How to Twitter — Tips and Tools to Get You Started

TwitterTwitter has evolved from a simple tool to update and keep you updated about people you care about, what they do, etc. to an information sharing and communication tool. Whether you’d like to use it for business or marketing, or simply want to see what it is about, this article will show you how to twitter.

For some people, Twitter has become an indispensable business tool. As of this writing, perhaps it is still too early to tell, but from what others have done and what various Twitter tools have accomplished, it shows a great potential.

The Challenge of Picking Twitter Tools / Clients

One of the biggest challenges for new users is to choose the right tool. With the sheer amount of information you are processing every day, picking an inefficient Twitter client is going to make you very unproductive.

Just like any time and action management system, it is hard to gain any loyal follower unless the system involves minimal habit change. Best of all is, the system doesn’t require you to acquire and master a new skill.

Twitter is no difference. If you are still able to use it without revolutionizing your work flow, the chance of permanent adoption is higher.

Opening a Twitter page in one of your browser’s tab sounds like a simple solution, but it isn’t. If you want to share a web page, you have to copy the URL, go to URL shortening service, enter and shorten it, copy the new link to the clipboard and go to your Twitter page to tweet.

After updating the page, your flow has already been disturbed. Imagine having to do this five to ten times a day, every day.

Twitter suddenly wastes a lot of your time.

Twitter Clients for Starters

Albrechts Landscape

After testing tens of Twitter clients, it is unfortunate that no single application is able to satisfy every need.

However, some Twitter tools are really winners. Not only they integrate tightly with Twitter functionalities, such as update, direct message, favorite, etc. but they also allow you to use Twitter search, shorten URLs on the fly, and so on.

  • Mozilla Firefox. This is not Twitter related but if you are still using Internet Explorer, consider this browser seriously. I know some people prefer Google Chrome, Safari, Opera or other browsers. My personal preference happens to be Firefox. The only thing I hate about it is that it can be a huge memory hog.
  • Twhirl or TweetDeck are two Adobe AIR based Twitter clients. It means they run on at least Windows and Mac. Other Twitter clients are available but they are not as feature rich as Twhirl or TweetDeck. A bit of warning though, these two applications may be sluggish if you are on an older computer system. They allow you to update your Twitter account, see replies from other twitterers even though you don’t follow them, use Twitter Search, shorten URLs easily, read and send direct messages, and much more.
  • TwitterBar (for Firefox users only). Basically this Firefox add-on allows you to post to Twitter from Firefox’s address bar. Sharing what you are reading has never been easier. It also shortens URL automatically.

Armed with those tools, you are ready to start your adventure into twittosphere.

Tips for Beginners on Using Twitter

When you sign up with Twitter for the first time, it feels odd to talk into the air without anyone listening. So the first challenge is to seek followers. Finding what topics to tweet about also is also something that many people struggle with.

I am first to admit that I was also confused about how to get started so don’t give up. That is expected. All twitterers have gone through it.

Here are a few suggestions that I think will help new Twitterers:

  • Fit in your work flow. If you are easily distracted, you may find yourself checking the Twitter client every so often. Refrain from doing so. It is better to check every one or two hours, each time for 3 minutes, than checking every 5 minutes for 30 seconds. While you will be twittering and responding less often, what’s more important is you don’t want to disturb your work flow.
  • Don’t follow aggressively. Although to be successful you need to deliver your message to people, that doesn’t mean you should follow everyone and hope him/her to follow you back. You will end up with too many tweets you feel overwhelmed.
  • Twitter is not instant messenger. Take conversations that don’t benefit your followers privately. That is what direct messages are for. People who look at your public timeline will less likely follow you because of the lack of substance as they see it. Existing followers may choose to un-follow too.
  • You don’t have to tweet often. Unless you have something to say, saying nothing is better than sending junk. Of course, if you know your strategy, you will have a plan to update a few times a day so your followers know you are there.

Conclusions

Twitter can be a big time waster if you don’t guard your time rigorously because let’s face it. It can be very addictive.

On the other hand, if you approach it strategically, Twitter allows you to reach a whole new crowd of audience. Remember that currently there already are millions of twitterers. Not only that, a lot of them are really influencers who also have blogs and other media. If you are able to reach them, that will in turn lead to more opportunities for publicity, among other things.

The takeaways for this post are that in order to use Twitter successfully, it needs to fit seamlessly into your schedule. Flow is critical. Adopting the right tools will make a big difference.

Twitter is not a spam tool. People (your followers) are in control. With a single click you will be kicked out from their radar.

So Respect them. Interact with them. Model your favorite twitterer(s) and avoid doing what you don’t want others do to you.

Return to Social Media — Why It Matters and Business Implementations.

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