I’ve been using Twitter consistently for almost a year now. I joined back in February of ‘08, but didn’t understand it, had no clue how to use it, and completely ignored it. Then my blogging started to change and Twitter became more part of my blogging life.
Now that I’ve been using Twitter for almost a year, I’d love to pass on some nuggets to everyone else who’s just joining Twitter or has joined but just doesn’t know where to start.
1) Be Personal. Put a photo up of something that might relate to you if you don’t want to use a personal photo. It’s fun being able to recognize people I follow by their avatar. If you use the shadow figure Twitter automatically gives you, it’s highly unlikely I’ll follow you. Also personalize your bio. Don’t leave it blank. You don’t have to tell everyone where you live or what you do for a living, but give us a glimpse into who you are: quirky, SAHM, crafter, blogger, sarcastic, etc. This is your calling card when someone decides whether or not they’ll be following you.
2) Do NOT Auto DM new followers. I don’t think I’ve met a single person on Twitter who likes these! It’s very impersonal. If you’re glad someone’s following you, just send them a Tweet. I know people who have said they will unfollow someone if they receive an automatic DM after following someone.
3) Original Tweets. If I learn that you’re following me and I go to your Twitter page to see if I want to follow you and all I see are Retweets, posts to visit your website, or only giveaways, 99% of the time I won’t follow you. I want to connect with you, get to know you. If you have nothing original to say, then we won’t be connecting & I have no reason to follow you.
Swearing. Ok, I realize that people are going to swear on Twitter, but if that’s all you do in most of your tweets, very few people are going to want to engage you. Who wants to follow someone who’s always got a potty mouth?
5) Do NOT Spam your followers. Obviously we all have times when we want to share about a company we’re working with or need help raising money, or who knows what, but doing it over and over again will only annoy your followers and it’s a great way to lose them!
6) Follow back. Now I realize you aren’t going to want to follow every single person who follows you. They might creep you out, send annoying tweets, or just rub you the wrong way. We all deal with that. For the most part, to build your network, it’s common courtesy to follow back those who follow you.
7) Share the Love. If you see a Tweet that you think others will like, please Retweet (RT) it. Your followers will appreciate it and so will the person who you RTed. It gives them clout in the Twittersphere.
8) Tweet! Don’t just follow hundreds of people and not send out a single tweet. That says “spammer” all over it. You have GOT to engage on Twitter. Just be yourself. Don’t tell us you’re using the bathroom unless you’re in the middle of a conversation and want to be polite to whoever you’re talking to. When I say, “Tweet,” I mean, start off by telling us what your day holds or how crazy life is at any given point. Just share something, anything that’s from YOU.
9) Giveaways only aren’t cool. I know that some people have Twitter accounts specifically just to use it as a way to enter giveaways. That’s fine, but I won’t be following you unless we’re engaging in some other way. I do follow a couple of people who only tweet giveaways, but that’s because they will DM me or comment on my blog. If I log onto your account on Twitter and see every single tweet is a giveaway, I simply close the page.
Do you have any Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to using Twitter? What did I leave out? Am I off base on any of these?
If I remember, I’ll share about Twitter parties next. I did a post on my Marvelous Mom Reviews site last Fall about using TweetDeck as a platform for Twitter parties if you want to check that out in the meantime.