Eight Steps to Get Started with Twitter

Account Set-up and Use

Twitter has pretty much settled into the American culture, and most people who are going to use it have already signed up and are tweeting away.

However, in the off chance there’s still someone yearning for Twitter but left behind, here are 10 steps to establishing an account and incorporating Twitter into your business or personal life.

1) The only rule in Twitter is that all transmissions must be 140 characters or less. Twitter started as a social media with the question, “What are you doing now?” Businesses soon used it to send URLs of interesting articles, and some more nefarious types send out promotional spam.

2) Twitter is like email magnified. Each user attracts followers and follows other people. Then, each time you send a message, called a “tweet,” it will go to all your followers. And vice versa.

3) Registering with Twitter is free and easy.  Go to http://twitter.com and click on the Get Started button in the middle of the screen. Provide your full name, user name, password and email. A user name such as first initial, last name usually works best.

4) Click on “settings” in the top menu bar and then select the “account” tab. Add the URL of your company web site, if you have one, and a one-line bio. This bio is important because potential followers will read it to determine whether they should subscribe to your updates.

5) Make sure to click on the “picture” tab to include your electronic photo. Users without a photo receive an ugly standard image. The standard image shows a lack of concern about your Twitter account, and many users will reject following you on that basis alone. You can also improve the layout of your Twitter home page by clicking on the design tab.

6) You can find people to follow by going to http://search.twitter.com. You can also use the number sign (#), called a hashtag, to locate followers interested in a specific field. http://hashtags.org lists the most popular hashtags. Then, when you find someone you trust, you can just click away on all their followers and literally take them for your own: follow, follow, follow, follow. It is considered common courtesy for them to follow you back.

7) You can target a specific person in your tweets by using the “at” sign, “@,” plus their user name. If you want to send a tweet exclusively to one person, you can send a direct message by preceding your tweet with the letter “D” plus the user name. By putting RT in front of someone else’s message, you can “retweet” it, a big compliment since it then goes to all your followers as well. This is how things go viral on Twitter!

8) As you grow in sophistication on Twitter, you will find a whole bunch of third-party applications. For example, www.tweetdeck.com lets you monitor Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook from one interface.

Despite all these instructions, the best way to get involved with Twitter is just to dive in and start tweeting! That’s how everyone eventually does it.