My Blog

Twitter for Beginners

November 5, 2014

Twitter can be an amazing tool for networking and building a name for yourself, but I’ve had so many conversations with people who are starting new careers and are intimidated by it. I’m hoping this will help with that.

Below is a summary of my HackerYou Show & Tell presentation from Week 1 of the course. These are the frequently asked questions or overheard comments I’ve gathered with my answers.

Problem 1: “I don’t have anything to tweet about!”

This is a common problem people raise, especially people who are relatively new to an industry and don’t feel that they have anything valuable to contribute. I have one thing to say to you:

Community-Jeff-wrong

You should be using your Twitter profile as a public face for your personal brand. Share articles, videos, tips and tools you come across IRL throughout your day. Join conversations that are already happening. Tweet personal anecdotes or photos to show you’re not a robot. Share updates on what you’re working on, even if you’re not an expert, tweeting your progress will show that you are able to learn, adapt and grow. The more you tweet, the easier it will get.

Problem 2: “But I don’t know the difference between a hashtag and a handle!”

  • Hashtag: Think of the hashtag as a way to participate in a conversation. If everyone who talked about pie added the hashtag #pie to their tweets, then pie lovers around the world could search for the hashtag #pie and see all of the pie conversations and engage with fellow pie lovers. Huzzah.
  • Handle: Twitter handles are your Twitter name, so if you wanted to have a conversation with me, you would add @moyamiller to your tweet, that is all there is to it.

Problem 3: “What are these Reply, Retweet and Favorite buttons and how should I use them?”

  • Reply: If you want to send a message to someone, you would use the “Reply” button and include their handle at the beginning of your tweet. NOTE: people often start a tweet with a Twitter handle and then wonder why none of their followers saw the tweet, this is because if you @Reply someone it will only be visible to people who follow both you and the person you mentioned. In order for the message to be seen by all of your followers, you have to add a character in front of the @ symbol, most people use “.” Example below:

This tweet will only be visible to followers of both @EmiliaKathleen and @WhatMakesAMan_:

emilia1

This tweet will be visible to all of Emilia’s followers (note the “.”):

emilia2

(side note – you should definitely check out What Makes A Man – amazing website by Emilia!)

  • Retweet: If you like a tweet that someone else has written and want to share it with your followers, hit the Retweet button, it will re-distribute the tweet to the followers on your feed
  • Favorite: I think the Favorite button is totally underrated. Think of it as a high-five or a thumbs up, if you see someone has written a great tweet, or shared something useful, you don’t always want to Retweet that out to all of your followers, so hit the “Favorite” button to let them know you liked it

Problem 4: “How do I get Followers? Cause I want ALL OF THE FOLLOWERS!!!”

Followers will happen organically over time. Think of the old adage “If you build it, they will come.” That totally applies here, the more interesting and vocal you are on Twitter, the more people will want to follow you.

And don’t follow all of the internet, it looks really bad if you’re following 100000 people and have 5 followers in return. Try to keep your following/follower ratio to a similar number.

Problem 5: “The number of Tweets is overwhelming! How do I keep track of everything?

I would recommend free tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. They allow you to set up streams based on filters like hashtags, search terms, handles or lists, you can even tweet directly from these platforms, so it totally eliminates the need to visit twitter.com.

And that’s how you do the Twitter. Questions? Comments? Ask below!

And Follow Me :)

Images via: Twitter bird created by me, GIF via Sporadic Reads

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