10 Easy Steps for Twitter Beginners

In this guest post Aira Bongco (@airabongco) shares 10 tips for Beginners who are just getting into Twitter.

So you just signed up for Twitter. You make your first tweet and you realize you don’t have any followers. “What a dumb idea!” You say. “Who the hell would be interested in what I’m doing anyway?”

Don’t worry. You’re normal. That is a sign that you are a Twitter beginner. A lot of us Twitter users (or addicts) went through the same questioning routine. And look at us now. We’re geeks who are on Twitter all day and night and we can’t stop tweeting.

So you want to be like us? It’s not that hard really. Just follow these simple steps.

twitter-beginners.png

1. Set up your profile

The first thing you need to do is to set up that profile. See that bar on top of your twitter page? Click Settings and start filling up your profile. The notable areas in here are URL, bio, picture and design. Put up a link to your site or blog in here along with a brief description. Upload a picture to differentiate yourself from the others and then tweak your Twitter design. Like any other social networking site, it is important to completely express what you are or what you stand for in your profile.

2. Follow people with similar interests

Now that you have a profile, start following people. You can find these people in Twitter directories. I use Twellow and JustTweetIt. These sites can introduce you to Twitter users that have the same interest as yours. Follow these people and observe their tweets. You may also try following who these people follow but read up their descriptions and visit their blogs to make sure you’re still on the right niche. Being on the right niche will make it easy for you to build a community with a similar interest.

3. Get into the conversation

So now that you are following people, you will now see some tweets on your board. Read up on what the people your following are up to and reply if it interests you. For example, a person narrates how he is going to conduct a meeting. You may then reply with ideas. When someone asks a question, don’t hesitate to answer if you know it. Don’t be afraid to interact.

4. Don’t spam

Spam is the cause of many unfollows on Twitter. There is a character limit for a reason. Do not send repeated messages to people. Do not constantly direct message (DM) them with links.

5. Update daily

Alright so you’re blending in the community. Now update daily if possible. I know some Twitter users who unfollow because of inactivity. Reply to people and update people with what’s going on with your life. Soon you’ll be recognized and you’ll get some follows.

6. Find the latest buzz and contribute

Now it’s your time to contribute. Find a topic that will interest your niche and tweet it. Since you have established relationships with your followers (through replies), you will get more attention. It’s a nice strategy to always append “please retweet” at the end of your tweet. There will be some people who will be so interested that they will retweet. There are others who will reply to you about the link you tweeted. But you are not a “nobody” anymore. You are not just talking to yourself. People are now responding to your tweets.

7. Help other people out

The famous saying “Do unto others what you want others to do unto you” holds here. Before you can receive retweets, you must help others first by retweeting their messages. Help the people in your niche. One day you’ll be surprised on how eager they are to help you back.

8. Create relationships

Now it’s time to create constant connections. Soon you will find that some users are more active than others. You will get to talk with the same group of people at the same time every night. But don’t get bored. Interact with these people and create relationships. Ask how they are doing and try to touch on their interests.

9. Integrate Twitter with other social networks

Have a blog? Then post to Twitter when you have a post that will interest your niche. Have a Facebook profile? Then ask people to add you. Twitter is really a vital part of web 2.0. It can serve as the core. It can let you build relationships that can branch out to other social networks.

10. Establish relationships even outside Twitter

Have a lot of friends on Twitter? Then take it to another level. Ask for their messenger and talk to these people on a more intimate level. Call them through Skype or even arrange a meet-up. Twitter can create real relationships.

Congratulations! You are now an official member of the Twitter community. You talk, act, think and breathe like us. Perhaps you find yourself spending every five minutes updating Twitter on what you are doing. But I guess I’ll save Twitter addiction for next time.

Comments

  • November 16, 2008

    Thanks a lot for the information.

  • November 16, 2008

    Darren,

    It’s amazing – and I mean this in a good way – that these kind of how-to-use Twitter posts will resonate with many people. As much as Twitter has been embraced by the digiterati, it’s just starting to move into the mainstream.

    I did a post yesterday on how to follow people on Twitter that people seemed to like – http://tinyurl.com/6a6hrh

    cheers, Mark

  • November 16, 2008

    I totally agree with the “help other people out” part. I’ve gotten some great assistance from twitter, and I try to give out as much as possible. Karma!

