Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 7, 2010
As I look back on all the times I’ve written about Twitter, I realize that I’ve never told anyone how to actually get going there. A big part of me just assumed that most people would figure it out, but when reality sets in and we know that more than 93% of all the people who sign up for it drop out after a month, probably because they really didn’t know what to do, it behooves me to at least try to help out in some fashion. So, for those of you who are on Twitter and know what to do already, this probably isn’t for you.
Of course the first step is to create a Twitter account, but think about this one before you do it. You can go three ways with this, depending on what you want to do. You can use your name or a derivation of your name; you can use your company name; or you can be creative and use whatever hits your fancy. Your reasoning should be sound. Using your name is simple; because that’s who you are. Using your business name is simple as well, but with the caveat that if your business name is long you’ll want to shrink it down drastically. Being creative with your name could be problematic, especially if no one knows who you are because that might affect, at least initially, who will hook up with you.
After that, there’s all sorts of information you can make on your Twitter page, as well as changing backgrounds and the like. Forget all that stuff for now and move to the next important thing, that being to add an image. Almost no one on Twitter wants to connect with someone else that doesn’t have some kind of image on their Twitter page unless they know who you are. It doesn’t even have to be an image of you; it can be pretty much anything, but try to show at least a little bit of class. Many folks gripe about some of the suggestive images on Twitter, but most of those accounts are from spam accounts, and if you don’t want people initially thinking that’s what your account is then shy away from that. If that’s really who you are you can always go back to that later on.
Okay, now you’re ready to tweet to the world; your problem is that no one knows you’re on, and thus no one will see what you have to say. Actually, that’s somewhat inaccurate. Everything you tweet goes into the general stream, and someone is bound to see it eventually. These days, however, most people have already set up who they’re going to follow and possibly certain topics they’re going to look for, and thus you might end up having a small audience of people who might find you. Instead, it’s time to head to the search box to look some people up.
The first thing to do is type in the names of some people you know to see if they’re on Twitter. You’ll be surprised to find that many people you know will be there in some capacity, and some will be pretty active users. When you find someone you know, start following them by clicking on the button that says “follow”; that’s easy enough. Then look through the names of people that they’re following to see if you know anyone else in that group, and you can start following those folks as well. Anyone you follow will get a notification that you’re following them, and if they like you they’ll probably follow you back. This is a great way to get started.
But don’t get too carried away with adding people. Twitter gets very protective of its people if someone is adding lots of people but hasn’t said anything yet. That’s your next step, saying something. There’s two ways you can do this. You can go to your main Twitter page and type something in that little space, remembering you only have 140 characters (it’ll count for you so you don’t have to do it).
Or you can send a message to one of the people you’re now following. The way you do that is to click on the widget looking thing, then select the top one that says “mention ____”. That will open up a window with that person’s Twitter name preceded by the “@” sign. Just type your message and hit ‘tweet’ and you’re on your way. Don’t just say “hi” and leave it at that; it’s your introduction, so make it stand out, even if it’s only “Hi ____, I’m finally on Twitter; I hope you’re doing well.” Okay, that’s a bit formal, but at least you’ll have said something.
And there you go; you’re now on Twitter and you’re ready to go. Of course, your issue will be having to constantly come back to this Twitter page to see lots of messages, so at some point you’ll find the smart move is to use some sort of application to access Twitter easier. But that’s for another day, or you can look back through this blog at some things I’ve mentioned in the past. And of course don’t forget to connect with me on Twitter; just click on that little blue bird to the right.
I hope this little tutorial gets you started easily enough; if not, ask me to clarify and I will. Good luck!