Blogkeeping // All About Twitter

Blogkeeping // All about Twitter // Elembee.com

Last week, I talked about a couple of ways you can use Twitter in growing your readership, and a number of people mentioned they just weren’t sure how to use Twitter in general. Personally, I love Twitter, but it’s not everyone’s thing, and that’s ok! You will get a lot more out of it if you actually enjoy it. But you definitely have to give it some time before you see the benefits — it’s really more fun when you’ve had a chance to connect with people and follow people who are sharing interesting things. Here are some things I’ve learned that helped Twitter become my favorite social media platform.

Follow people you like

This seems kind of obvious, but hear me out. I think when you first join Twitter, it’s tempting to follow every single person who follows you — after all, you’re excited to have a new follower, and you know how it feels when someone doesn’t follow you back. But Twitter is one place where following people who don’t provide some kind of value to you can get annoying really quickly, and once your feed is overrun with tweets that are annoying, you aren’t going to want to spend time there.

If you feel really bad about not following for follow, or you have a lot of people you want to follow but only a few that you want to check in with regularly, take advantage of lists. There’s a little button in every person’s profile that looks like a little person, next to the follow button, and you can add them to and create new lists from there. Then you can go to your Me tab and access your lists from there, which will pull tweets just from those people. Or, you can use TweetDeck or HootSuite to create columns for those lists (more on that later). Personally, I like the simplicity of Twitter’s site and don’t like the extra steps to access lists, so I’m just more careful about who I follow. I use lists to remember specific groups of people, like fellow bloggers in Oklahoma.

Learn to love mentions, hashtags, and retweets

I think this is where people get super confused when it comes to Twitter. Mentions are how you say hello to people — it’s @MyAwesomeTwitterFriend. If you want to speak directly to someone, start your tweet with @MyAwesomeTwitterFriend. If you want to make sure they see your tweet but also want the people that follow you to see it, put something in front of the mention — it can be as simple as a period, for example, “.@MyAwesomeTwitterFriend shared this great post: http://linkhere.com.” Jessica Hische breaks this down further at Mom This is How Twitter Works (I promise not to judge you if you check it out).

Hashtags, well, I think it’s all about using them carefully, to find information or to make a point. I personally hate to see tweets that are shared links with several topic hashtags — it looks spammy, and do you really talk like that? Think of hashtags as a way of connecting with like-minded people. If you see a hashtag popping up regularly, there’s probably a story behind it — click and find out! Same if you see someone repeatedly using the same hashtag, they are probably participating in a Twitter chat. Hashtags are also the sarcasm font/punch line of Twitter — turn phrases into hashtags for emphasis (this is where things get really funny). Again, more examples on Mom This is How Twitter Works.

Retweets are how you share someone else’s tweet with your followers. I usually like to add my own comments to a retweet to start a conversation, but Twitter unfortunately doesn’t make it easy to do this, at least not on the web. On the iPhone app, you simply hit retweet, then quote tweet, and you can add your own comments. On the web, you will either need to copy the person’s tweet into a new tweet and add your comments followed by RT in front, or use an app like TweetDeck or HootSuite. You will probably need to edit down the original tweet to add your comments, but make sure people understand the basic meaning of the original tweet.

Tweet like you talk, and don’t be afraid to jump in

Twitter is really conversational, and people expect to hear from people they don’t know — this is a place where it’s ok to talk to strangers. If you have something to say, don’t be afraid to say it! Whether you agree with what someone said or want them to know you like the work they’re doing, people on Twitter like to know that they aren’t just shooting things into the air, so respond, and start conversations. Twitter is also a great place for random thoughts you have that show your personality but may not fit on your blog. I mean, I just had a conversation on Twitter about the multi-million dollar homes my grandma and I were plotting to buy in Hawaii, and I’ve had some particularly hilarious conversations about road rage and glamping. A lot of those people are now people I talk to regularly because of those random conversations.

That said, keep in mind you still have to edit. Personally, if I can’t say it in 140 characters, I don’t say it, unless it’s really that important to break up into multiple tweets. And let’s stop with the texting-type tweets, ok? If you spend a few extra seconds before hitting send, you can probably find a way to word your tweets without “u” and “ur.” Also, what you put out there stays out there forever, and while I won’t say you have to be positive 100% of the time, you do have to be mindful not to be too negative. If you’re going to complain about something, keep it relatable and conversation-starting, not woe is me, let’s throw a pity party, and don’t make it a regular thing.

