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5 Twitter Tips For Newbies and Casual Users

August 16, 2010

Here are 5 Twitter tips to make your early days with the social media giant easier. Twitter allows you to microblog in 140 characters or less. Along with Facebook, Twitter is one of the most popular social media sites to date. There are many differences between the two, but in general, Twitter is like Facebook on steroids. Twitter is not like writing to your high school or college friends on Facebook, so many Twitter followers aren’t going to be interested in the trivial things happening in your life. You should provide value. Hopefully after reading this, you’ll have a better Twitter experience.

1. Twitter Basics – The first thing I suggest you do is to read the post 10 Tips on How to Become a Twitter VIP. It’s not about becoming Twitter royalty in the quantity of followers, but in the quality of your tweets. Also, your Twitter page is your business card, and this will guide you transforming it from the default settings. For the most traffic, send out tweets during a couple of the peak hours of 9 AM, 12 noon, 3 PM and 6 PM US eastern time, as well as those times in your time zone.

2. Twitter Clients – Consider using TweetDeck, HootSuite or Seesmic to filter through the Twitter noise. With these desktop and web-based clients (HootSuite calls itself a dashboard), you can add columns of groups to track streams of followers of a particular interest, similar to the lists of Twitter’s web client, only you can follow them simultaneously alongside your replies and direct messages (DMs) with a refresh rate as fast as every 10 seconds (watch out for your API though) . You can even send out scheduled tweets to keep a presence while away for the day, week, or month. This is perfect for sending out tweets during peak hours. If you have a Facebook or LinkedIn account it’s fine to use one of the above clients to update, but each one should be tailored for its targeted audience. TweetDeck, HootSuite and Seesmic also have mobile apps. By the way, there are many tools out there that give you statistics about your Twitter account, just be cautious to whom you give access to your account.

3. Twitter Collaboration – You can keep track of your favorite tweeps (Twitter peeps) with columns of groups or lists. Once you’ve built a rapport with a few people, you can retweet (RT or /via) each other’s personal tweets with links to one another’s blog posts, sites, Facebook or LinkedIn pages, etc. This is a great way to mutually get more traffic. I prefer the classic way of retweeting. If someone RTs your RT, you get mentioned. With the newer method, if someone RTs your RT, you don’t get mentioned, so no one sees that you are part of the chain. You essentially cheat yourself out of further exposure, and potential new followers.

4. Tweet Content – Give your followers top quality content to keep their interest. Don’t tweet about random things. Tweet mostly about subjects related to your field, which should be correlated with your Twitter handle. You can also share other subjects that you feel is relavent to your followers, i.e. trending topics. If people like it they’ll retweet it! You might also occasionally see the # sign in front of words, i.e. #FollowFriday, #TravelTuesday, #photo or #quote. These are called hashtags, and they help others search for tweets about these keywords, or follow those twittering about them. You should use at least one on a daily basis.

5. Twitter Etiquette – Manners translate the same way in any medium. Be respectful to others, and refrain from obscenities. Since your tweets are available for all to see, please keep conversations short for two reasons. First of all, time is money, and many people have work to do, so don’t take up too much of their time since they’d like to engage others as well. Second, Twitter is not for instant messaging. Your followers don’t want to read a multiple tweet conversation you’re having with one or more people. If you need to communicate for more than 3 tweets, send direct messages (DMs).

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