Not sure where to get started with this seemingly complex and confusing land where you are constricted to only 140 characters?
- Tweet: A 140-character message.
- Re-tweet: Sharing someone's elses tweet wtih your followers.
- Mention (@): A way for you to reference another user in your tweet (@jibberjabberorl). Users are notified when you mention them in your tweet. Shown as @Connect at the top of your screen.
- Direct Message (DM): A private way for you to briefly communicate with another Twitter users; however, you may only DM a user who follows you.
- Hashtag (#): A way to categorize keywords or topics within your tweet (ex. #AmericanIdol). It allows your tweet to show more easily in Twitter searches. You can place them anywhere within your tweet and hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics. You can click on a hashtag to see all the tweets associated with that hashtag in real-time even from people you don't follow.
- Disover: Where you can find stories, who to follow, activity, find friends and browse categories. This tab, located at the top of your screen as #discover, is all about discovering and engaging on Twitter.
- Follow Friday (#FF): On Fridays, Twitter users often suggest who others should follow by tweeting with the hashtag #FF and mentioning certain users within their tweet.
FANS & FOLLOWERS
While you may want to start tweeting right off the bat, it won't make a difference unless you have people following you. After you've created your Twitter account, it's time to seek out some people to follow who will hopefully follow you. First, follow friends and people you know since for a new Twitter account, without data to make recommendations off of, Twitter won't be able to provide you with People to Follow suggestions. It will just suggest random people like celebrities. Check out who your friends are following as well as local businesses in your area. If you are a business, it's great practice to not only follow people locally in your area but also other local businesses. Also, consider follow local "celebrities" in your area such as newscasters, radio personalities and other prominent figures in your area.
Once you are reviewing who your friends are engaging with, click on "follow" to follow anyone you are interested in engaging with as well.
TWEET, RETWEET & INTERACT
Once you have established a solid number of people to follow, it's time to join the conversation. People want to follow those who post relevant and useful information. You can certainly start tweeting to your hearts content but you really want Twitter to be a two-way street. And one of the best ways to entice people to retweet your content is to retweet theirs. When you start to see a particularly fascinating tweet, click on "retweet" to spread the content to your followers. Additionally, also click on "reply" and reply to the user directly to let them know what really resonated with you. It's not just about spreading the content but also engaging with people who have similar interests as you.
For more information on some additional Twitter basics, check out the following Twitter resources.
Author: Leslie Whittaker
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partial content from Brandon Smith's Beginner's Guide to Twitter