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20 Twitter Tips to Make You a Better Twitter User

Posted by on August 16, 2008

UPDATED July 13, 2009.  This has been a very popular post so I decided to go back and add a few tips to the list 🙂

Since Twitter is growing in popularity and I am an active twitter user, I thought I would put together a quick list of twitter tips to help make sure that your twitter experience is pleasant and beneficial to both you and your followers.

  1. Don’t make your background look like some sort of advertisement, it turns people off
  2. Upload a photo of yourself, people love to know who they are chatting with
  3. Follow people YOU think are interesting, don’t just follow folks because everyone else is
  4. Try to post regularly to make sure that people know you have an active presence (I post around 10-20+ times a day)
  5. Try to not use twitter as your own personal “this is what I’m doing” list.  Do you think your followers want to read about your breakfast cereal? Check out the twitter whore to see what I mean
  6. Try to add value to the conversation by sharing links or things of interest.  For example, if folks are twittering about SEO try sending them a link to a post that describes how to measure online SEO competition.
  7. Mix in SOME personal information so that people know you are a human being and not just an online merchant pushing links, don’t go overboard (see #5), find a balance, there is no exact number here.
  8. Thank people when they follow you on twitter with a direct message, I try to thank every single new twitter follower I get.
  9. Start conversations with the ‘@’ command, don’t just wait for people to talk to you.  If something is going on in your industry don’t be scared to ask for opinions and feedback.
  10. Make sure to respond to people that ‘@’ or direct message you, quite frankly this is just a matter of showing respect, if people are taking the time to message you, respond
  11. Don’t worry about how many twitter followers you have, if you become an active participant you will see your followers increase.
  12. Remove people you follow if they don’t bring any value to you or if you just don’t find them interesting
  13. Don’t spam anyone with anything
  14. Promote your twitter name, I have a link to my twitter profile in my email signature, on my business cards, and at the end of all of my posts.  Don’t be afraid to mention twitter offline either, I have met many people offline that I was already connected with online, it’s great!
  15. Use twitter search to see who is talking about you and what they are saying.  You can only see your replies in twitter if someone starts off a tweet with ‘@(your twitter name)’ but sometimes people use ‘@’ in the middle of their tweet (i.e. “thanks to @jacobm” as opposed to “@jacobm thanks”), so when you use twitter search, use this command “to:(your twitter name)” to help find tweets that contain your name, just not at the beginning.
  16. If you see that people are talking about you (good or bad) on twitter search, then join in the conversation!
  17. Take advantage of the many twitter mashups out there to help you engage in conversations and get information
  18. Try to keep the amount of followers to something manageable, (currently I’m following 115 people) when you start to follow too many people the stream goes by too fast and you miss a lot of what is going on.  Then again if you happen to think that 10,000 people on twitter are interesting and you want to follow them, then go for it.  Check out what type of twitter follower you are for some tips.
  19. Don’t stalk or harass people on twitter, if someone ignores you, just let it go.  The same goes for you, if people are stalking or harassing you, you can block them on twitter.
  20. Most importantly have fun and try to build relationships, we’re all people here (except for the damn bots)

Bonus tips

  1. If you get followers that are either spammers or just inactive, then block them.  A lot of people don’t do this because they are so concerned with their follower count, but at the end of the day the value of twitter is in the relationships and in the conversations.  You’re not going to have conversations with spammers/bots/inactives, hence no value, thus…block!
  2. If you want to understand your twitter usage, you network, and just statistics about how you use the service then check out Twitter Friends
  3. If someone says or share something that you find interesting, retweet.  Try to help promote others MORE than you try to promote yourself.

These tips have helped me during the course of my twitter usage.  Keep in mind that these aren’t rules and you don’t have to follow them, they are just a few tips and ideas that I have found helpful.

I Hope you found the above tips useful, did I miss any?

Thanks for reading