I joined Twitter a while ago but I must confess that it didn’t grab me. If I’m really honest I’d say that it left me quite confused. I didn’t understand how it worked and those short 140 character messages just weren’t my cup of tea. I let my account sit dormant for a while.

That all changed on a flight from Sydney to Brisbane. I watched an episode on the business channel called ‘The Twitter Revolution’. That short documentary left me in no doubt that I needed to get my twitter act together.

I’m pleased to say that I’m settling in to the twittersphere nicely now and I’m quite enjoying the experience. In a few short months I’ve gone from just a few, to a few thousand followers.

It was surprisingly easy once I had a few fundamentals down. Here’s how I did it.

1. I Learned about Twitter.
I like to know what I’m doing so I started off by researching Twitter articles and short courses available here in the ABN resource library. A bit of viewing, reading and note taking and I was ready to give it a go.

2. I worked on my profile.
Every article I read told me that a completed profile is a top priority so that’s where I began. I included a brief bio with a decent photo and I also put a link to my website. This gives viewers a good idea of who I am and what I do on sight. It makes it much easier for them to decide if they want to follow me.

3. I practiced keeping my tweets concise. 
When I first started tweeting I was forever running into the red, which is twitters way of letting me know that I’ve gone over my 140 character limit. Being a former English grammar teacher it wasn’t easy to cut out those articles, prepositions and pronouns but with a little practice I have managed to cut right back. I now aim for 120 characters or less as that makes it easier for others to retweet and keep the keywords. I use Bitly.com to shorten urls for my links, that way I haven’t used up half my character allowance with url address details.

4. Plan and Schedule my tweets.
Initially I hung around and observed a few other twitter profiles and wondered how on earth I would manage to tweet as often as they seemed to do. I knew that there was no way I would manually post so many times each day. Then I discovered Twuffer! I now spend an hour or two on a Sunday evening scheduling my posts. I choose a set time each hour (eg: 10 minutes and 40 minutes past the hour) for the tweet to be posted that way I can add spontaneous posts outside of those times.

5. I try to make my tweets interesting.
When planning my tweets for the week I include a variety of topics, links and images and sequence them so that I’m not too boring or saying the same thing over and over again. I share posts from my other social media platforms, website and any guest blog articles that I do. Importantly, I make sure that my messages are not just sell sell sell, that’s a sure fire way to annoy people.

6. I make an effort to be engaged.
Twitter notifies me of any mentions, new followers or retweets I have received. I make a point of responding within a few hours. I like to thank people who retweet my posts and ask them how their week is going, it’s interesting how often this will open up the conversation.

7. Give back and build relationships.
It is worth remembering that the best way to use twitter is to have conversations and to build relationships with people. Always respond to any questions or comments directed at you, and try to open up conversations with your followers.

I retweet other people’s interesting posts that are relevant to my business, or those I believe will be helpful to my followers. Occasionally I retweet those that are just too cute to resist.

So while I still think of myself as a twitter newbie I am definitely not as confused as I was a just a few months ago thanks to the abn webinar and articles. I realise that I still have a lot to learn but I’m thoroughly enjoying the journey now.

I hope you find these tips useful, if you would like to connect on Twitter you’ll find me at @AlisonVidotto. See you in the twittersphere.