Many times, I’ve had someone say to me, “I have no idea what to do on or how to use Twitter.” And I get it. Twitter, while it seems oh-so-simple, is full of things like # and RT and mentions and DM’s. And how do you find people to follow? And how do you get people to follow you?
Thinking about this, I decided to find a Twitter Goddess that everyone knew and loved, and who would give out their best advice to anyone searching to make Twitter work for them. I knew I wanted Jennifer from @TheNextMartha, who has been my Twitter idol just about from day 1. From adding flames to her pic for the Rapture, to creating the #StormMeat hashtag and then vlog, to tweets that make me wish I had done more Kegels, she is pure awesomeness in 140 characters or less.
Her post breaks down Twitter – for beginners to people looking to just get a little more involved:
I wrote a post once about becoming a rockstar on twitter. I got quite a few comments saying that it wasn’t beginner enough.
The natural thing would be to write another post. But I didn’t.
When Diana asked for a guest post on the topic, I slowly raised my hand.
I am not claiming to be a twitter expert by any means. This is just my 2 years worth of experience.
So here we go. Back to Jan 29, 2009. The day I joined twitter.
It was actually my husband that suggested that I join twitter.
“You should join twitter”
“It’s a social networking site”
“Um, so what do I need that for?”
“I don’t know. I think you might like it”
I usually don’t take his advice but I did this time.
I wonder if he ever regrets that (looks over to pile of laundry).
Fill ‘er Up
You join twitter guess what you see? Nothing. You don’t even know what you are supposed to see.
So there is the “stream” or “home” page. It starts off empty. You must “follow” people to get it filled for reading.
Who should you follow? Start with your interests in life.
“Stay at home mom, working mom, donuts, cloth diapers, nachos, gardening, choco taco’s, shoe laces, naps, paint cans, homeschooling, burning bras”
No matter what you type into it? There WILL be something that comes up.
Even for burning bras. Especially for burning bras.
I started following gifted related people because it’s hard to talk to your average friend about your genius kid.
Just type your interest into the “search” box.
Scroll over the tweets that come up. Pick those that are the most interesting. Follow those people.
You can then go to their stream and try to find out who they talk too. I did a lot of that in the beginning.
If you already follow blogs or sites regularly, you might notice that they have their twitter “Follow me” buttons displayed on their home page. Go ahead and click those too.
I got Nothing to Say
And that’s ok. Not everyone is a tweet generator. Sometimes it’s just fun to sit back and watch conversations. Like eaves dropping, but public. But, if you never tweet, it’s sort of creepy and people don’t like to follow creepy.
I want to tweet, but how?
Don’t get into some mind game that everything you say has to be earth shattering.
Sometimes it’s “I would run naked through the office if I could get a donut for it”
Or sometimes it’s just “Um, today sucks”
Either way it’s you. Just be you. Unless you suck. Then just stick to facebook.
Let’s get this Conversation Started
I tweeted for 6 months before I knew what “Mentions” was. I knew that I could reply to people and their tweets, but I didn’t know that their replies back were called “mentions”
Don’t make that mistake. That is how you miss your opportunity to be social.
Everyone on twitter wants the same thing. To be recognized, agreed with, or laughed at.
Building conversations by becoming an excellent listener and replier first is the way to go.
What the RT, Favorite and #Hash tag?
A RT is short for Re-tweet. If something pops up in your stream that is just awesome, it’s a way of passing it along to your followers. I generally will RT something that reflects my humor or I think is great information. If you really love something you can give them a favorite “star.” Some people (myself included) will also use the favorite feature to mark something that I want to read later.
Hash tags are a way for a group of people to communicate. If you click on any hash tag (#), all tweets with that hash tag will come up. Twitter parties use these. There is also a sub-use for hash tags to add an extra something to the end of a tweet.
I’m watching #Greys tonight and man ‘o man is Dr. Mc Dreamy hot.
–In this case if you click on #Greys you will find everyone talking about that show using that hash tag.
“I’d watch Grey’s anatomy but my husband is out of town. #ColdShowerNeeded
–In this case it’s just a humor add on. Some people are annoyed by this. I don’t care. When done properly, I love it.
Who ya gonna follow back?
At some point (even right away) you’ll get people following you. You may or may not have followed them first. For me, I look at their profile, bio, and tweets to decide if I’m going to follow them back. If there are excessive links, tweets about selling me denture cream or RT’s I will probably pass them up. I generally have a “if they talk to me, I will follow them back” rule.
In the end, people engage on twitter for various reasons. Some build businesses, provide news, offer contests, or just add some much needed humor to your day.
I love twitter. The people, stories, support, laughs and even the tears have all added to my life in ways I would not have thought possible.
So get in there and get tweeting. If you’re lucky, you’ll even gain a few friends along the way.