Twitter for Beginners | What to Tweet

Twitter for Beginners | What to Tweet

You’ve taken care of the basics, right?

You’ve:

  • signed up for a Twitter account.
  • dowloaded TweetDeck or another application.
  • started to follow people in your field or area of interest.

What next?

In short, start tweeting.

In my last post, I recommended that you set aside a limited amount of time each day to spend on Twitter. At first that might be 5 minutes, once or several times a day.

But what do you say? I have read several posts that outline percentages of the types of tweets you should post. It doesn’t make sense to me, though, to over-analyze the content of my tweets. In general, if you post frequently enough, you will probably tweet a variety of things. If you are tweeting for business, being mindful of what you tweet is important.

Start with links to articles you are reading that would interest your audience. I am often intrigued when someone tweets that they are reading and commenting on something. If I have time, I will often click the link to read and comment, too. TweetDeck has a shrink link feature that will automatically shrink the URL to your link.

Be sure to link to your own blog posts, also. Typepad has a feature that automatically tweets new posts. I prefer to tweet my new post a few times throughout the day, using different hooks each time. For example, I might ask a question as an interest builder.

Many people include quotes on topics that interest them… or original ideas on a topic. Joan Koerber-Walker has started a whole movement on Twitter for people to “Be Original.” She uses the hashtag #beoriginal and encourages people to tweet their own thoughts and ideas instead of quoting others. Search #beoriginal for some inspiration, then tweet your own.

Join a conversation. If someone asks a question or raises an issue that interests you, reply. You can reply by typing “@” followed by the persons name, or by clicking the reply feature on TweetDeck. Earlier this week, I had an interesting conversation with a few others about a blog post we all read and commented about. And last night, I discovered that I attend the same college as another Twitter friend — at the exact same time. As you join the conversation, you will make some amazing connections. It seems impossible, and strange, but it’s true.

Start your own conversation. Several people I follow will ask a question and use the responses they receive as ideas in blog posts.

Repeat what others are tweeting: “Retweet.” If you’re using TweetDeck, if you run your mouse over the person’s picture, there is a curved arrow. If you press it, it will automatically retweet (RT) for you. This saves a lot of time. I am embarassed to admit that it took me weeks to discover that… weeks of cuttig and pasting.

When you retweet what someone says, it shows that you find them interesting, that you support them in their efforts, that what they’ve said is resonating with you. I also like to add comments to my retweet. For example, if I am retweeting someone’s blog post, I might add something I liked about the post, or simply say “great post.”

Tweet information that connects you to others. This means tweeting things about yourself that will help people know who you are, especially in the context of what you do. Tweet about what you are working on, or what you are planning to do. Even if you are using Twitter in the context of your business, people still want to know who you are. I often start to pay more attention to a person’s tweets when I have an idea of who they are overall.

Read posts on Twitter with a mindset of connecting with others, For example, @angiechaplin is someone I follow for her leadership tweets. Recently she tweeted about getting a gift certificate from her leadership students to her favorite running store. Since I like to run, this gave me a stronger connection to Angie, and I replied to her and started a conversation about running. Discover what you have in common with people and tweet about it.

Today’s assignment: try to start a conversation on Twitter. See where it tweets you. And post a link to an interesting article. Why not start with this one?

This post was originally published at Mountain State University Leadertalk and is republished here with permission.

Filed As:  LeaderTalk, what to write

About Becky Robinson

I am the owner of Weaving Influence and the leader of the Weaving Influence team. We help authors and thought leaders grow their online influence. I am also a wife and mom of three daughters, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, a good cup of coffee, and dark chocolate.

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What People Are Saying

  • For those who can find Twitter overwhelming (even with this fantastic primer), I suggest finding how it can be useful. Some face-to-face professors will allow the use of Twitter for students to do back-channel communication during a lecture. Others would rather block such activity. Twitter posts (with brevity applied) can be made from blogs and made to post updates to places like Friendfeed and Facebook.
    That helps us reach people where we are connected with them without staying up (too) late at night.
    One blog post (with the title worded appropriately) can become a Twitter question, and a status update on Facebook, as an example. The fun starts when you find you can promote conversations between diverse groups who would have otherwise never met.
    The key is to experiment with all of this social media to see how it can be useful in our endeavors.

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