If you've followed my last blog post about Twitter you have set up a Twitter account and are ready to rock the Twitter world!
And so to tweet...
It's not considered good manners to use lots of abbreviations in your tweets, but there are other ways around the 140 character limit. If you have a blog you might just put up a link to your latest post for example. (You'll find url-shortening websites like tinyurl.com, where you paste in a long url link and it gives you a much shorter one, are super useful.)
If only it was as easy as that though. Actually typing the words is the easy bit; coming up with them in the first place is much harder.
That's why this week you should forget about looking for followers and practise tweeting to nobody but yourself! Or if you'd like a small audience search for me (LauraJRyder) on Twitter, follow me and I'll follow you back.
I got this tip from social media expert Marian Schembari. She did it so when she started getting followers her Twitter account would already look like a hive of activity. That'll work for us too, but also I figure you wouldn't speak to the world at large confidently without a run through in real life, so why not in Twitterland too. Tweeting to nobody for a week means you're not under any pressure or spotlight and can figure out what feels right for you.
It's best to have a think about what your goals for Twitter are before you start to speak. I use two Twitter accounts (not bad for a total newbie!): one personal and one work. I just want to share stuff in my personal account – whatever grabs my attention, whatever I need help with etc. In my work one (a regional newspaper) I want to build up a relationship with more people in my newspaper's catchment area and get the news to them as quickly as possible.
It's important not to think as Twitter as advertising for your business. Use it right and it will advertise your business, but spam the Twitter neighbourhood with pushy ads about your salon and you'll get nothing from it.
Think friend more than salesperson on Twitter. Think helping other people, not making money. You'll find a few more tips here.
This nice Twitter neighbourhood is all very well, but it can sometimes be bitchy! A while ago I wrote about having been scared off Twitter by a barbed comment. This morning I turned on my pc to a similar one directed towards my workplace account.
Part of my job as a reporter for a regional newspaper is to attend council meetings and report any juicy stories that crop up. Just before heading out the door to one on Monday afternoon I let my Twitter followers know where I was off to, and told them I'd have updates soon. Soon after someone tweeted in reply that I shouldn't tweet about going to find news, and should only tweet when I've found it!
For about half an hour I was down about it, but at times like this you have to remember there are no strict rules about how to use Twitter and shrug off bitchy comments.
Take your time to fully get into Twitter, like I'm doing. Sooner or later we'll find our natural Twitter voice, and remember there are no rules!