I hear frequently from people in Meetup groups that they’ve started a Twitter account, but aren’t sure what to do with it or what to make of the platform. There are so many options that the path forward can seem paralyzing. Twitter is a two-way communication tool, so in that spirit, here are some tips to get you started on the right foot:
Welcome to Twitter! Post something
It takes some practice to compose a complete, legible thought in 140 characters or less. Practice it now, before you start focusing on getting your name out there. Are you posting thoughts from your day, or are you repurposing content from your website? Post links you find interesting or provocative. The goal is to allow someone encountering your Twitter page for the first time to be able to easily get the general idea of who you are and what you do.
Follow some interesting people
Twitter provides many lists of celebrities and other well-known people to new users. You can follow some of those if you like. However, chances are you have deeper interests than what Kim Kardashian wore yesterday. Whatever your major interests are, make sure you populate your feed with people you’ll want to talk to. I recommend following those that people you admire follow for now. (There are some more advanced means of finding good people to follow, which I’ll save for a future blog post.)
Talk to those interesting people on a regular basis
When you log into Twitter or open your Twitter app, you’ll see a ton of posts from all the people you’re following. Clicking the Reply arrow lets you send a reply back to that person. Replies starting with someone’s name (like @sarahwefald) don’t go out to all your followers; they’re only visible in the news feeds of anyone following both you and the person you’re writing. Keep in mind though that your comments are publicly readable, so take care! I try to reach out to 3 people each day. Some ways to do this are to read someone’s blog post and reply back with thoughts about it, or answer a question someone asks. Make sure to reply to everyone who sends you an @reply message as well.
If you build it, they will come
Don’t worry about your Follower number for right now. Just concentrate on posting good content and having good conversations.