I signed up for Twitter a while ago and then didn’t really do anything with it. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. However, I recently started using Twitter again and this time I am getting more out of it and also putting more into it. So I thought it would be useful to write down some of the things I have learned to help others just starting out on Twitter to get the most out of it. So here is my top five do’s and don’ts.
Unless you are just on Twitter to broadcast yourself, then the best advice I can give is to listen to what others are saying. Follow people that you think might have something useful to say – friends, family, business colleagues, industry leaders, politicians, etc. By reading their tweets you will be able to get a feel for the big issues going on right now, be it the latest family feud or breaking technology.
You should tweet regularly but please don’t spam your products or services. I am following you for advice and news, even if it is just what you had for breakfast this morning.
Social media is like going down to the pub – you don’t just walk in and start shouting out your sales pitch. You need to get to know people and then when they ask, you can tell them what you do. With a bit of luck they will end up selling your products or services for you.
DO fill in your profile
This might be a personal gripe, but I am more likely to follow someone with a real picture and a bio than this guy: o_O. If you can’t be bothered to complete your bio, then how serious are you about using Twitter.
And don’t hide behind cartoon or other image unless you actually are a cartoonist or are tweeting on behalf of your company. I am listening to what you have to say so I want to see who I am listening to. Also, online networking is only half the story. We might meet each other in the real world one day and it would be nice to recognize who you are.
DON’T try to read every message
We are all bombarded with so much information these days that trying to take it all in is impossible.
Bart De Waele (@netlash), a well known web personality in Flanders and beyond who ‘sold’ his 3,000th tweet on eBay a few years ago, recently gave me some good advice so I’ll pass it on. Let the tweets flow past you and off the bottom of the screen. If something is going on in your community, others will retweet it or tweet about it so you will never miss the really interesting news.
To achieve this, I recommend using one of the third-party programs to manage your twitter feeds. I use TweetDeck mainly because a few colleagues were already using it and because it lets me follow my friends’ Facebook updates. But there are plenty of other programs out there, so find one that best suits your needs.
DO tell the truth
Being honest is not only good advice for Twitter, but for any social media and life in general.
If you are being less than honest on Twitter, just remember that Twitterers tend to know their way around the Internet and as social creatures they often have a lot of contacts. If you’re not telling the truth, there is a good chance they will find out. More importantly, when they do, they will let everyone else know.
Great minds think alike
It seems that I wasn’t the only one who felt the need to share their thoughts on good twittequete. For those of you looking for some extra advice or just another opinion, here are a few of the links I bumped into while writing this piece.