How to Become a Twitter Pro in 10 Short Steps
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told, “I have a Twitter account, but I’m not really active”, or “I forgot my password and never bothered to retrieve it.” The most comical retort was, “with hashtags now on Facebook, what’s the point of Twitter?”. That answer was accompanied by a sharp know-it-all tone and a odd look implying that I was stupid for asking why he wasn’t active on Twitter. Yes, because Twitter’s 200 million strong community has been solely built on the thrill of hashtagging.
If you have no clue about what this site is about, then you should know that Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging site which is used to send and read short 140-character text messages, called “tweets”. As one of the big guys of social media, this one has managed to step away and create a special segment for itself. Even I was late to arrive to the Twitter party, but quickly realized why everyone was so addicted to it.
For beginners, it can be a bit tricky to understand. Here are our tips and tricks for every Twitter newbie. Once you get into the Twitter zone, its hard to step out.
1. Set Up House
Once you register yourself to get started, you can customize the standard profile picture, background etc. Out of everything the most important would be coming up with a relevant description about yourself. Sonam Kapoor’s bio reads, “a female actor who lives to eat and read in that order”, Ellen DeGeneres went for, “Comedian, talk show host and ice road trucker. My tweets are real, and they’re spectacular.” and Narendra Modi with a simple, “Prime Minister of India”. You get the idea. Ideally it should be a clear message to potential followers about what to expect from your tweets.
2. “Um, but what do I tweet about?”
Remember a couple of years back fresh on Facebook, every single thought/action became a Facebook status. That was before we realized that those posts were only being read by our friends and family. This is where Twitter steps in. As a Micro-“Blogging”site, it’s a space where it’s not only acceptable but you’re actually encouraged to write freely (within 140 characters, of course). It’s a lot about personal branding, your true ideas and interests come out to play. Here you can use your voice and interact with new people.
3. Follow, Reply, Favourite, Retweet
That’s all there is to it. To break it down: Retweeting is sharing with your followers a post you’ve liked. By Favourite-ing, you can create an archive of the tweets you’ve liked, without them showing up on your feed. Lastly, follow accounts which seem like you’d like reading everyday. Here, instead of simply following a publication, you can use the search tab and look for your favourite columnist. Next thing you know you’ve started a debate with them about their last article.
4. Sticking to 140 Characters
Since the worldwide standard length of SMS was 160-characters, the founders of Twitter thought they’d stay well within that number. Is it mandatory to stick to 140 characters? No, not really. Though a long tweet is broken up and link leads you to a new page. Your followers wouldn’t appreciate that, they’d rather have the whole bite in one go. Don’t worry, while learning the art of tweeting, you tend to get used to the art of shortening sentences and getting straight to the point.
5. Loosen Up
“Having a private Twitter account is like owning a shop, but not letting anyone buy stuff from it.” You can imagine the number of times that was retweeted. The main point of Twitter is to get conversations started with complete strangers. How is that going to ever happen unless you allow them to scan through your profile?
6. Basic Etiquette
Also known as, “How Not to be Annoying on Twitter”. Like every major social media, Twitter has it’s own rules for socially accepted behaviour. One of them is that you have to give credit where credit is due. When retweeting, use RT followed by the originators Twitter handle, and then the tweet you’ve copied. Also, while a healthy debate on Twitter is appreciated, don’t use the forum to vent your frustrations. You cannot build a healthy community of followers if you’re constantly arguing or criticizing.
7. Combining Your Social Media
Every Social Media has its particular function, so don’t muddle them up. Clicked a beautiful picture? Share it on Instagram. Want to connect with an old friend? Search on Facebook. Have something to say to no one is particular? Type it out on Twitter. Managing social media can get tough, luckily we have several apps which help out. Hootsuite is our favourite pick; it allows you to create a single dashboard for all accounts, schedule posts and get an analysis of the number of profile visitors.
8. The Difference Between a Mention and a Reply
If you simply mention a Twitter handle within a tweet, it shows up on your feed and is visible to your followers. But if y0u start a tweet using someone’s Twitter handle you’re directly responding to them. Only you and that person, along with the few people that follow the two will be able to see the tweet.
9. Top Twitter Apps
There are several apps which would make your Twitter life similar. Choose between Tweet Lanes, Tweetings, Twicca, Twiddle, Robird etc. These apps customize and put the experience you enjoy to the forefront. There are stories of people finding love, job and friends on Twitter. Its an open forum which may be right up your alley, you might not know it.
10. How to Use Hashtags
#Never #EVER #Like #this. To reiterate what the purpose of hashtags really is – it hyperlinks your post to other posts which are tagged under the same characters. So for example, if you’re attending a concert you can check out the tag #ColdplayTour2014 and you’ll see everything other people attending the same concert might’ve posted. Or before visiting a new restaurant, to get an idea about what the place might be like you could hashtag its name and get real user reviews. If you hashtag commonly used words (#like #this), it is only going to link you to other idiots who would’ve done the same.
If you haven’t already, check out this hilarious skit by Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon on using hashtags: