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Twitter 101: A Beginner's Guide
Posted on February 23rd 2013
Following the success of last week’s ‘LinkedIn 101: A Beginner’s Guide’ (thanks for sharing it everyone!), I have decided to write a beginner’s guide to Twitter.
Twitter is the world’s number one micro-blogging site, with 500 million accounts and 200 million active users (i.e. they log into their account once per month). It’s called a micro-blogging site because your message can only be a maximum of 140 characters in length – be succinct and creative! how, and after reading this blog, you’ll know how!
So, how do you get started?
Once you have spent some time looking at Twitter and working out how you want to personally brand yourself, it’s time to set up your profile.
- You can upload two photos – one for your profile picture (my head shot in the below) and one for your profile background (the shot of Manchester in the below)
- You can write a short bio and promote a website – this should reflect your personal branding strategy, but near in mind that the text is white, so your background image should be dark
- Twitter profiles are very easily searched on Google, so use the most popular keywords if you want to appear in search results (e.g. mine includes ‘Digital’ and ‘Marketing’)
To get some content for your news feed, get following some people. You can follow as many or as few accounts as you want, but if you want to follow a lot of people, you can categorise them by putting them into lists – just select lists from your profile page to set one up.
The Twitter search bar is pretty powerful, and is a good starting point for finding people. Once you are following ten or so people, Twitter will start to offer you suggestions of people to follow along the themes of the people who you have followed – e.g. following Stephen Fry will mean you’ll get suggestions of other comedians. Once you are following someone, you will receive every tweet that they post into your news feed.
Some of the people who you follow may follow you back, but not always (celebrities or businesses probably won’t). As a general rule, following back is considered Twitter etiquette unless they are completely irrelevant to you!
A follower is someone who will receive all of the tweets that you send out. If one of your followers re-tweets your message (i.e. shares your message) then all of their followers will see the message too – this is how tweets can go ‘viral’!
To enable people to follow particular subjects, people tweet using a hashtag. For example, if you wanted to spread your message about LinkedIn, you would just put ‘#LinkedIn’ in your tweet – then, someone who uses the Twitter search bar to search for ‘LinkedIn’ will see your message. They are a good way of following and contributing to a particular subject.
If you are following someone and they are following you back, you can send them a direct message (via the envelope symbol on your profile page). This is a good chance to take a conversation out of the public eye (unless made private, all tweets are visible to everyone), but beware of messages which say something like ‘saw this photo of you – lol’ followed by a link – this is spam, and if you click on the link, your password may be compromised.
That’s enough to be getting on with for now! There are lots of other elements to Twitter, so if you have any other questions, just leave me a comment and I’ll be able to help out. Or, if you have a topic that you would like me to cover in the future, just let me know.
Thanks for reading!