I’m Kind of a TWITTER Newbie! Are YOU?
Welcome to my beginner’s guide to Twitter! If you’re a newbie Twitterer this is the place for you to learn the fundamentals of this awesome social media tool. Whether you want to use Twitter for business or personally this guide will help get you started.
Let’s get started… What is Twitter?
Twitter is a social networking site that has real-time communication capabilities. It all began in 2006 and quickly people found it useful for connecting and sharing information around the world. Twitter users can access the service through the web or apps on mobile devices. To use Twitter you must create a Twitter handle. Handles include the @ symbol followed by a username. Ex. @edtechnerdo. The user communicates through their handle by sending out a Tweet aka message to their followers (public by default). Tweets can have 140 characters or less.
You can follow other Tweeters (Users) that share your interests and by doing so you’ll see their updates on your homepage or feed. A feed is the real-time status update of those accounts your follow. Tweeters and Followers can Favorite (Facebook like), Retweet, or Reply to the Tweets of those they follow. Tweets can contain text, links, images, videos, and much more. Tweets that follow a thread will show up connected in your feed. Tweets make real-time connections about trends, interests, current events, etc. possible. Using or creating a hashtag (#) allows Tweets to be categorized into a search. This is where the magic happens and allows you to unleash your ‘Twitter’ powers.
Handle-a username and web address when added to twitter.com/handle
Tweets-a text message on Twitter that contains 140 characters or less.Retweet-sharing another user’s Tweet to all of your followers.
Hashtag-# symbol is used to tag keywords inside a tweet, which allows tweets to be searched
Twitter Chats or Parties -scheduled meeting times using the agreed upon hashtag, allows tweets to be searched and followed. A moderator posts questions ahead of time and the chat or party is guided by them. If you cannot make it to the live event, simply search the hashtag afterwards and you’ll gain access to the same content.
Feed–ongoing stream of tweets on users Twitter homepage from accounts you follow
Lists-categorized groups of people you follow or find influential
Direct Message-private message among users, can use without following user
Why should I use Twitter?
If you want to connect with others with similar interests, Twitter is the place for you. You have access to a limitless amount of resources through like minded individuals. FREE professional development – Need I say more?
How does Twitter work?
1. Sign up-create a username and design your page to reflect you. If you want to be found on Twitter, you should keep your information real. Change your information by clicking on the settings icon. Here you can change your bio, picture, password, and set tweets to private if you choose. Twitter handles can be changed at anytime without losing past Tweets. Just make sure to let followers know about your new handle.
2. Follow others-Browse and search for others based on your interests. Initially, Twitter will give you suggestions of people you might like to follow. When you first start out you can only follow 2,000 people, so you will want to be selective at some point. Follow this link to find a number of awesome EdTech Twitter handles
3. Tweet-Now you are Officially ready to create a tweet. You can find the button to tweet in the top left corner of the home page under your profile picture or look for the feather icon. Remember it must have less than 140 characters (add a hashtag and to gain followers) Awesome HASHTAG list! It’s okay to appear illiterate on Twitter. Each character you use is valuable, so don’t waste ANY! If you plan on sharing a link, use a url shortener like bitly or goo.gl extension, so you can limit the characters used in the link. Don’t shorten your own blog, so that you can keep your brand intact.
4. Retweet, Reply, Direct Message-Send a variety of Tweets often. Don’t just SPAM or Retweet! Be creative and share what you are passionate about, retweet and favorite tweets that share your thoughts, or direct message to connect privately and stay in touch.
5. Tools-there are several available tools to help you organize your TwitterUniverse
***My favorite app or web tool is Tweetdeck *it’s FREE! It allows you to set columns based on hashtags you follow. My favs are #caedchat and #edtech!
6. Once you begin tweeting and building your PLN it’s time to create your expertise that others will surely want to follow. You will NOT know everyone that follows you on Twitter, but that’s okay! Twitter is not about following people you already know, but instead about interacting with interesting people from all over the world. Build your brand or brand yourself. Be authentic and true to yourself to quickly become a member of the TwitterUniverse.
7. View a beginners guide to Twitter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0xbjIE8cPM
Other Tips N’ Tricks
1. Keep it Simple-it’s just text! Remember it’s 140 characters max. Although your followers can see your tweet, it’s in real-time, it’s not guaranteed that any or all will see your tweet. Tweets could get buried in their your followers feed. If you want to make sure specific people see your tweet then make sure to mention their handle in the tweet.
2. Don’t start a tweet with a handle unless it’s intended to be a direct message. If you start with a handle it will only go to that person and those that follow them. Just add one character and then a handle to ensure it goes to a specific handle and the rest of your followers.