  • November 16, 2008

    Great article as usual Darren. This blog is a daily MUST READ for me since I’m so new to twitter. I have to be honest and tell you that I don’t know what “It’s a nice strategy to always append “please retweet” at the end of your tweet.” means?? I shouldn’t be afraid to ask.. right?? Also, how can I get my icon to come up in my comments here like Corey??

    Thanks for this blog!

  • November 16, 2008

    Thanks very much – Very sound advice! :)

  • November 16, 2008

    These are the answers to the questions many people asked me! Thank you, Darren!

  • November 16, 2008

    Sorry forgot – @Chris For the icon go to http://en.gravatar.com/ and sign up

  • November 16, 2008

    6. Find the latest buzz and contribute – Find the latest links being posted on Twitter with Twitseek – http://beta.twitseek.com

  • November 16, 2008

    Hi Aira,

    I resisted Twitter for quite a while, even posted on my blog about not getting it. And my reason for doing so was exactly what you mention at the beginning of the article.

    Well, I decided to give it a real go before I made final judgment. I’ve been faithful for about three weeks now and here’s how things shake out:

    My overall traffic has increased.
    Twitter referrals grow by 3 or 4 per day.
    I have connected with some great folks.
    Now I almost always get to comment within the first ten for sites like this and ProBlogger.
    I am able to announce my new posts and I get immediate response.

    So, It’s safe to say that I like Twitter and find it to be a valuable tool.

    Cheers

    George

  • November 16, 2008

    Broadcasting Etiquette Question: Is it OK to broadcast a blog post more than once. i.e. different times during the day? 3x too much?

  • November 16, 2008

    Very timely. Was just explaining beginner nuances to someone yesterday. Sent him link this AM . Thanks!

    Rob

  • November 16, 2008

    More Broadcasting Etiquette Questions:

    1. Is it OK to broadcast from my archive?
    2. Can some one explain retweet

    Thanks

  • November 16, 2008
    Nur Sarah Lam

    The one thing that I like about Twitter is to be able to connect with people that I have never imagined being able to connect (ie: such as yourself and many others established bloggers)

  • November 16, 2008

    I agree that updating daily is important, but don’t over-do it. I’ve never un-followed somebody due to inactivity, but I have un-followed people who tweet too much about irrelevant things, so put a little thought into your tweets so you don’t have to repeat yourself due to a spelling / grammar error or a bad link because that’s more annoying than inactivity.

  • November 16, 2008

    Great tips! I think the Twitter community moves so fast that it can be intimidating for a newcomer, but the key is to just get in and learn as you go. As long as you don’t annoy everyone with spam and what not, you’ll do fine.

    http://twitter.com/coryobrien

  • November 16, 2008

    nice post. just joined twitter this is useful info.

    Thanks

  • November 16, 2008

    Hi there – great job may I link to your post on my blog?

  • November 16, 2008

    Great advice, I rarely use Twitter, But I’m going to Start Using it More.

  • November 16, 2008

    I found this post to be very helpful. Even just the part about finding people to follow- I couldn’t find anything on twitter.com itself about how to find people to follow, or how people would find me.

    Thank you!

  • November 16, 2008

    Thank you, Aira Bonco, for writing these tips; and thank you, Darren Rowse, for posting them. (And Ian David Champman, for leading me here.)

    I really enjoy the aspect of helping others out on Twitter, and reading/contributing tweets about interesting, humorous, and useful topics.

    I’ll be sending a link to this post to anyone that I know who is starting on Twitter. (And maybe as a hint to those who repeatedly spam-tweet! Yes, I will stop following you!)

  • November 16, 2008

    To AccountingElf,

    Re: Finding people to follow

    When I see an interesting Tweet, I go look at the person’s profile. I look at their previous Tweets and also their website, if they have one. If I’m still interested, I start following them. Also, I look to see who they follow and who is following them. I frequently find people with similar interests there, and then I follow them.

    Another way is to “search” in Twitter (click on search at the bottom of Twitter’s screen) and type in a keyword of your interest. Then you can find Tweets about that topic.

