Friday, October 4, 2013

Twitter 101: How to Navigate on Twitter

Step #1: Create a handle that will not embarrass you in 6 months. 

Have you ever seen a Twitter handle that made you smile?  What about those handles that made you wonder about the owner’s moral code?  Yeah.  Those are the ones that I’m referring to.  Body parts should not be a part of your handle unless you’re hawking a medical thriller. 

It is in this step that you lay the foundation for your Twitter account.  What will you tweet about?  Is this a personal account?  Or, is this an account that you will use to build a platform for yourself or your product?  Or, is this account to find others who have the same interest/hobby as you do?  The reason for your account will shape many of your upcoming actions.

Step #2: Use a picture of yourself or something that relates to the content of your tweets.

If you have a skull and crossbones as your Twitter avatar (picture) one would expect you to be a pirate, an author of a book about pirates, or you love pirates and will be tweeting about them…constantly.  If you have a picture of a cute bunny as your avatar then we would assume you will be tweeting sweet things about children or that you have a daycare of some sort.  Or, you could be a filmmaker working on a kids’ film featuring the furry creatures.  You get the idea.  No crazy body parts in your avatar please.  Most people will not follow you.  You will get tons of followers thinking you are running one of those sites.  [If you are doing a sex related Twitter account, please be aware that your account may be flagged and removed if people report it.]

Step #3: Who to follow?

So, you know what you will be tweeting about (sort of).  You have a decent avatar and you’re all set to go.  Now, who should you follow? 

  • People who have the same interests as you
  • Companies/Organizations that you like and are in the field you’re into
  • Check out the suggestions Twitter throws up on the left side of your home Twitter screen
  • Find your actual real world friends on Twitter

Notice I put your ‘real world’ friends last.  Why?  Because they may not have the same interests as what you’re seeking for the Twitter account you are considering putting together.  If they are – great! I hope you have a 1,000 friends so you can start of strong! J

A key factor in getting new followers is the verbiage under your Twitter handle.  Those 160 characters are all that new potential followers have to go on – Is this person worth following?  Or, am I going to get crap, or worse – no good tweets – if I follow this person?

Twitter is nine-tenths entertainment!  Make your tweets lively, interesting and most importantly of value to the people you want to connect with.  The content and the delivery of said content is the ‘entertainment’ for your end reader/Twitter follower.  Once you provide consistent tweets that interest your target crowd you will gain followers without all of the tricks and sleight of hand maneuvers that some people engage in to get followers. 

You’ll see accounts where all they want is for you to pay $25/$50 for xyz amount of followers.  Sure you can try this but who are these followers?  Are they the audience you are seeking?  Think about it.  What’s more important to you?  The number of followers?  Or, the quality of followers (quality in regards to the follower being in line with what your Twitter account is all about)?

Step #4: Be a good Twitterverse Citizen (TC)!

Okay, now onto the fun stuff!  You now have a few followers.  They begin re-tweeting you.  Awesome!  Now, you have to be a good Twitterverse Ciizen and thank them for their re-tweet.  Yes, each and every person.  E.g. – Thanks for the RT [their name]!

If someone shares some info that you shared on your blog, or website, or on another social media outlet you thank them for the shout out (S/o).

If someone clicks the star on your tweet, they have favorite-ed your tweet.  They liked it!  That means you should tweet more of whatever that subject matter is.  You should also thank them for the fav or fave – whichever you prefer!

You can also thank people in bulk (at the end of the day) for fav-ing and RT-ing.  That looks like this:

Thanks for the RTs & faves! @xyz @abc @ypmd @zippy

You can find out who has fav-ed and re-tweeted you by going to the “@Connect” on the upper left hand corner of your monitor/screen.  That is the timeline for all of the interactions (which gives you all interactions on your Twitter timeline) and mentions (which just gives you the mentions and not all of the back and forth RTs and such).

This is pretty much it for Twitter 101.  But for those who I haven’t bored to death, here is a little Twitterverse experience that helped me learn more about shares on Twitter.

My Twitter Shares Almost-Fiasco

There’s something I learned kind of the hard way a couple weeks back.  There’s an oddity in Twitter world called a share.  This is a RT (re-tweet) but it does not have the letters RT in it and it does not show up in your timeline as a re-tweet either.  It shows up as if that person sent out the tweet directly to you.  They didn’t.  It’s a share.

Someone could have set something up for you and all people have to do is click the “T” on that page to tweet that thing they’re reading about.  The way that tweet goes out is not up to the person clicking tweet.  The tweet is pre-written and the person just has to click “Tweet”.

I did not know this was the case two weeks ago.  I teamed up with another blogger and they offered to help me find reviewers for my book “Leaping Out On Faith”.  Within a couple of hours, I was getting tweets hitting my timeline that said “Review Request…”.

I was excited!  There were over 25 of these on my timeline within 5 hours.  You can imagine this writer’s glee.  But, I tested one out first to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding what was happening.  The first person who responded, I sent them a Direct Message (DM: Twitter’s version of a personal non-public inbox).  I thanked the person for responding and requested their email address so I can send the book to them in whatever format they required.

Within 40 minutes, the person DM’d me back with their email address.  Bingo!  I was not making a mistake these were legitimate book review requests – all 30 of them now.

So, I made a list and began tweeting each of them and asking for their email addies to be sent DM to me.  I could not follow them all as I was close to my cap (totally another post!) hence the tweets.

I soon received an irate tweet from someone who told me that they did not request a review they were just retweeting.  The exchange was a bit more heated than this but in the end it was a very rewarding and productive exchange that taught me that things are not always what they seem on Twitter!’

The lesson in this story?  Even if you think you know what you’re talking about, check at least 3 times before launching into a full campaign on anything.  Either check with some fellow tweeps (your friends on Twitter), check with the person who helped you out, and check online for information on that topic.  Why?  Because if the person who helped me out by pointing this out to me wasn’t so nice they could have reported my account for being a spammer.  Yep!  And guess what?  You’ll have to start ALL over again rebuilding your followers and regaining trust which is never an easy thing.

I hope you have gotten the basics of how to use Twitter.  I would love your comments and suggestions on how you use Twitter.  Also let me know if I’ve made any egregious errors and point them out to me by using the comment section below.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Ta-ta for now,
The NoteBook Blogairy


  1. Fabulous advice and I love the idea of avoiding names with body parts that are best left out and definitely avatars that don't include them as well! :-)

  2. Super glad you found this article useful Amy! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I had no idea about that thing with sharing. Good to know in the future.

  4. I had no idea about it either James. And boy, did it throw me for a loop as you can see! Trying to make sure no one else gets caught in that trap. :-) Thanks for commenting!