100 Tips to Be a Smarter, Better Twitterer

May 12th, 2009

Twitter is a fun and useful tool that’s not just for student of Twitter, you’ll need to learn the lingo, mechanics, and the ins and outs of interacting with followers. Here, we’ll take a look at 100 tips that can help you do just that.

For Beginners

If you’re just getting started, be sure to follow these tips.

  1. Set up your profile: Give people a glimpse beyond what your tweets reveal.
  2. Include a picture: Make sure you add a photo of yourself so that your tweets will be more personal.
  3. Create a simple and short Twitter name: The longer your Twitter ID, the more space it takes up, and having a complicated name can make it hard for people to respond to or mention you.
  4. Just do it: Don’t just lurk-jump into the conversation.
  5. Make your profile link something that tells more about you: Share your blog, an about me page, or any other page that offers more information about the person behind the tweets.
  6. Share photos: Post your photos on Twitter to shake things up a bit and add some interest to your stream.
  7. Use proper grammar: Occasional abbreviations are passable, but make sure that your tweets are readable.
  8. Use your real name: Build your personal brand by choosing your real name as your Twitter ID.
  9. List your location: Many people use Twitter for local networking, so they’ll be more likely to follow you if they know where you are.
  10. Learn the lingo: If you don’t know what DM, @, RT, and other Twitter symbols and words are, look them up or ask.
  11. Don’t rush to build your network: Don’t follow hundreds of people right away-allow your following to grow organically.
  12. Reply to someone with @: Place an @ sign in front of someone’s name on Twitter to write to them specifically, or simply just mention them-they will be notified that you did so.
  13. Shrink your URLs: Use a URL shortener like TinyURL or is.gd to make it easier to fit into 140 characters.
  14. Use your mobile device: Tweet from your phone, iPod, or other mobile device to keep your Twitter updated on the go, using the mobile web or text.
  15. Find your friends: Use Twitter’s search in order to find your friends, classmates, organizations, and others that you may want to follow on Twitter.
  16. Go public: Keep your tweet public so that people can get to know you before deciding to blindly follow.
  17. Make it easy for others to find your tweets: Use a hashtag (#) in order to be more a part of a popular conversation.
  18. Use abbreviations: Make use of codes like LOL, BRB, and NSFW to save space and reading effort.
  19. Remove and/or block problem followers: If you don’t want to follow someone anymore, you can remove them, and if you don’t want your tweets to appear in their timeline, you can block them.
  20. Remove irrelevant words: Use only the words that are completely necessary to get your message across.
  21. Go private: Make your account private if you don’t want to share your updates with the world.

Finding Friends

In order to really use Twitter, you’ll need to build your own community and find people to follow.

  1. Find people with similar interests: Check out Twitter directories to find, classmates, people in your niche and interests, as well as those in your location.
  2. Don’t sweat finding followers: Twitter isn’t about quantity, but quality-focus on building good relationships with those you follow.
  3. Follow genuine people: Avoid only following people that want to game the system-build relationships with people.
  4. Keep an eye on Facebook statuses: Many Facebook users tie their status to Twitter-if you see any @ signs in there, chances are they are on Twitter.
  5. Share your passions in life: Discuss your hobbies and interests, and hash tag them so others can find you-and find others this way as well.
  6. List yourself in directories: Make sure you’re easy to find by putting your Twitter name in relevant directories.
  7. Get out from behind the curtain: Participate in meetups to meet your followers face to face, and get connected with others.
  8. Be informative: Share links, video, and more in order to be interesting and valuable to the Twitter conversation.
  9. Follow influencers: Follow important people on Twitter and interact with them to get lots of value.
  10. Follow the people that you think are interesting: Listen to people that say things you’re interested in hearing.
  11. Be funny and interesting: Make your timeline entertaining so that others will want to follow you.
  12. Make yourself an authority: Share invaluable knowledge that would be missed if you stopped tweeting.

Keeping Followers

Once you’ve got followers, be sure to keep them by following these guidelines.

  1. Don’t spam: Just don’t. Excessive DMs, repeated messages, and constant annoying information will get you unfollowed quickly.
  2. Follow back: For goodness sakes, reciprocate. If someone is following you, and they offer some value, go ahead and follow them back-you can always take it back later.
  3. Don’t make Twitter an extension of your blog: Twitter about your blog, but go beyond it as well-Twitter isn’t RSS.
  4. Take it easy: Don’t tweet incessantly-or you’ll flood the windows of others so much that they’ll want to stop listening.

Tweeting

These are some of the ideas and things you can tweet about.

  1. Share your announcements: Let people know about your achievements-shows, interviews, big trips.
  2. Tweet useful links: Found something interesting, useful, or funny? Share it with your Twitter network.
  3. Have fun: Be social, make connections, and use Twitter for good.
  4. Share multimedia: Twitter loves photos, videos, and more, so share good multimedia.
  5. Update daily: Update at least once a day so your followers have something to follow along with.

Developing Relationships

These tips explain how to develop good relationships with your Twitter followers.

