Feeling overwhelmed about Twitter?

No need.

Seriously. It’s easy to get started, easy to use and easy to get connected with like-minded, interesting people.

Before you start, you need to understand the benefits of Twitter. People tend to assume Twitter is a tool for blurting out sales tweets, but it’s more about building authority, a community and gaining followers who respect you for your entertainment value or knowledge.

Plus:

  • It offers an opportunity to talk to other like minded people.
  • It’s a great tool for keeping up to date with the latest news, tips and industry information.
  • It’s a handy referrer of traffic (if you use it right!).
  • You can find potential new clients.
  • It can be a fun, concise form of communicating in a quick, timely manner.

Now that you understand its benefits, you should familiarise yourself with the VERNACULAR:

Tweet: A message with no more than 140 characters.
Retweet: Re-sharing another person’s tweet.
Mention (@): (e.g. @contentwriters). A way of referencing another user by their username.
Hashtag (#): Hashtags provide a means of grouping messages by topic. Ideas are collated under one thread so that you get a more targeted user experience.
Direct Message: A private, 140-character message between two people. You may only DM a user who follows you.
Feed: The stream of tweets you see on your homepage made up of updates from users you follow.
Handle: Your username.

Ok, so now you have a handle on the basics, you’re hopefully feeling a little less daunted. All you have to do now is decide on your handle (username) and image.

HANDLE

  • Pick a name appropriate to your brand. If you are your brand, use your own name.
  • Use a real name so that people don’t mistake you for a spammer. If you don’t want to use your own name, use a name that represents who you are and what you do.
  • Try and pick something unique, and a name that won’t be easily forgotten.

PROFILE IMAGE

  • Personal photos are most effective. Twitter is about relationships and other users will want to see who they’re connecting with.
  • Use a photo that’s approachable and friendly – smile!
  • Use close up so people can see you.
  • Be creative, think outside of the box. It’s all about standing out amongst the crowd!
  • You can change your photo at any time by clicking on ‘Edit Profile’ and the pen icon in the top right-hand corner of your profile picture.

BACKGROUND IMAGE

Twitter offers the option to upload a background image. You can do this from your Twitter profile page by clicking the gear icon in the top right-hand corner of the page followed by the ‘Edit Profile’ option in the drop down menu.

Choose from one of about 20 premade background images or upload one of your own images.

Remember to pick an image that’s consistent with your brand. Pick something that’s visually interesting, relevant and simple.

THE DO’S AND DON’TS

There’s a certain Twitter etiquette you should comply with if you want to get anywhere.

DO retweet regularly. Twitter is a two-way street. If you want to build relationships, you need to be generous and let others know you appreciate their tweets. You’ll find your generosity is returned fairly quickly.
DO thank people when they RT you.
DO use hashtags (#). You can gain many followers by creating a well-trending hashtag.
DO be consistent. Have a theme to your tweeting so that you become trusted in your area of expertise. Tweet relevant links and tips.
DO seek new followers (every day).
DO respond to tweets sent to you.
DO keep track of who isn’t following you back (via www.justunfollow.com).
DON’T leave your bio empty. This is your chance to sell yourself!
DON’T forget to include a link to your website.
DON’T hashtag every tweet. People can be put off by too many hashtags.
DON’T automate responses. This is extremely impersonal.
DON’T use spelling mistakes and bad grammar.
DON’T spam your followers.
DON’T tweet dull, mundane nonsense.
DON’T retweet without crediting the originator.
DON’T be selfish with your tweets.

Above all, DO HAVE FUN!