Looking back on how I got started with Twitter, and then digging back into how to get started via these tutorials I’ve been doing, I have come to realize there are a few pieces of advice I would give without question to any new Twitterers. These are things that don’t seem to get a whole lot of attention, but I believe they are quite integral to getting started on the right foot. I wish I had known this when I was getting started! So, here you go. Ten Tricks for Twitter Newbies!
1. Do not depend on the people Twitter recommends for you: When I got started on Twitter, I clicked on the “business” category and went down the list, clicking “follow follow follow.” I thought, “OK, so if Fast Company *and* the Wall Street Journal retweet me in one day, I’ll be on my way. This is I think a common approach, but the recommendations Twitter makes are based on sheer numbers. It is difficult to get attention from those accounts because they are already being followed by thousands of people. This can make your journey seem discouraging.
2. Learn how to search for and participate in chats: I can’t emphasize enough how important I think chats are for getting plugged in with people of a like mind. When you hear about a chat, all you have to do is search for it in the search bar (#xyzchat). Participate, don’t just lurk. Even if you find just one comment to respond to at first, you’ll be getting to know people who have similar interests.
3. Do not worry about numbers: I know this is really hard. I’ve detailed many times how I used to watch my followers number like a hawk watches a family of mice. When you begin, numbers really don’t matter. You are looking for quality people to talk to and network with. When you are on your way, numbers matter even less 🙂
4. Do not worry about the silent treatment: It’s not you. People could easily see hundreds of tweets in just a couple of minutes. If they don’t know who you are, they will probably not respond at first. This is why chats are really important – people are in a conversation and you can jump on in. Find someone you can chat with, and eventually people will start responding. However, a little secret – most people don’t get responses to most of the tweets they do.
5. Have an avatar picture: People will feel more compelled to talk to you if they can see your face!
6. Fill out your bio: Fill your bio with a combination of important keywords and a touch of personality. Let people know that you’re not a bot…you’re a real person whom they should get to know.
7. Learn how to link: Linking is really important. You need to be able to do this for linking people to your blog, to a funny video, or to other posts you like. I cover this in my Twitter basics tutorial, btw…or ask me for help 🙂
8. Add comments to your retweets: It’s easy to just hit the retweet button and think you’re being engaging, but to really start showing your personality, add a one or two-word intro to your retweets, even if it’s just, “Great post.”
9. Promote others: Do this carefully and authentically. If you see a tweet or a post you really like, let someone know. If someone is newer than you and they just hit a milestone, lift them up. Participate in Follow Friday (#FF) but do it with thought. Instead of just listing lots of big names to try to get attention, list 1 person you genuinely enjoy following. Maybe it’s someone you met at your first chat or someone who wrote a post you really enjoyed.
10. Ask questions: Using Twitter is like driving a car. After awhile, you just start doing things and you don’t really think about it. It’s easy to forget how much there is to learn, and people will take it for granted that you just know how to do everything. Ask questions. You may not get a response at first, but that’s okay. When I was first getting started, new people like me would often say, “Yeah, I want to know that too!” You can meet people who have the same question as much as people who have the answer (and never be afraid to direct questions to me @margieclayman)
If you are new to Twitter, I hope you find these tricks useful. If you’re not so new, what would your ten tricks be for getting started?