This article originally appeared on 60 Second Social.
One of the most common reasons I get from people not using Twitter is that they “don’t understand it.” Or that “it’s just too confusing” or they “just don’t get it, what’s the point?” I have been an active tweeter since I first signed up in July 2009. For the past six years I have met some wonderful people on Twitter so for me it kind of sucks to hear people don’t get the point of it or that they find it useless because they don’t understand it.
Twitter has fantastic potential, it has led to people finding a new job, increasing product sales, writing for a major publication, staying in touch with people, meeting new business partners and investors. Twitter was what got my website out there and it was the first social platform where myself and John started talking on. Twitter helped me land a position at Irish Tech News, something I never thought remotely possible when I started my own website.
For those of you with an interest but still a bit lost when it comes to using Twitter, here are some of the basics – a little Twitter 101 session to get you started.
1. Setting Up
Registration is straightforward, a similar set up process to many social network websites. However there are some basics that people forget to do, basics that can make the difference from being taken seriously on Twitter to being forgotten about. Upload a photo of yourself, don’t leave the egg as a default avatar. Leaving the egg as your avatar will lead to less engagement with others and less people interested in following you. Fill out the bio section, link to your website and upload a banner image. These are all simple things to do but you would be amazed at the amount of people who don’t do them, think of what you want your profile to say about you, first impressions are crucial.
2. Follow Others
Twitter is a two way street, don’t expect followers to flock to you if you show no interest in following anyone else but at the same time don’t make the mistake of following every single person who follows you. When it comes to following people on Twitter I like to look at my timeline and people I follow purely from the side of curation. It is about curating a timeline of content you want to see and content you would be interested in.
Follow people who you are sincerely interested in, these days I have a lot of SME’s, digital marketers and social media enthusiasts who follow me. I don’t follow all of these accounts back of course, I have a look at each one and the tweets they are posting before deciding if it is content I would like to see appearing in my feed.
3. Twitter Account Notifications
This is a feature I have only started using over the past number of months and it is thanks to our very own @ (Michael Collins) who brought the feature to my attention. If I never want to miss a tweet from a particular account I turn on mobile notifications for that person. All you need to do is go to their account, tap the settings icon and then turn on mobile notifications. Every time they tweet you will now get a notification on your phone.
This is a feature which is best used sparingly, the more accounts you do this for the more notifications you will be snowed in under. I have this setting turned on for the Irish Tech News team accounts which means I don’t miss any of their tweets along with one or two other accounts.
4. Interacting With Others (Retweeting And Favourites)
When you see something you like or you see something you want to engage with and share with your followers all you have to do is hit that retweet button. Retweeting shares that tweet on your profile so that your followers will see it. You can also retweet with a comment so you can share a tweet from someone else while adding your own opinion in the same tweet.
Favouriting is slightly different, I use favourites to either acknowledge something I like that someone has tweeted or if there is a tweet I want to track and come back to later. Favourites will not be shared with your followers.
5. Twitter Is A Crowded Room
We all know about the basics of not spamming and being polite. However you need to look at Twitter as a conversation in a crowded room, there is a lot going on. A lot of people sharing opinions and a lot of people interacting together. If you share something that you believe to be interesting then be ready to interact with people who respond to it. Engage with people who reach out to you, don’t ignore them.
People have various opinions on how often you should tweet, I don’t like to put a number on a certain amount of tweets per day. Personally I prefer to employ somewhat of an aggressive sharing a tweeting strategy as long as I know that the content I am sharing is of good value. People who complain you tweet to much are in the wrong place following the wrong accounts.
A lot of people get overly confused by hashtags so I am going to keep this one really simple and to the point. A hashtag is a word preceded by the symbol ‘#’ with no spaces present which turns the word into a link that you can click on and then see tweets using the same hashtag.
7. Direct Messages
Direct messages is when you want to take a conversation private on Twitter. You can talk one to one or you have have a group DM too. But be careful, just because you can send someone a message does not mean you should use it to send unsolicited junk.
I have written a full article on this in the past so I won’t go into great detail however sending auto messages to users who follow you is the worst kind of Twitter marketing there is. In fact it is not marketing at all, it is just you filling up someone else’s DMs with your crap.
People who auto DM me all get the same treatment, unfollow the account and then delete the DM.
8. Additional Tools For More Horsepower
So when you start getting into the swing of things with Twitter it may be possible that you look for new tools to help you stay on top of things or to make sharing easier. Here are the tools I use.
Buffer – My favourite platform of all, I use it for scheduling posts to my account so when I am not there online I know that content will be shared that I have curated myself. Living in Ireland, this means I can schedule tweets to go out when America is awake and I am asleep so it catches the eye of a different audience. Buffer allows you to do all this with one button.
Tweetdeck – I use TweetDeck to follow feeds of different accounts and to follow hashtags. Because of the column views it means I can set up a column for just one hashtag and follow the conversation easily as it unfolds.
Twitter Analytics – This is available to everyone and it basically shows all kinds of data from your Twitter account, which tweets get the most engagement and impressions.
The main hurdle people face when starting on Twitter is “getting it” but once you overcome that you will more than likely end up hooked…like me…