Social Media: the basics of Twitter

Twitter is a fast paced, easy way to connect with friends, followers, brands and like minded people. I think it is often the scariest social media platform to start. It is very different than other platforms. You may be wondering why you should be on Twitter. Here's what you need to know:

Twitter Pros:

  • Easy way to have quick conversations and meet new people.
  • Great way to network with bloggers and brands.
  • Fun way to share information (but don't flood everyone with your own links).
  • Having twitter followers shows brands and advertisers you are someone they should pay attention to.
  • Great way to learn new things. You'll find wonderful tutorials, blogs, websites and news. If you're on twitter when a major even happens you'll know before the news anchors. 

Twitter Cons:

  • It takes time to figure out.
  • It is fast paced and often seems like you're missing so much.
  • It can feel like everyone is just trying to sell their own product/blog (but this is definitely not always the case).
  • It takes time. It's hard to be on every social media platform.

Decided to take the leap? Here's a few tips to get you started in the crazy twitter world:

  • Each user has a username that begins with the @ symbol. If you sign up to be @MissMuffett then anyone who puts "@missmuffett" in their tweet is linking to you. And you'll be able to know they're talking about you.
  • Starting a tweet with an @twitterhandle (put a real twitter name there) will be tweeting directly to that person. HOWEVER, anyone who follows both you and @twitterhandle will have the tweet in their feed. This is not private.
  • RT means retweet. If you like something you can retweet it to your followers. It is common to respond to a question by retweeting and putting your answer before the RT. For example, if I tweet "How are you today?" and you want to respond you can retweet like this "I'm feeling stupendous RT @thetraintocrazy How are you today?" Most twitter clients/apps allow easy retweeting. Incidentally, MT means modified tweet.
  • You can tweet right from twitter.com or download a twitter app like hootsuite (which I use). It allows you to manage your tweets, schedule tweets, etc. Very useful.
  • Hashtags (#) have two uses. 
  1. Use a hashtag to include your tweet with other like tweets. When tweeting about sewing you might want to include #sewing at the end of your tweet so anyone searching #sewing can see your tweet
  2. Use a hashtag to make a funny runon sentence. It's common to see someone tweet something like, "I spilled ketchup all over my shirt. #ididntlikethatoneanyway"

Everyone has their own pros & cons of twitter. It isn't for everyone, by any means. It takes time and, let's face it, we're all in short supply of that. If you're serious about growing your blog as a business though, I recommend you join. Stop by on Mondays for Social Media Friends to find new people to follow and get more followers yourself!

Are you on Twitter? I'd love to know why or why not. Anything to add here?

Comments

  1. Cherie says

    Thanks for the overview and tips!! I don’t know anything about twitter (and I certainly don’t need another reason to be glued to my phone/computer), but it’s certainly good to know about/consider!!

  2. Catherine @ Cat on a Limb says

    For a long time I’ve resisted joining Twitter. I always thought, well, I have Facebook and my blog, it’s going to take way too much time and the character restraint is just silly. But just a few days ago another blog I follow wrote a post about how the communication and interaction directly on blogs is decreasing, and it’s moving over to the social media platforms. It’s definitely something I’ve noticed, and I want to have more interaction with my readers and with the larger blogging community.
    So, with your helpful post (since I had no idea what the RT, MT thing was about), I think I’m going to take the plunge and join up! I’ll just have to be disciplined and not spend too much time on it. :)

  3. Pam says

    Thanks for sharing this, Andrea!!! I signed up for Twitter, but have done nothing with it so far… laziness to do the research to find out how it works. I definitely have 10 minutes a day, so no excuses. I suppose I’ll just have to jump in, try your tips and see what happens. If I’m sinking, I’ll know where to come for help. I would love you to share this post with my readers, via our Ongoing Link Party that’s just for Blog Tips.