In the last post we discussed how to get started on Facebook and some ideas about posting and how to gain page “likes.” Today we will discuss how to get started on Twitter.
Twitter is similar to Facebook, but there are some big differences. For instance there is a character limit with Twitter. You can only post 140, well you can type more than that however your followers will only see 140 characters. So, you have to keep it brief. You also don't have “friends” on Twitter. You can follow people and they can follow you. Only those who are following you will see your tweets, there are of course exceptions to this. If someone retweets you then their followers will see your tweet, and if you use a hashtag, anyone searching for that hashtag will be able to see your tweet.
Before we get into the details of how to tweet and the various intricacies therein, let’s start with setting up your profile. Go to Twitter’s homepage and sign up with your email address and desired password and click “sign up.” Then you will have to type in your user name. This is how you will be known on Twitter. You should use your real name if it is available. If not, put in “the” or “real” in your name, ex. TheJohnDoe. Note: capitalizing each word/name will make the handle easier to read. Once you have this, click “create my account.”
Next, Twitter will explain what a tweet is and allow you to follow people. You can skip this step and finish your set up first before searching for people to follow. Once your account is set up click your name on the left side of the home page. This will take you to your profile page. Click “edit profile” on the right side and you will be able to change your profile and banner pictures, as well as add your bio and website and add a location. I recommend you use the same pictures that you used for your Facebook page. It is important to maintain consistency across social media.
Once you have your pictures and bio set up you can change your privacy and notification settings. Click your profile picture in the bar on the top of the page in the right corner. A drop down menu will appear. Click “settings.” On the left side there will be a menu containing the different settings that you can change. You should have Twitter notify you when someone favorites your tweet, or retweets you. This way you will be aware of the traffic that your tweets are getting. You can change this in the “email notifications,” and the “web notifications.” I also recommend that you not protect your tweets. By doing so only your followers will be able to see your tweets, and you will miss out on gaining new followers.
Once you have your settings just like you want them you should start following people you know and like. Remember, you will be able to see their tweets, but they won't be able to see yours unless they are following you, or you tag them in a tweet. Add a link to your twitter page on all pages of your website, alongside the link to your Facebook page.
- Keep in mind that your followers will only be able to see 140 characters of your tweet. If someone wants to retweet you they will have to add “@” followed by your username to your tweet. Considering this, 120 characters is a good rule of thumb. When you type in your tweet there will be a counter at the bottom telling you how many characters you have left.
- Hashtags are an important tool in tweeting. You can use a hashtag that already exists, or create your own, however people are more likely to find you if you use and existing hashtag. Simply type “#” followed by the words strung together, ex. #HowToTweet. On Twitter’s homepage there will be popular hastags on the left side.
- Replies and tags are a good way to expose yourself to potential followers. You can reply to someone if they asked you a question, or you can just tag people into your tweet, if for instance you just met someone, saw them speak, etc. Just include “@” and their username in your tweet. If you begin a tweet with “@” only the people who follow the both of you will be able to see your tweet. However, if you put the tag further in the tweet anyone who follows you or them will be able to see the tweet.
Tweeting is most assuredly an art and not a science. There is no “right” amount to tweet every day. Just make sure that you do not overload your followers with information. Somewhere between 6 and 10 tweets a day is a good amount, but you will have to determine what is right for you. Remember to not talk about yourself and your books all the time. Twitter is a place for a conversation.
Rest assured that everyone makes mistakes, and there will be a learning curve with any form of social media. But, both Michael Hyatt and Jane Friedman have advice on what common mistakes to avoid in your Twitter use.
Social media should be a fun way to connect to your target audience. Be yourself and be encouraging. That is the greatest thing to remember.
What do you find most useful about Twitter? Share with us in the comments section below.
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