How to use Twitter: a guide for beginners

Whether you’re completely new to Twitter or you’re trying to grow an organic following for your brand, here are some essential tips about how to tweet more effectively.

How to set up a Twitter account

The first thing you need to do is set up your Twitter account. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way.

How to build your Twitter followers

Now you've set up and customised your Twitter page, you’re ready to have fun making friends on your personal account or reach potential customers for your business. To gain a larger Twitter following, so you can make the most of the platform, try these ideas for upping your follower count.

Share relevant content

Share content your audience is interested in so they can keep coming back to your account for more. If, for example, there's lots about world news and current affairs in your Twitter feed, tweet articles and comments on these topics as often as you can.

Interact with other users

Change your Twitter activity from passive to conversational. By interacting with people and responding to as many relevant tweets as you can, you could gain followers.

Browse trending hashtags for interesting tweets and reply with thoughtful comments. This could inspire people to check out your profile. Plus, you're more likely to be followed by people when you're seen to retweet or reply to others.

Tweet frequently

Twitter moves fast. Try to keep up by tweeting, as often as you can, about subjects that interest you and your followers. This way, your tweets will have a better chance of being seen at the top of hashtag lists and your followers' homepage walls. If you're serious about upping your Twitter game and follower count, why not create a content calendar and plan ahead of time?

Post visual content

Twitter is a visual platform. To get the best engagement and increase your follower count, consider how to make your tweets as eye-catching as possible. Striking image or, even better, slogans on an eye-catching placards, are powerful ways to enhance tweets.

Use hashtags

For you to gain more followers on Twitter, #hashtags are essential because they make your tweets more search-friendly. They're keywords, used by people on Twitter to find content. Include a couple of popular or trending ones in your tweet and you'll massively increase the odds that people will see, read and interact with you. Plus, you'll boost your chances of being followed, the quick and easy way, by those who share your interests or opinions.

Grow your audience from outside Twitter

Tapping into your networks elsewhere is one of the best ways to grow your Twitter following. You can do this by adding your Twitter link to your email signatures, your personal website and even your business cards. Businesses, this is how you can show you care about your online presence, while giving people an easy way to reach you.

Make public lists

Flatter people by adding their Twitter accounts to a list that everyone can see, and you could gain lots of new followers, fast.

  1. Create a list on your homepage and give it a name that's relevant and kind, such as 'Current Events Journalists and Influencers'.
  2. Add suitable Twitter accounts that fit the category.
  3. Sit back and brace yourself for notifications that you're being followed by new people.

Get verified

This is one of the best and last ways to try to rapidly increase your follower count. Mostly applicable to experts in their field, celebrities and publicly known personalities, getting a blue tick verification from Twitter is considered a sign of quality, reliable content. It should be noted that, as of 2019, this process has been put on hold, but there is no harm in keeping an eye on when it will be returning.

Learn Twitter lingo

What content should you tweet about?

Choose carefully to build a strong Twitter following, as well as your personal Twitter identity and presence. Here’re a few things for you to consider:

Trending content

On Twitter, it's important you keep your finger on the pulse. Every day, thousands of hashtags go viral and news stories break, which should give you plenty of ideas for content.

Evergreen content

Pretty much the opposite of trending tweets, which are fleeting, evergreen content is always popular and relevant, regardless of when it was posted and seen. When someone goes to your profile, this sort of content should always be interesting and relevant.

News stories

Tweeting or commenting on news stories is an effective way to drive content without having to think too much about originality. It’s a great way to showcase that you have opinions on certain subjects and will show that you have a keen interest in particular goings on.

Visual content

Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without, so remember that words alone aren't always enough hook people in.

Content for your followers

You can follow all the rules of tweet creation, but if it isn’t related to what your followers are interested in, then it’s most likely going to underperform in terms of engagement. Have a look at the sort of content your followers are producing and try to add to these topics in your own way. If your followers are film and TV buffs, for example, try to tweet about the newest blockbusters or film reviews and interviews.

Interactive content

Use Twitter's poll feature to ask your audience questions. It's an effective way to drive meaningful interactions with your audience and show your brand's personality. After all, Twitter's about conversation more than anything. Interactive content, such as this, is also an effective way to boost engagement ratings and gather feedback.

Twitter privacy options

Worried about your online safety and privacy? Twitter's privacy options should put you at ease.

When you join, the platform lets you choose to tweet publicly or privately. To protect your tweets anytime, hide them from all but your followers, here's how:

  1. Tap the 3-dot icon below your username.
  2. Go to Settings and Privacy.
  3. Select Your Account, scroll to Account Information and enter your password.
  4. Scroll to Protected Tweets, click the arrow and check the box next to Protect My Tweets.
  5. Tap Protect. Changed your mind? Deselect the box and tap Cancel to tweet publicly.

And there's more safety options for your Twitter usage. Mark Hide Sensitive Media in your Settings and you won't see tweets that contain graphic violence or adult content, which could show up on Twitter. Only 'excessively gruesome media' and anything depicting the events around a person’s death are, quite rightly, subject to removal by Twitter.

Privacy and safety aside, there’s also the fact that Twitter collects data on all its users, including you. You can see your demographic, geographic and other ad-targeting data in the Personalisation and Data area of your Settings. Simply scroll to the bottom and click See Your Twitter Data for a look at everything Twitter can track, including your personal interests and geographic location.

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