New to Twitter and still not sure what to do about it? Are you staring at the screen thinking, “I don’t get it”?
Here are 15 tips to help you get more out of Twitter, especially if you are tweeting as a business or nonprofit.
1. Download and Install a Twitter Client
This will make your tweeting much easier. I’m a fan of TweetDeck. I also use Twhirl. (I use one for business and one for personal; best to keep them separate.) There are lots of other Twitter clients out there too.
2. Remember This is SOCIAL Networking
Bear this in mind when tweeting. People are following you. Or you may be trying to entice them to follow you. So remember that a key word here is “people”. Individuals with feelings and opinions and lives outside of yours. Another key word: “social”. This means there are rules and social norms and etiquette here just like anywhere else.
3. Tweet Often
If you’re only going to Tweet once a week or a month, you’re missing the point of it. That level of frequency is for newsletters. At the very least, once a day. Every few days. The more often, the better. Regular Twitter users Tweet throughout the day. I admit, I’m not always as good as this as I could be. Definitely not on days when I’m hunkered down working on a deadline.
4. Tweet About Personal Experience
Not sure what to Tweet about? How about your personal experience? That’s part of the point of Twitter. Using Twitter for a business? People still want to know about you and your business and what’s going on, not just your special promotions and what you have to sell. The Internet has bred people who like honesty and openness. Share what’s happening in your day that is relevant to what you have to sell. This gives people a reason to follow you.
5. Share Links to Other Sites
Not feeling like you have anything interesting to say? Share links to other websites of interest. Find something interesting, funny, inspirational, newsworthy, or useful to share. If you are Tweeting to promote a business or nonprofit, share articles related to your industry that could benefit your customers or members.
6. Use Hash Tags
A hash tag is a pound sign followed with a word or phrase related to what you are tweeting about. These tags allow Twitter users to easily follow topics. For example, if I tweet an article about web design, I could use the hash tag #webdesign or #seo or #website. You can use more than one hash tag on your tweets. Not sure what hash tag to use? If you want to use it, it probably already exists. Worst case, look it up. These hash tags can help you gain new followers and help you find new people you want to follow too!
A retweet is sending out a tweet another user has already posted. This is done when you see a tweet you like and want to share. It may be funny, profound, helpful, shocking, newsworthy, or whatever other attribute you find that prompts you to retweet. It’s a nice shout-out to those you follow too.
8. Observe Follow Friday
Follow Friday just means that on Friday (on a Friday of your choosing…you may choose every Friday or just once in a while) you share with your followers other Twitter users you find interesting/funny/etc. Again, its a nice acknowledgement of those you follow and its good to promote those who are promoting you too. Follow Friday tweets look like this: #followfriday funny tweets from @user1 @user2 & SEO news from @user3 (Of course, you’ll use the actual Twitter IDs.) Personally, I tend to suggest people I really am interested in and want to promote. I don’t suggest every single person that follows me.
9. Make Use of Lists
Twitter has set up the ability for you to organize those you follow. It makes following large numbers of people and following those tweeting on specific subjects much easier. You can make your list public or private. Public lists can be a helpful tool for those following you that are looking for other interesting people to follow.
10. Post Tweets on Facebook
Not everyone cares about Twitter. You may want to share what you tweet on Facebook sometimes too. You can do it manually by copying and pasting, or you can use Facebook apps such as Selective Tweets to automatically post to Facebook when you type #fb after a tweet.
11. Learn More About Twitter & Business
Don’t send out one Tweet after another constantly, within seconds of each other. That’s for instant messaging. Twitter is not a broadcast instant messenger program. All you will accomplish is annoying followers and probably get unfollowed.
2. Don’t Tweet Like A Broken Record
We know you’re here to sell something. We get it. Don’t make that be the only thing you tweet about. No one wants to follow a Twitter user who is just spamming the same advertising of the same products and services all the time. It’s not interesting and you’ll lose (or just not get any new) followers.
3. Don’t Spam
This means don’t send out the same messages over and over. It also means you don’t send unsolicited direct messages to other Twitter users. And don’t try and game the system but opening multiple Twitter accounts to tweet about the same product and service or to promote your main Twitter account. You won’t get followers. You will get shut down by Twitter. I recommend following the Twitter spam account to stay on top of spam and to learn how to report it.
4. Don’t Reply To Every Tweet
While this is a social network, you are not under obligation to respond to every tweet. This a passive social network. If you find something especially funny and feel compelled to respond with an LOL to someone you follow, go for it. Just realize you don’t need to do this for everyone or even most everyone. And remember, retweets can also be a way to acknowledge how you feel about someone’s tweet. But again, don’t spam. Don’t retweet everything or even most things coming your way.
These are just 15 tips. There are more out there. What about the rest of you? Any tips you want to offer? Any peeves you run across on Twitter?