The social media application my clients are most afraid of is: Twitter. I understand why. It’s a completely different form of communication than we are used to. Plus those 140 characters can make getting your point across feel impossible. However, Twitter can be a pretty useful tool. In an attempt to de-mystify it, I’m going to tell you the very first thing you need to do in order to conquer the Twitter.
You need to tweet. It’s just that simple. If you’ve been thinking of taking the Twitter plunge but haven’t working up the cojones yet, try following my very simple rules and see how you feel.
Quick sidenote: I already wrote a Twitter list for beginners, but I think it wasn’t beginner enough. This is truly beginner.
It doesn’t matter how many people are following you. I want you to completely block that number out of your head and promise not to think of it again until you are done with all the rules. I understand humans love to count their conquests, and Twitter followers will be no different. But not yet.
This may be politically incorrect, I honestly don’t know, but I think the amount of people you follow and who follow you should be somewhat consistent. If you have 2 followers but are following 500 people, that’s going to tell me something when I click on your profile. Mostly it’s going to tell me you are not worth following. So again, numbers don’t matter. Do not sign up and immediately follow a ton of people.
On the right hand side of the Twitter page is a search bar. Whatever you think your key word is, type it in that search bar. For me, it’s social media or social media writing. If you’re an art gallery, it will probably be art or art gallery. What pops up after you search for your phrase is all the most recent tweets using that phrase. See what people are talking about, how they are using your keyword within their tweet. You can even click on a few of the Twitter handles and see all their past tweets. This is just to get a sense of how people tweet and the language and conversation of Twitter.
Once you have the lay of the Twitter land, or at least a good start of it, write your first tweet and press that tweet button. Don’t be nervous or scared because you have no followers and you aren’t following anyone, therefore, nobody is going to read it. I think it’s really important to build up a good few tweets before starting the following/followers process. I would find articles or blog posts that you like and share those. Plus a few of your own thoughts/observations that pertain to your keyword. At least in the beginning I don’t want to know about your dog or your child. If you’re on Twitter for business, try to tweet your keyword as much as possible so it’s easy for those who will find you useful to actually find you.
Once you’ve put 10-15 tweets into the world (a good portion of these should be sharing information you’ve found around the web) you have completed step one of being a beginning tweeter. Congratulations!
Now you can start following people because you have proven that you are worth a follow back. Your tweets are interesting, people checking you out will be impressed with what you’ve done with your handle (aka twitter name) and you feel more confident using Twitter.
So start typing the keyword in the search bar and see who comes up. Don’t follow 100 people at once. Take your time to investigate those who come up and see what they’ve tweeted in the past few days and if it interests you. And please, don’t start counting numbers for a few weeks. Just keep tweeting (I say4-7 a day but you will hear A LOT of different opinions on this), and try to follow a few people a day and see who follows back. The more people who you follow, the more information will start to show up on your home page and the more you will have to choose from to share with your followers. Because when you see something you enjoy and want to share and retweet it, then all your followers see it too.
Keep trucking away like this for a few weeks and I think you’ll be very surprised at how easy it is, and how fast your numbers grow (even though you’re not supposed to care).
The last part of the equation is: as you are starting to follow and gain followers, do your best to converse with them. If anyone poses a question via tweet, take the time to answer it. If someone follows you, feel free to reach out via direct messages and say hello.
I have to stop somewhere and this is it. I feel like I have a lot more to say, but Twitter for beginners could quickly become overwhelming. Let me know if you have any questions of if I’ve missed anything. And perhaps sometime in the future I’ll continue this conversation.