Category: Client Forum, Social Media

A Guide to Getting Started on Twitter

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Twitter ImageA few weeks ago at our Client Forum, I had the opportunity to speak to a small group of clients about using Twitter. I dispelled a few common Twitter myths and shared reasons why they might want to use Twitter both personally and professionally. At the end, everyone felt more comfortable with the tool and I think a few even started Tweeting.

Have you wanted to get up and running on Twitter, but aren’t sure where to start? Here’s my guide to getting started on Twitter:

Signing Up

  • On a desktop or laptop computer go to www.Twitter.com
  • In the grey box where it says “New to Twitter?” enter your name, email, and desired password. Click “Sign up for Twitter.” Make sure you use your real name and email and a password you will remember.
  • On the next screen you will be asked to choose your username. Choose this carefully as it will be how you are recognized and referred to on Twitter. Most people suggest using an element of your real name in your username. When you are happy with your username and the information in the other fields is correct, click “Create my account.”
  • Once your account has been created you can download the Twitter mobile application on your phone and use your newly created username and password to sign in.

Setting Up Your Profile

When you login to your account for the first time, there as few additional things you will need to do to finish the setup. You will see different options for your account, editing your password, mobile settings, email notifications, design and more. Below are a few tips…

  • Choose notification settings that work for you: In the email notifications tab you can decide when you want to be notified about activity on Twitter. You can choose to get an email when someone follows you, or not.  You can choose to get an email when someone mentions or ReTweets you, or not. Do what works for you!
  • Set a background: In the design tab you can choose a background and colors for your profile. Twitter provides a few different choices. You can also opt for a plain color or upload your own design.
  • Add a picture: Your profile picture should be a headshot of you that is appropriate for work, family and your social life.
  • Fill out your bio: Take advantage of the 160 character bio section. This is your chance to sell yourself. People use this section to determine whether or not they will follow you. It is a good idea to include something from both your personal and professional life.
  • Set a website: Many people put a link to their LinkedIn profile in the website field. However, you could also put a blog, personal website, or company website.

Starting to Tweet

  • Followers and Following: Building followers will take some time, but following people, sharing interesting content and interacting with other users will help you expand your Twitter reach. Twitter’s search capabilities let you find people by full name, username, keywords, or individual Tweets. Just type in who you want to find into the search bar at the top of the page and decide who to follow.
  • Composing Tweets: You can create new Tweets from Twitter on your desktop or on your mobile device. To start a new tweet from Twitter or the Twitter mobile app, click on the compose button in the top right hand corner. Tweets are limited to 140 characters which includes links, hashtags and other people you are mentioning so use them wisely.
  • Adding a Link to a Tweet: You can add a link to a website, blog post or article to any tweet. To do this, simply copy and paste the link into the Tweet. Remember, links add to your overall character count so you might want to use a link shortener like bitly.com or ow.ly.
  • Adding a picture to a Tweet: To add a picture to a Tweet click the camera symbol when you are composing a Tweet. This will allow you to upload a picture from either your computer or mobile device.
  • @Targeting: You can use the @ symbol in conjunction with someone’s Twitter name to target them directly. When you do this everyone following you will see the post, but that message will specifically get called out to whoever you targeted. When someone targets you in a Tweet it will show up in your Twitter mentions.
  • #Hashtags: A hashtag allows you to track and participate in the conversation revolving around a certain topic.  Use the #symbol before a keyword topic on your post or question.  Doing that will hyperlink the keyword. You can click on any hashtag to filter the activity stream by that topic.

Now you should have all the info you need to get started on Twitter. Good luck and happy Tweeting!

Kristin Ferguson

Kristin Ferguson

Kristin joined Boston Financial in 2012 as Social Media Community Manager. Kristin is responsible for Boston Financial's social media strategy as well as developing and managing internal and external online communities. Prior to joining Boston Financial Kristin worked in online marketing at Edvisors where she was also responsible for social media and community management. Kristin is a graduate of Stonehill College. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kferguson10.

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