  1. Ask questions, give answers: Help others out, and ask for their opinions to improve relationships.
  2. Check your @ replies: Make sure you know who is mentioning you by looking at your @ replies, and responding to them.
  3. Collaborate with others: Share information and work closely with others in your niche on Twitter.
  4. Show gratitude: If someone’s helped you out, be sure to thank them publicly.
  5. Be a human being: Share personal information and show people that you’re a human being.
  6. Provide value: Share your knowledge and give people a reason to listen when you tweet.
  7. Give shout outs: Mention your Twitter friends and give them the spotlight.
  8. Meet off of Twitter: Go to Tweetups and meet other users, or organize your own.
  9. Retweet: If someone you’re following offers valuable information, retweet it, and you can simultaneously share it with more people and show the person you retweeted that you appreciate them.
  10. Respond to every reply: If someone writes directly to you, be sure to acknowledge them by responding to their tweet.
  11. Be genuine: Avoid being false-stay honest and let people see yourself.
  12. Keep an eye on your reply ratio: You should keep your ratio or normal tweets to reply tweets in balance in order to stay original while still actively engaging others.
  13. Take extended or private conversations to DM: If there’s too much quantity, or a privacy issue involved, don’t Tweet in public-share via DM.

Getting Value

Here we’ll take a look at how you can best get value out of Twitter.

  1. Join the conversation: Read what others are doing and reply to what you’re interested in.
  2. Ask for help: Use Twitter to get your questions answered and find a lending hand.
  3. Keep your tweets short enough to retweet: If you want to be retweeted, make sure to leave extra space for at least "RT @yourname" to be added.
  4. Keep up with the Twitter blog: Find out about technical problems, community issues, and more from the Twitter blog.
  5. Stay active: Don’t use Twitter passively-be an active user to get the most value from it.
  6. Follow the news: Twitter is a great source for breaking news-often beating mainstream media to the punch by hours.
  7. Tweet during peak times: People are most likely to see your tweets during US business hours, so time your usage accordingly.
  8. Stay on top of your friends: Use Twitter as a service to stay well connected with your real-life friends.
  9. Connect with companies for better service: Use connections on Twitter to address your customer complaints.
  10. Meet celebrities: You can often have a conversation with celebrities on Twitter, even if it’s one sided.
  11. Track mentions of keywords: Set up a service to notify you whenever certain keywords are used on Twitter.

Snafus

These are actions that are best avoided on Twitter.

  1. Remember to tweet like your grandma’s listening: Twitter is public, and even if you keep things private, you can never be too careful.
  2. Give information about links: Don’t just share links without any explanation-tell your followers why they need to visit.
  3. Keep it all to one tweet: You’re limited to 140 characters-keep it that way unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  4. Don’t share EVERYTHING you do: Don’t share useless details about your cat or grilled cheese sandwich for lunch-make things a little more interesting.
  5. Stop arguing: Debate is fine, but too much tense back and forth will turn followers off.
  6. Avoid automatic DMs: Don’t set up your account to send welcome DMs to new followers-it’s considered impersonal and bad form.
  7. Make sure your background doesn’t look like an advertisement: Many users choose to customize their background-just be careful not to take it too far.
  8. Keep your follow to following ratio fairly even: You should be following about the same amount of people who follow you-too far either way makes you look like a spammer or a snob.
  9. Don’t expect unrelated people to follow you back: If your Twitter is all about how you sell real estate in California, someone in Texas with no unifying interests to you is just not likely to want to reciprocate.
  10. Don’t be an island: Engage your followers, and show that you’re a part of the community.
  11. Don’t make it a following contest: If your main goal on Twitter is to amass as many Twitter followers as possible, you’ll end up turning a lot of followers off.
  12. Do not autorespond: Autoresponders take the personality out of Twitter-individually connect instead.
  13. Don’t always push your agenda: Twitter is a great marketing tool, but it will backfire on you if you abuse it.

For Business

Follow these tips if you’re a business on Twitter.

  1. Don’t automate: Impersonality is the bane of Twitter-you’ll get more attention by engaging others and being genuine.
  2. Use a photo instead of a logo: Make your Twitter account more personal with a photo.
  3. Share your events: Make things interesting and possibly meet your followers through events.
  4. Be personal: Show character and enforce a friendly brand for your company.
  5. Share contests: Get followers more interested in what you tweet by holding contests.
  6. Create multiple accounts if necessary: Set up an official account and others for individual employees if you’d like.
  7. Follow relevant people: Connect with colleagues, journalists, competitors, and people who love your brand.
  8. Share your business culture with OHs (overheards): Let people listen in to what’s happening in your office by repeating fun moments and comments.
  9. Gather information: Ask Twitter followers what they’d like to see from you, and how you can improve.
  10. Monitor your brand: Use alerts to find out what people are saying about your business, and respond to them.
  11. Share your media: Link to videos, interviews, and more so followers can learn more about you and your business.
  12. Talk back: Engage with those who engage you-and don’t be afraid to start conversations.

Productivity & Organization

These tips will help you keep it all together.

  1. Use a client: Whether you’re on a mobile device or your desktop, get some help from clients like TwitterFon, Twirl, or TweetDeck.
  2. Don’t feel like you have to read every tweet: You will miss some tweets, and that’s OK.
  3. Limit your Twitter time: Check in occasionally, but don’t let Twitter keep you from more important things.
  4. Don’t feel pressured to follow everyone back: While you generally should follow those who follow you, if someone offers no value to you, don’t feel guilty about not following them back.

Beyond Twitter

Take things a step further with these tips.

  1. Link your Twitter and Facebook: Use the Twitter app on Facebook to automatically update your status whenever you update Twitter.
  2. Put your blog posts on Twitter: Share blog post links on Twitter to reach a greater audience.
  3. Share your Twitter ID: Put your Twitter ID on your email, business cards, and other social media networks so others will know you’re on the service.
  4. Tell others about Twitter: Get people in your real life on Twitter, and you’ll have a great new way to communicate with them.
  5. Include a link to tweet blog posts: On your blog, place a link that allows readers to send out a tweet about your post.
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