HOW TO USE TWITTER: A ONE-STOP SURVIVAL GUIDE
I don't think I need to start this post by admitting that I'm addicted to Twitter. It's pretty obvious by my endless tweets and the fact that I'm constantly on there chatting to people. I've been using the app for around three years and I'm really proud of the community I've built up during this time. Twitter is a huge part of my day job too, as I manage the account for my company. So because of all this, I really wanted to put a guide together of tips and tricks to help you get the most out of this social platform.
I often get asked for my Twitter tips, and although I've shared bits and bobs over time, I thought compiling a thorough, yet quick, easy-to-access guide would be ideal. You'll hopefully find everything you need here and I really hope you find it useful for building your own community.
Twitter moves really really quickly, because it’s constantly in real-time. The average lifespan of a tweet is said to be about 18 minutes, so if you want to get noticed on this platform you’ve got to be tweeting pretty often.
It’s recommended that you tweet between 5-10 times per day and this goes for bloggers and businesses alike. But I’ve found the more you tweet, the more engagement you get and the more your followers increase too.
For my work account, I tweet around seven times per day. For my personal abranchofholly account, I schedule ten tweets per day, but combining those with ones that I post as and when, it probably gets up to about fifteen.
The biggest thing about Twitter is getting people to hit that follow button, and to do that, you want to be interesting and original. Think about what you like from a Twitter account and work from there. You want people to follow you for a reason and you want them to enjoy following you too. The most important thing to remember is to be yourself and people will love you for that.
Working with 140 characters
One of the defining features of Twitter is its 140 character limit, but this is actually the thing a lot of people struggle with. Luckily, there’s something you can do to take the frustration away from this, and that’s by using the right formula. Ideally, the best kind of tweets include a mixture of things, and here’s what you want to try and work with:
Tweet copy >> shortened link >> hashtag
Add an emoji to that and you’ll get 20% more engagement. Add an image and it increases to 150%.
Take a look at this:
Here I’ve used the formula but changed it round slightly to include a hashtag within the tweet copy – this will save you a lot of room!
Then at the end I’ve got a shortened link, emoji and a big image too.
When you’re scheduling tweets to share your own content and other blogger’s content too, this is the best formula to work with. Put it in your journal so you don’t forget it!
The only thing to mention with this formula is hashtags. Unlike Instagram, where you can hashtag your life away, it’s best to use no more than two within each tweet.
Like every other social platform, the biggest thing with Twitter is being consistent. Now this doesn’t mean you have to tweet at the same time every day, and it also doesn’t mean you have to spend hours each day scheduling your updates. Instead, there are ways to make Twitter more productive and efficient for you.
The first is to use a tool like Buffer to schedule your tweets in advance. I do mine the night before or the morning of each new day, but some people schedule theirs for a week at a time.
This allows you to schedule your own posts, other people’s posts and any other promotions you need people to know about.
But the most important thing about consistency is your audience. There’s no point in tweeting when you feel like it, or when you think your audience is going to be online. You want to make sure you’re consistently tweeting at times when you know your audience is going to be most active.
The way you do this is to use a tool which gives you your optimal posting times. So it’ll analyse your followers, tell you when they’re most active on Twitter throughout the day, and then you can put these times into your Buffer schedule – that way, when you’re scheduling tweets, you know they’ll be going out when your audience is most likely to see them.
Here’s an example of a graph from the tool I use called Followerwonk. I’ve written a whole tutorial on how to use this tool to find your optimal times – you can check it out here.
What to share
You want to make sure you’re posting updates that are tailored to your audience. Picture it as if your whole audience is just one person. What will they find useful? What will entertain them? What will inspire them? These are the sorts of tweets you want to be creating, so it’s as if every single post you’re writing is directed at that one person.
Obviously this will depend on the type of blog or business you run, and you’ll always be able to put your own spin on things – but here a few ideas for what you can tweet about day in, day out:
- Your own posts or services
- Helpful, relevant posts from other bloggers that you love and you think your audience will love too
- Motivational, relatable or inspiring quotes
- Personal posts (like your tea smelling so good it’s making you drool or the fact that you’re getting excited about your summer holiday but it’s still only March)
- Shoutouts to your friends and bloggers you admire
- Tips or lessons you’ve learnt that you think would be helpful to your followers
- Questions you have that you need help with or to get you to learn more about your community
- Funny quotes or images
- Announcements or exciting things
There are endless things you can share to twitter, and the beauty of all these is that you can use them every day and they’ll never be the same.
The best thing to do is not to over-promote yourself. Twitter isn’t the best platform to sell on and people will notice if you’re over-promoting yourself. Go for the 80/20 rule, so 20% of your tweets are self-promotional and 80% are ideas from the list above. It’s really useful to always mix your tweets up with personal snippets. So even though I schedule ten tweets to go out throughout the day, this doesn’t mean I never go on the platform. I always go on there and tweet in real-time so I’m right there talking to my audience as if we were in person.
Twitter chats make Twitter so beneficial. They’re run by bloggers, brands or business owners around a certain topic to start up a conversation. There’ll be a certain day and time for each chat and then you join in by using the specific hashtag in your tweet. It’s pretty genius, right?
Following people & interacting
Unless you’re a superstar, your following won’t increase on Twitter unless you follow other people. I get new followers daily, but I always get more followers when I’m actively following more people.
You’ll never run out of people to follow on Twitter. Twitter chats are one of the best places to find really great people too.
It’s like if you walk into a room of people – you wouldn't just sit in the corner not talking to anyone, right? Twitter is the same.
Introduce yourself, join in conversations – go out and find people to connect with. If you see someone tweeting about your favourite TV show, tell them you love it too. If you see someone tweeting that they’re struggling with something and you can help, then reach out! If you intentionally look for opportunities to interact, you’ll always find them.
The last point I want to make in this little guide is to be friendly. Politeness and generosity go a long way on Twitter. Thank people for sharing your content by using their @username in your tweets, retweet people, tell them you love what they do and make genuine connections. Soon enough, it’ll become your favourite ever platform.
I hope you enjoy this guide! If you're tweeting, you can find me @abranchofholly
Do you love Twitter? What are some of your favourite features of this platform?