I’ve had Twitter for about four or five years, but hadn’t really discovered its use until about a year ago. It started when I began my internship at Nimbus Arts and discovered they didn’t have a Twitter. I immediately set on creating one, grabbing their logo to use as their avatar photo, and following businesses and people that I felt were influential in the Napa Valley.
It was through this that I began to learn how to use my own Twitter page to my advantage, and how it can be effective in learning about job opportunities, marketing yourself and the work you do. It has been effective in garnering more readers for my blog, showing my photography, and simply to be able to have discussions with others that I might not have had the opportunity to otherwise.
So here’s a simple guide to Twitter to show you that no, it is not just about what you ate today. It is a tool that when used well, can guide you along your own road to success. 🙂
1. If you’re using Twitter to market the work you do, make sure your handle is recognizable.
My Twitter handle is @sowensphoto. I originally used it to show off my photos by linking it to my Tumblr page, which I have been using as a portfolio for a number of years. I was surprised at the amount of photographers and photography businesses that followed me when I began following them and marketing my photos. However, that mostly started after I made a clear name for my Twitter, that it was for me as a photographer.
2. Know the lingo.
There’s a lot of lingo on Twitter that may look like gibberish at first glance, but once you learn it, it’s pretty easy to follow.
RT: This means that you retweeted from someone else. For instance, if I was retweeting something from one of my favorite blogs, I’d write “RT @thejackieblog” and then copy/paste or directly retweet from her page what it was that I found insightful or hilarious. Usually Twitter and other pages that you retweet from will do this for you, but it’s always good to know.
Hashtags: That’s these: #. Use these to mention subjects or trending topics on Twitter. Say for instance, if you’ve been following the Trayvon Martin case, and tweet something that’s your opinion on it, you’d write “Killers should be arrested and held until they can have a fair trial. #TrayvonMartin”. It gets your tweet out in a universal manner and it is more likely that others will see it. Personally, I use my Twitter to voice my opinion quite a bit, but that’s another story.
Trending Topics: You can usually find these on the left sidebar on your homepage on Twitter. If you want to comment on something that’s in the news and put it out there, those hashtags are there for your reference, or you can make your own.
Mentions: This is when another user uses your @username to mention you or write a public tweet to you. Mentions are usually exciting for me, to be honest. Seeing @sowensphoto on someone else’s page makes me feel as if my voice is being heard, and having a discussion or conversation with someone is one of my favorite things about Twitter.
3. Remember that Twitter is social, so give and you will receive, and if you receive, you should give.
I use Twitter as one of my main sources for reading material, so I do a lot of retweeting and mentioning of big news sources and my favorite blogs. This is the best way for your Twitter and thoughts to be noticed, but remember that it is a conversation, and not a one-sided show about you. It’s a social medium, so follow the golden rule. If someone follows you, thank them. If someone sends you a direct message, make sure to respond.
4. Have fun!
I believe the reason that Twitter is popular is somewhat the same reason that Facebook is popular. It’s fun. Everyone craves interaction, conversation, and discussion. Everyone wants to feel like their voice is being heard. Enjoy yourself!
Do you have a Twitter account? What do you like most about it? Did you used to think it was just about “what you ate today?” Let me know in the comments!