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Twitter Novice? Beginner's Guide to Twitter

in Social Media & Web Presence Basics

Last updated 6 years ago

Ready to take your business into the digital frontier with Twitter?
Not sure where to get started with this seemingly complex and confusing land where you are constricted to only 140 characters?
Well, let's start with the Twitter basics. 
What is this social media platform all about anyways.
In short 140-character bursts, users share their thoughts, news, information, deals and late-breaking news stories in 140 characters or less. As Brandon Smith, a social media specialist, writes, "Twitter makes globabl communication cheap and measurable." By "following" someone, you elect to keep up-to-date on the latest information they tweet. And "following" isn't exclusive to who you are friends with. You can follow friends, family, celebrities, brands like Starbucks, Dell and even local businesses in your area. 
Before we dive into how to tweet, let's review some common Twitter terminology.
  • 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.
To get started, you must first create a Twitter account. Go to and sign up. It will walk you through the steps in a seamless manner. Your Twitter handle should easily tell people who you are. It is essentially your calling card and is how people interact with you and include you in conversation writes Brandon Smith. Unless you are creating a spoof account or business account, it's best practice to use your real name and photo for your Twitter account.


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.


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

If you're ready to really grow your web presence and be a dominant business in your market, contact TeamBishop. Dawn Bishop and Leslie Whittaker have helped hundreds of local Orlando businesses establish a dominate web presence and generate high quality leads for their business.

Read TeamBishop's testimonials to see how we've helped some local Orlando businesses grow their business.

partial content from Brandon Smith's Beginner's Guide to Twitter


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