For those of you who aren’t familiar with Twitter, it’s a micro-blogging site that allows you to send out 140 characters at a time. Twitter has more than 200 million active users. Before you learn how to use Twitter, you need to understand basic Twitter terminology.
Follower: On Twitter, you “follow” a user to see their updates on your twitter home page. This is the easiest way to establish a social relationship on Twitter. If someone follows you, you can follow them back. Remember, connections made through Twitter are not vice versa. For example, even if you decide to follow a person, he or she may not follow you back.
If you’re serious about twitter, you really want to make sure you’re sending out quality tweets.
Tweet: It’s a message you send out to your followers from your Twitter account. Think of as a verb, you tweet a message. In order for a tweet to be delivered, it cannot exceed 140 characters. Due to its 140 character restriction, many people consider Twitter to be a great outlet for micro-blogging.
The main purpose of Twitter is to share things that you think your followers might find useful, interesting or even entertaining.
Retweet: This is a feature used to share someone else’s tweet. By clicking the retweet button, you share someone else’s tweet to your own group of followers.
Some people prefer to retweet manually by typing “RT @USERNAME” before pasting the tweet’s contents. People who retweet this way, generally provide additional context to the retweet. Some people add in their own thoughts. It’s a good way to reach out to your followers.
@Mention: This is a way for you to direct your tweet to another person’s account on Twitter. For example, a tweet that begins with “@username” will only appear on the home pages of followers who also follow that person you’re tweeting. However, if you place the @username at the end of your tweet, it will appear to everyone who’s following you.
DM: Short for Direct Message. It’s essentially a private conversation between two Twitter accounts. Direct Messages can only be sent to someone who’s following you. Direct Messages are also restricted to 140 characters.
People who actively use twitter have a purpose in mind. They tweet so they can reach a certain audience. This is where “engagement” becomes useful. It’s a key concept when trying to establish social media relationships. “Engagement” is a way of responding to other users, by making conversation with people who contact you via Twitter. Whether that’s a tweet or a direct message, it’s in your best interest to reply. Replying to tweets and direct messages allows you to further enhance your relationship with other Twitter users.
Hashtag: People frequently insert “hashtags” into their daily tweets to provide specific context. Hashtags make it easy for people who search for updates on a specific topic. It’s like a blog category; it separates your tweet from other irrelevant ones. To use a hashtag, enter the hash symbol and follow it with a relevant keyword. For example, if you’re tweet was about Apple’s latest iPhone 5, incorporating hashtags such as #Apple #iPhone5 would make sense. In most cases, a tweet should only have one to two hashtags. You can always click your hashtag after sending your tweet. This way, you can see other similar tweets with the same hashtags.
Feed: Once you log in to twitter, you’ll realize the Feed is your home page. It’s like any other live newsfeed, except in twitter, it’s constantly providing you with a list of tweets from people you follow.
Many people like to share links in their tweets. As you know by now, tweets are limited to 140 characters or less. So people use URL shorteners to shorten their links.
URL Shortener: Tinyurl (www.Tinyurl.com) and Bit.ly (www.bit.ly) are popular url shortening services. A url shorterner creates a very short url address and it automatically redirects anyone who clicks on them to the original url address. It’s the perfect way to share an article.
Trending: When a term is very popular on Twitter, it’s listed as “trending.” You’ll notice when you log into twitter, the home page has a list of trending terms, and it even lets you view terms trending in certain geographical locations. For example, national holidays or news events are often trending.
Now that you understand the main functionalities of Twitter, here is a guideline for users who want to maximize their Twitter:
1) Build a Following
- Tweet about a topic while it’s popular.
- Reply to someone who tweets you.
- Thank someone for Retweeting you.
- Follow people who provide valuable information.
2) Understand Twitter Etiquette
- Don’t follow people just to gain more followers.
- Unfollowing someone after deciding to follow them is pointless.
- Don’t think like a Spammer, Send out a tweet periodically.
3) Provide Quality Tweets
- Tweet about things that interest you.
- Raise awareness through your tweets.
- Involve others in your tweets.
4) Keep it as short as possible
It’s micro-blogging for a reason. Get straight to the point.
5) Enhance your Tweets with Third-Party Tools such as Tweetdeck, TwitPic, Yfrog, Twtpoll, Nurph and Foursquare
- Tweetdeck helps you manage multiple twitter accounts with other social media networking sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, Google+ and Foursquare.
- Twitpic and Yfrog allow you to send photos and video clips via Twitter.
- Twtpoll engages your followers by providing them with interactive polls.
- Nurph is a chat room used by twitter users.
- Foursquare is one of the best location-based services, connecting it with your Twitter account can bring you lots of geographical attention.
6) Incorporate Hashtags
For example, if your tweet is relevant to Monday Night Football, you can add hashtags such as #NFL #MNF. These types of hashtags can help you reach out to people interested in Monday Night Football. The point of hashtags is to reach out to an audience beyond your current group of followers.
7) Grow your Twitter the Right Way
If you aren’t a celebrity then don’t expect your Twitter to miraculously grow. Think of it as something you created from scratch. It takes time, it takes care and it takes quality. If you approach the situation patiently, I think you’ll be much happier with your results. Use this guideline to get started in the right direction. Follow proper twitter etiquette and you’ll have an impressive twitter account. Remember, it’s about quality not quantity. Don’t focus on how many followers you have, but focus on sending out valuable tweets. Share your knowledge and establish yourself socially. That’s the point of twitter.
The more you tweet, the more you like it and the better you get at it. Practice makes perfect. You can start by following us on Twitter @Helpfil and if you found this article helpful, feel free to send me a tweet @AskKrithic