Thursday, January 12, 2012

Twitter 101 {recap}

Almost a year ago, I wrote this post for Gina.  I thought it would be fun to update it and share on my own blog, since I find myself referring others to the post when they ask me questions about Twitter.  In my day job, I use Twitter a lot and have learned a bit about it and it even prompted me to open a second Twitter account last spring for this blog.
via
Let me begin by sharing WHY you should join Twitter:

To connect & network with others, build community. You can find others with shared interests, whether it's dog owners, hobbies or professional interests.

Source of supportyou can ask questions & get answers.

Current & yields real-time results [there are plenty of news sources to follow]
Source of free developmentwhether you participate in tweet chats or network with colleagues, you can likely find others who share your passion.
FunOnce you get the hang of it, you may find it a challenge to stop tweeting. You'll meet others, connect and grow!

Here's HOW to get started:
Choose your handle [the words that follow the @ symbol] and will be what other Twitter users know you by.  My advice is to choose either your name, blog or shop name because it makes it easier for people to find and remember you. It's a bit different from choosing an AOL handle like Shopgirl ((btw, I love that movie, but it's so 1998)).

Select a photo ((it will show up when you tweet & others will see it)) My thought is that you should choose an image that matches your handle, but put your face with it rather than a shop/blog logo. 

Write your Bio ((for others to get a glimpse as to what you're about)) Do not leave this blank because it can make you appear to be SPAM. Consider who you hope to connect with on Twitter and the image you want to portray when writing it.  The Bio can be similar to what's in your "about me" on your blog, but you are limited to 160 characters.

Website ((there is an option to provide your web address)) This is helpful to let others know about your blog and to find other Twitter friend's blogs. Fill it in with your blog or shop, whichever you want to drive traffic toward.

Appearance of your page ((choose colors, backgrounds, etc.)) There are all types of options for this. My recommendation is to match your blog [if you have one] for consistency sake. If you do not have a blog or shop, then keeping it easy to read is helpful.

{a sample of my bio appears}

Now it's time to decide WHO to follow {suggestions}

Almost anything you're interested in can be found
Fellow bloggers & those you want to network with
Local & handmade businesses and restaurants
News sources ((international to local)), government officials, etc.
Groupon and other web deals
Celebrities/Athletes/Musicians
Your Alma Mater ((I work in high ed, can you tell?))

But HOW do you find people to follow?
Use the search function in Twitter
Look on lists in Twitter ((they're typically in categories of common interests))
Use the find people function if you know someone's handle
Look at other's tweets and you can see who they mention
Look at your favorite blog or shop to see if they're on Twitter

Now that you're setup, it's Time to Tweet!
You'll have a 140 character limit for each tweet, 
so be concise, it makes you think before you tweet.
Forget the Facebook status state of mind.
Be informative.
Be relevant, add to the dialogue
Give as much as you get; if you ask a question, answer someone else's question.

WHAT to Include in a Tweet
@ mentions

If you go to a restaurant that has a Twitter account,

you can tell others using the @ symbol and its handle in your tweet.

# hashtag
It is used to group tweets together and make them searchable. You can search a given hashtag and find others who have used it. This is key to participating in a chat on Twitter because it allows a group of chats to be viewed together.
{example of mention & hashtag}


photos

You can add a photo to a tweet by using TwitPic.com or a number of web-based programs, most Twitter clients on smart phones have this option.

((remember a picture is 1000 words... take that 140 character limit!))

{example}



shrink a link
Due to the 140 character limit, there are ways to add a link to a webpage, blog, article, etc. using sites like tinyurl.com and some Third Party Clients have a shrink feature included.

location

You can add your location to your tweet ((I only do this when I'm in a public place by using foursquare))


Some WAYS to Tweet
((you aren't limited to tweet using Twitter alone, though its latest version is better than ever, including the mobile app, there are many are 3rd party clients, only 58% of tweets come from Twitter))
Mobile Apps for Android, iPhone, Blackberry, 
((for further explanation on 3rd party clients check out this post))


And there you have it, my two cents on how to join Twitter and get started using it!
It's a great tool to connect with other bloggers, handmade shop owners and more. 


Are you ready to sign up for Twitter?
For more info on how participate in a Tweet chat, read this post.
If you're looking for some ways to get more followers check out Annie's post!

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