The Newcomers Guide To Twitter is a ten-part series of introductory lessons, tips and suggestions for people using Twitter for the first time. Please share these articles with your friends, family, colleagues and anyone you know who is struggling to “get Twitter”.
So, you’ve studied the basics, chosen the perfect username, setup your profile at Twitter.com, started following some cool people and picked up some followers yourself. Now, you need to figure out a way to hold on to them, and attract more folks to your Twitter table, and the best way to do that is to write great tweets.
Here are 10 tips to get your on your way.
1. The Maximum Number Of Characters In A Tweet Is 140
And that’s a hard limit. There are services that let you “extend” the size of a tweet so you can say more, and readers will have to click away to read anything beyond the 140 characters. I strongly advise that you do not use these services. Twitter is a short messaging system, and that system is made up of tweets of no more than 140 characters. Learn to work within these limits.
Indeed, you should quickly get into the mentality of leaving 20 characters free – that is, tweeting to a maximum of 120 characters – to leave plenty of space for people to retweet you. And if you’re sharing links, get into the habit of writing 100 characters of copy, or less. It’s a good practice to adopt – and stick with – as soon as you start using Twitter.
2. Write The Perfect Tweet
Like it or not, people will judge you on grammar, spelling and punctuation. Books and covers, and all that. Don’t give them the opportunity – be excellent at all times.
3. Become An Authority Within Your Niche
Everybody is an expert on something – identify what you know, and tweet about that. And if knowledge isn’t your thing, become an expert connector, placing person with problem A with person with solution B.
4. Be Consistent
People look for and value consistency. Yes, it’s okay to go crazy once in a while, but find out where your middle is. Middle doesn’t mean boring. It means balance. Exception: if crazy is your thing, be consistently crazy.
Use them sparingly. #Not #on #every #single #word.
6. Don’t Make Unnecessary Noise
There’s an important difference between crediting others for their efforts (courtesy) and thanking for retweets (noise/egotism). Always do the former; think twice about the latter.
Also, please don’t be a metweeter.
7. Don’t Automate Anything
Repeat after me: manual good, automatic baaaaaad.
It’s okay to schedule tweets – in fact, I encourage it – but don’t automate anything, or use any service that auto-publishes to Twitter. No exceptions. That means no FourSquare check-ins, no Runkeeper workout fluff, no cross-posting from Facebook, and so on. It might be okay to you, but many people see these kinds of updates as nothing more than irritating noise. To be clear: it’s absolutely fine to tweet about where you are, what you are doing and so on – just do it by hand, on Twitter, and not via a third party.
8. Be Personable, Not Personal
Be a real person, but think about the children. Don’t tweet drunk. Don’t tweet while you’re on the toilet. Don’t provide every little detail. And unless reviewing food is what you do for a career, don’t tweet about every meal.
9. You Are What You Tweet
Ask yourself: why am I using Twitter? Then keep on asking it, as both you, and Twitter, are always changing. In fact, Twitter doesn’t mind if you want to reinvent yourself completely, but people sometimes do. Give them time to get used to the shift.
Also, for best results access to Twitter should always be two clicks away from wherever you are, pretty much at any time. Whether that’s your desktop, smartphone or iPad, keep Twitter close by. The impetus for the best tweet that you will ever write could strike you at any time. Be ready.
10. You Can Tweet Too Much
Equally, you can tweet too little. There is no magic number of tweets we should all send per day, nor is there a single best time of day for everybody to tweet. There will be, however, a magic number of tweets you should send per day, and there is also an ideal time for you to tweet. This will be quickly determined by your own enthusiasm and limitations, and the response you receive therein. Find that equilibrium point, and embrace it.
This post is part of The Newcomers Guide To Twitter, a ten-part series of introductory lessons, tips and suggestions for people using Twitter for the first time or thinking about signing up for a profile. Click here to see the other posts in this series (and if you’re just getting started, here’s part one), and please hit the comments to share your own Twitter tips.