A friend of mine has just set up a Twitter account so I wrote him an email with some instructions on how to get the most from it.
Thinking some of the advice might prove useful to others, I genericised it and re-posted it here.
Dunno how well you know Twitter – if I’m teaching Granny to suck eggs, apologies but if you are a noob, read on…!
- Start off by posting a few innocuous posts – “trying out Twitter”, “Recently moved to Vancouver, anyone here from Vancouver?”, and some stuff introducing yourself your interests & why you’re using Twitter, e.g. “I hope to learn more about cleantech”, that kind of thing.
- Then build up your network. Start with your friends you know to be on Twitter. Start following them. But also look at the list of people they are following. You may know some of them too, if so, add them to the list of people you follow too.
- If you precede someone’s username with the @ symbol in a post on Twitter (i.e. “@tomraftery how is it going?”) then your post appears in the Reply tab on their Twitter page. This works whether they are following you or not. When you @reply to someone, they are likely to check out your profile and may decide to follow you. This is a very powerful way to build up your network with people who don’t necessarily know you but with whom you want to connect.
- Check out the TwitterGrader page for your area, for instance, if you are based in Andalucia, in the south of Spain, like me, check the TwitterGrader page for Andalucia and you’ll find some interesting people you may want to connect to, to get into the local scene.
- Follow some of the people there, check who they are following and talking to (@ replying to) and consider following them too.
- Sidenote: if you precede someone’s username with “d ” (i.e. “d tomraftery how is it going?”) this sends a private message only to them – called a direct message or DM. You can only send DMs to people who have chosen to follow you.
- Also, don’t be shy about asking your friends to pimp you to their followers!
- On the computer – download & install Adobe AIR (if you don’t already have it installed). Then use either Twhirl or TweetDeck for posting/reading posts. I prefer TweetDeck. The Twitter web interface is still prob the best for checking people’s profiles and seeing who they follow.
- On the iPod Touch/iPhone use Twitterfon, on Blackberry I hear Twitterberry is good and
- On any other phone use dabr.co.uk – a web based mobile Twitter client
- Always remember, if you @reply someone looking to get their attention or hoping they will follow you, they will likely click through to check out your Twitter page. There are many bots on Twitter so to weed out real/interesting users from bots I always look at a persons most recent posts to see what they are talking about (if their posts are all links to one site, forget it!), I look at the number of people they follow vs the number of people following them. If they are following 1,000 say and have very few followers, it is a sure sign that they are a bot who just auto-followed lots of people.
- I also check out what the person says about themselves in the bio and click on their site, if they have one.
- If you want people to follow you, then ensure your updates are not protected. Someone coming to your Twitter page and seeing Protected Updates is very unlikely to decide to follow you.
- Purely a personal preference, but I think it is far better to use your own name on your Twitter account than some handle. It is a matter of personal branding but to my mind, a Twitter account called @JohnDoe tells me more about the user than @stargazr49!
- Finally, a photo is also very important on your account, be sure to add one to your profile
- BONUS EXTRA TIP!!! – Use your Twitter username everywhere – add it to your email sig, put it on your business cards, leave it in blog comments – don’t spam, just do it where appropriate.
Then, using Twitter:
Hope some of that is useful!
If there are any other tips I missed out on, feel free to add them in the comments…
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