How to Use Twitter? Here’s the Ultimate Guide

Want to learn to use Twitter effectively? This is the place to start. This comprehensive guide includes everything you need to grow your Twitter community.

Many people ask me how to use Twitter to promote their business. The thing is, Twitter is an acquired taste. It doesn’t care what’s on your mind (here’s looking at you Facebook) or whether you’re following anyone. Show up, share and connect is the idea behind this social network that asks one simple question: “What’s happening?” Because Twitter is your space to tell everyone (or no one … whatever floats your boat) what you’re thinking. It’s one of those social networks that you either love or loathe. Those who love it, do so with unabated, love-at-first-sight devotion. The haters, yes we see you there, just don’t get it. See I believe that once you truly understand what’s possible with Twitter, you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy, and you may even go weak at the knees. Yes, I’m that confident that Twitter is awesome so let’s figure out how to use Twitter! 

To see what many millions of Twitter fans and I see in this social network, you first have to know how to use Twitter. It’s only with an understanding of this platform and what it can do for you, that you’ll actually see the light. The good thing about Twitter and how to use it, is that once you’ve mastered the basics you should be good to send your first tweet (yipee!) Of course there are always different tactics and more in-depth strategies you can learn to up your Twitter community management game. But getting started on Twitter is actually simple, hassle-free and a lot less intimidating that it may seem at first. So what are you waiting for? Looking to learn how to use Twitter? Let’s get started!

Start Here. What is Twitter?

How to use twitter

When people ask me as a social media expert how to use Twitter, I always say they should start by understanding Twitter. Twitter is a place to share and discuss what’s happening around you now. You can share anything and everything from a simple text post (known as a tweet); an image; video and can even broadcast live. Unlike other social networks, Twitter places an emphasis on sharing content in real-time as it happens. This makes it the perfect platform for breaking news. It also gives users the opportunity to add their voice to a public discussion about a particular topic such as the NBA. With Twitter everyone has a say and can join the conversation. Talk about powerful stuff, right? (this gives me goosebumps just thinking about it)

Of course the platform has evolved since it was first created. While it’s still a place to discuss and join the conversation, it has now become home to people looking for creative ways to market and sell products and services. And because Twitter let’s you connect and talk with anyone without needing to be their friend, it’s actually the perfect platform for this. Think about it, after setting up your Twitter account you can reach out to anyone in the world from Pope Francis and Oprah to Donald Trump. Mind. Blown!

Once you learn how to use Twitter, your mind will be blown

What makes Twitter unique?

Before we discuss how to use Twitter we should understand what makes Twitter unique. I touched on this already, but I want to re-emphasize it. I think it bears repeating. Understanding and learning how to use Twitter properly starts here. Twitter is unique and offers users the opportunity to connect meaningfully with anyone, anywhere with ease.

What differentiates Twitter from other social networks:

  • It’s one of the only ‘open’ social networks: Twitter lets you talk and connect with anyone, anywhere. You don’t need to follow or send any requests to chat with someone and view their content.
  • It’s instant and captures what’s happening in real-time: Twitter gives you insight into what’s happening now in the world. With hashtags like #breaking and other trending hashtags, you’ll always keep a finger on the pulse.
  • It encourages you to be thoughtful: Twitter limits you to 280 character posts, forcing you to be thoughtful and creative. The platform also relies mainly on text posts (even though images and videos can be posted) which changes how you interact online.
  • Open API – perfect for entrepreneurs: Twitter is one of the only social networks with an open API which is simple to use, stable and well-documented. Without the limitations other social networks impose, developers are free to use Twitter for with almost no restrictions. Here’s more on how entrepreneurs can get the most out of Twitter.

How can I make my experience of Twitter less overwhelming?

Twitter isn’t always the friendliest neighborhood on the internet. And it’s not just because of the trolls. Although they certainly don’t help. But seriously, the thing about Twitter is that if you don’t know where to look, you can quickly find yourself feeling inundated and overwhelmed.  Twitter is data-rich and full of tons of useful information. Think about it, there are an estimated 6,000 tweets sent every second! Talk about information overload. But it doesn’t have to be.

Learning to use Twitter can feel overwhelming but it doesn't have to be

You just need to know how to search. And the good news is that Twitter includes several features to make Twitter management that much easier. Here are a few tricks you can do to avoid Twitter overwhelm:

  • Hashtags

Hashtags (#hashtags) are used to add a post to a discussion on a particular topic. Let’s say you’re talking about social media, you could add #SocialMedia to your tweet. This will add your tweet to a broader discussion on the topic and makes it easier for others to find your tweet.

So how do hashtags help you manage your Twitter experience? Well in addition to adding them to your tweets, you can search for particular hashtags. This will remove all other tweets from your feed, so you can focus on what interests you.

  • Trending hashtags

Trending hashtags are hashtags which are popular and have gone viral. There are several apps which help you find trending hashtags, and you can also see them within Twitter. Trending hashtags give you a good idea of what people are talking about and what’s happening now. You’ll probably find if there’s significant breaking news, a relevant hashtag will start trending. There are also hashtags which tend to trend every week, such as #WednesdayWisdom.

By searching for a particular trending hashtag, you’ll see everything being said on the issue. This will remove any other tweets from your feed, and gives you a more focused Twitter feed.

