twitter-bird-white-on-blueYou can be an awesome tweeter! It won’t happen overnight but, with a little time and patience, anyone can grow an audience and build rewarding relationships with mentors, peers and followers.

I learned a lot by trial and error but you don’t have to do it the hard way. Here are nine of the most useful lessons I learned from my stumbles and from tweeps that rock twitter.

1. Learn the Lingo and Use Proper Twitter Etiquette

If you want to build a following, don’t tweet like a newbie! Take the time to read about Twitter basics and etiquette before you dive in. Here are 3 excellent resources to help you to get started.

2. Define Your Audience

Your tweets will be lost in a vast ocean of tweets if you try to be all things to all people. If you are trying to drive traffic to your blog, you should target those who will be interested in your blog’s subject matter. If you are selling products and services from a website, you need to focus on those that need them. Choose an audience and focus on their needs and soon they will begin to see you as one of them!

3. Follow People and Companies Interesting to Your Audience

Imagine yourself as one of your followers and try to find information you would find useful and interesting. Follow experts in those subjects. Follow their blogs as well as their tweets. If you want to keep followers, you have to stay interesting and relevant to them.

4. Stay Focused on Your Subject

Staying on subject is critical. It is tempting to chase new audiences and subjects. But, if you want a loyal following, you will need to devote all of the time you can to learning and sharing information that is relevant to them. If you are always wandering around aimlessly, your followers will drop you like third period French!

5. Engage Your Followers

The power of social networking is in the “social.” Retweet your followers’ tweets. Mention them. Thank them for retweeting. Engage them in conversations. You won’t be able to develop deep relationships with all of your followers but, I guarantee that your most loyal followers will be the ones you engage.

6. Tweet Original Content

If you have a blog, keep your content fresh. Tweet about your new posts. Don’t just retweet. Read blogs that would be interesting to your audience. You may not be the author of the blog post but, you can be the original author of a tweet that links to the post. Be yourself, have fun, and add something new to the conversation. You will develop your own unique twitter personality.

7. Use Hashtags

Once you develop your subject you will want to grow your audience. The best way to get your tweets noticed by those who don’t follow you is to use hashtags. Hashtags are keywords that are preceded with the # symbol.

Twitter users often use hashtags to search for tweets about topics they are interested in. By using Twitter’s search feature to search for hashtags, you can find popular subjects that are getting a lot of attention. If you tweet something about one of the subjects, you can add those hashtags and your tweet will be noticed by a much wider audience than just your followers. For example:

“Great article on WordPress security! – #WordPress #security”

You can also create your own hashtags. Create hashtags to describe special events. If you host webinars you can “brand” them with a hashtag, i.e.: “#TPCwebinar.” If you consistently use that hashtag in tweets about upcoming webinars, your followers will soon associate it with you and will be alerted to your upcoming webinar.

Use hashtags to generate buzz about a topic, service, event or product. Once you understand a little about them, you will begin seeing how they are used in tweets. Just remember: hashtags cannot contain spaces, and they count toward your 140 character tweet limit.

8. Use Lists to Organize

A Twitter list is basically a group of people and their twitter streams. You can organize your twitter users into lists based on anything you want such as topic, city, coworkers, family, etc.

Lists can be public or private. If you make a list public, other users can follow your list. You can also follow other users’ public lists. When you follow a list you don’t have to actually be following everyone on the list. A single list can have users you are following, users who follow you, and users you don’t follow. A list is a separate twitter stream of the list member’s tweets. Its stream is not part of the stream you follow. This is one way to keep from being overwhelmed by too large a stream.

Lists can be used in many ways to organize tweets, users and streams. You can provide a curated list of interesting tweets for your followers. For example: I created a public list you can follow at It is a recommended list of tweeps, tweeting about trends and current topics for the technical Internet, software and computer community.

9. Use Tools to Automate Tasks

Tweetdeck is an app from Twitter that allows you to arrange multiple feeds in customizable columns. A feed can be a filtered search, a list, or a normal twitter stream. It will allow you to monitor and manage unlimited accounts. Two of its most powerful features are notification alerts for new tweets and tweet scheduling. I usually schedule tweets from two different accounts spread out over a couple of days at a time.

Tweetdeck saves a tremendous amount of time. It will even schedule Facebook posts! Be sure and check out the Chrome extensions for Tweetdeck and Tweetdeck launcher too.

Buffer makes your life easier with a smarter way to schedule the great content you find. Fill up your Buffer at one time in the day and Buffer automagically posts them for you through the day. Simply keep that Buffer topped up to have a consistent social media presence all day round, all week long.

Tweepi is an essential part of managing my Twitter account now. The free version allows you to easily flush your “unfollowers,” follow your followers, and identify inactive followers. The premium version has many more tools and features that will help you automate Twitter tasks.

Managing Twitter can seem overwhelming when you are following a lot of tweeps. Using tools to automate tasks and methods to organize users and feeds are essential components to your success as a Twitter pro!

By Tom Ledford (c) 2013