Smple advice

This is an extended version of a list that first appeared as part of another post about tweeting (Why on earth make your twitter feed private?). I felt it was a bit lost there so deserved its own post.

  1. Don’t make your account private.
  2. Don’t have an egg as your profile image.
  3. Use an appealing clear profile image that is still recognisable when very small, preferably your face.
  4. Add an attractive header image, and check it works on desktop and mob versions of Twitter. (See “How to design a header image for Twitter that looks good on all devices” for dimensions. If you are an artist/crafter use a piece of your own work that’s representative of your style)
  5. Include your web/blog address in your profile in the space for web address, but also include a link in the description to somewhere for more info about you (eg gravatar or or similar service) as only the description shows when anyone is looking at lists of followers.
  6. Put your country in the location field and also in the description field so people who are looking for someone in their country can find you. I also advise that you put your nearest city or region.
  7. Put what you do in your profile description – this is a little advertising space of 160 characters, make the most of it.
  8. Don’t put stupid “I don’t know what to put here” or “I’m an airhead” or “I’m so mysterious” type comments in your profile.
  9. Tweet regularly, at intervals, but don’t spam your every breath.
  10. Don’t tweet more than two messages immediately after each other.
  11. Don’t tweet about things that there is even one person in the world that you don’t want to know.
  12. Don’t be boring.
  13. If you are an artist or a maker, tweet images regularly of your own work.
  14. Include your website or name on any images that you tweet.
  15. Follow, follow, follow – think about people who might like your work. Who might they be following already? (For artists: galleries or artists working in the same medium as you with a similar style or art magazines/websites?) Look at their list of followers and follow people who look likely from their descriptions.
  16. Interact with people, don’t  just broadcast – ie respond to things you read: favourite, retweet, reply and occasionally send @messages to people who may have shared interests.
  17. Don’t believe you are best mates with people just because you have had a few tweets back and forth.
  18. Include links to pages for more information than you can include in 140 characters and to generate traffic to your website/blog.
  19. Learn about hashtags and how to use them effectively (See: “10 Hashtag Rules for Self Marketing (Small Businesses, Sole Traders and Bloggers)”).
  20. Remember that you don’t actually have to follow people back if you don’t want to and people you follow don’t have to follow you back, so you need to make it that they want to by the content you have on your timeline and the description you have on your profile.
  21. Always be generous, courteous and polite.
  22. Don’t bother sending direct (private) messages. They are a pointless activity IMO. If you need to enter into private correspondence with someone, find another channel where you can have a proper conversation.
  23. Be very cautious of direct messages you receive, particularly those that say things like “hey someone’s talking about you” even if from someone you know well – these are typical hacker messages.
  24. Don’t put in your twitter logon details if you have clicked on a link in a direct message or @ message and it says you need to log on to see the thing – these are typical hacker tactics.
  25. Find out about scheduling messages to reach people at different times of day using an app. Use it wisely with other methods not on its own.

PS [In answer to a question]

You don’t have to read every tweet that someone you follow sends and equally your followers will only read a small proportion, if anything, of what you send (which is why you need to make it stand out and images are a good way of doing that). Twitter is a stream of information, which as a consumer you dip into when it suits you for the time you have available. The trick is to skim read and learn ways to select what you see, using lists and search terms. If you find you are too swamped and cannot see the wood for the trees, have a look at apps such as tweetdeck or hootsuite, which help to manage the flow of information. I will try to write about that aspect in more detail another time.