    As far as getting people to follow you.. I think if you post Tweets that are the kind I like: interesting, humourous, and useful – you’ll get followers. Also, if you can put in the topic you are interested in, like-minded Twitters may follow you.

    Hope this helps – oh, and you could put your Twitter ID in a comment like this – that could get you some followers! I’m guessing AccountingElf is your Twitter ID ?

  • November 16, 2008

    Thanks for the definitive guide for beginners! I believe you have to be active in using Twitter to have people start following you. Meaning, start following the people you’re interested in for a start, and start tweeting. An idle Twitter account will attract no followers.

  • November 16, 2008

    Twitter is such an interesting tool and culture to me. I’ve been pretty active on it for 3-4 months now … being around and connecting with people who have similar interests or who write about things that i’m beginning to be interested in have been extremely helpful. the things people share are incredible.

    I’ve been bookmarking things along the way that have influenced or otherwise helped me:
    http://delicious.com/franswaa/twitter

    One thing that i find to be true for me is that people on Twitter who take the time to interact/talk to me are the ones that i talk to more, trust and generally check out what they are sharing.

    @Darren how do you keep it personal with the people you follow on Twitter?


    http://twitter.com/franswaa

  • November 16, 2008

    Not bad, much of this is pretty straight forward. I like what you got going here Darren . :)

  • November 16, 2008

    This is a great list for beginners. Many are confused by Twitter so this helps create a system for them to embrace the new platform. I will let others know so they can stop by to get some great guidance.

    http://twitter.com/inthelivingroom

  • November 16, 2008

    .

    Thanks
    Very useful infomation…
    Wish I had it when I started twitting..
    Tamkin

    .

  • November 16, 2008

    Tumblemoose – It’s really nice to hear how Twitter is helping you out. It’s really not that hard to figure out once you get the hang of it. As I said, it is a process you have to go through. As you pick up the Twitter culture, you’ll be hooked and addicted ^_^

    Robin – I think it is okay. So long as it is evenly spread out through the day and not sent one after another. We are, after all, in different time zones.

    Broadcasting past posts? Hmm… I’m torn with this. I think it is okay if people asked for it.
    And “retweet” means you will resend the post of other people to help them out. This is very useful if you’re friends have links they want to promote. This is a way to reach out and help.

    Dora Crow – I’m glad my article helped you out. ^_^

  • November 16, 2008

    I’m at step 2. I didn’t know that there’s a directory to find people of similar interests. The resources have proven to be useful for me.
    It has clearly spelled out the way twitter newbies have felt in the beginning, I know it clearly as I felt that way.
    Even till now, it seems to me that Twitter is somewhat more for Internet Marketing Niche.

    Nevertheless, Aira@Thanks you for such wonderful post.

  • November 16, 2008
    patrickometry

    In case it hasn’t been said, if you follow a large number of people then you won’t ever have a chance of getting to know any individual twitterer. Some people follow everyone who follows them and end up with thousands following/followed. I think that’s very silly. This isn’t a competition and it’s not expected that you must follow someone who follows you.

    Find people whose twitter stream interests you and then follow them. But limit it to a number you can handle. I follow less than 30 twitterers but over 100 follow me. That’s great. People who like my stream follow me plus the ones I follow know that I chose them for their content and not because I’m a promiscuous follower.

    I can imagine that some people might have a good reason for following 4,000+ twitterers so take my advice if it’s helpful to you.

  • November 17, 2008

    Hello Dareen,
    I am the twitter fallow.But in starting stage I followed 2000 persons .Next day Twitter Kicked out me.Can I change my account or Should I create new account in another name?Pl .

  • November 17, 2008

    Excellent tips! I’ve been twiddling with Twitter for a couple months now and find it more and more fun…cool…interesting?? Don’t know the right word to describe but, I was skeptical going in and thinking I had to update all the time to get any traction however, I’ve been amazed to see the people that are now following me. Fun. Thanks, again!

  • November 17, 2008
    Amy Fadida

    I am new to Twitter and appreciate these tips. Thank you.

  • November 17, 2008

    I have been trying to figure out just what twitter is about and how to use it for a while now. I initially just used it to update when I published a new post, but now I’m thinking that might be a pretty cheezy thing to go. I’d rather meet some interesting people.

    This list helps.

