Practical Twitter Tips for Beginners
Managing multiple social media platforms is often difficult. However, you can make the process as painless as possible with some quick Twitter tips to accelerate your social media marketing efforts. Why? You know that feeling when you don’t understand what somebody has said, but by the time you gather enough courage to ask them to explain it, too much time has passed? Some budding social media marketers can relate to this feeling when they are looking for tips for their social media marketing efforts.
While it’s so easy to gain a big picture understanding of platforms, including the ability to use them for your professional and personal needs, sometimes you’ve missed some crucial basics that can mean the difference between good and great engagement and reach.
We want to help you master Twitter marketing starting with some basic definitions and Twitter tips for beginners. To make this as easy as possible, we’ve rounded up a guide with 18 practical Twitter tips that will take your tweet status from offbeat to retweet.
Bonus: Download the free strategy guide that reveals how Hootsuite grew our Twitter following to over 7 million users and learn how you can put the tactics to work for your business.
Twitter marketing definitions
Before getting into the guide, it’s a good idea to set a foundation with some basic definitions for those of us who were wondering what all these terms meant, but were too afraid to ask. Our annual “Social Media Glossary” provides a huge directory of definitions as well, but the main ones to know for your Twitter vocabulary include the following:
Tweet: A Twitter message. Tweets can contain up to 140 characters of text, as well as photos, videos, and other forms of media. They are public by default and will show up in Twitter timelines and searches unless they are sent from Protected Accounts or as Direct Messages. Tweets can also be embedded in webpages.
Retweet: A Tweet that is re-shared to the followers of another user’s Twitter account. There are two kinds of Retweets: the classic “manual” Retweet and the now-standard “web Retweet.” In a manual Retweet, you simply type “RT” before the @username and content of somebody else’s Tweet. This used to be the only way you could retweet, and it’s the still only way to add your own comment to a Tweet when you pass it along.
A “web Retweet” is what happens when you click the official Retweet button: the full Tweet appears in your timeline in its original form, complete with the author’s name and avatar. Since a web Retweet allows your followers to easily retweet or favorite the original Tweet, it’s generally considered good etiquette to use this method unless you have something valuable to add through a manual RT.
Feed: The main place where the steady stream of updates and information from other users is presented to you. On Twitter, your Twitter feed shows updates posted and shared by those you follow.
Handle: Handle is another way of saying your account name. Hootsuite’s Twitter handle is @Hootsuite and Twitter’s is @Twitter, for example. It’s important that you try and maintain consistent handles on all of your social network profiles, since people who follow you on Twitter might want to find you on Instagram or Pinterest. A consistent handle helps with discoverability.
Mention: The act of tagging another user’s handle or account name in a social media message. Mentions typically trigger a notification for that user and are a key part of what makes social media “social.” When properly formatted (for example, as an @mention on Twitter or +mention on Google+), a mention also allows your audience to click through to the mentioned user’s bio or profile.
Direct Message: A direct message (DM) is a private Twitter message sent to one of your followers. Direct messages can only be sent to a Twitter user who is already following you, and you can only receive direct messages from users you follow.
Hashtag: The hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the “#” sign. Hashtags are a simple way to mark the topic (or topics) of social media messages and make them discoverable to people with shared interests. On most social networks, clicking a hashtag will reveal all the public and recently published messages that also contain that hashtag. Hashtags first emerged on Twitter as a user-created phenomenon and are now used on almost every other social media platform, including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Vine and Pinterest.
Quote Tweet: A way to retweet where a user can include their own comments along with the tweet.
Twitter Tips for Marketers
Now that you know the core definitions needed to navigate Twitter for marketing, we offer the following list of top Twitter marketing tips to help you get the most out of the social media platform.
1. Use keywords
In order to attract a specific audience, include discoverable keywords, with links to highly valuable content, in your Tweets. As explained here, “keyword targeting allows you to connect with users based on words and phrases they’ve recently Tweeted or searched for on Twitter,” which allows you to connect with your audience at the most relevant level.
2. Target influencers
It’s a smart idea to follow companies, influencers and like-minded individuals that you plan to engage with in the future on Twitter. As we explain here, when trying to find and connect with influencers, “the three attributes that are most important for marketers to factor are relevance, reach, and resonance.”
3. Use hashtags
Hashtags are a no-brainer as they ensure that your content is as discoverable as possible, and enable you to connect with like-minded users. For help with hashtag best practices, we’ve provided a thorough guide here.
