There are many, many Twitter Guides out there, some are just one person’s preferences, based on nothing much, but this is one is based on nine years extensive use.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Twitter is about making new friends and building relationships. Its not about banging out cheap marketing messages.
Answer these questions: Why are you using Twitter? What are you hoping to accomplish? What could you accomplish?
Use a photo of YOU as your avatar. You. That’s who we came to see. That’s who we want to talk to. An open, friendly smile and eyes that you can trust will increase your followers more than any other single factor. (There are extensive psychological studies that show the importance of faces in creating trust.)
Fill out your bio. It’s OK to be witty, but not at the expense of clarity. We need to know who you are and not just what you do.
Link to your website.
The rest of your profile settings are personal preference, but I strongly recommend you don’t protect your tweets unless you really, really have somebody out there you don’t want seeing your stuff. And if you do, maybe a public network isn’t the best place to hang out.
[pullquote]Use a photo of YOU as your avatar[/pullquote]
Manual good, automated bad. It’s OK to schedule a few tweets, (very few) but don’t automate DMs that ask people to like your Facebook Page or buy your stuff.
No-body cares how many new followers un/followers you had this week so look out for automated apps that tweet this stuff without you knowing – it just makes you look lame.
Spelling, grammar and punctuation count. Take a moment to write the perfect tweet. It’s always worth the effort.
There’s an important difference between crediting others for their work (courtesy) and using retweets to let the world know that somebody noticed you (noise/egotism).
Don’t be a MEtweeter.
Engage, engage, engage. Repeat.
Want to know how not to get somebody to follow you? Ask them to.
If you tweet interesting / useful stuff that is not just about you, followers will come.
Behave in the manner with which you wish to be treated, and write about the subjects you wish to discuss.
All the ‘get more followers’ systems are complete garbage. Don’t waste your time or (in some cases) money. Mass following and autofollowing gives you a large but empty network of eternal strangers, none of whom are paying the slightest bit of attention to you.
Strive for 100 true fans, and be remarkable. The rest will take care of itself.
Avoid text speak – if you can’t squeeze a proper sentence into a tweet, try again.
Don’t send people automated ‘welcome!’ direct messages when they start following you and never respond with a sales message. Most people hate that stuff and will unfollow you in a heartbeart.
You don’t have to follow back everyone who follows you.
You don’t have to say thank you for every re-tweet. It just adds to the noise.
Share your blog posts but don’t get too salesy. Craft the hook carefully. “My latest blog post” doesn’t cut it.
Remember no-body ever joined a social network to be sold to so make your posts interesting and useful to your followers.
If you’re retweeting somebody else, always credit them. And by them, I mean the original tweeter – don’t go mad trying to squeeze everybody and their auntie in.
Even for the Twitter elite, the level of engagement measured by click-throughs and retweets is incredibly low. So relax, and remember it’s all about your long game.
[pullquote]Keep your audience in mind always – don’t bore them[/pullquote]
Use Twitter lists to organise the people you follow into useful groups and make it easier to keep up.
Use HootSuite or Tweetdeck and try different apps for your phone until you find one that you like.
Regularly check and clear out any dubious applications authorised in your Twitter profile. Some of them tweet on your behalf and you won’t even notice.
Become a Twitter search kung fu master.
Make Twitter a part of your life, but don’t make your life a part of Twitter. There’s a difference between being social and being too personal.
Twitter is a work in progress, and that includes the platform itself and the way that we all use it. Everything is constantly changing but when you’re using it its easy to keep up.
If you’d like to talk about how to grow your business, get in touch or say hello on Twitter @AnnHawkins!
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