10 Quick & Easy Ways To Maximise Your Twitter Experience

1. Use Your Photo For Your Avatar

Your image is the first thing most people see when deciding whether to follow you – it should represent what your Twitter account represents.

Your avatar should ideally be a recent photo of YOU. At a pinch, it can be your brand’s logo but if you’re the only person who will be using the account a photo is still better. It’s more personable and people will warm to you and become familiar with it. Don’t use a cartoon or picture of a celebrity or character from a movie or TV show. If you decide to go with a photo of you and your partner or your entire family, expect people to be confused as to who exactly is writing the tweets.

Upload a large image in as high a resolution as you can manage taken with a decent digital camera – go for a JPG or PNG over a GIF. Twitter allows up to 700KB and will shrink it down for you but when somebody visits your profile page and clicks on your image it should get bigger, not stay the same size. Moreover, many Twitter clients (i.e., TweetDeck) enlarge the avatar when somebody clicks on a profile, and a small, low-res image will display extremely pixelated. Don’t change your photo too often – other users tend to see the image before the name, and you can get lost if you change your image too frequently.

2. Complete Your Profile

Include your real name, make sure your timezone and location are both accurate and fill out your bio with things that are interesting and relevant to you. This will ensure that when people search for users to follow your account will show up – if you just include quirky stuff then expect quirky followers (or none at all). Think twice before protecting your updates – if you have the Mafia on your tail you might want to consider a more secure network. Twitter is all about socialisation. It’s not really a place to hide.

3. Find People To Follow

Use Twitter’s Find People feature. Invite your friends from other social networks and via email. Pick ten people from the suggested users list. Check out external trackers and directories like Twittercounter and Twellow. See who your friends are following. Repeat.

4. Follow Back

When somebody follows you, check out their profile and if they seem at all interesting, follow them back. It’s courteous and encourages socialisation.

If they turn out to be an ass, a spammer or both, unfollow them.

5. Be Interesting

Don’t take Twitter’s ‘What are you doing?’ question too literally. There’s a place for the inane on Twitter but if that’s all you tweet about, people are going to get really bored, really quickly. Find and share content. Be interesting.

6. Start Conversations With Strangers

Don’t be shy or wait to be spoken to – strike up conversations with people you don’t know. It doesn’t matter if they’re world-famous or unknown folk you’ve just started following: talk to them.

7. Ask Questions

Ask questions, both one-to-one and open to your entire network. Twitter is a great way to get solutions to things that require experience or an opinion. And if somebody answers your query or solves your problem, be thankful.

8. Answer Questions

If you know the answer to a posted question, answer it. If you know some of the answer, reply back. Don’t wait for or assume somebody else will do this. Take the initiative. Use Twitter’s search facility to find common problems and solve them with your expertise.

9. Use TweetDeck

TweetDeck is a desktop application that makes Twitter much, much better. Use it. You won’t regret it.

10. Build A Positive Reputation

This can be accomplished easily by following the steps above. Consider your etiquette. Remember your A-B-C: Always Be Crediting. Re-tweet the good content of others. Thank people when they re-tweet you. Be mindful about what you post, especially if you’ve had a drink, are feeling unwell or in a particularly foul mood. Use short links. Use hashtags but do so sparingly and with good reason. Have an opinion, but don’t be a hater or overly negative.

Most of all, be consistent, friendly, interesting and useful. And have fun.