One of my favourite things is introducing people to Twitter. It’s not naturally intuitive and even most die-hard Twitter fans have had the ‘What’s the point?’ moment.
Your best bet is to do some reading, get some face-to-face time with a Twitter pro, ask LOTS of questions and then just start experimenting. Like anything, it’ll get easier and if you practice.
If you stay committed, focus on conversations, you’ll most likely find Twitter an awesome resource and a place to share your insights and questions with like-minded people. Remember that tweets are snapshots of conversations so you can join at any moment.
Start your Twitter journey well by following these tips:
1. Add a clear, friendly photo of your face
Unless you are a brand or an organisation, in which case you might choose your logo as a profile picture, it’s best to choose a clear headshot as your profile picture. Twitter is a social network, so be open about your identity - it’ll be easier for others to converse, recognise and remember you if they can see your face. I learned this at my first Tweetup ShoreditchTwit where after chatting to organiser Kate Matlock, realised that others couldn’t recognise me from my Twitter photo (a blurred photo of me in a wig, don’t ask ;). This is especially important if you intend to network offline.
2. Include a keyword-rich bio
Your bio needs to clearly communicate who you are and what you’re interested in, while including relevant keywords so others can find you. The bio is often the first thing a potential follower sees so choose your words carefully - and don’t forget to add humor and personality! WeFollow is a great place to get your brain thinking in terms of bio keywords. Here are a few of my fave Twitter bios: Composer Stuart Wood, Online PR expert Leanne Rinning, Bar and drinks consultant Paul Matthew.
3. Use Twitter to aggregate content you already read
Are there any journalists or bloggers that particularly resonate with you? What magazines or newspapers do you like to read? Are there any industry experts or public figures that you admire? What organisations do you support? Also do you have entertaining friends who use Twitter? Whether you are a brand or an individual, answer these questions before deciding who to follow and why. Your Twitter needs to include voices and content relevant to YOU to keep you coming back. Failing to do this is a major reason people quit Twitter after starting.
4. Check and respond to your @ mentions
Do you compulsively check your Facebook notifications or emails? Be honest, we all do! Checking your mentions on Twitter is very similar - it is your means of knowing if someone has publicly addressed you. Maybe they are sharing a link with you or asking a question. Be responsive to mentions and think of how you could add value or express gratitude in a tweet. A ‘thank you’ goes a long way and is the easiest way to start an online relationship with someone. I used to tweet (@ mention) a journalist friend who never checked or responded her @ mentions, until I approached her in person! Ignoring mentions not only defeats the purpose of Twitter but also gives someone a reason to disengage with you.
5. Mix up your tweets with retweets, replies, pictures
When starting Twitter a lot of people don’t know what to say. The easiest thing to do is read what other people are tweeting. If you agree with a statement or find a link interesting or compelling, retweet! It’s ideal to drop in a short compliment or insight before the RT like this.
Replying is even more important (and satisfying) than retweeting because conversations should be central to your Twitter experience. Yesterday I was having a conversation with a former colleague of mine about Google +, in which I replied to her insight. Reply to someone with an open ended question and you are likely to get a response.
Tweeting pictures is great way to enhance your Twitter stream and attract significantly more hits than links. Use Twitter’s own photosharing abilities or Twitter photosharing applications like Twitpic, Instagram or Yfrog.
If you have any questions please reply to me at @hassanmirza