If you’ve been part of this week’s Social Media Huddle at The Derngate, Northampton, these 5 twitter tips for beginners have been written to reinforce some of what we’ll have covered, under the general topic of getting social on Twitter.

Twitter is free, fascinating, fun and can also be fairly addictive! As I said on the day, the fact that you’ve only got 140 characters to work with, for each tweet, concentrates the mind and doesn’t present too much of a challenge getting content out of your head and onto the screen, whether via computer in the office, laptop in the garden or phone while out walking the dog.

Tip No. 1. What’s in a name? The issue of using your own or a company name is one I get asked about a lot. In 2012 the standard practice is to be yourself, building a following interested in the value and benefit you provide to your followers.

Twitter is about conversation and it’s likely to be more challenging to create a conversational tone with tweets from ak_and_sons than from a named person? However, it doesn’t have to be Your Name, you could have a nom de plume? Basically, consider the persona you want to project to engage with people. I’d recommend working on your confidence to be yourself, especially if it’s you your customers will buy from.

“Build it and they will come” is all very well, so they may. However, if your tweets are not engaging offering value, benefit, humour and personality, they may well leave again pretty quickly. Makes sense doesn’t it? NB Remember, you do have the option to change your user name, if one you prefer is available.

Tip No. 2. Tweets with links are retweeted many more times than one without. Include links to useful content, not just your content. Some people plan their tweeting strategy like a military exercise, with a set number of links to other articles, humorous quips and quotes, also popping links to their own website/blog article into the mix. Certainly, include links, whether to articles, photos or images in the majority of your tweets. However, off the cuff comments about where you are and what you’re doing helps project a personality behind the username. It’s up to you whether you want to attract an audience who are interested in what you had for breakfast, but you need to think carefully about ‘what’ you’re projecting before you start.

Tip No. 3. Avoid tweeting a sales pitch in every tweet. Remember the maxim “Tell, don’t sell”. Become a useful resource for information you will be valued. Become valued and you have the beginnings of a loyal following. Loyalty builds familiarity which in turn builds confidence. Confidence builds trust etc. etc.

Tip No 4. Be polite, be mindful Twitter is very public. We all know about “Think before you drink and drive”, perhaps “Think before you tweet and thrive” should be another maxim to follow. Or for those who don’t get that, resist tweeting when you’re p’d up or p’d off. Enough said?

Tip No 5. Once you’ve learned the basics just relax, play around with tweeting and have some fun. Everyone flounders around when they first start. Who to follow? What to tweet about? When to tweet? There are tools out there that will indicate ‘best times to tweet’, but you need followers first to provide the information. Follow the famous by all means, but follow your fellow business colleagues too and start interacting with them, engaging in short interactions on topics that grab your attention. You’ll soon find it’s quite fun, especially when you get a reply. Interacting on Twitter is much like interacting in life. Learn to get over your shyness and just get out there and mix a little.

If you’ve attended the Social Media Huddle today you’ll be aware there won’t be a meet-up in August because I’m taking the office on a little trip to be nearer my home base.  I’ve got several websites to work on for clients over August, but want to be able to use the floating office for some ‘down time’ to get me out of my coding cave. I’m working on the principle that summer is bound to arrive in August – isn’t it?

Follow me on Twitter @SusanCollini, keep in touch and look forward to seeing you all again at the next Social Media Huddle in September. Subscribe to this blog by email, see right hand column, then you’ll get the next post on Twitter direct to your email inbox. How neat is that!

You can follow a tutorial to set up a Twitter account if you’re lacking confidence just to visit Twitter and DIY.  Next, I suggest you have a look at a some video tutorials that might help you to reinforce aspects we will have covered at the Social Media Huddle:

Twitter Video Tutorial 1 – Making your first tweet, deleting a tweet and customising your page.

Twitter Video Tutorial 2 – Recap on lesson 1 and learning about how to follow people on Twitter

Twitter Video Tutorial 3 – How to make lists on Twitter and setting up Twitter on a mobile device.


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