This is probably one of the most important posts I have written so far because I am hoping it will help a lot of people join and use Twitter more efficiently. I have been noticing that a lot of my Facebook friends have been joining Twitter, I am not sure if it because of me trying to sell it to them or because they are hearing the word Twitter all over the place. The bottom line is that Twitter is the future of the Web. It is already the most effective networking tool in my opinion, and it is only getting bigger. The pattern that I am noticing when my friends and relatives finally take the big step and open a Twitter account is that they open the account, tweet something about not understanding it, and never touch it again. So I thought I would write up a short guide of the first 5 things you should do after registering for Twitter. However, before I get to that, I would like to say to those who have not yet joined, in all seriousness, you are making a mistake. Twitter is, as someone tweeted to me today "Real-time news and industry information, as well as direct access to people you've always wanted to meet". You can use Twitter for so many different things. It can be your news source, and I am not talking CNN, I am talking real-time live news feed from people who are generally on site. It can be the ultimate job search tool, and I am not talking months to find a job, I am talking 35 -60 seconds if you have built yourself the right network.
You can use Twitter to connect personally with your favorite celebrity, and I am not talking the Facebook kind that is all fake, these are one on one with your favorite celebrity. People like Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Shaq, Ellen, and so many more, actually write real time updates, sometimes with pictures or videos of what they are doing right now.
OK, I have so much more to say about Twitter, but since this is not a sales pitch, I am just going to say that since I joined, and built myself a solid following of well over 1000 people, I do not go to news sites anymore, i do not google computer questions, I do not read reviews on products, and do not go to user forums, everything I need to know I get through Twitter and in a matter of seconds. So join Twitter, and when you do (it is not a question of if, sooner or later, you will join), here are the first 5 things you should do.
- Write a Bio: Write a few lines about yourself, but when doing this, remember this is not Linkedin. Write something interesting about yourself, try to make it witty enough that when someone comes across your Twitter page, they want to follow you. Write who you are, what you do, and do not forget to leave a link to your site/blog.
- Post a Picture: This does not need to be a picture of you if you do not want it to be so personal. But just remember the first rule and make it a picture that is interesting enough to make people want to follow you. This step is of utmost importance. I have followed many people, some with more followers than others. Some with better bios than others, I have yet to follow anyone who can not burden themselves enough to post a picture. The default Twitter picture happens to be really ugly, and I think they chose it so people do not leave it the way it is. You must post a picture if you want people to follow you, and if you want to go anywhere with Twitter, you need people to follow you.
- Design your Page: This also is of utmost importance. I wont say that I have never followed anyone who did not have a custom design, but I will say that when someone spent the time and effort to design their page, I follow them much quicker than a person who has not. Like everything else in the Twitter world, there are endless tools to design your Twitter page. For mine, I used Twitbacks. Anyway, on your Twitter page, you should include your name, contact info, all your social networks, logo, URLs, and make sure you choose normal colors. I have come across Twitter pages that are designed so poorly, it is extremely difficult to read the text. Do I need to tell you what I did when I encoutered such a page?
- Connect: Twitter is all about networking. This is an important difference between Facebook and Twitter. You can in theory register for Facebook , post some pictures of the family, a few links, and you are set. You can check back in a month or two. Do that on Twitter, and your Twitter is pretty much useless. I am not saying you need to sit on Twitter all day, you do not, especially with programs that collect your Twitter information for you and present it in a very orderly fashion. You do however need to build a network. If no one is following you, then no one is reading your tweets, then what's the point? So as I wrote in my last post, there is now an extremely easy way to find people to follow. Wefollow.com. Find a category that interests you, start checking people's pages out, and following those that appeal to you. A lot of people will follow you back automatically. But generally, in order to get people to follow you, you need to tweet.
- Tweet: This is the last out of the 5 steps, but it might be the most important. Tweet, tweet, tweet! Write things. What to write? Well, the box does say "What are you doing?" However, I am a strong believer that Twitter is not really there for you to answer that question. It is more like "What are you thinking?" Are you reading an interesting article? Share it! Cool video? Link to it! A funny picture? Tweet it! Share share share! Cause there to be dialog. That is what it is all about. You need to not write "I just joined Twitter and I do not get it" then leave and come back 3 months later expecting 3,000 people to have followed you. Would you follow a person that has said one sentence in 3 months?
There are so many more things I need to say here, but it will have to be in a continuation of this post. Eventually you will need to learn the art of retweeting, which is forwarding a tweet to simplify the concept. You will need to learn about the world of hashtags, and the popular ones, like Followfriday, in which you recommend good people to follow. You will also need to learn the whole reply as opossed to DM. Then there is the whole Twitter industry, the link shortening sites, the various desktop clients, but the thing you really need to learn is how to tweet effectively, without wasting away all your time. It is possible to become a serious member of the Twitter community while not in any way decreasing the work you do during the day. In fact, it happens quite often that Twitter causes an increase in productivity. All this will have to wait. So, stop reading this now, and go get registered, then get moving on these steps. You will see that in no time, you will have built yourself a significant network, in which you can ask a question on any topic and get substantial feedback within a matter of seconds.