It has been almost six years since a friend convinced me to add Twitter to my social media mix and I’m glad she did. It’s my favorite medium for connecting with new people and, when I pay attention to my feed (and keep it balanced), it’s a great way to learn about new books and technology. I also use it to listen in on political, professional and spiritual discussions. I’m intrigued by what lights people up.
[Tweet “I love Twitter & am intrigued by what lights people up.”]
As an enthusiastic user I’ve fallen into a bit of a training niche: I call it “social media for gray hairs.” I’ve held some seminars but, more often than not, it’s one-to-one tutoring. Sometimes it’s a rush: it’s great to see author-friends suck up their fear, follow a few simple instructions and grab on to another way to connect with the readers they love.
[Tweet “My training niche seems to be “social media for gray hairs.””]
Other times it’s absolutely maddening: no matter how much people don’t know, they want to argue. To do it their way. And, since this is often a volunteer gig, I get annoyed.
The good news? The last go-round made me remember my three best Twitter tips for beginners.
1) Be nice. What does that mean on Twitter? Pretty much the same thing it means IRL (in real life). If someone follows you, say, “thank you.” If another user compliments you? Same thing. Ask you a question? Answer. Give you a suggestion? Try it.
2) It’s not about the freakin’ #. I know… you “hate that number sign thingy.” (For the record, it’s called a “hashtag” and it’s used to make something more readily “searchable” so we can all find conversations we’d like to follow or join.) But for now? Fuggedaboudit. Social media is about being “social” — about making connections. Start with that. Get to know people. Dust off your copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People. Show genuine interest, ask questions. Use the magic words. If one of your online connections is doing something cool? Share it. Retweet the living heck out of it. Become an online cheerleader. It’s a very nice thing to do. Remember rule #1? Be nice.
[Tweet “Retweet the living heck out of it. Be an online cheerleader.”]
3) Remember your manners. If I “follow” you on Twitter it means I’d like to learn more about you and what you have to say. You’ll show up in my Twitter stream from time to time and that’s how it will happen.For the love of everything you care about please do NOT send me a DM (direct message) the moment I follow you. Do not ask me to join your Facebook page, subscribe to your newsletter or donate money to your cause. It’s creepy and stalker-y. Take some time to develop a relationship before you ask for a next step, just like in real life.
You know: just be nice.
I’d love to hear your favorite social media story or tip. Please leave a comment? Thanks!