Twitter 101

You're probably asking yourself: Doesn't she know Twitter has been around for ten years? Why is she writing a 101 on Twitter?

The answer: Yes, I know, but not everyone started ten years ago, and not everyone is on Twitter {shocking, yes I know!}.

Although Twitter has been around for ten years, I still learn new things about the social site. Twitter is one of my favorite social media sites because it is one of the easier ways to connect with people and brands in conversation. It's also easy on Facebook and Instagram, but it's easier to see on Twitter {keep reading to see what I mean!}.

Select a Twitter handle

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First thing first - select a handle {aka username}! This can be your name or your brand name. Depending on how you market yourself you may only want one Twitter handle. Some people create two Twitter handles - one for their personal tweets, another for their brand. Some people create one and post personal and brand tweets.

I personally have one Twitter handle. I have tried to maintain two Twitter handles {personal + blog} but would neglect one after a while, so I decided to use one Twitter to brand myself.

Bio

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Next, you'll want to create a bio for your profile. You have 140 characters to write about yourself. Be creative with your bio. It's a small glimpse of who you are. You should also add your location and your website for people to have easy access to locate your blog / services.

Photo

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You'll want a profile photo that stands out. Yes, it's a little box, but you'll want people to remember it's you. You may even get noticed for your profile picture in real life. I've heard quite a few times people remark about a profile picture when they meet in real life.

You'll also want to choose a cover photo for your profile. If you're a brand, you'll want to post something that is related to your brand - such as a collage or a feature. If it's your personal Twitter, you have a little more free range to choose what you want!

Private / Public Profile

Twitter has the option for people to keep their profile private or public. If you are using Twitter as a personal tool to keep up with family / friends, you probably don't want the whole world to see what you are doing on Twitter. Toggle the private option to lock your account to outsiders. People can request to follow your account. You will have the option to say yes or no to different users. If your goal is to be the next social media maven with your personal or brand account, you will want to have your account be public.

Followers

You'll want to start following people once you have your profile set up. Twitter automatically offers people for you to choose to follow. You can follow your favorite celebrities, bloggers, chefs, brands, bloggers or friends and family. People will begin to follow you as well. If you continually post updates and interact with people, the followers will come.

Tweets

https://twitter.com/bririnehart/status/804701687709630464

Twitter is famous for its 140 character updates. You have 140 characters to squeeze your thoughts in. Sometimes, it's a challenge. Do you make grammatical errors to cram everything into one tweet or do you create two {or more!} tweets? Depending on what you have to say, it's best if you create multiple tweets. Pictures and links used to count as part of your character count, but as of a couple of months ago, they no longer count as part of your update!

Mentions

When mentioning another Twitter user, you'll want to use the @ symbol followed by their handle.

Here's the tricky part - if you want to mention someone with their Twitter handle at the beginning of your tweet and also want your followers to see your mention to another user in their feeds, you have to set the tweet up as:

https://twitter.com/bririnehart/status/795770316849119232

If you want to keep it "private" so it does not show up in everyone's feeds, keep the Twitter handle at the beginning of the tweet:

https://twitter.com/bririnehart/status/804652204867158016

Keep in mind that if someone visits your profile, they will see what you mention!

Another way to either mention someone or respond to one of your mentions is to not have the Twitter handle be at the beginning of the tweet:

https://twitter.com/bririnehart/status/804467663422504960

Retweets

Retweeting is a way to share what another Twitter user has shared on their Twitter feeds with your Twitter followers. Anything can be retweeted - its up to you on what you feel goes with what you share on Twitter.

Users can also quote a retweet. This gives users a way to respond to the tweet and all their followers can see.

https://twitter.com/bririnehart/status/803775426476802048

Like

If you see a tweet that you like with an article or information or something you resonate with, you can like it {tap the heart}, which essentially saves the tweet and you can view later. When looking at your profile, you will see a "Likes" tab which will show everything you ever liked.

Hashtags

https://twitter.com/CynthiaRHaggard/status/802383732166406144

Hashtags are great for certain tweets because users can search for conversation using the hashtags. Is there something going on in the world you want to see others talking about? Search for the hashtag on Twitter and thousands upon thousands of tweets will generate showing you the conversation. Want to chat with others about your favorite TV show {such as Gilmore Girls!?} - search their hashtag. Hashtags are a powerful tool.

Other things you should know

  • Pinned tweets - users can pin one tweet to the top of their profile. This will be the first tweet users see when they visit. Maybe you had a tweet that generated a lot of retweets / likes / mentions - pin it to the top. Maybe you want to make it easy for people to find your social media accounts - pin it to the top. Maybe you were feeling witty and really liked a tweet - pin it to the top.
  • Moments - A round up of articles are placed in your moments for users.
  • DMs - If you want to talk to a user without everyone seeing - send them a direct message. You can have a personal chat without worrying that someone might see it.
  • Lists - Lists are great tools on Twitter. They can be public or private lists. If you don't want to follow certain users, but like their tweets, you can create a list of users which will curate their tweets. When a list is public, the user will be notified you added them to a list. If your list is private, the user will not be notified. Private lists will not show up in your profile under the "Lists" section either.
  • Use visuals - Tweets with photos / videos / GIFs will give you more interaction from users.
  • Tag other users in photos - When composing a tweet with a photo, you can tag another user. This is helpful if you can't squeeze everything in to a 140 character tweet.
  • Scheduling - If you want to update your profile regularly, but don't have time to be on Twitter all day {like all of us}, use a scheduling tool. Common tools used are: Buffer {my favorite}, Hootsuite and Sprout Social.
  • Pick times to check your Twitter - As mentioned, no one can be on Twitter 24 hours a day. Even if we want to be. Choose times that you'll check your Twitter daily to respond to mentions / retweet / like / interact. I like to check Twitter in the morning, mid morning, lunch, mid afternoon and the evening.
  • Have fun! - Overall, you'll want to have fun with your Twitter. If it seems like a chore, you won't want to use it - which is the opposite of what you want to do. If you need a Twitter break one day, take one. Everyone needs a break from social media once in a while. Do what works for you.

Follow me on Twitter at @bririnehart!

Leave your Twitter handles below with any thoughts / additions you may add!

Good luck to starting off your journey on Twitter!