Happiness,  Thinking

3 Best Twitter Tips

yellow tweety bird

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!


Let’s connect on social media.


  • Lisa Hutchison

    Thank you Andrea. I am new to Twitter. I agree with the your number three tip. I have gotten so many requests immediately after following someone; here’s my website, like my page etc. It turns me off. Build a relationship first. Treat others how you would want to be treated in real life. Sharing on Twitter xx

  • Debra Oakland

    As a long time Twitter user, I appreciate your article Andrea. I am guilty of using hashtags – usually my own for living in courage, but never do I DM anyone when meeting them. Those automated DM’s are a big NO! Treat people on social media as you would in real life, be kind, courteous and interested. Make sure people like, know, and trust you. Great article!

    • Andrea

      I believe that’s where we first connected, no? And I don’t mind hashtags — I sometimes get frustrated when newbies get stuck on them and won’t set the question aside until we get a few of the basics out of the way. Thanks for commenting.

  • Terri Dean

    I love the simplicity of your message….be nice, it’s about connection. Keep saying it (somehow I think you will). When I do that, I actually enjoy social media. As soon as I get into thinking I need to promote something, I’m in trouble. I’m sure it’s annoying to others and it also robs me of the pleasure of genuine connections.
    Good reminder.

  • Tae

    I love how simple these tips are. I agree, #3 is creepy. I am new & must admit I am not really responding to people…because I’m not quite sure how to do it correctly. But I do favorite & retweet the heck out of tweets I like! I almost added that DM thing early on because I thought that’s what everyone was supposed to do. Then I got annnoyed & said “Nope, I’m not going to annoy others.”

  • MM

    I definitely appreciate the taboo break down. I’ve broken more than one of them in the past. lol
    Good refresher.
    One I wish guys would learn: Do not DM the moment I follow you, especially if it is to ask me to review your book. Asking people to commit time to you when they don’t know you is a little weird. Odd how our natural human boundaries go out the window when a keyboard is there.

    Great break down!

    • Andrea

      Thanks, MM. When starting out in soME I think I was pretty conservative — I did lots of reading and watching. It helped me learn the rules. And you’re right — I guess boundaries are going to get tested regardless of the medium!

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