You have created a Twitter account and started following a few. So now what? In this post, I will share with you a few tips on getting started with Twitter, so that can you can make full use of this powerful tool.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a micro-blogging tool. It is unlike a instant messenger, where the information exchange is synchronous. Twitter lets you post messages and it is broadcasted to a wider audience, who read them at their own pace. Twitter is also a great platform for marketing your business.
Chris Brogan in this post, shares his ideas on how Twitter can be used for Business. This should give you a head start on the power of twitter.
How to find people and follow?
Next you must start following people, who publish quality tweets. People you follow, depens on what you need from Twitter. For example, if you are in Twitter to hook up with your friends, then you might wish to search and follow them. Otherwise, if you are to hook up with great minds and their ideas, then the protocol might be different.
Twitter Power 150 jots down an excellent list of top 150 Twitter users with advertising and marketing blogs. I would strongly recommend you to follow most of them, depending on your interest areas.
Twitterholic.com, on the other hand, gives you the list of Twitter users, ranked on their number of followers. This should again provide a starting point to follow powerful people.
Give your Twitter a Background
Background choices that come bundled with Twitter are pretty basic. They don’t give you options to customize them. This is where, TwitBacks comes in to play.
Twitbacks lets you customize and brand your Twitter Account, by creating your very own Twitter background.
For example, you can have a Twitter background that gives your details,profession and other relevant information that might be of interest to your followers. Twitbacks is easy to start with and you can create the background in minutes. Also, they help you configure it with the Twitter account.
Here is an example background to give you an idea:
You can check some Power Twitters like @problogger and @IndianGuru on how they use customized backgrounds.
Feed your Blogs to Twitter
How nice it would be to let your Twitter followers to know that you have posted something in your blog? TwitterFeed provides you just that.
Once your create an account with TwitterFeed, you can hook up your Twitter account with it. Then, you can configure the RSS feeds of all your blogs with your TwitterFeed account and your posts are automatically tweeted, with a link to your blog post. This can go a long way in increasing your Blog traffic.
Integrate your Blog and Twitter
I just showed you how to post your blog entries to Twitter, which is a primary integration point (IMO). But there are few other ways to integrate your Blog and the Twitter account.
NETTUTS shows you 10 nice ways to link up your Blog and Twitter. This should cover almost everything that you need to know.
What is Retweeting and Hashtags
Retweeting (normally referred as “RT” by professional tweeters) is taking a twitter post from someone and sending it to your followers. It is a great way to add followers, as it pushes your @username into social graphs resulting in clicks back to your profile.
Here is how you normally retweet a message:
RT @originalsender: Message from Original Sender
retweet @originalsender: Message from Original Sender
At any time, you can find your Retweet statistics at Retweetist. Just type in the URL – http://retweetist.com/users/yourusername – on your browser address bar with your Twitter Username and you can see the statistics.
Hashtags are used to organize and share twitter messages with others. It is very similar to the usage of tags, to organize photos and blog entries. And, not just the Twitter users but virtually any internet user can receive the hashtagged message, thus making your Twitter messages reach outside twitter.
How to use hashtags?
1. Follow the @hashtags Twitter user – It follows you automatically and this enables it to index your hashtags
2. Create a hashtag by inserting “#” in front of your keyword. For instance, if you are tweeting about WordPress, you can use #wordpress to hash your tweet
3. Twitter updates with valid hashtags are indexed at http://hashtags.org. You can reach there, search for a hashtag and even subscribe to the RSS feed of a tag. For example, all tweets with “wordpress” as a hashtag can be found at http://hashtags.org/tag/wordpress/ and the RSS feed will be http://hashtags.org/feeds/tag/wordpress/
Web is not the only tool to post messages to Twitter. There are a handful of tools to post messages to Twitter, ranging from desktop clients to iPhone apps.
Mashable gives you an elaborate list of Twitter tools, which your might wish to bookmark.
This is pretty much you need to know, on getting started with Twitter. I am sure you will learn more useful tips, on becoming a Power Tweeter!!
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