Cheat Sheet: Your 10-Step Guide to Getting Started on Twitter 

If you didn’t set up your Twitter account in 2006, it’s easy to feel behind the times. Even if you registered “the perfect handle”, using social media correctly requires strategy. For celebrities or charismatic bloggers, it doesn’t require much for people to engage. What if you’re a niche company or have specific messaging? How do you get people to care?

1. Ask yourself first, why do you care?

Before you create any marketing approach, decide why you want to promote. Do you want to converse with your audience? Maybe you’d prefer a more diverse group of people. Or perhaps you want to collaborate with specific groups within your industry. If you have a clear sense of what you’re doing, it will show in your actions. For several years I worked in the parenting and lifestyle industry blogging for several platforms under one company. We had 10 employees. Now, I am working at an organization that has over 200! However, some of the same rules apply even though the industry and size of company are drastically different.

2. Be consistent with your messaging

With one person at the helm of your social media and marketing, your company is able to distribute messaging that is streamlined, timely, and collaborative. If you have too many cooks in the kitchen, your editorial voice is unrecognizable. You can work with different members of your team to get ideas or to boost specific events or blog posts, but one person should be constructing the messaging.

Having content like this Windows Through the Years page is a unique way to pass along information to our audience. Because it’s evergreen and interactive, we can share this several times throughout the year depending on what is happening according to our editorial calendar.

 

2. Start small but keep at it

The great thing about Twitter is that if you are active, people will start engaging with you. The entire philosophy of Twitter relies upon people working together to showcase their skills. It may seem like a small feat capturing 2 or 3 new followers or getting 1 or 2 likes. The growth will be small at first. But if you capitalize on trending hashtags or institute a theme (Like #ThursdayThoughts or #WellnessWednesday) you can create content centered around what’s already popular.

You can amend the types of trends you see and use those hashtags to make the most of your content. It’s important not to boost your material with an improper hashtag. You can get suspended or even removed from Twitter if you abuse the trends. Get clever with them, but don’t exploit them.

4. It doesn’t hurt to spend a little cash

Something to think about utilizing is Twitter’s Promoted Tweets. Try using a promoted tweet to redirect people to your blog or published content by placing $10 or $20 behind it. Set a monthly budget and track those tweets over time to see the resulting interactions. While engagement can feel like a slow process, you should see immediate results with Promoted Tweets.

5. Make it easier on yourself with automation

Automated platforms like HubSpot, HootSuite, and TweetDeck are helpful services to track and schedule messages. While you could spend hours a day constantly updating, scheduling in several messages for the week can help you stay organized. It’s important to check your feed each day to see if you’ve gotten any engagement, but you can focus on other projects and be less distracted by Twitter noise if you schedule them out.

6. Capitalize on the status of your best followers

When a verified Twitter user follows you or networks with you, don’t miss this opportunity to capitalize on their status. They might not have a ton of followers, but their verification standing is important as an influencer. That little blue check next to each name signifies expertise in a certain field. Weather they like your post, retweet it, comment, or follow you, any type of action from their end is an opening to a conversation.

7. But don’t make it awkward

Direct Messages can result in a slippery slope between dialogue and stalking. Keep in mind you can only Direct Message users whom you are following and who are following you. The point of these messages is not to harass someone- but to entice them in to furthering the exchange perhaps over email or business phone call. If you’re a business targeting an individual, the last thing you want to do is try to sell to them (either with a product or an idea) over messaging. It’s easy to forget that behind a persona is a real person—with feelings! Sarcasm or snarky remarks can be taken out of context, so remember to bear on the professional and friendly side when chatting with people. Keep messages brief, to the point, and with a positive attitude.

8. Be colorful

Posts with photos do infinitely better than those without. This is where you can get a little bit more creative if your copy isn’t super engaging. Subscriptions to photo libraries like iStock can be useful, though pricey. Plan your budget and stick to it. Original photos, while they may be trickier to acquire, are beneficial to showing your audience that you’re a real person behind whatever it is you are promoting. Use a photo (not a logo) in all of your posts.

9. Finally, don’t forget to have fun, too

Ultimately, Twitter is a helpful tool to engage with your community and industry, but at the end of the day, it’s also supposed to be fun. There are cool features like GIFs which you can use (sparingly!) in your messaging to humanize yourself and company. You can also add original images to make your posts stand out. If you’re not a graphics master, free services like Canva can help you create quick and colorful visuals.

Try one or two of these tips and see which ones work best for you. Once you get into the swing of things, experiment with other things like videos, twitter parties, and Follow Friday campaigns.

Mandy Fisher is the Digital Marketing Manager at 1E. She is a journalist, actor, and content creator. She has been seen on Broadway, in magazines like Real Simple, as well as sites like Mashable, USA Today, and Forbes. Photos and videos are all her own. She lives in New York City and drinks too much coffee.