Top 3 Tips on Twitter for Newbies

By Shai Coggins, Digital Specialist | Blog

May 25

As promised when I started the Top 3 Tips series, I’d like to share little bits of actionable ideas and inspiration for different social media tools and platforms. With Twitter being one of my favourite platforms, it’s one that I’m constantly trying to learn more about.

So, if you’re only starting out with Twitter, here are my Top 3 Tips for Twitter Newbies:

1. Get your profile up and ready! The absolute basics are:

  • Choosing a username that suits you (or your organisation) best. This will be known as your Twitter handle. From hereon, you’ll be @TwitterUsername, so choose wisely.
  • Put in the right full name that you wish for people to associate your Twitter handle with.
  • Change your avatar. Don’t leave it as an egg. Make sure you choose an avatar that would be representative of the personal or professional brand that you wish to share online.
  • Fill out your bio. This will give people the chance to decide whether they wish to connect or follow you. You can be clever, smart, funny, or just straightforward here. It’s up to you. If you want people to find you, it’s best to be descriptive and write about the things you will Tweet about.
  • Share your location too. Whilst it’s cute or clever to put things like “At My House” or “On z computerz”, you might be missing out on connecting with people who are interested in your locale. If you don’t mind that, then that’s cool. Be as funny and clever as you would like to be! 🙂 However, if you wish to be able to connect with people from the same city or country who like to follow each other because it provides them a good local network for possible “Tweetups”, then make sure to mention your city, state, and/or country.

Once you have the basics of your profile in place, you’re ready to keep going with your Twitter adventure.

Tips for Twitter Users

Let's Get Tweeting!

2. Start following and connecting with people! The only way people will know that you’re on Twitter is when you actually start telling people that you’re there. And, the best place to start is to find other people who are already on Twitter.

If you already know some friends and contacts who are on Twitter, start with them. Follow them and lLet them know you’ve joined their Twitterverse. And perhaps, ask questions or request introductions. If you don’t know their Twitter usernames or handles, you can use the built-in Twitter search engine to type their names. If that doesn’t work, head to Google or Bing or any other search engine of your choice and type in their names and add the word “Twitter”. See what comes up.

Twitter also has a list of suggested people to follow, you can check them out and see if they interest you. You might also want to try using a Twitter directory or tool like WeFollow, so you can look for Twitter users by keyword or location (yes, one reason location is an important part to fill out!). Unfortunately, the ones highlighted in such tools tend to be the “popular ones” (ie, celebrities). So, it’s not as easy to find non-celebs. But, it’s a start.

Once you follow, though, try to say hello and introduce yourself briefly. This way, they know that you’re genuine person and that you really want to connect. This practice is not always possible, but always helpful, especially if you wish to communicate with people on a deeper level.

3. Familiarise yourself with Twitter’s different features and tools. Just like a number of things, there’s always a lot to learn in the beginning. Don’t be overwhelmed. Try to learn as you go by asking questions, participating, reading useful resources, and experimenting.

Some things that you might want to take some time to get to know on Twitter include:

  • Hash Tags (or hashtags). If you see people posting things with the pound or hash sign like #Keyword on Twitter, these are called hashtags. It enables people on Twitter to identify certain keywords as part of a wider conversation. For example, if you want to learn all about what is being said about, say, Australia, people who want to be part of that conversation will put #Australia in their Twitter updates. That makes the word ‘clickable’ (linked) and you’ll see what else is being said about that topic. Some hash tags are less understandable but usually stand for something (eg #nptech is a hash tag being by used by people who wish to talk about technology for nonprofits around the world). There are also hash tags just being used for fun like #facepalm (for embarrassing moments) or just for making up stuff. Another very great way to use hash tags is by following events like #sxsw. You can read Twitter’s explanation and tips on hashtags.
  • Twitter apps or clients. If you want to make your life on Twitter easier, there are a number of ways you can keep up with it, especially using your mobile devices. You can also install desktop clients, which enables you to follow conversations and streams easily. You can check out Twitter’s native apps, or try popular tools like HootSuite or TweetDeck.
  • Learn the art of keeping Twitter lists and use Twitter favorites feature. These are features on Twitter that can help you to bookmark posts and filter your Twitter stream. So, they’re very handy to have, especially when you’re following a number of people.

There are a number of other tips and tools on Twitter that I’d like to share in future posts. But for now, I hope these ideas would help you get a good start in your Twitter adventure. All the best with it!

And, if you haven’t done so yet, do follow @Vervely on Twitter, and let us know how you found us. Also, we share more tips on Twitter and relevant topics there.

Happy Tweeting!


About the Author

Shai Coggins is the Manager and Chief Digital Media Specialist at Vervely, an Australia-based agency serving local and international clients. One of the company's main clients is Microsoft. Shai has been featured in a number of media due to her online work, including being named as one of Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list (2009).