Monday, January 19, 2009

Getting Started on Twitter

If you're new to Twitter, you may be a bit perplexed about how it works and why you should bother using it. It looks deceptively simple on the surface, but quickly becomes very complex when you start digging into it. I gave a class last week on Twitter to local business owners and I’ve never seen so many deer-in-the-headlights looks! You’re not alone if you don’t “get” it yet.

The good news is that you can learn it and get up to speed pretty quickly. A lot of this will come by way of following and watching what others are doing. Here are some tips to get you started:
  1. Sign up with a user name that will build your brand, use part of your real name, or tell others something about you. Make sure the name isn’t too long as it counts towards the 140 character limit when others want to connect with you.

  2. Next, start following as many people as you can. (Follow me here.) Business colleagues are a good place to start – follow them and then browse through their followers/following lists to see who you know or want to connect with. You can also find top Twitterers on sites like and

    Remember that you don’t need to know them to connect – in fact, it’s useful not to know them yet! Also look under Twinfluence for people in your town and connect with them. You’ll soon find that those you follow will start following you back and as you’re numbers get up there, you’ll build more and more momentum.

  3. Start posting regularly (1-2 times/day is good) about what you’re doing in your life and in your business. Use keywords. Pique curiosity. Link to articles & webpages you find interesting or would benefit your target market. Reply to those you’re following and start meaningful conversations. Retweet posts from others that you find valuable or interesting (or your target market would). This is where paying attention to what others are doing is beneficial. Do what they do!

  4. Use Twitter search engines to find those who are talking about your keywords, locality, areas of interest, etc. These includes sites such as Twitter Search, TweetScan, Monitter, and TwitScoop. I also use Twilert to have my favorite searches sent to me via email every day.
On Twitter, it pays to be active, follow tons of people, and post useful information with a smattering of personal insight thrown in.

Here are 2 great free ebooks that will help you get started on Twitter:

And here’s a Wiki on Twitter – this section is about Etiquette:

Finally, don't be afraid to ask for help in Twitterland. We've all been there and stand ready to help show you the way! See you in the Twitterverse!

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