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Tweet or Die: Getting Started on Twitter

Since there have been a billion (give or take a few hundred million) other articles written about Twitter that provide general tips for businesses, individuals, household pets, and Oprah, I thought it would be more useful to provide some specific, tactical advice. I have been on Twitter for a little over a year as @lafoodie (I was on Twitter before Oprah!), and I have helped a number of clients get started and find their Twitter legs. These experiences have taught me about what will and will not fly.

tweet-or-die

So instead of defining Twitter or talking about the goofy lingo (just because is starts with “tw” doesn’t mean it’s going to make any sense), I’ll outline a basic guide that can help you get started today. You already know you should be on Twitter right? So what are you waiting for?

Profiles

A good profile will have

A bad profile will often have

Look for five minutes and you will find plenty of bad bios. I am not mean enough to pick on anybody specifically.

Bios, in particular, are very important. A good bio succinctly states the purpose of the profile and gives an idea of what types of updates the follower will be receiving. Don’t forget that once a person follows you, all of your updates show up in that person’s timeline. So before a follower makes the commitment, they are going to want to have a good picture of what they’ll be seeing in the near future. Bad bios are ones that state no relevant purpose or any indication of what this person might contribute. Worse yet is when there is also no website listed. Anything here is OK as long as it provides more information. Links to profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, or “about” pages are all acceptable options. I cringe every time I see a bio that says something like, “Just a guy trying to figure it all out” or “Wandering through this crazy world and attempting to make sense of it all.” And believe me, there are tons of those.

What to tweet

Twitter updates should include a varied mix of content supporting the central goal of your social media campaign. Let’s say, for example, that your campaign aims to increase positive brand mentions (a common goal). Never forget to involve your followers, and above all, try to be interesting. Updates can include:

Things to avoid

Factors to consider when deciding who to follow

Who not to follow. Be selective and consider skipping the profile if

Etiquette

Rules are made to be broken, so feel free to ignore as much of this advice as you want once you start to feel comfortable in your new Twitter shoes. Above all, never forget that the coolest part of social media, and what sets it apart from traditional media, is that it’s a two-way conversation. Nurture the back-and-forth that is native to Twitter. People are already talking about you; it’s time to join the conversation.