Five questions you were afraid to ask as a Twitter newbie

Five questions you were afraid to ask as a Twitter newbie

So you’ve heard about Twitter but you’re not sure where to begin. Maybe you already have an account but don’t know what to do with it.

After all, it’s been going for a long time so aren’t you a little late to join the party?

The answer is no. For a start, there are more than 300 million active monthly users so as a method of communication and business tool, it’s a global force to be reckoned with.

Still, if the idea of this particular medium continues to fill you with dread, then remember that those millions of subscribers had to start somewhere.

Besides, if you’re asking what you think is an obvious question, then you can bet someone else out there is too.

  • What is Twitter?

Good question. It is a social media network where users can write about news, business, social events and anything else that takes their fancy in 140 characters or less. These posts are called ‘tweets’.

It really is that simple and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Users ‘follow’ each other so they can easily see what other people are writing about, and send private direct messages too. You can use it to read about events that are happening around the world in ‘real time’, connect with your friends and colleagues and contact key influencers in your industry.

  • What’s all this about re-tweeting, hashtags and mentions?

OK, so we admit that Twitter isn’t free of annoying vocabulary. If you’re not familiar with the lingo, it can seem a bit like a club that you’ve not been invited to. We get it.

Handily, Twitter has published a glossary  ( which explains some of the key terms you’re likely to come across.

What is important to remember is that Twitter is an online community full of interesting people so it’s easy to discover likeminded users.

You’ll soon find that (once you get your head around the vocabulary) it’s there to help you join in with the conversation, not get left out.

  • What will I write about?

Worried that you’ll come across as dull or not sure whether posts about your dinner plans are the ‘done thing’?

Our advice is to not get so hung up on etiquette that you become completely tongue-tied and allow your profile to go silent.

However, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with how tweets are composed and what other users are writing about.

Remember that if you’re a business, it is really important to consider your tone of voice. A badly worded or insensitive post could cause damage to your brand so think carefully before you commit to anything that can be read by the world.

One of the easiest ways to join in is to look at what other people are talking about. Watch what they say and how they say it, then once you feel more confident, write a reply.

With time you’ll find many more topics to write about. Try sharing news stories relevant to your industry, motivational tips or even links to your website.

  • How can I get people to follow me?

It’s true that the more effort you put in, the more you’ll get out of Twitter. The same goes for followers.

So when you first sign up for an account, you’ll be provided with a list of suggested people to connect with. It’s not an exact science at this stage but it’s a start and all you need to do is to click ‘follow’.

Try and find colleagues and friends. You can easily track down a business or organisation with a Twitter account by using the search tool.

Chances are that the more people you follow, the more people will follow you in return. Once you’ve established a presence, then Twitter gets better at making suggestions based on your interests.

It helps if you write informative and engaging posts too. Aim for a couple of posts a day and you’ll soon see more engagement, more followers and more success.

  • How do I sign up for an account?

You’ll need to sign up with your full name, email and a password. Next, create a user name and think carefully about your bio – the space you’re provided with to explain a little bit more about yourself.

Make sure it says the right things about you and take a look at what other users have written if you’re stuck for ideas.

Ditch the standard egg profile image as soon as possible. Research reveals that people respond to a picture of a real person much more than a generic icon.

If you’ve got any wise words for those new to Twitter, then we’d love to hear from you.

Remember that we can help you to get beyond the basics. Make a real splash on social media by contacting us on 0845 519 6177.

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