Get organized with apps

Like I said, I usually prefer Twitter’s site and iPhone app, but sometimes you need a little more. I use TweetDeck to keep up with Twitter chats — then I can have columns for my regular feed, mentions, and the hashtag in one place. HootSuite works in a similar manner but also allows you to manage other social media accounts. I’ve also heard great things about Echofon but have never used it. It doesn’t hurt to try them out and see if they work for you!

This goes against popular opinion, but I actually like to schedule tweets for my blog. I think the biggest complaint people have with scheduled tweets is they often come from people who aren’t otherwise on Twitter, so it becomes spammy. I wouldn’t recommend scheduling tweets if you’re still figuring things out, but personally, I’m on Twitter enough that I won’t miss a response, and I have plenty of unscheduled tweets to balance out the scheduled ones. I use Buffer to schedule my tweets — you can set a schedule, queue up a number of tweets, and Buffer will tweet them out in order, so you aren’t constantly entering dates and times (though I do recommend changing up your schedule every once in a while!).

On the other side of apps, many apps and other social media networks let you create your account through Twitter, then they’ll auto-post your updates from that app to Twitter, so check your settings to make sure you aren’t auto tweeting from those. Most people don’t like to see multiple updates from other platforms, especially if they’re already following you there — it feels very spammy. It’s ok to tweet out a Facebook update or pin every so often to remind people they can follow you there as well, but nobody likes to see their Twitter feed taken over by a pinning spree.

There are so many ways you can use Twitter — it’s really all about trying things out and joining the conversation. What are some ways you like to use Twitter?

Meet the author

Hello! I’m Lisa M. Butler, and I offer straightforward web guidance for making it happen online. I got to where I am because of my website, and I want to help you get where you want to be. As a web designer and developer, I’ve guided my clients through the tech-y stuff, step by step. I’m here to share that same advice and guidance with you so you can get your website together and be awesome online.

Comments

  1. so when I emailed my dad that link I may have glanced at it too… and learned a lot. #sorryimnotsorry

    SEE? THAT WAS FUNNY! BECAUSE IT’S A SUPERFLUOUS HASHTAG! okay, yes, I really am guilty of using hashtags unnecessarily. I will admit to liking the silly ones like #ohmygoodnesswhyissocialmediasocomplicated but I do get annoyed when people, say, Instagram a picture of a flower and then add #flower #crocus #spring #flowersinthespring #withaprilshowerscomemayflowers #garden #greenthumb #lovewarmweather (I could go on…) because yes it seems totally spammy, like they’re trying to cover every possible searchable base and then it becomes less about sharing something with your friends and more about publicizing yourself.

    HELLO RUN-ON SENTENCE. the end :)

    Posted on February 27, 2013
    • I am not against hashtags, just spammy ones haha. Funny hashtags are my favorite! And I don’t think you use excessive hashtags.

      Posted on February 27, 2013
  2. Thanks Lisa, that was a really helpful post. When I started using twitter, I found Julie Kirk’s ‘Tips for the Twitter-curious’ to be a great source of information: http://notesonpaper.blogspot.co.uk/p/tips-for-twitter-curious.html
    Now, I love twitter and use it every day. I only follow people whose tweets I find entertaining and informative and who tweet nice pictures. Too many baby, or cat pictures are a no-go for me:)!
    I haven’t checked out any of the twitter aps yet – that’s the next step!

    Posted on February 27, 2013
    • Great link, thanks for sharing! And agree — I get bombarded enough with baby photos on Facebook. Thankfully the people I follow on Twitter are selective with their baby photos, so it’s cute and not overwhelming like it is on Facebook.

      Posted on February 27, 2013
  3. Jess says:

    Like Betsy, I totally agree on the hashtags thing – though sometimes I make my own or I use one so I can get answers from people either searching that hashtag or from companies ‘fishing.’

    Also, love that glamping made its way into your post. I was worried you were actually going to post something about glamping!

    Posted on February 27, 2013
    • Yeah, I’ve used hashtags to get answers on things before too — it’s kind of amazing how quickly people respond! I probably should change that to “use carefully” and not “use sparingly,” because I really do think they can be fun and useful, I just see way too many people that use them excessively, and it gets spammy.

      Posted on February 27, 2013
  4. I have a really hard time with Twitter. It’s my least favourite social medium because a) I don’t really understand how to use it and b) it’s not visual (that’s why I love Pinterest). Thanks for the tips you gave us in your blogpost. I will definitely make more of an effort in the future.

    Posted on February 27, 2013
    • I think it helps to think of it as one giant conversation area. Like I said, it’s not for everyone, so I would just give it a try for at least a month or so, and if you still aren’t into it, that’s ok!

