61 tips for using Twitter effectively


Twitter is a fabulous networking tool for any small business or freelancer.

But are you using it effectively?

Check out these simple tips that’ll have you using Twitter like a pro in no time!

Twitter Basics

1. Upload a profile pic – eggs do not encourage followers. Preferably use a headshot, but if you’re camera shy a logo will suffice.

2. Optimise your bio – you only have 160 characters to play with so if in doubt enlist the services of a copywriter.

3. Enter your real location into your profile.

4. Add a URL to your bio so that when someone checks a list of followers they can easily click your link without having to go into your profile (which most people won’t bother to do).

5. Brand your profile. Ask a graphic designer to design an eye-catching branded image for you. If your budget won’t stretch that far, use Wordle to create a keyword cloud image – simple but effective.

6. Select to receive email notifications when you’re sent a DM or someone mentions you to ensure you can quickly react to enquiries, recommendations and customer service issues.

7. Interact – the key is to build relationships.

8. Take part in Twitter chats – they’re a great way to meet new people. Two of my favourites are #NostalgiaChat and #MediaChat.

9. Answer questions – if someone asks something, try your best to answer it, even if it takes a bit of time to find the info they need.

10. Add value to retweets. Don’t simply retweet a post – add a comment.

11. Be careful with your retweets. Always click the link to check the content before you share.

12. Keep tweets to 120 characters – it enables people to retweet your post and add a short comment. Remember, the flash new “retweet with comment” function may not work with a smartphone or tablet app.

13. Thank people for retweeting – we all like to receive a thank you and it will encourage them to retweet your content again in the future.

14. If you still use Follow Friday (#FF) choose one or two people only and give a reason why others should follow them.  For instance, “If you’re looking for great SEO services follow @BreaklineLTD #FF”

15.  Interact – yes, I know I already said this but it’s the most important factor for effective use of Twitter.

Twitterfy your website

16. Add social media sharing buttons to your blog and/or website pages.

17. Go one step further by adding a Click To Tweet plugin to your WordPress blog.

18. Add Twitter testimonials to your site to showcase how fab you are.

19. Set up a Twitter box which displays your recent tweets – if you’re using WordPress make it easy by using a plugin.

20. Add the Twitter follow button – it allows people to follow you from your website with just one click! If you’re using a plugin, chances are it’ll have this option in there too.

Twitter Dos

21. Before you follow someone new, click on their profile to check how often they reply to people. If their timeline is full of auto-posted spam, move on.

22. Also, check to see the account is active. There’s no point following someone who last posted over six months ago or whose last ten updates were auto-tweets from an app like Paper.li.

23. Instantly unfollow anybody who uses TrueTwit or sends an auto-DM. If we all follow this rule maybe they’ll finally get the hint that using these tools is unacceptable!

24. Stop following anyone who constantly tweets sales and promotional messages.

25. Check through the list of people you follow on a regular basis and unfollow anyone who hasn’t tweeted in the past five weeks or who only ever auto-tweets and doesn’t interact.

26. Also, check your followers regularly for spam or porn accounts and block them.

27. Instantly report trolls, cyber bullies and people you don’t know who tweet or DM you a dodgy link.

28. If you’ve taken time to help someone and they haven’t acknowledged it give them a nudge.  If they still ignore you then unfollow.

29. Remember the golden rule: it’s quality not quantity that counts. No-one’s impressed if you’ve got 20,000 followers but are following 25,000 accounts, so stop worrying about the numbers!

30. Make good use of hashtags.  If you’re attending a seminar or conference end your tweets with #seminarname so people can easily follow what’s going on.

31. Add images to your tweets. It makes them interesting and attracts more attention than just text.

32. Visit Twitter several times a week – there’s no point building up a following if you can’t commit to being present regularly.

33. Be yourself.

Twitter Don’ts

34.  Never link Facebook with Twitter. There’s nothing worse than a cut-off sentence and having to click a Facebook link to read the entire post. Trust me, most people won’t bother.

35. Don’t waste time following people who promise to follow back – they’ll add nothing to your Twitter experience.

36. Don’t broadcast. Use the 80/20 rule: 80% interaction, 20% about you.

37. Don’t use Instagram to share a pic on Twitter – all your followers will see is a link and few of them, if any, will click to view the image.

38. Never click links from people you don’t know.

39. Never use an application to verify Twitter users before they’re allowed to follow. Seriously, what’s the point?

40. Don’t set your profile up to protect tweets.  Twitter is all about interaction – how can anyone interact with you if they can’t read your tweets?

41. Don’t tweet about your business to random people – you’ll come across as spammy and may end up getting blocked or reported as a spammer.

42. Avoid the use of automated Direct Messages – they’re a huge Twitter turn off!

43. Don’t constantly tweet “inspirational” quotes. It’s boring and of little value to your followers.

44. Don’t use applications that auto-tweet irrelevant crap. Honestly, nobody cares how many people followed, unfollowed or retweeted you this week or that you closed a deal in 15 minutes using some online signature software service!

45. Avoid tweeting about politics and religion.

46. Don’t use the F word. If you really must swear, save it for your personal account.

General Twitter Tips

47. Always think before you tweet.

48. If you want to make an @reply more public put a full stop in front of the @ sign so all of your followers can see it.

49. Add your Twitter profile name to your business card.

50. Include a link to your Twitter profile in your email signature.

51. Add your Twitter profile to all of your online marketing including email newsletters, LinkedIn profile etc.

52. Make use of an application like HootSuite – it makes keeping tabs on your @mentions and Direct Messages far easier.

53. Use a URL shortener (like bit.ly) to condense long URLs – it leaves you more characters to add value to the tweet and you can analyse them to see just how many people actually clicked the link.

54. Better still, use Buffer – it gives easy access to your analytics so you can instantly see how many retweets, clicks and mentions your tweet generated.

55. Collate useful content for your followers with Paper.li.

56. Be wary when allowing third-party applications to utilise your Twitter profile.  If in doubt don’t do it.

57. Regularly check the list of applications you’ve connected with your Twitter account and delete any that are no longer relevant.

58.  By all means, set up automatic tweeting if you’re unable to tweet at the appropriate time, but don’t overuse them.  People like to follow people, not software.

59.  Tweet new content a few times over several days at different times each day to ensure it reaches the broadest audience possible.

60. Be careful with your use of hashtags – don’t use more than three in a tweet and never, ever interrupt a Twitter chat with an irrelevant hashtagged tweet.

The most important Twitter tip of all

61.  Interact.

Yes, it’s been mentioned twice already, but if you don’t interact you’re missing the whole point.

About the author

Alex Thomas

I've been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years and have worked with global and local companies on large scale SEO and PR campaigns. In my current role at Breakline, I'm responsible for winning new business, creating, implementing and overseeing SEO campaigns, social communications, online and offline media relations.

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By Alex Thomas
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