  • November 17, 2008

    Great post…I was researching some stuff to blog about about and the “beginner top 10″ idea hit me. But you’ve done a great job, I’ll just re-link to your and forget about writing the one I was gonna do.

  • November 17, 2008

    I wish Twitter would make the photo sizes larger though.

    By the way, would you outline your daily blogging routine sometime Darren?

  • November 18, 2008

    Great article that covers the basics – it is too bad Twitter doesn’t really give these tips themselves – but then again, maybe that is the beauty of Twitter in that they let the community develop the rules.

  • November 18, 2008

    This was sent to me by my cuz at http://www.andyjacobson.com. As you can see , I’m still clueless . Thanks Andy! I’m posting tomorrow on http://sueadler.blogspot.com/2008/11/times-they-are-changin.html

  • November 19, 2008

    Thanks for providing these great information. I am very much thankful to you. What a good information for twitter beginner??

    I suggest all beginners to follow these instruction, soon you will get notices in twitter.

  • November 19, 2008

    Thanks for the tip about “retweets”. Mabuhay ka, Aira! :)

  • November 19, 2008

    Great post – so many people that have heard about Twitter just “don’t get it” because they are just tweating blindly without following others and building a community.. This is what Twitter is about, it’s a communication tool rather than a broadcast tool.

    Mark

  • November 20, 2008

    Well in my case i juts star juts how dose thips say and know i have some fallowers of my reagon Colombia, and its fun becuase we havea lot to shear between each other.

    Good tips for begganners.

  • November 20, 2008

    Thank you so much for this! Profoundly helpful.

  • November 23, 2008

    great article. My first tweet (or twit?) was “I am unsure what twitter is or what it does???” thanks for the insights

  • November 23, 2008

    Use an alert service like TweetBeep. This is how I started to find Twitter useful.

  • November 27, 2008

    this is very nice… more informative!

  • November 29, 2008

    Dumb question, but I’m brand new to Twitter, so when you say “Read up on what the people your following are up to and reply if it interests you.” … does that mean that if you use the @username syntax, they will receive your tweet even if they don’t follow you? Or are you assuming that the people you are following will follow you in return?

  • December 4, 2008

    Very good advice.I would like to add that you must also make your Twitter profile look good.The default bubbly blue with the brown avatar is not going to do you much good.

  • January 10, 2009

    Another helpful article.

  • January 12, 2009
    Bryan Crawford
    @LCC_Bryan

    Very helpful, thank you. I am very, very new to Twitter and I am testing it out for business purposes as well as personal. I am not sure how it will all pan out, but again I want to thank you for the helpful information

  • January 25, 2009

    One to add – there are no “rules”. Everyone uses Twitter differently and there’s no real “right or wrong” way – people will either connect to how you’re using it or they won’t.

  • January 28, 2009

    Hey Darren, thanks for these quick tips. Recently I’m working on a twitter for beginners series. I’ve created a detailed step by step twitter posts for new people. You can check it out and I’d love to have your expert opinion on this post about twitter search: http://blogkori.com/a-step-by-step-guide-for-new-twitter-users-part-4

  • February 2, 2009

    Hello my friend! Thanks for sharing this tip! I hope my own works will drive traffic with the help of Twitter! I’m really impressed by your work! Good job! Have a nice day!

  • February 18, 2009

    For the newbies to twitter, your advice can really help. I have found that they have a lot of effort to succeed but lack the knowledge and plans achieve.

  • March 3, 2009
    Al Winmill
    @alecwinmill

    Thanks for the tips!

  • March 27, 2009
    Jo Murray
    @Curious_Jo

    Cheers Aira. thanks for the info on getting started. Im quite new & feeling stupid, and felt like what on earth am i doing & why would anyone be interested? but Im plugging along. You’ve given me some insight into how to proceed so Ill see how it goes.

  • April 1, 2009

    Great tips, thanks

  • April 2, 2009

    Thanks for sharing these some great tips. Have a fantastic day.
    Julia

  • April 13, 2009

    Great tips. For me #7 & 8 have proven to be the most beneficial – Building relationships with people that I can learn from and sharing things that help those who are following me.

    I thought i’d share a bit about when i started on Twitter in case it might help others: http://budurl.com/twitter1st

    @franswaa

  • June 27, 2009
    jenajunior

    thanks for the info…more power!!!

