I began using Twitter in October 2008 at a time when there were barely any Twitter rules. I remember it so well because it was right before the 2008 election, and election night was my first Twitter Event. After that I was hooked. In some ways Twitter was so much easier in those days because it was really just starting to grow rapidly around that time. We were all just learning together. But as with anything, growth begets the need for rules.
Now that Twitter is a Giant social network, many written or unwritten rules or “suggestions” have come about. Down at the bottom of the list, a few of the items are actually just tips. So, Here are my –
20 Twitter Rules, Suggestions and Tips You Need to Know:
1. In setting up your Twitter Profile, use a real picture of yourself, a link to your blog or website and write a short bio with keywords to what you are about.
2. If you want your tweets to get retweeted, keep them to no more than 120 characters.
3. If you are tweeting about something popular, use hashtags # in your tweet to give it a better chance of being found in a twitter search.
4. To help keep your tweets short, use a url shortener such as bitly.
5. While it is good to tweet regularly, it is not good to tweet constantly. If you only have a block of time to be on twitter, you can schedule some of your tweets to go out at a later time with Buffer.
6. While scheduling tweets for later can come in handy, be careful. There have been a number of cases of a disaster occurring and tweets appearing about a sale on toys or something similar.
7. If you want your tweet to be viewable by all followers, do not begin it with an @name. If you do, only followers of both you and the @name will be able to see it.
8. Retweet others on a regular basis.
9. Don’t be afraid to ask for a retweet or a reply. People are often happy to comply.
10. This might just be my opinion, but when someone retweets a link of yours, instead of cluttering up twitter with thanks, a better way to say thank you would be to retweet a link of theirs. (Please let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree).
11. Add images to some of your tweets, whether directly, or from another social media account such as Instagram.
12. Attend Twitter parties sparingly. While they might be fun for those in the party, and you can win prizes, they can be very annoying to your followers and you will lose some. It is up to you what is more important.
13. Create Twitter lists. It will help you keep up with those on your lists and because twitter lists are usually kept public (you have the option to make any private) when you add someone to a list, especially if you name it something like “best bloggers”, you are flattering the people you add to your lists.
14. Follow Twitter lists. If a friend or colleague creates a list of a group that you are part of, why recreate the wheel. Click follow under the list and the list will also appear in your list of Twitter lists.
15. When you do a search on Twitter, in the little box on top, you can search with or without a hashtag.
16. If you click the settings button under a search, you can save the search, in case it is one you will be running again; you can open advanced search; or you can embed the search.
17. Speaking of embedding, you can embed any tweets you can see on twitter. Look under any tweet where it say reply, retweet, etc. and you will see the word “more”. Click more and one of the options is “Embed Tweet”. Click that and you will get the html to embed the tweet on your blog or website. Check out this post I wrote of embedded tweets from a twitter chat on preventing newborn deaths.
18. Did you know that in your Twitter settings there is a section on email notifications where you can choose when you want to receive emails from Twitter. You might have set it up when you first started using Twitter and forgotten about it and now that you know Twitter better you might want to rethink some of your settings.
19. Also in settings, on the main settings page, there are two questions about sensitive content. The first one is for you to check if you are okay with seeing all photos or videos of sensitive content. The second one you need to check if you send out material that may be sensitive.
20. If you are busy on Twitter, you are better off using Tweetdeck, a web-based Twitter dashboard that lets you have many different columns open at once.
Don’t be so busy trying to get Twitter to work for you that you don’t enjoy it. Follow news channels, funny people, your favorite celebrities, movies, TV shows and authors. The most important rule of all – Have fun on Twitter!