10 Trusty Twitter Tips

10 Trusty Twitter Tips for Beginners

by Nicholas Tart

If you have a business, you need to be on Twitter. It’s quickly becoming the most effective, most targeted marketing channel on the Internet. But be careful how you use it. I have compiled 10 tips to build your social media brand on Twitter.

1. Open an account.

If you already have an account, proceed to #2. If you don’t, follow these steps to create one:

  1. Go to http://Twitter.com.
  2. Click the ‘Sign up now’ button.
  3. Insert your full name.
    It’s important to use your actual name (i.e. Nick Tart) so other people can find you.
  4. Choose your username.
    Generally, the shorter the better. But you also want it to be recognizable.
  5. Then fill out your password, your real email, the CAPTCHA words and click ‘Create my account’.

After creating your account, Twitter gives you the option to upload your friends’ email addresses to find other people you know. Don’t be afraid. This is a nice tool that Twitter offers.

2. Set up your profile.

Complete your profile information in the ‘Settings’ tab at the top of the page. There are four areas to focus on in this tip.

  1. More Info URL
    Don’t use ‘www.’ (i.e. http://JuniorBiz.com). This reason for this is that the ‘www.’ takes up unnecessary space where your URL is displayed. By keeping this as short as possible, people will be able to see more of your domain. But make sure your site shows up without the ‘www.’ (also referred to as a 301 Redirect).
  2. One Line Bio
    This is the most important piece of your Twitter account. You can simply list keywords that describe you or your website (i.e. “Entrepreneur, business, skier, golfer, student, etc.”) or write one or two sentences with keywords that describe your mission (i.e. “Young people, grownup business! JuniorBiz.com teaches young people how to become entrepreneurs. Student @ Colorado State University.”).
  3. Location
    Important for people to be able to find local users (i.e. Fort Collins, CO). If you don’t use your city and state, it’ll be hard for locals to find and support you as someone from their community.
  4. Background
    Under the ‘Design’ tab you should click ‘Change background image’. You can upload your own image or use a service like freetwitterdesigner.com to customize your background. If you don’t deviate from the standard backgrounds, you’re skipping out on an opportunity to differentiate yourself from the crowd.

3. Communicate.

Talk to, don’t talk at.

  1. @ Replies – visible to everyone.
    These are used to direct a certain Tweet at someone. Simply place ‘@’ in front of their username (i.e. ‘@JuniorBIz’) and they will receive that Tweet in their @ Reply inbox.
  2. Direct Messages – visible to that person only.
    Essentially, a mini email. Go to their profile (i.e. http://twitter.com/juniorbiz) and click ‘message’ on the right.

@ Replies are used more often. In fact, some people don’t check their Direct Messages because spammers use them to send automated messages. Only use DM’s if you want to say something private (i.e. “Hey dude, your site is down.”).

4. Be honest.

People appreciate honesty. Give them what they want. Also, people see through dishonesty. Once you’re dishonest, you’ll lose their trust.

Here are examples of an honest tweet and a common dishonest tweet:

  • Honest
    “I just started this new site for young entrepreneurs. If you have a moment, I appreciate your feedback. http://juniorbiz.com”
  • Dishonest
    “Come join the thousands of subscribers to the world’s best site for young entrepreneurs. http://juniorbiz.com”

5. Be personable.

As a business owner, people want to talk to you. Talk back and be genuine. They want to be able to relate to you. They want to know that they gave their hard-earned money to an actual person who appreciates it. Again, give them what they want.

Similar to being honest, don’t put on a façade for social media. People will respect you for having the courage to display your personality, uncut and blemished.

I’m not sure why, but it’s completely acceptable to tweet about your shortcomings just as much as your achievements. Plus, it’s juicier and people like to read juiciness.

6. Add value.

Adding value to someone’s Twitter feed is the only reason someone will choose to follow you. If you don’t add value, you’re wasting their time. A simple way to add value is to RT the interesting stuff you find on the Internet.

‘RT’ stands for retweet. When you come across an interesting website or tweet, you should RT it (i.e. “RT @juniorbiz 10 Trusty Twitter Tips http://bit.ly/1Jcbkx Good beginners guide for Twitter.”)

RT’ing is a simple way to tell someone that you read their post/tweet and liked it. You don’t have to choose what to say, yet you’ll still make a connection.

Along with adding value, DON’T SPAM! It’s annoying to your followers and Twitter might forever block you from your account. If you’re not sure whether it’s spam, it probably is.

7. Give a lot, take a little.

Avoid tweeting exclusively about yourself. Try to keep a 4:1 ratio. Four tweets linking to another site for every tweet that links to your own. I recently read an article by Chris Brogan and he uses a 12:1 ratio.

Why? By following this rule it ensures that you continue to:

  1. Add value,
  2. Connect with others, and
  3. Don’t get too spammy.

8. Pace your Tweets.

Don’t tweet more than 5 times per day. Some of your followers probably have less than 20 people they are following. So if you Tweet 20 or 30 times a day, you will annoy them. And these are probably the people who read your stuff the most.

Additionally, it’s important to note that you don’t have to update every day. People rarely notice when you don’t update. So don’t worry if you don’t have much time to maintain your Twitter. You should still create your account.

9. Grow followers organically.

Build your followers by following other people. I suggest no more than 20 per day. Some will follow back and some won’t. Other people will find you simply because your account is active.

In fact, when I had less than 100 followers I followed @GuyKawasaki, and my follower count exploded! I’m not sure why but I think people consider you credible when you follow credible people.

Another thing you’ll undoubtedly find scattered throughout Twitter are these spammy tools that promise hundreds of followers overnight. Don’t use them. Sure, your follower count will grow. But your followers will consist of people who only care about their numbers. They won’t care about you or your tweets.

The other side of this argument is that by having lots of followers, real people will find you more credible. Then these people will choose to follow you simply because of your count. Plus it’s easier to find people with lots of followers. I still think it’s dishonest.

10. Utilize tools.

One of the coolest phenomena about Twitter is that people are benefiting from making tools to help other people use Twitter. These are some of the most helpful Twitter tools that you should utilize:

  1. Bit.ly
    Similar but better than tinyurl.com, Bit.ly shortens long URL’s so you can fit links into your tweets. However, this service also tracks the clicks from those links so you can see the results of your tweets. Go to http://bit.ly and create an account.
  2. Twellow
    Twellow.com allows you to search through Twitter users by keywords or location. I’m sure there are lots of sites like this, but this is the one I use. Go to http://twellow.com.
  3. Tweetdeck
    Personally, I’ve never taken the time to set up a Tweetdeck account, but I’ve heard it’s helpful. I know, I’m a hypocrite. Anyway, this service lets you organize the people you’re following into categories so you can read the Tweets from your favorite peeps. Go to http://tweetdeck.com/beta/.
  4. Twitter Search
    Arguably the most useful thing about Twitter. If you want to know what people are saying about a particular topic, just search for it and you’ll get a list of the latest tweets. Go to http://search.twitter.com/ and search a keyword (i.e. ‘young entrepreneurs’).

Conclusion

Keep in mind that these tips are meant for branding you and your company or website. This isn’t necessarily the best way to make money through social media. In fact, I met someone last week who follows very few of these tips and is making $7,000 per month exclusively through Twitter.

If you have any other tips, leave them in the comments below. Or if you disagree with me, I’d love to debate!

If you found this post useful, you should get JuniorBiz by Email.

Image by Paul Snelling

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