Twitter For Dummies
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Getting started on anything new is hard. Twitter can seem tricky or mysterious simply because you don’t know quite how to begin to get yourself up and running. Here are ten basic Tweets you can send right now to get on your feet.

Say hello

You can try it now, if you want to. Just pull up any tweeting interface and write

Hello, world!

“Hello, world” is an old inside joke that comes from the world of computer programming. The idea is that when you’re first learning to write software, simply getting a device to display the words Hello, world is a good starter project.

Especially for your first few Tweets, it’s totally fine to just acknowledge that your account is in the awkward early stages of just getting started.

Retweet (RT) someone

To simply RT someone, find any Tweet you like and click the RT button. This will cause the original Tweet to appear in your list of Tweets in exactly the same way it appeared originally, including the name, username, and photo of the original author.

One of the most useful things you can do when repeating a Tweet is add a little something about why. Just copy the words from the Tweet and paste them into a new Tweet. Insert the letters RT and the @username of the original writer, right before the first word in the Tweet, and you’re basically there.

If you have to edit the Tweet to get it to fit, use MT instead of RT and readers will know you modified the Tweet while quoting it.

Is Ellen’s selfie still the “most famous Tweet?” MT@TheEllenShowIf only B’s arm was longer. Best photo ever#oscars

Answer a question

You won’t have to look too far on Twitter to find a question just waiting to be answered.

Remember that you can answer two different ways. If you click Reply and answer, your answer will appear right in the string of Tweets attached to the original Tweet, which can be a good idea and can sometimes give your voice a little more exposure than it would otherwise have.

Other times, you might want to answer using the RT trick, because it will let your readers see what you’re answering without them having to click through and see what you’re replying to. For example:

During morning coffee to catch up with pals/news/colleagues RT@dummiesWhat’s your favorite time of day to use Twitter?

Share something great

Ultimately, people are looking to get something out of Twitter.

At least once a day, try to share at least one great thing. It could be an inspiring quote, a photo you took, a link to a great article, or even an idea you have that others might find useful. Suggest something you really love and say what you love about it.

The stats in this article kind of blew my mind. What do you think?http://(insert your article’s URL here)

Say thank you

Taking the next logical step from “Share Something Great,” when sharing an article you really appreciate, it’s nice to thank the person who wrote it.

You could thank someone specifically, recognizing them for their work. You could thank a group of people generally. Go ahead and send a thank you Tweet right now, using this sample:

I’d really like to thank ____________ for ________________.

Ask a question

To start, ask a really simple question that’s also bound to be on other people’s minds, like, how did you like that show last night?

Did you watch @LouieFXlast night? What scene was your favorite?#LouieFX

Search for your show’s username using Twitter or Google search, and then look at the show’s Twitter profile page to see if there is a hashtag they suggest. That way, you’re more likely to connect with other fans.

Put a # on it

#Hashtags. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re having a huge impact.

Hashtags are seemingly everywhere these days. Pick one that really speaks to you and join in the conversation. Look at trending topics, Twitter searches, your favorite TV show, or any number of other places to find a hashtag conversation you want to add to. Then, use that hashtag in a Tweet that contributes to what is already being said.

A word to the wise: one, possibly two hashtags is usually plenty.

Here is a sample Tweet that you can use to talk about your experiences following any given hashtag:

I’m really getting a lot out of the conversation at #______. Now following people I found there.

Tell Twitter about someone

Twitter is such an awesome way to discover interesting new people that the ability to find, curate, and share interesting people is, in and of itself, a really smart way to establish and grow a Twitter presence.

It’s part of the reason guys like @ChrisBrogan and @Garyvee have the massive audiences that they have earned. Each of them goes out of their way to recognize and draw attention to interesting people they come across. You might use the sample Tweet that follows:

Looking for more information about _____? @username always has interesting things to say about it.

This isn’t about kissing up to famous people, and it’s actually better for your readers if you’re shouting out folks they’ve never heard of before.

Be human

Just be human. Respond appropriately to a human situation on Twitter. You might say “congratulations” or “get well soon.” “I’m sorry” is really nice to hear when it’s appropriate because either you’ve made a mistake or they’ve experienced something unpleasant.

Here is text you can use to congratulate someone in a Tweet:

Congratulations @username for ______________.

Don’t tweet at all

You might think this is a copout, but it’s actually a really, really, really important point about using Twitter. Often the best Tweet you can possibly send is no Tweet at all. Pause and invest time in reading, really reading, all that is going on around you on Twitter. You might be amazed.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Laura Fitton was one of the first marketers to discover the value of Twitter for businesses and society. She founded Twitter app store and sold it to HubSpot. She’s now Inbound Marketing Evangelist for Hubspot. Anum Hussain speaks to thousands on how to effectively use social media - in classrooms, at conferences and even alongside Twitter’s Small Business Team. Brittany Leaning writes about social media strategy for HubSpot’s 1.6 million readers and has managed accounts for several well-known brands.

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