  • Lists

I like to think of Twitter lists as mini communities or ecosystems that you can create within Twitter. Most people don’t know about this feature, but it’s an important part of understanding how to use Twitter.  You can choose to add whichever Twitter users to your Twitter lists. And can also create these groups however you like. You could, for example, choose to create a list of social media experts which would include people who are (yes you guess it) social media experts. Once you’ve created a Twitter list, you’ll be able to view a stream of tweets from those you’ve added to the list. This is a great way to focus your time on Twitter and can help cut down on unnecessary browsing time.

  • Twitter search

Many people overlook Twitter search which is a pity. Twitter search has some advanced search options like the ability to search for a phrase with certain hashtags. Other search options include searching for tweets in a particular language; tweets sent from a specific location as well as from a specific user. This, once again, helps you tune out the noise so you can focus on what’s most relevant to you.

Just a quick note for business owners – in addition to using Twitter search you can use to help you find relevant leads instead of having to manually search for them.

Let’s Get Started. How Do I Actually Use Twitter?

Let's learn how to use Twitter

1. Create an account

This goes without saying, but there are some important steps to consider when setting up your account. For example, once you’ve sign up and have created your username, you’ll have the option to follow a list of users that Twitter handpicks for you. I’d skip this step for later. I recommend starting by adding a profile picture, cover image and bio. Remember these things may seem like unnecessary steps, but they tell other Twitter users who you are and will help them decide whether they want to follow you or not.

I think we should add picture of good profile example or infographic about the most important thing when your first sign up

Pro Tip: Add a relevant hashtag to your bio. This could be relevant to what you do or what you’re about. Adding a relevant hashtag can make it easier for people to find you on twitter.

2. Define your niche: Twitter strategy basics

It’s now time to get very clear about why you’re on Twitter and who you want to reach. And please do this before you do anything else. Are you running a bakery and looking to find customers? Or perhaps you’re a social media expert looking to promote your services? Whatever your goals are: write them down! I’ve created a quick set of questions to help use Twitter right for you

Your to-do list: Answer the following questions:

  1. Target Keywords: Who are you targeting? (Try to be as specific as possible. An answer like men or women isn’t going to be very helpful). Write these down as a list of keywords.
  2. Your hashtags: Why are you on Twitter? (Write down 3 reasons)
  3. Time: How much time do you have to commit to Twitter social media management?

Those answers are your Twitter strategy keywords. They’ll form the basis of everything you do on Twitter from who you follow to what you post. Let me show you how.

Next steps:

  1. Target keywords: These tell you who you should be following. Let’s say for the first question, you wrote that you’re targeting moms looking to have their toddler’s birthday party catered. In this example, your keywords could be: moms, “moms to toddlers”, “toddler birthday party”. Now you’d spend time search for these keywords, and following anyone who looks relevant.
  2. Your hashtags: While you can play around with hashtags, it’s always a good idea to decide on a set of 4 -5 brand hashtags that you’ll use on a regular basis to generate brand awareness. This is an important part of building your online Twitter footprint. To decide on your hashtags, look at what you wrote you want to achieve on social media. In the example of the caterer targeting moms with toddlers, you might have written something like: I’m looking to get the attention of moms who may be interested in having their toddler’s party catered. Now think what words would those moms use if they were searching Twitter for you. They may use search for keywords like: #toddlebirthday; #motherhood; #momlife
  3. Time: It’s important to consider how much time you have. Once you get clear on this, you’ll be able to decide how many tweets you can commit to spending everyday. Remember with Twitter, consistency is key.

Pro Tip: Be sure to include no more than two hashtags per tweet.

To save you time on Twitter, there are many different Twitter marketing tools that can streamline your experience and find real followers.

3. Start twerking … I mean tweeting 😉

After completing step two above you should have a better sense of how to use Twitter and what you want out of your Twitter community. You should also have started following relevant users and should have a list of relevant hashtags to add to your post. Success!

Sending tweets is as simple as clicking the Tweet button. In fact, it’s so simple, it makes me wanna twerk or at very least to do the happy dance Seinfeld-Style. You’ll see what I mean as soon as you’ve sent your first tweet. Nothing like it! 

Learning to use Twitter can feel like a dance from Seinfeld

Okay, so sending tweets is easy BUT there are still some things to consider:

  • If you want to get the attention of someone who is on Twitter, mention them. You can do this by including @ and the user’s Twitter name. So if you wanted to mention in a tweet, you’d add @commun_it to your tweet.
  • Add a hashtag or two to your tweet. But don’t overdo it.
  • Look for any hashtags that may be trending. Including trending hashtags is a great way to get your profile out there, and may help you get more followers.
  • Don’t be afraid to be playful with your tweets. You can include photos, videos and even gifs in your tweets.

4. Rinse and repeat

That’s pretty much it when it comes to Twitter management. Super simple, right? Well yes and no. See the key to Twitter success is to be consistent. Show up everyday, look for people to follow and tweet, tweet, tweet. Do that and the results may surprise you.

We go into more detail about some of the other Twitter features you may find helpful in the video below so be sure to check that out.

[Insert video]

And this is How to use Twitter right!

Are you new to Twitter? Reach out to (@commun_it ) and say hi. We love meeting new members of our community, and would be happy to help if you have any questions.

Nicole Hyman

A social media expert, trend-spotting geek and writer, Nicole can be found at the intersection of tech and daily life. When not on the lookout for the latest tech to make life that much easier, she equips entrepreneurs with the social media skills they need to survive in the digital world. Offline she has been known to indulge in homemade gnocchi.

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