10 Tips for Twitter Newbies

By Kathy Van Looy

You’re not on Twitter yet? Ooooooow. That is bad.  You really should be on this amazingly popular social media platform. You are missing out on more than you can possibly know. If you want to stay on top of things, get yourself noticed, evolve, grow and stay informed at all times, Twitter is the place to be. And because there are so many people on it, new users are even more scared to #fail. Makes sense of course. Twitter is “unknown territory” for a lot; a world on its own, and it takes a while to get to know it. So listen: I am prepared to help you out. I was in your shoes once, and I hated it. Below are 10 tips that will allow you to start off with a bang. And no, there is no need to thank me :-), but a #FF would be greatly appreciated (and to know what that is, see tip 10).

  1. The Twitter Handle: choose a Twitter handle that is short, catchy and referring to you or your brand. Keep it simple and recognizable.
  2. Your Profile: make sure you fill in your profile/bio. You don’t have much space, so use the right keywords to say who you are (work, hobbies, interests). Remember that this is the part that people read before they decide whether or not they want to follow you (back). So it’s important to use the right words.
  3. Tweetdeck: install Tweetdeck (www.tweetdeck.com) instead of working with www.twitter.com. Tweetdeck allows you to make groups of people (eg friends/colleagues/etc). This is far easier to monitor, especially if you are following a lot of people. Another advantage is that Tweetdeck allows you to link to your Facebook and LinkedIn account, a much more efficient way of managing your online social network.
  4. Start tweeting: because that’s why you are on Twitter of course. But don’t just tweet about anything. Tweet about something interesting you saw online, or what you are doing, but keep it short, simple, to-the-point and interesting enough. Give even more value to your tweets by adding a link or a picture.
  5. Start following:  follow people you find interesting. People you can relate to and learn from. They can be people within your business, or people that share the same passion. They can also be people you would like to influence, like journalists, bloggers, politicians, etc. Keep in mind that when you start following them, there is a good chance they will follow you back. Make sure to check which people e.g. your colleagues are following.  There is a high possibility that these people will interest you as well.
  6. Talk to people: don’t be scared to address people, even if you don’t know them personally. You do this by adding their Twitter handle in the tweet. E.g.: @dannydevriendt: did you know that… And like in emails, you can also cc someone in a tweet. E.g.: cc @dannydevriendt
  7. Be authentic. Don’t pretend to be someone else. Twitter should blend with your everyday world and/or work.
  8. Share: you can also retweet (RT) interesting tweets. To retweet something means you repeat a tweet from someone else. The person you retweet will be grateful for the recognition and the larger reach. You can do this simply by adding RT in front of the tweet. And don’t forget to thank people who retweeted your tweet. Showing twitter love will help you to grow your network.
  9. Use #hashtags: hashtags are a way to organize content. If everyone agrees to append a certain hashtag to tweets about a topic, it becomes easier to find that topic in a search. You can also use #hashtags to give context to updates that may not make sense otherwise.
  10. Give some love on Fridays: the #followfriday or #FF thing, is a sort of networking symbol by which you recommend Tweeters to your followers. In short: it’s a way of promoting your favourite Tweeps and Friday is the chosen ‘Compliment Day’ on Twitter.

 And one final tip: stick with it. It’s hard the first couple of weeks, but once you get the hang of it, you will see it can easily become an addiction. A good one though. Just make sure you always think twice before tweeting. Because when it’s out there, it’s foreverrrrrr.

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