Tips To Get Started On Twitter
Twitter is my favorite social media platform. I’ve been on Twitter for about 5 years now, and I remember how confusing it was when I first tried to figure out how to use it…and why I would want to.
About a month ago I attended Bloggy Boot Camp for the first time. Although I’ve been blogging for years, I still learned a ton! While in groups, many new bloggers mentioned that they didn’t understand Twitter. They wanted to know when to use the “@” and “#” symbols. They wanted to know how I found people to follow, and who they should follow. I also heard several of them say “I just don’t get it.”
While I can’t explain all of the ins and outs and nuaunces to you, I can give you some tips to get started on Twitter. First, let me explain how I think about Twitter.
I think of Twitter as an online party. Maybe you know some of the people at the party and maybe you don’t know anybody. As with any party, you’ll run into people who just throw out information (useless or otherwise, whether you asked for it or not), people who you try to chat with who just blow you off, people who just stand off to the side and listen and watch what’s going on, people who introduce you to their other friends, moms talking about their kids and so on. It’s the same thing on Twitter.
So how do you meet new people on Twitter? Well, Twitter is the kind of party where if people are talking you can butt in and join the conversation. It’s not rude to do that on Twitter. In fact, it’s a great way to meet new people who have similar interests, tastes, and ideas to your own. First things first, you need to know how to “talk” at this virtual party.
Tweet – Up at the top right hand side of your screen, you’ll see a button that says “Tweet”. That is where you are going to type in your new tweet. This is how you “talk” on Twitter. But – you only get 140 characters to tweet at a time. You can include external links (always shorten them with bit.ly or any other link shortner to save space), attach pictures, and use hashtags as well.
@ – You use this symbol when you are talking to (or at!) somebody. So let’s say you want to say talk to me (@ me!) on Twitter. Your tweet would look like this:
A couple of notes on mentions…
If you start your tweet with the @ symbol, only the people that follow both you and me will be able to see the tweet. Nobody else will.
But maybe you want to say something to me but you want everybody on Twitter to see it. You have to put something…anything…before the @ sign.
So you could say: “Hey @NatalieHoage! I just finished the book you told me to read and loved it!”
Or you could also say: “.@NatalieHoage! I just finished the book you told me to read and loved it!” That period in front of my name allows other to see the message. Why would you want to do that? Maybe you are looking for other readers to follow and hope they see your message.
This leads us to…
# – Whether you’re on Twitter or not, just about everybody knows that this is called a hashtag. Think of the hashtag as what you are talking about. Using the example above, you could say:
I just added Stephen King because he’s the author of the book I just finished, Finder’s Keepers. He’s one of my favorite authors, and if he’s one of yours too, maybe you include his name as a hashtag so others know that you like him. He also has a Twitter account, so you could “tag” him in it by also including @StephenKing. Who knows, he may retweet or respond!
RT or Retweet – Maybe you liked something you heard at the party and want to share it with your friends. That’s when you’ll retweet, or RT, someone’s tweet. It’s a great way to start and/or keep a conversation going. For example,my friend Erin tweeted a recipe for my Crockpot Sausage & Cheesy Potato Casserole:
I wanted to share it with my audience, so I clicked on those little sqaure arrows in the tweet, to RT it to my audience.
Now I have the option to add a comment, maybe something like “Thanks for sharing @ErinMargolin!”to let other people know that she’s friendly, approachable, and a good tweeter. Or maybe even include “This is one of my favorite #crockpot #casserole #recipes!” See what I did there? Now anybody searching for crockpot, casserole, or recipe on Twitter might run across my link!
Now that you’re ready to get going on Twitter, let me also mention a few things that will make you a tweeter that other people will want to follow…
Don’t be an egg – See Erin’s profile picture? If you don’t add a picture of yourself to your profile, you’ll get this as a default.
Nobody follows eggs. Eggs are usually spam or people who don’t know what they are doing. Don’t be an egg.
Follow people that your friend’s follow – Who should you follow? Find a friend or two that you have similar interests with and check out who they follow. It’s an easy way to find like-minded people to follow.
Don’t just tweet out links – If all you do is tweet out links to your posts, nobody has any reason to follow you. Ask questions, share funny jokes, RT others…INTERACT!
For even more tips to get started on Twitter, read my post How To Gain (& Lose!) Twitter followers.
And those are some basic tips to get started on Twitter. You’ll probably have a ton of questions, and if you do, feel free to ask.
What tips do you have to share to get someone new started on Twitter?