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.
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.