Thirteen Intermediate Twitter Tips

Two Willet birds in silhouette by Flickr user mikebaird
photo by Michael "Mike" L. Baird

Here are some Twitter tips for folks who have been using it for a while. They are not definitive, more my expression of personal style.

Chances are, if you are reading this and are yourself a Twitter user, you have an opinion on some of these, so please push back in the comments!

If you’re new to Twitter, try my Ten Tips For Twitter Newbies. (Some of these tips appear over there, too. I will refund your money if you complain by joining my email list. Heh, heh.)

  1. If you are on Facebook, use Selective Twitter Status so you can control what tweets appear in Facebook. On tweets you choose to share with Facebook, avoid Twitter lingo like @ and RT.
  2. Don’t share full links — always use a link shortener. Why? Well, it looks weird to see a full url. and allow you to track rudimentary stats, too.
  3. Eventually, if you follow lots of people, you will need a desktop client so you can separate them into groups. Tweetdeck and Seesmic are the main contenders and they are really neck-and-neck in terms of features.
  4. If you manage more than one Twitter account (like if you have one for your business and one for you), Seesmic and Hoot Suite are good options.
  5. It helps if you have a rule for following people. Otherwise your numbers can get hard to handle. My personal rule is a version of @loic’s: I have to be able to articulate to myself a) who the person is; b) why I want to follow them.
  6. If you want someone to see a particular update, time and pace yourself. Don’t tweet important things until after noon (eastern) so you can reach people when they are in front of their computers.
  7. Don’t just share your own blog posts and stuff. Link to lots of places and people will see you as contributing, instead of taking. Don’t be a taker.
  8. Don’t worry if spammy “internet marketing pros” follow you. They’ll go away.
  9. Don’t have a photo posted yet? Do it. Is your photo NOT of your face? Change it. You need a photo of your face.
  10. Don’t use Direct Messages like email. They’re hard to respond to. Ask permission (using an @ message) or wait to be invited.
  11. About those hashtags (#). By convention, people use a hasthtag to collect updates into a category. For instance, everyone attending South By Southwest might add #sxsw to the end of their updates. You can make your own up, too, if you are attending an event or want to create a category. But check first to see if someone has come up with a hashtag already! (Use the search bar at the right to check.)
  12. Don’t send “thank you” or “welcome” Direct Messages to new followers unless you really have something important to say.
  13. It’s considered bad form to delete an old update, except under extreme circumstances. A typo is not an extreme circumstance.

What tricks and tips have you learned after using Twitter for a while?

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