      Posted on February 27, 2013
  5. Allyssa says:

    great tips! I need to look into using hashtags more often. I know there are times when I could be using them, but I always forget.

    Posted on February 27, 2013
    • Yeah, I definitely could use them more, but I’d rather use them too little than too much!

      Posted on February 28, 2013
  6. Kate says:

    I think it’s so important to follow people intentionally- I was definitely in the camp of following everyone back when I started, and then I was stuck with either having to unfollow a bunch of people or make lists. I’ve done both, but right now I’ve gotten into a nice list groove on Tweetdeck, which makes my main feed seem more manageable by having a more selective list as one of my first columns.

    And I’m totally with you on Buffer. Sometimes it takes me a little while to respond, but I tweet spontaneously pretty frequently too so hopefully it balances. I’d rather see scheduled tweets than having someone totally flood my feed. Great post, Lisa!

    Posted on February 27, 2013
    • I found out through my reader survey that, as suspected, the top way people read my posts is through Twitter, so I try to schedule links at different points throughout the day since people check at different times. Otherwise I would manually send them too close together or forget entirely!

      Posted on February 28, 2013
      • Do you tweet out the link to each post more than once?

        Posted on February 28, 2013
        • Yes, usually 4 times throughout the day. I write a different tweet each time so it’s not a repeat, but you can tell it’s my post of the day if you’ve already read it.

          Posted on February 28, 2013
  7. Thanks for the helpful tips! I’m horrible at Twitter…and FB…and basically all social media related to my blog. Definitely need to work on improving my level of interaction with my readers!

    Posted on February 27, 2013
    • I haven’t been very good with Facebook lately, I’m lucky if I remember to post my latest post! I would say if you don’t have time for Twitter/FB, it’s probably ok to set up auto posts so people who like to get information that way at least have easy access to it, just be careful how often the posts are going out so it’s not spammy.

      Posted on February 28, 2013
  8. Mari says:

    Oh my lord, I’m a pretty avid twitter user, and somehow missed the whole “.@smallforbig” approach to mentions!
    I learned something so valuable today, thank you Lisa!!!

    Posted on February 27, 2013
    • A lot of people don’t realize that!

      Posted on February 28, 2013
  9. the zhush says:

    I am so checking out that “mom” link! And agree with Betsy on those instagram hashtags! Because, really, who in their right mind is searching all over instagram for images of half that stuff anyway? I use twitter, but only on a very basic level, hootsuite made my head hurt;) And finally, love these blogkeeping posts #thisseriesrocks

    Posted on February 27, 2013
    • Yeah, I only use Hootsuite when I need to schedule Facebook posts when I’m out of town, and TweetDeck only for Twitter chats. The basic Twitter site is distracting enough for daily use!

      Posted on February 28, 2013
  10. Kat says:

    I love twitter! But.uhm..I think I am guilty of the over hashtagging especially in the beginning when just trying to figure things out- – #oops. Spammy autotweets are my least favorite, and the quickest way for me to unfollow. Its sad when it comes from someone I really wanted to hear from! My new blog posts autotweet, and I have an old blog post auto tweet daily. I never know the right ratio, I’m still feeling it out.

    Posted on February 27, 2013
    • The funny thing is, people who are concerned about over-hashtagging are usually the ones who aren’t doing it! I don’t auto tweet old posts, but I’ve seen people do it effectively, you just have to be careful not to set it to go out too often and exclude any giveaways/news/other timely posts. Always annoying to see a tweet for a giveaway that’s over!

      Posted on February 28, 2013
  11. Lisa, thank you for this – great post!

    Posted on February 27, 2013
  12. Yes, I totally checked out the “mom” link and it REALLY helped. I actually JUST joined Twitter last night (eek!), so this post is QUITE timely. I’m going to have to get into scheduling posts…and I do like the idea of interacting with other bloggers who I might not otherwise feel comfortable to contact directly (though that’s still a bit scary). Excited to follow YOU on Twitter!

    Posted on February 27, 2013
    • Yay for joining Twitter, happy to see you there! Twitter is definitely a less scary way to approach people!

      Posted on February 28, 2013
  13. Kait says:

    Haha I love your conversation examples – road rage glamping too good. Thanks for the tips :)

    Posted on February 27, 2013
    • I love random Twitter conversations. Thanks!

      Posted on February 28, 2013
  14. Marie says:

    Great tips, especially when it comes to choosing who to follow. I try not to follow more people than I can actually pay attention to. That hasn’t turned out to be a ton of people, but it’s more enjoyable and manageable for me that way.