4. Give credit
If you see content that adds value, give credit where it is due. You know how great it feels when somebody else gives your content credit? Share the love. Favourite, quote, and retweet Tweets that you find helpful to gain potential followers and build online relationships.
5. Utilize scheduling
To save time, as well as enhance organization, it’s a good idea to schedule tweets. By planning for Tweets to go out at peak times, you can ensure you are improving visibility. There are many different ways and approaches to scheduling tweets, so we’ve provided a simple guide here.
Start scheduling tweets now with Hootsuite. Try it free today
6. Encourage engagement
You’ve heard it time and time again–engagement is key to social media success. While of course connecting with mutual followers is important, to build credibility and audience we recommend engaging with your non followers as well. If you want to learn how to attract and engage more Twitter followers, our guide here will help you do just that.
7. Create lists
To get the most of your Twitter feed and keep organized, we recommend setting up Twitter lists to create groups with relevant users and organizations. As our guide to Twitter lists explains, “lists offer a way to see updates from specific people you have decided to focus your attention on,” and in doing so, allowing you to be more engaged and up to date on those who add the most value to your online efforts.
8. Optimize your profile
Your Twitter profile is where other users get their first impressions of you, so it’s important that you take advantage of this part of your online presence. Ensure your Twitter profile has a tasteful image that’s consistent with what you are using on other social networks, an accurate description in your bio, and a header image. As Jay Baer explains, “your Twitter profile is the most important landing page for your brand,” so you want to make sure it’s helping, not hurting, your efforts.
9. Use images
It’s a fact that Tweets including images receive more engagement, which is reason enough to make sharing images and videos on Twitter a priority. As emphasized in our guide to getting more Twitter followers and engagement, ‘According to a study of Promoted Tweets from SMB advertisers conducted by Twitter, Tweets with images generate 313 percent more engagement than those without.“
10. Be consistent
Whenever I’m looking to clean-up my Twitter feed and unfollow users, I always seek out accounts that haven’t posted in awhile. Whether running a personal or professional account, commitment to posting is an important factor in ensuring you continuously add value to your followers. While of course it’s possible to overwhelm your followers by posting too much, “we suggest posting once a day at the very least. Experiment with posting more than that, and then pay attention to how your followers react to find the frequency that works best for you.”
11. Exercise portion control
While one of the biggest challenges of Twitter can be fitting your message into the designated 140 characters, try your best not to use all of these just because they are available. As engagement should be one of your top priorities with your social media strategy, you definitely want to leave room for mentions and comments through retweets so that your content can easily and painlessly be shared.
12. Toot your own horn
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This advice also rings true for your highest performing Tweets. If you notice a Tweet of yours that continuously gets shared and sees engagement, keep promoting it. It’s also completely justified to pin Tweets to the top of your feed to bring more attention to the top-performers and further increase engagement potential.
13. Focus on quality over quantity
As with most things in life, when it comes to your Twitter strategy you should place more importance on quality over quantity. While it is, of course, tempting to focus on your number of followers, ignore this number and instead dedicate time to building quality relationships with other users of relevance.
14. Monitor closely
Social listening is an incredibly valuable asset to building and growing your Twitter strategy, and using a social media monitoring tool can help you do this as easily as possible. Being able to see what your customers and potential clients are discussing, whether it be directly related to your brand or just generally to your industry, has incredible value in your ability to establish marketing forecasts and initiatives.
15. Have patience
While we all love instant gratification, patience with your social media approach is key. In recognizing that you will not instantly gain thousands of followers, retweets, or favourites overnight, you are able to concentrate on building value through engagement and content, which will help your number of quality followers and interactions flourish organically.
16. Don’t be vain
If you want your Twitter strategy to be successful, it’s important to understand that it can’t all be about you. Not many other users will find value in the content you share if it’s only obviously self-servicing. Make an effort to focus on your audience and share, retweet and mention their content on a regular basis.
17. Keep it short
We’ve all seen those unfortunate tweets where the 140 characters are mostly used up by a lengthy URL. This is a preventable tragedy which can be simply solved by using a URL shortener like that provided in the Hootsuite dashboard. In doing this, you allow for more information to be shared, as well as increase the ability for others to share, retweet, and add their own comments to your content.
18. Initiate conversations
While it’s all well and good to simply favourite a tweet that somebody mentions you in, by taking it that one step further and initiating an actual conversation with that user you are showing a dedication towards engagement that many others neglect.
Even in offering a simple “thank you for sharing!” or asking them what they took away from your post, you are helping open up windows of communication that would otherwise remain closed, thus establishing irreplaceable rapport that will potentially help you in the future.