How to: Beginner’s Guide to Twitter
As with everything Twitter seems very easy when others talk about it. But do you actually know how to share a link correctly, how to retweet or how to engage other users with @mentions? If not, you will love this beginner’s guide.
Your first step is to log on to twitter.com (ask us to help you set it up correctly). You will now see an input window asking you “What’s happening?” this is where you insert your Tweet of no more than 140 characters. This is what you need to know:
- Tweet – a Twitter post
- to tweet – to post a Tweet
- Tweeter – a person who actively uses Twitter
- Twitter Feed – The string of Tweets on your welcome page, click the “follow” button to add other users into your feed.
- Follower – A Tweeter who added you to his Twitter feed
The hashtag (#) marks important keywords in your Tweet. The hashtag turns the keyword into a hyperlink taking the reader to related posts. Tag relevant words that your readers will want to know more about by typing something like #internetmarketing or #capetown.
If want to share other people’s Tweets (and we recommend you do) you can just hit the “retweet” button under the Tweet. The more elaborate way to share a link or an image is to write your own Tweet and credit your source by typing RT@username. This will allow other users to see your sources and the original source will take note of you as well.
You can engage other Tweeters by addressing them in your Tweets. Adding a @username will let the other tweeter know that he was mentioned. If you want to respond to a Tweet you can just hit the reply button below it. Be aware that these replies are visible to the public.
Tweets have limited space and 140 characters are not much to work with. Sharing long URLs can leave you with little space to introduce the link you are sharing. The good news is links can be shortened. Go to http://bit.ly/, http://tinyurl.com/ or http://ow.ly/url/shorten-url paste in your link and then copy the shortened one. Easy as pie.
People love images. A good way to keep in your followers’ good books is to post interesting, funny or fascinating images. Who knows, it might go viral and direct traffic back to your own site.
Composing Your Tweet
140 letters don’t give you much room to compose a literary masterpiece. This should be seen as a challenge. Whether you are posting about current events or sharing links – your Tweets need to be intriguing. Write catchy taglines for your links and weave the hashtags into your text. Tweets are short, but they should still be a pleasure to read.
If you’re not sure what to tweet about have a look at our post on tweeting effectively.
Orthography and Punctuation
As with text messages, the Twitter community is developing idioms and vandalizes the orthography, syntax and punctuation of their Tweets. This can look very unprofessional, so make sure that your Tweets are spelt correctly and easy to comprehend.
Follow Friday (FF)
It is a weekly tradition within the Twitter community to share interesting Tweeters with their followers every Friday. These Tweets usually have a #FF hashtag. If you want to take part in this beloved tradition, don’t just post a cluster of hastags and @mentions. Rather select one or two great sources and put them in context.
Twitter is a huge playground and on this playground simple curiosity can teach you a lot. Take note of what you like in other Tweeters, topics you enjoy and what makes you unfollow others. Apply this insight to your own Tweets and you will be tweeting like a nightingale in no time.
If you are not sure how to start, why not engage with Biggestleaf on Twitter. Just drop an @biggestleaf in your Tweet and our Twitter experts will answer any questions you might have.
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