If you’re completely new to Twitter, I’ll help you kick off your account so you get a good start. Here are my top 10 tips to help you get started on the right tweet. Note: these are just tips for getting your tweet wet! (Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun.) We’ll be doing blow-by-blow, this-is-what-it-looks-like a bit later:
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Like any new social media: Set priorities and the time you’re willing to spend DAILY. If it’s only ten minutes, that’s fine. Better set and stick to short bursts of time than get overwhelmed and/or sucked into hours of watching the tweets stream by!
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Choose your Twitter handle wisely! If you’re goal is to build your brand’s name recognition, then tweet using the business name (such as ‘Susan Doe is @CompanyName’). This is where you type in your personal name in the user setup (First Name, Last Name) after choosing your @CompanyName handle. Users will understand you are a person tweeting on behalf of the brand. If you are the brand, use your own name in Title Case as your handle (‘@SusanDoe’). You can find me @MarciaMacomber.
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Complete your 160 character biography immediately. You can change it any time. But you will discourage potential followers from following you if they don’t know your interests (or your brand’s interests/goals) that display with your bio. Consider using what’s in your Facebook About field for now if you’re stumped for ideas.
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Profile photos of a person (a closeup, as opposed to a full body shot) are infinitely better than simply using a logo when possible. (You’ll note that for myself I have combined my headshot with a slightly watermarked Cornucopia Creations’ logo in the background.) Do not NOT upload a photo to use. The default ‘egg’ placeholder image is dreadful to show the public. Visit Twitter’s How To Change Your Profile Picture or Information page for details on completing your photo and background information.
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Add a custom Twitter background. Sure, you can use one of a few dozen default Twitter backgrounds, but if you’re operating as your brand, you want it to match your Facebook timeline page, your website and other custom collateral. While followers may not visit your Twitter home page frequently, like any other visual advertising, they will understand your brand message far better if it’s consistent across all the platforms you use. (When necessary, customizing your background can wait a few days if you’re dying to jump into tweeting.) Cornucopia Creations will be happy to create a custom Twitter background for you or your business, if you like! Just ask.
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Start by using Twitter to find folks to follow. BUT… Switch to Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to manage your account once you get going. (We’ll get into the whys and wherefores later.)
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How do you follow other tweeters? If you know their Twitter handles, simply type in @Name in the Search box at the top of your Twitter page. Results should display the person’s (or brand’s) name. Click the Follow button for that user. An alternative method I strongly recommend for finding tweeters to follow (and hopefully follow you) is to use your top keywords to search for folks to follow. Upon searching, scroll through the results of those keyword searches for potential users to follow. To learn more about each one, click on their name to jump to their profile page. More on this in a future article. Use’s Twitter’s How to Find People on Twitter for step-by-step instructions and further ideas.
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Don’t forget to add a Twitter app your mobile phone!
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Spend considerable time listening and lurking before beginning to tweet. Learn the language and what is and isn’t successful in starting conversations. (After all, you’ve only got 140 characters and should really only use 120 or less anyway. It’s microblogging at its shortest!) This will go a long ways towards forming your ideas on a Twitter strategy to achieve your goals on this platform.
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Joining a Twitter conversation for the first time is not unlike showing up at a cocktail party and not knowing a soul. Yes, you should use good etiquette waiting for the appropriate moment to butt in and introduce yourself. Yes, it’s safer and more polite to begin talking about a topic already in the conversation and not to just begin telling everyone all about me, me, me, me, me! Yes, listening for awhile before offering a few nuggets of your own opinion shows good manners. The fastest way to get unfollowed is to talk only about yourself!
I’ve purposely left out the screenshot-by-screenshot steps since the links within this list provide the step-by-step instructions for getting started. We’ll tackle the jargon, such as retweets and hashtags next.