“I have learned the novice can often see things that the expert overlooks. All that is necessary is not to be afraid of making mistakes, or of appearing naïve.”
— Abraham Maslow
Twitter has been around for a few years, but there are still some business owners sitting on the sidelines, intimidated to dive in.
For those of you who are still not quite sure how to tap into Twitter or if you have clients who are asking about how to get started on Twitter, here are some tips as you surf the waves of the Twitterverse.
- Don’t be afraid of Twitter. In the beginning, simply follow a handful of high profile figures in your industry and watch how they interact.
- When you retweet a quote or blog post from your smart phone, if you select “quote” it allows you to add a comment, making the interaction a conversation.
- In the beginning of your Twitter journey, you won’t have a lot of followers but that doesn’t mean you aren’t important. Followers will come when you consistently engage in conversations that inspire, inform, educate, entertain and connect with others.
- Tweet with a smile.
- Direct messages (DMs) are like mini-emails. Don’t spam your followers. Appreciate and respect them.
- Auto-DMs are messages that are automatically are sent when people follow you. They are frowned upon on Twitter and will immediately make you look unprofessional.
- Religion and politics on Twitter will invite critics and potential verbal attacks. If you don’t want to engage in this type of conversation, you should stay away from these topics.
- Don’t be afraid to block people if they are confrontational, condescending or critical of your tweets. If they harass you, report them to Twitter support.
- Think of Twitter as a curation of content and ideas. Share quotes, tips, blog posts, news and ideas that you find interesting and useful while also jumping into conversations with people that you want to connect with.
- Thank people for sharing your tweets, blog posts, videos, etc.
- Thank people for being inspiring and motivational to you.
- #Hashtags are used to underscore topics of interest and to identify chats. They make it easy to search conversion topics. If you click on a hashtag like #smallbiz #socialmedia #foodie #brandchat you will be taken to a page where you will see all of the tweets that have gone out with that hashtag. This is a great way to find people to follow who have common interests or to follow chats.
- Tweet chats, also called Twitter parties are online events that take place at certain times during the day, week or month to discuss specific topics. They are a great way to meet people on Twitter! If there is a host that is interviewing a guest, they will ask questions of the guest. You can RT and add your comments to the guest’s answers or the host’s questions. If it is “open mic” they will ask questions of participants and you will respond with your answers.
- If you are participating in a tweet chat, it is considered rude to add any additional hashtags for other chats or communities in the chat “stream” unless you have an invitation to do so from the host.
- Set a timer when you use Twitter. Don’t feel like you have to be “on” Twitter all day. 15-30 minutes a day is enough. If you find yourself using Twitter too much, unplug and set boundaries.
- If you are using Twitter to promote your business or build your brand, you still need to interact, share, express gratitude and have a personality. Don’t make the mistake of only using your Twitter account to “broadcast” or promote only your products and services, your blog posts, your quotes, your stuff. Twitter is a community. You have to give back if you want people to listen and connect with you.
- Twitter is a great way to connect with potential vendors and clients, but don’t forget to do background and gut checks. There are a lot of phonies out there. Google people you interact with on Twitter to make sure your values are aligned.
- Don’t click on links in DMs unless you know the sender and the message makes sense. There are viruses and worms in many of those links that will take over your account. Links that are from bit.ly and other link shortening systems are disguised. Don’t click on them! If you accidentally do click on one, change your password ASAP.
- People (even high profile influencers) buy followers on Twitter, so just because someone has hundreds of thousands of followers doesn’t mean that they are more “important” than you. Value is what matters on Twitter, not numbers.
- There is a difference between being “authentic” and sharing too much. Have clear boundaries with how much you share about your personal life on Twitter. If you don’t want to offend anyone, it is best NOT to tweet. Also, be careful tweeting and drinking… Your tweets are permanent and if you aren’t 100% of sound mind, you may want to have a no tweeting and drinking rule that you stick to.
- If you have a question about how best to approach Twitter, don’t be afraid to ask influencers or your followers their thoughts. Twitter is a great place to ask questions and get candid answers that will help you to be the best you can be online and off!