    Also, I sometimes unfollow on one social media service and follow elsewhere instead. For example, if I realize I’m more interested in someone’s Tumblr than their Tweets, I’ll follow there instead. So it’s not a true “unfollow” — it’s more like a migration.

    Posted on February 27, 2013
    • Such an important thing to remember — you don’t have to follow people everywhere they are available! I do this with my Reader — I unsubscribed from a lot of blogs because I was already reading the posts regularly through Twitter.

      Posted on February 28, 2013
  15. rita says:

    i get super awkward/self conscious in real life and really struggle to jump into real life convos… i just hover on the sidelines and look like a creep. twitter has made it easier for me to jump in to convos and add my input or ask questions and i’ve made a ton of new friends that way – including lisa! :) also , i’m sharing that jessica hische site with my team @ work. b/c suddenly everyone wants to be on social media but no one here understands it. :)

    Posted on February 28, 2013
    • I’m the same! I think because in real life, you are actually interrupting something which always feels awkward, but on Twitter, people can just respond to you when they want.

      Posted on February 28, 2013
  16. I’m a new blogger- just launched this week! But have been reading your blogkeeping series for about a month now. I think I stumbled here from either Stipes & Sequins or VMac. Either way, I just wanted to say thank you. Your explanations are incredibly helpful, I learn something every time I read one. And you have this great way of making everything seem approachable and easy to digest. This has quickly become one of my favorite blog columns.

    Posted on February 28, 2013
    • Thank you so much Stacey, so happy to hear that! And congrats on launching your blog!

      Posted on March 4, 2013
  17. Jadyn says:

    Thanks so much for writing about this Lisa! I am starting to think that maybe Twitter isn’t really my media whereas I’m loving Instagram. (And I’m totally guilty of posting a lot of baby photos on both!) But I might give it another shot.

    I was wondering if you could share a bit about how you use it, not the technical side but what you get out of it and how you use it to promote your blog/business and connect with others. Also, what are your criteria for following others? I like what you said about only following people you like and I’ve realized I often follow people back just in the off chance that they might say something interesting…
    Anyway, thanks again for the great post!

    Posted on February 28, 2013
    • Your baby photos are adorable! I get annoyed more with Facebook, where people post 50 meeeeeeeelion photos and tell me about their child’s pooping habits.

      And I think that’s a great idea! I was thinking about adding some more personal uses to this post, but it was already getting really long.

      Posted on March 4, 2013
  18. Thank you for this- You are awesome :)

    Posted on February 28, 2013
    • Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

      Posted on March 4, 2013
  19. Lori says:

    Lisa, this is so helpful! I am really loving these weekly blogkeeping tips. Twitter is becoming more and more of my favorite app, especially when sharing blog posts. I do have one question – how do you get the short links to your post; it usually starts with “bit…”? I really like this but haven’t figure out how to do it!

    Posted on March 2, 2013
    • You can sign up for an account at bit.ly! I actually use Buffer, and my bit.ly account is linked to it, so Buffer automatically converts my links to bit.lys. But you can also go straight to the bit.ly site, paste your link in, and it will convert it there.

      Posted on March 4, 2013
      • Lori says:

        Great! Thanks, Lisa!

        Posted on March 6, 2013
  20. I basically joined Twitter however many years ago just to not get left behind. I’m not sorry I did, but you know I just don’t quite like it like I like Facebook. However, I LOVE that it’s introduced hashtags into everyday conversation elsewhere. I’m getting Facebook posts and texts with funny hashtags all of the time, and even my boyfriend notices all of the TV shows flashing hashtags on the screen to encourage people to tweet about them. Maybe I need to Twitter-stalk you for a while and see what you’re doing that makes you like it so much.

    Posted on March 6, 2013
    • I’m curious, what do you like about Facebook? I’ve only recently started spending more time there when I was introduced to private groups, which is nice because it’s like having your own little private chat area. For now, I just add my recent posts to my Facebook page because I know that’s how some people like to get their information, but I do want to start experimenting with my page more to see what all you can really do with Facebook.

      Posted on March 6, 2013
      • I think I like the neatness of it. I like the threaded replies and the fact that my responding over and over again to people gets contained in one box versus filling my entire Twitter feed with separate replies. I like that conversations on Facebook are easy to follow because you see all replies contained in one place. I’m too controlling for Twitter. Although I wouldn’t say I’m doing much with Facebook, either. I just feel like I’m talking to my friends there and not to the ether.

        Posted on March 6, 2013

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