So it’s 2012 and on your to-do list is to get a twitter account. Easy. You’ve signed up (on your phone or PC) and you have no idea what to do next. People are RT: comments and #hashtagging everything! WTF are people talking about? Here is a 101 for the amateur twitter-er:
1. Set up your profile
The first thing you need to do is to set up that profile. See that bar on top of your twitter page? Click Settings and start filling up your profile. The notable areas in here are your URL, bio, picture and design. Put up a link to your site or blog in here along with a brief description. Upload a picture to differentiate yourself from the others and then tweak your Twitter design. Like any other social networking site, it is important to completely express what you are or what you stand for in your profile. Don’t worry it’s fun. Really it is. The best thing is not to take yourself too seriously. If you are trying to create a profile for yourself or a brand/company I would choose a twitter handle (that’s your twitter name) that is very close to that of your name or company. This also helps for SEO purposes.
2. Follow people that interest you
Now that you’re set up you’re ready to go. I use Twitter as a self-education tool for topics that I’m interested in. From digital evangelists to organic beauty products, I follow an eclectic array of twitter-ettes that broaden my knowledge in many different realms. Oh, I also follow a few randoms like Lady Gaga and Ashton Kucther – just for fun. Follow the people of your choice and observe their tweets. You’ll start to get a handle of what to tweet and how.
3. Join the conversation
So now that you are following people, you will see some tweets on your twitter feed. Read up on what the people you’re following are up to and reply if it interests you. For example, a person asks for the best restaurant in Bondi. You can then reply with suggestions. When someone asks a question, don’t hesitate to answer if you know it. The first one is scary- and you’ll probably think you’re doing something wrong. Don’t worry it does get easier. I promise.
4. Update daily
Alright so you’re blending into the community. Now update daily if possible. I know some Twitter users who unfollow people because of inactivity. Reply to people and update people with what’s going on with your life. Post a link that you found interesting or retweet a tweet you think your followers would like. Often you will find a “tweet” button on most online articles. Too easy.
Now it’s your time to contribute to the twitterverse. Find a topic that will interest your following and tweet it. Since you have established relationships with your followers (through replies), you will get more attention. There will be some people who will be so interested that they will retweet. There are others who will reply to you about the link you tweeted. But you are not a “nobody” anymore. You are not just talking to yourself. People are now responding to your tweets. Wow.
6. Integrate Twitter with other social networks
Have a blog? Then post to Twitter when you have a post that will interest your following. Have a Facebook profile? Then ask people to add you. Do you instagram? Link that account to your Twitter account also. Instagram provides hours of cool content for your followers (another post soon to come about the insides of Instagram). Twitter is really a vital part of web 2.0. It can serve as the core. It can let you build relationships that can branch out to other social networks.
People use the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords in their Tweets to categorise those Tweets to show more easily in the Twitter Search. Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets in that category. Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet and hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.
You can also recommend colleagues or your favourite people on #Follow Friday. It’s a great tool to get more followers and also reach out to those who you usually wouldn’t have contact with. You might even get retweeted (might). Just watch out, hashtagging can become #addictive!
Congratulations! You are now an official member of the Twitter community. Perhaps you find yourself spending every five minutes updating Twitter on what you are doing or helping you fill in the time between clients.
Got a question? Tweet me at @phoebegreenacre #ItsEasy!