Nixdminx
The life and times of a happy go lucky blogger in London
social media: top 10 tips for starting out on twitter

Got a blog? Got a switched on tech savvy bunch of friends? Do you have a small business or work in a corporation? If you are one or all of the above, twitter is definitely on your radar.

Twitter is ubiquitous and it’s reached superstar status as a social networking platform. Britney Spears, Ashton Kutcher, Stephen Fry and Lady Gaga have all amassed great followings on their twitter feeds and in turn they’ve managed to create a mass of press coverage about it too. So what does this mean for us lesser mortals?

So many people don’t get twitter and I have to admit, I set up at least three accounts on twitter before I really felt the need to use it. And the reason that I began to use it a lot was that I ‘had stuff’. I had blog posts I could put on twitter, people I knew that I could chat and follow and of course, a desire to try out something new.

If you’re starting out on twitter, you probably just want to know all the basics. I’m going to debunk a few myths for you and also give you some guidance on how to make twitter work for you as a person, a business, a brand and a blogger.

1. Twitter Account
Setting up your account at twitter.com is the way to get started and choose a name which resonates with what you do. Make sure you cover off all the basics on your profile such as gravatar, location, a good description of yourself – including key words for search – and a link to your blog, linkedin profile, company website or another online location which you can direct people too. Get to grips with this and then you might want to try tools like tweetdeck or hootsuite (a business app) to help you make the most of it.

2. Twitter Profile Image
I touched on this in point 1 but your profile image deserves a special mention. If you work for a company, you may think you’re the face of the brand but you should really use a brand avatar. For your own personal twitter photo choose something that works on a small scale and don’t cloud it with too many words because it will be invisible. If you want to make a statement, do so on your twitter page wallpaper which can easily be customised.

3. Attitude
When you start out on twitter you need to enter with a positive attitude – it’s a fast, vast 24/7 world. Twitter is free and that means that people love to use and sadly, abuse it. The thing is, instant karma 2.0 will get you if you start behaving badly. If you get things wrong it comes back at you exponentially; you can be reported, you will also be unfollowed and tweeters will shout beware on their feeds. Twitter is a fun, dynamic environment which you have to treat with respect.

4. Check out your company guidelines
If you are on twitter, you will be on the radar of your social media and comms teams at work, so don’t try and communicate with journalists or talk up company news and gossip. You could end up in big trouble and if you work in a PLC, that’s trouble with a big T.

5. Find Your Friends & Colleagues
This is what we call the real legwork – starting to follow people. Many companies have lists on twitter so that’s a good place to start to find people you know IRL (in real life!). You no doubt have one or two early adopter friends who’ve done a lot of hard work on amassing their lists and you can just jump on their profile to find it. Lots of people will follow you back too, well, fingers crossed they will.

6. Make Friends
Follow people who you want to communicate with. Mr Tweet is a really good tool to help you find people but you can easily discover people you like by using tools such as tweetdeck. Mashable and twopcharts are also good places to look. By simply googling your specific areas of interest such as ‘top travel twitter’ or ‘top beauty twitter’, you’re likely to find interesting people too.

7. What do you say on Twitter
‘Hello’ is a good start and also remember you have 140 digits to get your microblog out there. That’s about 20 words. You will also be including a link (good idea to use a tool like bit.ly to shrink it). If you’ve got a web site or a blog you can always create posts about new deals or new posts with a short headline line. If there’s a call to action, ask people to comment or visit somewhere. Reply to other tweeters if they are posting about something of interest. Start a conversation and get engaged. You’ll soon find your voice and stop feeling self conscious.

8. Twitter lingo
Don’t be put off by the lingo on twitter – it’s pretty easy to pick up and it’s pretty much what you will see everywhere else in social networking. RT = retweet which means you send someone’s tweet on to your followers. Hashtags are just ways of creating a group conversation. Trending topics are the conversations that are dominating the twitter. In my book, if you’re tweeting for work and you’ve become a trending topic you’ve just about hit the jackpot.

9. How to boost your profile
Your twitter feed should always be the destination for something unique and exclusive that people can not get elsewhere. Simple things such as putting your twitter name on your email are ways to help you get more followers. If you are involved in marketing there are many ways to get a ‘Follow Us’ into your outbound comms which include eCRM, blog posts, print advertising and in fact anywhere you publicise your brand. There are also some good trends you should get involved with; #followfriday or #ff is one of the biggest trends on twitter and you nominate your favourite tweeters with a hash tag. If you’re going to a meet up or there’s a big event on, look out for the hashtag and start adding that to your tweets, it will get you involved and your follower numbers will rise.

10. Etiquette
There are no rules on how to behave on twitter but for me there is one which I always respect. If someone retweets your tweet, say thank you. If you are retweeting a post, make sure the original tweeter is included; otherwise you may risk the wrath of the originator. When you’re going on and offline, a simple hello and goodbye also works. Some bloggers have public spats on twitter, I find that pretty distasteful so don’t engage in arguments. It may be amusing to your followers but it’s bad form.

I hope these tips are helpful to you if you’re starting out on twitter.

And finally, enjoy it!

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4 Comments to “social media: top 10 tips for starting out on twitter”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by nixdminx eva keogan, Make More Friends. Make More Friends said: social media: top 10 tips for starting out on twitter | Nixdminx: Share/Bookmark. Tags:ashton kutcher, britney spe… http://bit.ly/cn2VSs [...]

  2. John Gent says:

    nice blog (: you should follow me on twitter @gr8p <33

  3. Nice post. Good to know for anyone who’s interested in social networking.

  4. baidu says:

    strong post youve compass

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