My Top Twitter Tips

My blogging career took a decided turn when I started hanging out on Twitter.

Regarding all social media, you should hang out where your potential readers are. If they’re on Twitter, it’s a good place to be. Here are some tips.

my top twitter tips

The Basics

Beyond the Basics

basics

Dive in

One of the most common things I hear from people who are new to Twitter is confusion about how to use Twitter. It’s sort of intimidating at first, but I the best way to figure it out is to jump right in. You might want to observe for a while, but don’t be afraid to go for it. Look for a hashtag that interests you or find a blogger you know and watch what they do.
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Use & follow hashtags

  • Hashtags provide a loose way of organizing tweets so you can follow what others are saying about a particular topic. They are indicated by a pound (#) sign.
  • Using appropriate hashtags yourself puts your tweet in front of the people who are most likely to respond. To use a hashtag, simply include it somewhere in your tweet. Just make sure it’s on topic. In other words, don’t include #recipe if your tweet is not about a recipe.
  • You can find hashtags by searching a site like hashtags.org, but personally, I just take note of the hashtags the people I’m following are using.
  • Click on a hashtag to see all the tweets in that stream.

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Schedule Twitter time

Like all social media, Twitter can be a major time suck. Schedule Twitter time and stick to it. Otherwise, your time will be whittled away slowly and your productivity will decrease significantly. I think 15 minutes a day is a good place to start.
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Be strategic

Once you’ve determined when you’ll be on Twitter, determine beforehand what you’ll do once there. How long will you be on? What hashtags will you read? Decide which of your posts you’ll tweet., etc.
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Keep your following/follower ratio under control

If you’re following 10,000 people, but only 5 people are following you, it makes you looks (a) desperate or (b) like a spammer. So, don’t go crazy with following.
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Be helpful

Offer useful tips or answer questions thoughtfully. Give more than you take. Don’t let your stream be the one that’s all about promoting your own stuff.
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Grab attention

Ask questions or link to great resources. “How to…” or “10 Tips…” seem to work especially well. Experiment. See what works for you.
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Want more followers?

Be helpful and engaging. Also, follow first.
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Keep ‘em short

Short tweets are easier to read and are therefore more likely to attract attention. Also, short tweets are easier to retweet. There needs to be enough room for a retweeter to leave their username and/or commentary so keeping your tweet to 120 characters or less is ideal.
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Post tweets at the right time

Think about the type of people most likely to appreciate your tweet and think about when they are most likely to be on Twitter. Post your tweets then. For example, if your target audience includes working moms, try posting at lunchtime when they might be on a break or in the evening after kids are in bed.
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Don’t spam

This goes without saying, but if you want people to trust you, be trustworthy.
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beyond the basics twitter

Know who will see your tweets

Did you know that if you start a tweet with the @ symbol, it will only show up in the Twitter timelines of you, the person you’re @-ing and the people who follow both of you? It’s true. Of course sometimes this comes in handy, but if you want all of your followers to see your tweet, start with other words or .@ instead.
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Does your Twitter social sharing button include your username?

If you have a Twitter sharing button at the end of your posts, make sure your Twitter handle gets automatically inserted when someone shares on Twitter. For example, if you click the Twitter button at the end of this post, you’ll see this:

twitter username

Note how my Twitter username/handle @AmyLynnAndrews is automatically inserted into the tweet? This is important, otherwise, people won’t know where the link came from and you won’t be notified when someone shares your stuff. I see many, many sites on which this is broken. Check yours! If you need a plugin that does this, try Social Sharing Toolkit.
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How to find people to follow

  • Find a #hashtag where your potential readers might be. Skim through the tweets and start following people that look real and legitimate.
  • Find someone that has a blog similar to yours. Follow their followers. Obviously, these are the people who are interested in what they have to say. Therefore, it’s likely they might be interested in what you have to say too. Find someone’s followers by going to their profile and clicking “followers” under their profile picture. You can easily follow people from there.

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Take part in Twitter chats

A Twitter chat happens when a group of people with a similar interest (writing, horses, etc.) all hang out on Twitter at a preset time. There is usually a predetermined topic and a host who keeps things moving. It’s difficult to explain, but suffice it to say, it’s a good way to find others who have similar interests as you and can be a great networking tool. There are a lot of chats mentioned in these posts. Chats come and go, so these might not be 100% up to date.

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How to add commentary to your retweets

I generally tweet directly from Twitter. One of the things I don’t like about the web interface is that you can’t easily add commentary when you retweet someone else’s post. But if you use Chrome, there’s an extension for that. It’s called Classic Retweet (here’s a Firefox version). It adds this option in Twitter:

retweet

When you click it, the cursor is automatically placed at the beginning of the tweet and you’re able to easily add your own commentary:

retweet window
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Add tweetables to your posts

Highlight some of the funny, pithy or helpful quotes in your posts and make them tweetable with a tool called ClickToTweet. Not only does it make it very easy for your readers to tweet your post, it also allows you to specify what they tweet.
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