Twitter TipsIn talking with many users, I hear that they don’t get Twitter. I get it as I was there at one point. Today I’d like to provide you with five tips to help you get started. OK, there are probably more than five as I’ve combined multiple tips into each item on my list. Obviously the first step is to create an account so go on over to Twitter and create one.

Tip #1: Upload an avatar!

If you leave your avatar as the default egg, you will be ignored by most Twitter users. The best suggestion is to post a nice head shot of yourself. Fill out your bio! You’ve got 160 characters to describe yourself. It can be completely serious or you can inject a little humor. A recent new Twitter user has the following as her bio “Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD…” Can you tell who it is just by reading the bio? I bet many of you can. I linked to the account if you want to look. Can you see there is also some humor in there? Create and upload a Twitter header. Not sure how to do it? I posted a Free Twitter Header Template a few months ago.

Tip #2: Follow some people!

The whole of idea of Twitter is for users to connect with each other. There is definitely a lot of noise, but nobody is asking you to read every single tweet. Of course you should be following me, so I’d be honored to be your first follow. Are there others you find interesting? Maybe it is a celebrity, an athlete or even a television personality. Remember, that can include people in the news business so it doesn’t have to be a worthless pseudo-reality star! Are there others in your industry who are already on Twitter? Give them a follow. You don’t have to follow a bunch of people at first, but you may want to find 20-30 who you find interesting. Then you can continue adding more over time.

Tip #3: Search for a hashtag!

It is quite possible that the people you follow are not the ones posting content of interest to you. Search for the hashtag of something that interests you and you’ll see all tweets using that hashtag. Now some of you probably don’t understand a hashtag so just think of it as a search term. You want to see posts about CorelDRAW? Use the hashtag #coreldraw and you’ll get all tweets tagged with that hashtag. Keep in mind that some hashtags are going to have thousands of tweets every minute while others will rarely be used.

Tip #4: Interact with some tweets!

For the first day or two, it is probably good to just read the tweets that scroll by so that you’ll better understand how it all works. Once you are a little more comfortable, it is time to interact. If you see an interesting tweet, retweet or favorite it. Heck, why not do both? If a tweet asks a question, reply to it with an answer. Maybe a tweet makes you want to ask a question so why not reply and ask the question. Not sure where to start? Go ahead and interact with my tweets. The real power of Twitter is in interacting with real people!

Tip #5: Tweet your original material!

After you’ve had a few days of reading tweets and interacting with the tweets of others, it is time to send a few original tweets. If you see something of interest on a Web page, often there will be a button to tweet that page to your followers. Go ahead, click that button and share the love! Do you have something of interest to share? Type it out and push the tweet button. No, most people don’t want to hear about everything you eat. But I bet you do have some information that would be of interest to followers.

Now that you have a primer on how to get started, you may want to read something a little more comprehensive on the subject. I wrote about a great book a few months back so make sure to view my Use The Tao of Twitter to Fully Grasp the Power of Tweeting post to learn more about this great book.

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