To tweet or not to tweet ... Is that your question?

So, you’ve heard about Twitter, you wonder whether it’s the right platform for you and are looking for some basic guidelines to get you started. Superprof is here to help.

Twitter is the social media platform that enables people to express their opinion and views within a 280-character limit. This U.S. company pride themselves in being a platform that inspire and encourage public conversation, allowing people to freely express themselves.

With 187 million active, daily tweeters, twitter is certainly a popular platform for the voice of the people.

Luckily Twitter, like any other social media platform, will customise the tweets and content you see based on the people you follow, the current trending topics and the content you mostly consume.

Twitter is what people are talking about right now

Whether you plan to become an influencer, digital marketing expert, get your business on twitter or simply looking for a way to make your voice heard on social media, this is your guide on how to create a twitter account and some guidelines around how to use it best.

Log in Twitter
Creating your own profile on Twitter is easy because the app will take you through the process step by step - Image by Freestocks on Unsplash
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Getting Started by Creating a Twitter Profile

The first thing to get started on twitter is creating your own profile. Visit www.twitter.com or download the twitter app from the app store (Android or iOS) onto your smartphone. It’s quite easy to create an account on either the website version or the app.  To create your twitter profile, you’ll have to provide some basic personal information like:

  • Your username
  • An email address or telephone number
  • A selected password (using at least 6 characters)

Twitter will then get you to verify your account by sending you a link to your email.  Simply click on that and you are done. If you don’t want your personal information to be visible to the public, you can change navigate to the ‘Privacy & Safety’ under your accounts settings and change what is visible under ‘Discoverability’.

'Characters used' on twitter and social media includes any number, symbol, space or letter when you type.  Twitter limits usage of characters in tweets and your profile description.

Choosing the right twitter handle (the name of your account) is part of the fun. You can either use your name or something else that suits the purpose of your profile. Let’s say you want to voice your opinion about youth issues, you can choose a profile name like youthvoiceforSA.  With so many millions of users in the twittersphere you might have to choose a different name that’s not already been taken, so be creative.

The second part to your twitter identity will be in the personalisation of your account. To do this you have to open and log into your twitter profile, using the username and password your selected when creating the account, and access the ‘Edit profile’ icon on the top right of your screen. Click ‘Change Photo’ and ‘Upload photo’ before browsing your computer or phone memory for the image you’d like to add.  You are the able to scale it or crop it and the moment you click ‘Apply’ it is done.

Add profile picture
On Smartphones you can easily change your profile image by holding your finger on your profile pic - Image by Dmitriy Tyukovon Unsplash

Explore Your Interests and Follow Accounts

Searching for accounts and people that match your interests is one of the most exciting parts in creating your account. Whether you want to follow one of the famous politicians, a popstar, one of your friends, or an account of funny animals this is your account and there are millions of options to choose from.

It will be great to mix your serious interests with light humour accounts as it allows you keep in touch with current affairs, while also still enjoying the light side of life.

Remember that people’s posts are opinion-based. More and more there are fake news and websites in the digital world, so don’t believe everything you see and read on twitter. They try to monitor and eliminate fake news, but sometimes it can land on your newsfeed before Twitter even picks it up.

A newsfeed is where all the posts appear that are recent, with a focus on the twitter accounts you follow.

Another smart and inventive way to explore content and accounts is through the use of a hashtag. This will call up posts or accounts that used a “#” with a post. Let’s say you are searching for tweets on the elections, you can try search for #elections, #voting or something similar. Remember to follow the people who post content you like and also use hashtags in your own posts to allow other people to find you in the massive world of Instagram.

Using the Hashtag
Did you know that Twitter was the first social media platform to popularise the use of the Hashtag? - Image by Gary Butterfield on Unsplash
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How to Write a Tweet

To post a tweet is as easy as pie. Look for the Blue circle with the feather icon and ‘+’ sign and click on that. Type in your tweet using the allocated amount of characters and add any media you’d like before pressing the ‘tweet’ button at the top.  Remember to use hashtags to be discovered.

Top Tips for Using Twitter

Twitter is what you make of it.  It can become a platform where you moan, or it can become a place for you to express encouraging and uplifting content. Remember your words and comments have impact on other people and society, so be considerate and use the following tips as you create a twitter account you can be proud of:

Twitter for Business or Pleasure?