3.Give Recognition-Follow Friday #FF. Recognize others who intrigue you and can offer something to your followers or people you follow. You can use the entire 140 characters to include several handles to follow or devote them all to one person including their handle, why you should follow them, and their web address. This type of recognition will most likely get some thanks thrown your way, but it may also help get new followers.
4. Reasons to Tweet include building a network of contacts with similar interests, ability to share your own expertise globally, discovery, engagement, brand yourself and become an industry leader.
5. Tweet consistently and be yourself, follow others with similar interests, share cool stuff, don’t tweet to get followers, retweet-keep a good thing going, share and share alike, reply to another’s tweet to let them know your thoughts, don’t get caught up in a twitter war-just block and move on, use hashtags to identify your tweets(don’t overdo it). Interaction is the key to Twitter, so make sure to connect!
6. Links to Twitter-you can link several apps or websites to your Twitter account. This makes it easy to post new Tweets from resources you would like to share on the web.
7. IFTTT-is a website that has recipes for post from different web tools to another. Ex. If I post to Instagram then post to Twitter. When set up with several recipes you can save valuable time.
CREATING YOUR OWN TWITTER CHAT
Now that you’ve learned several things about Twitter and are on your way to becoming the next Twitter Guru, you might be thinking about how you can create your mark with a Twitter Chat. This is a great way to establish your presence on Twitter. Once your chat is established it will increase your following, build relationships, grow ideas all with a minimal amount of time and effort.
Typically a Twitter chat works with participants following your hashtag in a Twitter client such as TweetDeck. Followers of the hashtag will tweet answers to questions the moderator (YOU) ask. Questions should be posted prior to the chat to increase the depth of the answers and flow of the chat. A chat session typically lasts about an hour and can be held 1x per month or 1x per week depending upon availability of the moderator and popularity with Followers.
Steps to create your first Twitter chat:
1. Create your hashtag. This hashtag is how your people will follow along. It should be simple and unique to make it easy to include in every single tweet.
2. Decide on a time and date for the chat. Decide upon your target audience. What time and day of the week will work best. After work? What is the time zone of your audience? Ask your followers.
3. Promote your chat. Make sure that your target audience is aware prior to launching the chat. Give them time to reach out to others that may be interested in joining the chat. Tweet, ReTweet, Share links to your blog or other social media outlets that promote the chat, crate a logo for the chat to add to each of your Tweets as the icon of the chat, Direct message those you follow that might be interested in joining or co-moderating the chat.
4. Post the questions in advance. This will give people time to prepare their answers. Have your answers prepared prior to the chat. Try to keep the questions to a maximum of 5-7 questions in order to have ample discussion time during the hour long chat. If there’s additional time in the chat, ask the participants if they have any questions.
5. Add photos or videos. Encourage others to share their photos or videos that may be related to the chat questions and might increase the possibility of retweets. This will increase the likelihood of building your chat followers.
6. Sponsors. Are there companies that might offer an incentive for your chat? *This could include free product, discount codes, sample subscriptions, etc.) This shouldn’t be high on the priority list, but it doesn’t hurt.
7. Participate! It’s your chat, so make sure your voice is heard. Be honest and real! This chat can help your cause and brand you as a leader in your industry. An hour a week connected to others with similar interests has huge potential.
8. What to do to preserve your chat? Archive with Storify-make the web tell a story.
See YouTube video for a tutorial by Sam Patterson
Additional tools to view your Twitter feeds…
Paper.li is a place where you can find, publish and promote engaging articles, photos, and videos from across the web into an online magazine that can be shared through your Twitter account.
Flipboard-Create a personalized flip magazine out of social media you follow. A single place to discover, collect and share the news you find interesting. This includes Facebook feeds, Google +, Tweets, Instagram, Videos on YouTube, blogs, etc.
*****TWITTER UPDATES *****
1. Profile page-There is now a larger profile photo and the background image feature no longer exists. The larger photo is eye-catching and will draw users to the timelines. Changing this picture often will keep people coming back.
2. NEW Tweets–Best Tweets-those with the highest engagement with your followers. They will appear slightly larger, so your followers can find your best content. Pinned Tweets– are Tweets you can pin. They get pinned at the top of your page, so it can stand out amongst the rest. Filtered Tweets-gives you an option to choose which timeline you’d like to view when looking at other profiles. You can filter all tweets; just those with photos/videos; or tweets and replies.
3. Video-Users can view photos and videos directly in your feed without leaving the page.
4. Photos-You can now upload and create a slideshow with up to four photos that accompany your tweet. Photos can now be tagged inside the pic.
5. Emoji symbols-emoji symbols are now recognized on Twitter’s updated design.
6. Date-based searching-you can now used an advanced search to find tweets based on the date alone. There’s no need to add additional terms to find past tweets.