Learning to tweet: Advice for Twitter newbies

Last week at a small conference in Chicago, I was part of a panel discussion about tools and techniques for effectively using social media. The discussion covered tangible basics, including recommended tools for efficiency like TweetDeck and HootSuite, but the panel also delved into actual how-to advice for those in attendance who were just starting to build their brands on Twitter. This aspect, it seemed, was the biggest challenge for the new users.

Different from blogging and using Facebook, the panel's moderator explained how to become an effective Twitter user by giving examples of tweets made during three different stages of learning how to tweet:

A newbie Twitter user:
OMG! This cinnamon raisin bagel is delicious.

A starting-to-get-the-hang-of-it Twitter user:
Check out this interesting story about bagels in the @NYTimes. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/nyregion/10routine.html

A pro Twitter user:
Whether it's from Einstein's or Panera, the cinnamon raisin is my favorite bagel. What's yours? #foodforthought

The key for the average user to finding success on Twitter is finding your voice and making sure to engage with others. Tweets have to be a balance of both broadcasting ideas and links with personal tidbits and interactions with other users.

The panel had other advice for new Twitter users. Here are some of their other tips:


  1. When thinking of what to put up on Twitter, remember that it's basically smart, informal word of mouth. If youre making a recommendation, explain why. If you only promote your goods and services, your account will become tiresome to followers. When you think about the users you most enjoy following, are their posts all ads, all the time? [no] Keep it simple and, whenever possible, keep it fun.
  2. New users sometimes forget to source their leads. It's also important to always give credit. If you found a link because another curated it into their Twitter feed, acknowledge it by giving credit with a hat tip (HT) or via. Doing this helps build credibility and potential rapport with the person you cited.
  3. To get a better hang of things, the first thing you should do is start following your peers. By reading what they post, as a member of their audience, you'll see first-hand which posts resonate with you and you can then use these ideas as models for finding your voice through your own Twitter account.


Joy

About the author | J.O. Miller

Joy is the creative director at TBH Creative and helps companies use their online communications to build, design, and manage their brands. She likes to blog about latest trends, social media, conferences, and share tools.

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