Deciding whether your account is for personal or business use will determine the type of content you post. A personal account is more casual, you can post what you want, and risk is usually lower than that of a business account.

Businesses make use of social media specialists to help them with content creation and community management.  They also consider other aspects like SEO Management, twitter analytics, website analytics etc.

Community managers are people on social platforms that will create active engagement and respond to the account’s followers for business accounts. You can imagine how businesses work with a careful strategic plan because they have to think about the ways in which they portray their brand image and personality.

What to do with Twitter
Knowing what the function of your twitter profile is will direct the type of account you create and content you post - Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Become Active and Drive Engagement

Twitter, like most social media platforms, has a bit of a snowballing effect. At first it might be slow going, but the moment you start to build a following and engage with the people you follow on twitter it’ll take off and grow.

To set yourself up for good engagement you can ensure the following are in place:

  • A clear profile picture
  • A striking and relevant profile description (or bio)
  • Links that will direct people to your website or other accounts (especially if you want to use it as part of your digital marketing)
  • Make tweets clear, direct, opinion-based and with personality
  • Use video, pics and other media in your tweets

To increase your engagement, you’ll have to actively participate with twitter users and followers.  Here’s what you can do:

  • Post a tweet on a regular basis (the more relevant it is to breaking news or trending topics)
  • Follow back people who follow you
  • Search and follow as many accounts as you like, trying to focus on active users
  • Comment on tweets,
  • Retweet something posted on twitter that you agree with

Respectful Conversation, Etiquette and Mental Health

The world is in turmoil with differences in opinion and views. In South Africa we understand how important the freedom of speech is in turning around political and social issues like racism, inequality and abuse. Twitter is one of the platforms where you can add to the conversation, but be careful what you say and ensure it’s done in a respectful way that honours other people’s views, backgrounds and beliefs. Delete posts that you regret, but just know that once it’s in the public someone can take a screenshot of it and you can get into legal trouble if they take it further.

Freedom of speech can, however, be a double edge sword and for that reason twitter has been getting a lot of negative publicity. Not all of us always share the same opinions and this comes across in some people’s posts, causing online bullying, racist remarks and other negative comments.

Don’t allow cruel and abusive people to get to you, unfollow them and try put your focus on becoming the solution to dissolve these negative things that still taunt our society.

Let’s encourage positive and healthy conversations, where we all become part of a collective solution after our progress, health and civility.

Your happiness and mental health are important. Therefore, use twitter in moderation, like all social media platforms and ensure you also engage with positive twitter accounts and content.

Opinion on Social Media
What is your view on a current news event and can you make a positive contribution to society by making your voice heard on Twitter? - Image by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Take a Twitter Break or Deleting your Twitter Account

Sometimes we need a bit of time away from our phone screens and social media accounts. If you feel you need a break, that’s ok and normal, in fact it can be very healthy and will help you enjoy it more when you come back. Log out of your account using the ‘Settings and Account’ tab when clicking on your profile picture and ‘Log out’.

If Twitter is not for you and you want to delete your account, you can also do this by following these steps:

  • Click on ‘Settings and Privacy’
  • Go to the ‘Account’ setting
  • Click on ‘Deactivate Account’

You’ll have to wait 30 days before the account and all the content is completely removed. If Twitter is not your thing, then there are still plenty of other social media platforms that might be better for you. Check out Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook or Linkedin.

Social Media Platforms
There are so many different other social media platforms if Twitter is not your thing - Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Getting Help from The Experts

If you feel like you are technologically handicapped, need more information on how to use twitter or simply need more guidance you can contact one of the Superprof tutors.  They offer face-to-face tutorials, online sessions or group tutorials that will suit your needs.

Superprof Techies are also the ideal resource if you are considering how to bring technology into your marketing, social media marketing or a digital marketing strategy.  You choose the budget for classes, match your needs to their skills online and find one of our tutors on Superprof to help you. They can help you identify your target audience, increase the numbers of followers, post on twitter and advise on how you can advertise on twitter.

There you have it, the best way to decide whether Twitter is for you is to get your hands dirty and start Tweeting.

Ready, set, tweet.

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Mauritz

Writer and qualified yoga instructor, who is passionate about health and well-being.