tweets matching your search in chronological order.
Twitter advanced search
This allows you to do a local search, search for tweets to or from a particular person or exclude certain words
Most often used as a desktop Twitter application (and my personal favorite), but it has great search functionality and lets you save searches for keywords and topics.
Searches for keywords and hashtags (#) and automatically updates the results page. This is great for
conferences, events or for locating people interested in or talking about things that interest you.
8. Finding interesting people
A simple format that makes it easy to share lists of Twitter users (I love this app!)
Very cool site that allows you to search for past tweets but also allows you to search for bios. So, if you’re interested in people who work in a specific industry, this can help you find them, as long as they’ve included that information in their bio.
Indexes Twitter bios and allows you to search them
A great service to help you find and follow good people, based on recommendations of others. It is also quite an honor to receive a Mr.Tweet recommendation from another. This is a great place to start when it comes to finding interesting folks to follow.
Twitter lists function allows you to view lists created by other users to find interesting people to follow. Everyone’s interests are different, so find someone that you respect, are interested in, pay attention to, etc., and look at their profile page and, specifically, their lists. if those people sound interesting to you, click the “follow” button and you’re now following the people on that list
This is a terrific directory of all the best lists on Twitter
9. #Hashtags. What the heck are they and why do I use them?
People use hashtags (which is essentially this symbol: #) to search, and/or identify subjects, events and other things of interest. For instance, if you’re looking for posts about a certain topic, you can do a Twitter search using keywords like: #socialmedia #fitness or #motiongraphics and find interesting information, conversations, links and other things very easily.
This is also the way that people identify events, gatherings or conferences that are taking place as a way of tracking what’s happening. So if you see lots of tweets in your stream that look like: #140Conf, #gno or #blogchat those connote certain events or conversations that are occurring and you can either just pay attention and see what’s going on, or jump in and participate. You can also search those hashtags at a later time and see what happened, who contributed, etc., which is pretty cool.
Hashtags can be a great source of information for you, as well as a great way to identify people who are interested in the same things that you are and/or whom you might be interested in following.
There are many other topics that I didn’t touch on, but the hope is that some of the information contained in this post is helpful and puts you on the path to understanding the world of Twitter a bit better, getting you on the path to more fulfulling interaction and engagement in a shorter time span. And, as always, if you have any questions or just want to say hi, find me @shellykramer !! Tweet on.