Twitter is a great platform for getting more eyeballs to see you blog posts and your other amazing content.
But in order for it to help you, you have to sign up and use it.
Here are 10 Steps to Getting Started with Twitter for Newbies:
1. Go to Twitter.com and sign up. Enter your real name, email and password. On the next screen, pick a username. Click Create My Account. Twitter will now step you through finding your first few accounts to follow, then will ask you to upload a picture (you can skip this step and do it later).
2. Complete your profile. Once you are logged in, click the silhouette image (see graphic – right) in the top menu bar and then Settings, then Profile. On this page, you can upload or change your picture, change your name, plus add a location, website, and bio. You can also choose to Auto Post your Tweets to Facebook(this is not recommended if you Tweet very often).
3. Customize your page. From the Settings menu, click Design to change the background and colors for your profile page. You can choose from a dozen or so premade themes or customize your own.
4. Find some people to follow. Start by clicking Find Friends in your profile to use your email accounts to search for people you already know who may be on Twitter. Follow them, then check out their list of followers and see if any look interesting, and follow them too. Most people follow back those who follow them, so this is an easy strategy to find followers of your own.
5. Familiarize yourself with Twitter terminology. If you are completely new to sending text messages there will be some terms that you don’t understand right away. Don’t panic. You’ll soon get the hang of it. There’s only a few you need to know right off the bat:
- @username sends a message that will appear in that user’s Twitter feed in addition to your own. Use it to send public messages to anyone on Twitter.
- RT stands for Retweet and is the act of reposting content that someone else posted.
- #hashtag allows your Tweet to appear in searches for that term.
- Direct Message (or DM) are messages sent privately, through Twitter, but not on your Twitter feed. You can only DM people who are following you.
6. Set up a Bit.ly account. When you post a link on Twitter, Twitter will automatically shorten it with its built in link shortener – the original link will still appear in your Tweet, but it will only take up 20 characters of your allotted 140. However, if you want to track the clicks that each of your links receives then use a shortener on your links before Tweeting them. Bit.ly is my favorite as it allows you to post Tweets right from your Bit.ly account.
7. Integrate Twitter with your blog.
- Install a plugin like WordTwit to automatically Tweet a link to every post as you publish it.
- Add a link to your new Twitter account in your sidebar and invite people to “Follow You.”
- And, for the advanced users, add a Twitter widget to your sidebar to display Tweets about you or your subject matter right on your blog.
8. Link to your Twitter profile. The more opportunities you give people to find your Twitter profile, the easier you make it for them to follow you. Add a link to your Twitter profile to your other social media profiles, including Facebook and LinkedIn, and to the signature area of your emails. Don’t forget to include your “Twitter handle” (or @username) in your print advertising as well.
9. Add yourself to Twitter directories.There are over 500 million people using Twitter, so finding quality people to follow can be a challenge. This is where Twitter directories can really help you both find new people to follow, and get noticed by new followers. Most are free to join. I use both Twellow and Twiends, although there are many more. Pick a couple and create a listing.
10. Start tweeting! You can Tweet about anything you like, but it is best to pick a couple of topics and then stick to them (your followers will appreciate you for it). Keep your Tweets under the 140-character limit to allow people to re-tweet (RT) and comment on them. Mix up the types of Tweets you post to add interest and include some retweets of others’ content. And remember to have some fun.
Already got the basics covered? Then step it up a notch.
Add some automation. Twitter works best when you spend some personal time replying and responding to conversations in real time. But you can reduce your overall time commitment by automating some of the tasks associated with your Twitter account. There are a number of services available to do this for you, for a small fee. One of my favorites is SocialOomph.com. You can schedule Tweets in advance, automatically follow those who follow you, send Direct Messages, and many other tasks, all automatically.
Make use of bookmarklets. Install the Bit.ly Bitmarklet in your browser toolbar and Tweet directly from any page on the web. Simply highlight some text on the page (like the headline), then click the Bitmark. Bit.ly will prefill your Tweet with the highlighted text and shorten the link for you. Then click Share and choose the Twitter account to post to, and you have become the fastest Twitter-er in the west.