  • August 9, 2009

    Yes, Twitter helps to get more traffic. Nice easy steps for sharing here. Thanks

  • September 4, 2009

    your tips are very usefull for beginers.thank you for your tips.

  • September 30, 2009

    Very good tips. Thanks for sharing.

  • November 16, 2009

    This is all good stuff, I have a little following and I need to understand this in more detail, yeah.

  • November 16, 2009

    thanks a lot.I learned a lot.Add me @jiangwei1989718 I am from China.呵呵

  • November 17, 2009

    I learned something valuable today, thanks so much! I’m new to Twitter and this really helps. Thanks. ;)

  • January 6, 2010

    I have to say that all ten of these steps are accurate and important if you want to thrive on twitter… This is excellent content, great work!

  • January 14, 2010

    Great tips.

    When I first started I found the whole thing a bit confusing. but after a couple of months and started to get the hang of it and got my first 100 followers. I also blogged about this on http://dynamoash.com/how-i-got-my-first-100-twitter-followers/

  • January 24, 2010

    Good advice! I joined up yesteday and already have 2 followers.

  • January 24, 2010

    sound guidance. you should work seriously now to try to make twitter commercially relevant and useful as well. thanks for the tricky tips.

  • February 2, 2010

    Twitter is very handy to announce new post on my blog. This way interested audience doesn’t have to visit my site often to see if there is any change. Instead of that, they can follow me on twitter …

    Very good post indeed …

  • April 2, 2010
    Roberta Briffa
    @robertabriffa

    Just signed up to Twitter – great advice. Thanks!

  • April 27, 2010
    Cyfull Ramli
    @thelineisdead

    Thanx a bunch!! but i still didnt get it when they did the “@XXXXXX RT @XXXXX bla bla bla bla” can anybody explain to me what’s the “RT”s are and the use of “@XXXXX”. thanx a lot in advance. sorry for being so dumb. heh ^_^

  • April 28, 2010

    I never thought I would use twitter, but I like the fact that it is just that, an area to tweet. The limit on characters is a plus, so you are not saying too much.

  • June 23, 2010

    I am just going to start twittering.Thanks for sharing this resourceful tip! I’m really impressed by your work!

    Have a nice day!

  • July 4, 2010

    I just wanted to know whether tweeting more and more, each day, brings any disorder, in medical terms.

  • July 8, 2010

    I’m still a bit skeptical of Twitter, but if it helps me network with other people in industry then maybe it’s good idea. Thanks for the tips.

    Nate

  • August 29, 2010
    Kayli Diebel
    @KayliDiebel93

    Thank you so much for the tips. They’re great. I’m fairly new to Twitter, and the tips really help with the understanding. :)

    But since I’m still fairly new to Twitter, I’m still having a bit of trouble with finding a way to get some followers. Can anybody help me with that aspect of Twitter? How do I get more followers?

  • October 22, 2010

    Thank you for the tips. My industry seems to be a tough sell to the Twitter community, and I’m having trouble picking up followers.

  • October 24, 2010

    Hi @KayliDiebel93 and @heyl_patterson !

    I just looked at your Twitter profiles – one way to get more followers is that YOU have to follow more people! Lots of people will automatically follow back.

    Search for tweets that have keywords that interest you, or that apply to your industry, and then follow those people.

    By the way, I just followed you both. :)

  • November 27, 2010

    Confession: was a bit slow/sleptical of getting started with twitter. That said, I’ve met some great people, found some great help and have fun trying to be of help along the way.

    A simple tool with powerful potential. Will pass this post along :-)

  • November 27, 2010
    dian
    @dian

    oh, It seemed like i have no time to waste outside the twitter.

  • November 27, 2010
    Reinet
    @Xemima

    Thanks for the great advice! I understand most questions I had much better now! I love to retweet if I have nothing new to add!

  • December 3, 2010

    You put all together, so a beginner like me can easily figure out everything he needs to know about twitter. Thank you so much for your effort on this post.

  • December 19, 2010

    Thank you, It’s nice to find a ez to follow document that is still relevant, and can be easily shared to help folks get started using Twitter.

    Definatly worth re-tweeting! Thanks!

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