I 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:
- Tweet every day. There's no way around this. You have to be consistent.
- 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.)
- 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: Tweet
- 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).
- Retweet others' posts using the old school “RT” method versus the Twitter.com-style retweet. A viable alternative is using the “via…” retweet method.
- Don't use all 140 characters. Leave room for others to retweet you. About 24 extra characters is sufficient.
- Use hashtags to engage in ongoing conversations about specific topics.
- 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).
- Follow interesting people on Twitter, and show genuine interest in them. Don't be selfish.
- 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).
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?