How to Win Friends and Twinfluence Tweeple
I can’t keep evangelizing about Twitter without a convenient ‘how-to’ guide…
When I first start talking to people about Twitter, some people have at least heard of it, others have no clue what I’m talking about. I usually describe it as less intrusive than chat, less formal than email, yet enabling you to hear and learn from a wider audience where everyone is on an even playing field. Also, it’s good to think of Twitter as a party, or networking event – You can walk around, shmooze with people on topics of interest – engage in conversation, ask questions, answer questions, and more.
It’s about conversation. It’s about meeting people. It’s about learning. It’s about sharing. It’s about connecting.
It’s a free web and sms social networking service. It’s called “micro-blogging” because of it’s simplicity and because your blog entries/tweets are limited to 140 characters or less.
From the beginning…
- Get an account through the web or send an SMS text to 40404.
- Choose a username consistent with the rest of your social networks.
- You can scan your address books for people and/or take recommended tweeps.
- Upload a photo (don’t leave the default avatar) and upload a background picture.
- Add a basic bio and keep it comical and/or informative. Add your website.
- Set your Profile to Public (everyone can see) or Private (just people you personally approve).
- Find people to follow through http://search.twitter.com or http://twellow.com.
Get used to lots of things starting with a TW sound. Just tweal with it
- Tweet – Verb or noun, depending on usage. The micro-blog post you enter.
- Retweet – Repeating someone else’s Tweet – Mentioned in detail below.
- DM (Direct Message) – A private message.
- Device – Refers to your phone (SMS/Text). Click Settings/Devices and add.
- Followers – Readers who follow (subscribe to) your Tweets.
- Following – The Tweeple that you are following.
Follow People. Listen to them. When ready, reach out though a DM or a @Reply.
- @Replies are flagged to the recipient and viewable by the public
- D (direct) messages are only viewable by the intended viewer.
So, to send a message to me privately you would put D williger in the message box.
Make Sure to read your @Replies and Direct Messages, which you can see this from your ‘Home’ navigation on Twitter. People may be reaching out to you and expect and deserve your reply. Well, usually – some people have automatic DM’s, it’s not a bad thing – just makes you weed through your inbox.
Be Cool – I can’t stress this enough. You may razz your friends in person, don’t do it here – especially when starting out. Micro-blogging, SMS, email, they all lack inflection – remember this.
Don’t Worry – Don’t be afraid to start talking about what you are doing or engaging in a conversation. It’s just like any other type of communication, get used to the medium and run with it.
Promote It – Add your Twitter URL everywhere – Email Signature, Facebook, Myspace, Business Cards, etc.
To follow-back or not. This is a tough question with varying answers. It’s not an easy one to address as neither is right. Personally, I follow back everyone who follows me (well except spam bots and the like). Basically reciprocals, like myself look at this as good etiquette, a way to increase follower numbers, and give you more people to learn from. Discriminators focus on following very few people, which limits the variety of people they communicate with. Discriminators argue they have tighter relationships, and reciprocals argue they learn from more people. No way is ultimately right – start slow and see what works for you. Yes, it’s really easy.
Some Tools and I compiled a more comprehensive list HERE
- TweetDeck - Adobe Air Twitter management for Mac or PC desktop. I use to keep my tweetstream organized, with multiple columns. It really works great.
- Mr. Tweet – Mr. Tweet helps you find new people to follow and recommends you to other users.
- SocialToo - This web service can provide surveys, auto-follow new followers, and even send a DM to someone who follows you (don’t use this for an affiliate link). I like the daily reports telling you who started or stopped following you and the last thing you said beforehand.
- Friend or Follow – Another free service, easily see who is and isn’t following you (and vice-versa).
- Twitter Grader – It ‘grades’ your Twittering. You can also use this to check Twitter Elite’s by city.
- Twitter Counter – It shows you # of followers, can predict future growth and compare to others.
- Twitterholic - Another tool for tracking changes in your follower counts and top 100 Twitterholics.
- Twitter Feed – Use this to insert RSS feeds (from your blog, netflix, whatever) into Twitter. When used correctly it can enhance your stream with articles, blog entries, etc. just don’t over-aggregate.
- Tweet Value – This is for fun, you put in your Twitter name and it tells you what it’s worth.
- Twollow - You can add 5 keywords to monitor and auto-follow people. Careful.
- Easy Tweets – You can actually schedule tweets with this, perhaps useful when traveling. It has a nice interface to manage multiple accounts (past 3 and the fees start).
- Tweet Later – Another scheduled tweet service. In addition to being able to set your tweets to auto-pilot, you can also automatically follow people back or unfollow those who unfollow you.
- My Tweeple – This is a useful tool for at-a-glance view of details when reviewing followers. You can also use this to see who you follow and isn’t following you back.
- Tweetburner – Track links you share on Twitter and FriendFeed.
The ReTweet – A RT, R/T, or Retweet is a way to compliment someone’s Tweet by forwarding it to your Twitter follower stream. For instance, if I posted a useful quote, or a link you could take that quote or link, type RT @williger (and paste my post here). What this does is 2 things – it gives credit for the Tweet to the original author, and it introduces people in your stream to the author. It’s considered generous to RT. I will be putting together a separate site about this soon.
This should be a solid reference to start with, and I will be adding more articles here to help. Please feel free to @williger me any questions along the way. I’m learning more every day, just like everybody else. Come back for my next Twitter articles about integrating other sites, making backgrounds, RT etiquette, and hash tags. I have met some amazing people so far who I really enjoy communicating with. This is why I keep encouraging everyone to Tweet it up already!
If you found this article interesting or useful, Tweet it to your friends! Twanks