Twitter Tips for Beginners

Twitter Tips for BeginnersI joined Twitter over three and a half years ago. While I’ve never regretted the choice, I was a skeptic at first.

The truth is that only in the past six months have I really grasped the impact of Twitter when properly used. I spent some time observing “power users” like Randy Elrod and Mike Hyatt and mimicking some of their behavior. (See Randy’s 10 Commons Twitter Mistakes for more on his “secrets” to success.)

For a few years, I had a few hundred followers and thought that Twitter was more about me than others. In the past half-year, I’ve tried to build more community by focusing on others for a change. The results speak for themselves: my followers have tripled, and I’ve enjoyed using it a lot more.

If you’re just getting started or are still a skeptic, here are some Twitter tips for beginners:

  1. Tweet every day. There’s no way around this. You have to be consistent.
  2. Don’t tweet too much. Try tweeting a few times a day and observe when are the best times to interact with your followers by seeing when people respond. (I’m actually working on this myself, as I’ve realized I may be tweeting too much.)
  3. Share links to worthwhile, relevant content. By the way, while we’re on the subject, I’d love for you to share this post on Twitter right now. Just click this:  
  4. Be generous. Share valuable information and ask for nothing in return. An example of someone who does this with humor is Tim Sidell (aka @badbanana).
  5. Retweet others’ posts using the old school “RT” method versus the retweet. A viable alternative is using the “via…” retweet method.
  6. Don’t use all 140 characters. Leave room for others to retweet you. About 24 extra characters is sufficient.
  7. Use hashtags to engage in ongoing conversations about specific topics.
  8. Don’t just talk about yourself or to yourself. Engage in conversations with others by @ replying to them. This is how you make friends (and followers).
  9. Follow interesting people on Twitter, and show genuine interest in them. Don’t be selfish.
  10. Be patient. Don’t sign up today and think you’ll have a thousand followers by tomorrow (unless you’re Charlie Sheen, of course; then you’ll have a million or two).

Also, if you’re on Twitter, follow me: @jeffgoins. And if you’re not on Twitter, read these 12 reasons to start twittering.

Oh, and here’s a bonus tip (#11, I guess): Follow Gary Vaynerchuk‘s lead and go for broke with social media. No backup plans or exit strategies. No reservations or “playing it safe.” Connect with as many people as possible and get your message out. No matter what. (Your window of opportunity may be limited.)

Are you on Twitter? If so, what tips for beginners do you have?

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69 thoughts on “Twitter Tips for Beginners

    1. Great for organizing lots of followers without missing those that you really want to focus on. Haven’t seen them be useful in actually growing your followers.

  1. This is uber helpful for me, Jeff.

    I have a couple of questions that you or the other readers may be able to weigh in on, with regard to tweeting as a blogger.

    What are you thoughts on tweeting personal tweets? I.e. funny things about my life, family etc? Should I avoid this and just tweet blog-relevant things? I like to tweet the personal stuff because I think it makes me seem like a real person and not just a blogger. But, I’m wondering what you’d recommend.

    Second question…is it best to use my pic/gravatar for Twitter or my blog “logo”?

    1. Thanks, Keri. I’m all about personal tweets within reason. This is SOCIAL media, right? So, it makes sense for you share some basics elements about your life with others like you would in social conversations. Same goes for an avatar. I’m a big fan of using a person’s face (one of the biggest trendsetters in social media – MASHABLE – does this with Pete Cashmore’s face and persona).

  2. Good stuff, dude. I’ve been on Twitter so long that much of it is just second nature and I don’t think much about all the pieces involved that can overwhelm or slip by newbies. This is a great intro, and I’ll recommend this to people.

  3. Solid info Jeff. I’ve been on Twitter for a while now, but it wasn’t until just recently (maybe the past 3-4 months) that I really started engaging it – and now I favor it over any other social media site. I love it.

  4. The only point I would disagree with is “don’t tweet too much”. This is social media. That advice seems counter-intuitive. Tweet as much as you want. However, I would put a qualifier on it. Don’t tweet too much garbage. If it’s interesting, helpful, engaging or funny…knock yourself out. Tweet all day. Just spare me the contents of your lunchbag.

    1. I read a similar article on yahoo that teens are not as attracted to Facebook as in the past. One had to do with “garbage” posting among other things that also included too many ads, but that’s another story. But your suggestion and Jeff’s tips are very informative and useful.

  5. I’m a Twitter and blogging newbie–your tips are very helpful. (I wish I would have read them on my first day!) I would also add that creating Lists is critical to be able to consume information on Twitter. Once I followed more than 50 people, it became I necessity.

  6. My tip – Tweet because you enjoy tweeting. Follow people because you like their tweets. Don’t think about who or how many people follow you because you cannot control other people. Enjoy twitter for what it is and you will benefit in the end.

  7. Great tip about not using all of the characters … I’ll take that to heart. Normally – it is like a game to me to use each and every character that I’m allowed – but – now I’ll just leave some breathing room.


    1. Thanks for the comment. Yeah, try to leave 24 characters (or so) so that people can retweet you the traditional way. A good way to test this is to write out your message then include “RT [your username]:” plus the tweet and see if you max out on characters. If so, you need to condense your tweet length.

  8. Don’t be selfish.

    More precisely, don’t come across as being selfish. For in the end, of course, the main objective of following Twitter tips like these is to self-promote.

  9. Great article. Would you also say a key to gaining more followers is by following more people on Twitter yourself. For example, you have 5,000+ followers but you follow almost as many yourself. Would you say this is also another key to not only gaining a stronger following but also being open to engaging with as many other Twitter users as well? Curious to hear your thoughts on this.

    1. Yes, and no. those numbers are misleading. I try to follow a lot of people back, and following new people I find interesting is one way to build a network. but better than that is to say important stuff.

  10. Hi Jeff, I am soaking up your stuff and loving every minute of it. Thanks. I’m new to Twitter (was a skeptic) but now very thankful to twitter for meeting and following people like yourself. I am an artist and I use twitter for tweeting daily art quotes from famous teachers, philosophers and artists. Of course, I retweet the good stuff too, like your article above. But I am a little confused by what you mean the “old school RT method”? 

  11. I am using  Twitter past 2 months and i am satisfied with the amount of traffic it gives to my website.I am  growing good with it.But can you please do let me know how can i further increase my website traffic with twitter extensions on my software category website…Love to hear it soon from you!!!

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  13. Ya but I think you are missing something , guess what ????????????????????????????????? Ok what you are missing is Facebook . Because facebook is the biggest social network .
    Think about it & mention it in your post .

  14. I’ve been on Facebook for 8 years and been blogging almost that long. For some reason I’m just completely intimidated by Twitter. I’ve read several articles on what to do and not to do on Twitter but I guess I still don’t get it. Hate admitting this online but how else will I ever learn? Have 63 followers and I’m hardly ever there. Want to get more involved. Any suggestions?

  15. Thanks for the tips!
    Twitter is still a new social media tool for me. All help in this area – especially in relation to marketing – is appreciated.

  16. Great information for people new to Twitter. Another helpful tip is to look at other sources to find people to follow on Twitter such as This resource gives you the chance to locate people who share common business interests and topics – its biography section gives you insight to the people and helps generate connections for sharing that you might not find elsewhere.

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  19. thanks for the info! I really need a few tips on how to grow my twitter following and engagement.! thanks

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