How To Get Started On Twitter

by Holland-Mark | May 14, 2010

Had lunch with a marketing exec today. Senior guy, lots of questions about Twitter, but hadn’t had a chance to get into it yet. I put together a “Ten Step” type note for him, and thought I’d share it in hopes of helping other senior marketing folks get started.


  1. Get into the right frame of mind. Read this. I wrote it a while ago, but it was (and is) my best attempt to explain to people why Twitter is worth the effort. I’d also recommend you take a look at this, and this, from the people who taught me about Twitter. Ready? Good.
  2. Create An Account. Go here. Enter your real info, and pick a username people can both remember and spell easily. You can skip the “suggestions,” but definitely look for your “friends.” If you use Outlook I’d strongly suggest exporting your contacts to a GMail account so you can check for them in the system, but if that freaks you out just skip it. If there are specific people you’d like to add you can do so in the “anyone” screen, but you can always do that later as well.
  3. Confirm your account. Check your e-mail for a note from Twitter, and click the link to confirm your e-mail.
  4. Personalize your account. You wouldn’t go to a cocktail party with a bag on your head, would you? For God’s sake… Click “settings” in the upper right, then “profile.” Upload a picture of yourself. Nothing too formal, but a head shot you can live with. Add your location, your site or blog, and a 2- or 3-line bio. If you’d like to spruce your page up a bit, click here, then click the “login to twitter” button, and “Allow” when the Auth confirmation screen appears next.
  5. Follow some smart people and news sources. I created a Twitter List of good accounts to start with. Just go here, and follow it.
  6. Find and follow some other stuff you’re interested in. You a Patriot fan? Have a favorite celebrity chef? NASCAR driver? Politician? Celebrity? Go here, and find some folks to follow. Odds are they’re already here, and getting a little closer to them can be cool.
  7. Get Tweetdeck. Twitter on the web is for dorks. Seriously, dude. Download and install Tweetdeck. It’s awesome. It will help you use Twitter as a tool, you can even feed your LinkedIn and Facebook feeds into it if you have accounts there.
  8. Add a few search columns in Tweetdeck, to track whatever you’re interested in. Follow the people you like, unfollow the people you don’t.
  9. Reply to a few people, or just retweet them. Figure out how to reply to a tweet you like (just roll over an icon in Tweetdeck, and click the back arrow. That will create a tweet with that person’s name preceded by an “@” sign. That tweet will appear in their replies list, and they’re likely to see it.) Huzzah. Retweeting is similar… just use the forward arrow. This sends the tweet through your account, a way of amplifying stuff you like, so it’s easy for more people to find. It’s a good thing for the community, kind of a service we do for each other. Welcome.
  10. Start tweeting yourself. Now you’re ready. What do you have to say? What’s the most interesting thing you came across today? What were you thinking about in the car just now? Just react to the world around you. Be sincere, be genuine. Contribute.

That’s it. Give it a whirl. Let me know how it goes.

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