The Most Basic “How To Start in Twitter” Tutorial Ever

This post is written for all those people who have either begun their Twitter lives on the wrong foot, and as an attempt to help those of you who are just about to embark on your own Twitter initiatives.

There are plenty of very well-written Twitter tutorials out there, and you will find links to some of those at the bottom of this post.

As the title of this post indicates, this is intended to be “the most basic” Twitter tutorial I can imagine.

First, some “don’ts” when you are starting out:

  • Don’t start following people until you have your Profile filled out.
  • Don’t start following people until you have a link to your website in your Profile.
  • Don’t simply fill your “Updates” with promotional information.
  • Don’t start following people until you have some “Updates” to show that you are active, and that show how you think. How many updates should you have? See below.

Here are some suggestions for starting out in Twitter (think of these in rough chronological order):

Know Why You Are Doing This

1. Ideally you will have developed a social media strategy before truly embarking on something like this.

2. If you are setting up a corporate profile – you certainly should do this first!

3. If you are setting up a personal/professional profile, or a profile for a small business, you may skip past a comprehensive planning stage.

4. But, at least think about why you are doing this:

a) Who do I want to connect with?
b) How will I gather market feedback from using Twitter?
c) How will I use market intelligence, competitive insights, industry news, etc.?

d) What do I ultimately want to accomplish?

Profile Yourself

5. Fill out your “Profile” and provide information that will help people decide if they should follow you or not.

6. Your Profile will be one of the ways that people find you when Searching for new people to follow. Use some basic words that will bring the right people to you (e.g. I use “B2B SEO” and other terms that will bring B2B marketers and professional SEO’s to me.”

7. Include a link to your website in your Profile.

8. Use an image in your Profile. If you are using Twitter to build your personal brand and network, use a picture of yourself.  If you have a corporate Twitter profile, use your company’s icon.

Connect With People You Know

9. If you know people on Twitter already, and they are not going to judge you too early, start following them. They’ll understand that you are getting started and won’t look at your Profile and Twitter stream (updates) critically.

Find, But Don’t Follow

When you start following someone, they will typically be notified/will notice that you started following them. They will check you out, and make a decision about whether or not they should follow you back.

10. Search for people that are related to your business – competitors, partners, customers, prospects, analysts, etc.

11. See what they are saying to get a feel for things you might say and how you might interact with people.

3 quick places to conduct searches for people:

Update Before You Follow

Start updating before you start following. When you do start following people, and they notice, you want them to arrive at your Profile page and see that you are already active and are taking this seriously.

I can’t begin to provide an actual content strategy for you here! But, some things to think about writing as a starting point:

12. It’s OK to put out 1 to 3 posts related to “just getting started here” – don’t overdo it.

13. Post about, and link to, industry news stories, research, stats, etc.

14. Talk about a few things you are doing at work now (things you are actually working on)

15. Correspond with the friends/colleagues you started following at the beginning (i.e. @so_and_so blah blah blah) – show your personality here!

Follow and Be Followed

16. Using the same process in the “Find, But Don’t Follow” section above, starting locating people to follow:

  • Analysts
  • Competitors
  • Customers
  • Industry Bloggers
  • Partners
  • Prospects (maybe wait a bit on this one until you are more comfortable using Twitter)
  • Vendors (yours)
  • Friends, friends, friends (friends that are using Twitter for business, not ones who will embarrass you!!!
    • This will sound shallow to social media purists, but when you correspond with friends on Twitter, it actually looks like you are popular and interesting, making it more appealing for others to want to follow you (for the record, I actually enjoy corresponding with friends and friendly people!!!)

Analyze & Refine Your Strategy

17. Look at as many metrics as you can reasonably manage and start keeping score – referrals to your site from, number of Followers, number of @ replies you are accumulating, links you have accrued pointing to your site while you have been Twittering away (over time), leads & sales trends, etc.

18. Keep looking at what other successful people are doing

19. Read about Twitter and social media

20. Get advice

21. Refine, rinse, repeat.


Here are some much more comprehensive Twitter guides:

Related KoMarketing Blog Posts:

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