Twitter Clinic: 5 must-dos to get started with Twitter

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So you’ve been encouraged onto Twitter, signed up and created an account. Now what?

If you are brand new to social media, it can all seem a bit daunting, so here’s our top tips to get started…

  1. Upload a picture – There’s mixed opinion about whether business accounts should post a company logo or a photo of an individual, but everyone agrees that a picture of an egg (Twitter’s default) is a turn-off. You’ve joined Twitter to join the virtual cocktail party. Be aware of the dress code.
  2. Write a bio – While tweets are restricted to 140 characters, Twitter bios are a slightly more generous 160 characters. Continuing with the cocktail party analogy, think of your bio as how you would like to be introduced to people you would like to connect with… so that conversation doesn’t come to an abrupt end after your introduction!
  3. Find some peeps (or tweeps as they’re known on Twitter) to follow – Start with the individuals who encouraged you to sign up to Twitter and LinkedIn connections who have given Twitter usernames on their profiles. Assuming you have good relationships with the people you’re LinkedIn to, these follows will result in a trusted and forgiving network during your initial “lurk and learn”.
  4. Start tweeting – Silence is not golden on Twitter, but do be mindful that tweets are public and it’s difficult to delete your digital footprint. Think “old rules, new tools” – while you wouldn’t go to a physical cocktail party and not utter a single word the whole evening, you equally wouldn’t take centre-stage, grab a microphone, and start broadcasting your dirty laundry to everyone!
  5. Join the conversation – All means of accessing Twitter, be it the website itself or one of the various apps that sit on top of it, have reply functionality. (Confusingly for newcomers, this capability is officially termed mentions). If you see a question that you can help answer, or a tweet you have a cheeky retort for, hit reply (or mention) and join in. As @benasmith recently tweeted: “It’s called social media. Social. That requires interaction. Acknowledge another party. Don’t broadcast. Engage!”

Enjoy the party Smile If I’ve missed your favourite newbie tip, please leave your advice below…

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    • Jason Comer

      As a newbie, lurking somewhere in the virtual cocktail party’s kitchen, I would also recommend that people get used to using hashtags (I.e. #partyinthekitchen). These tags link together tweets from across the globe and connects you to others tweeting similar issues. Who knows, perhaps the person over by the fridge is thinking the same thing? #dude-wheres-my-spork? #no-more-abba-pls.

      Points of view on current or sector events are also important. Have an opinion. Think about the future. tweet. connect. Who knows? Maybe the party will be at your place next time.
      @JasonMComer

    • http://twitter.com/LindaCheungUK Linda Cheung

      Thank you, brilliant continuation of the cocktail party analogy :) Deliberated over whether or not to include hashtags in this post or a future one. I think of them as labels for identifying / searching / sorting tweets, to find likeminded tweeps and conversations of interest. Guess the cocktail party equivalent would be different coloured name badges, e.g. for different sectors or interests, though I’ve not yet been to a party where that’s happened. Regardless, you’re ready to emerge from the kitchen Jason!

    • Pingback: Twitter Clinic: A hashtag case study | Connectegrity

    • SandelfordCo

      Simple and correct advice. Don’t be too scared either about separating #twitter accounts to serve different functions.

    • Eazeebytes

      Thanks for sharing those useful tips. ‘Though glad to say I have most covered, there is still room for improvement…

    • http://twitter.com/OrganicSocial Organic Social

      These points are like Vaccine shots… if only we could use a hypodermic needle to inject it to the clients ;)