Twitter for Business Guides – Part 1: The Basics
Getting Started on Twitter
Contrary to all predictions, Twitter marketing hasn’t gone away. In fact, this year it is finally becoming the powerhouse means of marketing communication everyone except Twitter knew it had the potential to be.
And if your market is active on Twitter, you will find yourself needing to sign up right away.
This guide will help you get through the process quickly and effectively.
Step 1: Choosing Your Twitter Name
Choosing your Twitter name, or “handle”, is not something to be rushed through. Sure, you can change it if you later decide it’s not working for you – but if you’ve built up any sort of following, don’t count on them following you under your new name – or even seeing your tweet about changing your Twitter handle.
Your Twitter handle is always preceded by the “@” sign.
Using your real name is preferred, but what do you do if “@marysmith” is taken?
Twitter itself will suggest options such as “@MarySmith34089283” but adding a number to your name is not something people easily remember, even if it’s just “1” or “2”.
If you have strongly branded title, you can add that to your name (or substitute it): For example, “@MarySmithDiaperQueen” or simply “@DiaperQueen”.
The big rule to keep in mind is:
- Make your Twitter handle easy to remember.
Numbers and unnecessary capitalization will get in the way of this. The only time you should capitalize your name? If not capitalizing might visually confuse your audience and/or alter the meaning of what they read.
For example: “@AliciaAdams” is easier to read than “@aliciaadams”. And you really don’t want to create any confusion with names that could be read as something else when the first and last name is run together.
To find out if your twitter name is already taken: Type “https://twitter.com/yourname” into your browser search bar.
If there’s a profile for that name, you’ll be asked to log in. If not, you’ll be told: “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist” and you can go ahead and sign up with it.
Step 2: Setting up Your Account
When you’re ready to set up your account, go to Twitter.com and enter your full name, email address and password of choice into the “New to Twitter? Sign up” box.
Press the yellow “Sign up for Twitter” button.
Next, enter your personal information at the prompts.
You can change your username later, but if you’re not using your own first and last name it’s best to find a good one now: For one thing, you will be able to instantly see which possible usernames are available and which are not….
Notice you will see suggestions provided, based on keywords (such as your name) that you’ve entered within the profile.
Pick the best name and press: “Create My Account”.
Step 2: Setting Up Your Timeline
You will then meet “The Twitter Teacher”, who will walk you through basics such as the maximum length of a tweet.
This wizard will also frog-march you through a Twitter Timeline setup process.
- You must select five people to follow. For the sake of a speedy set up, just pick any of the suggestions – you can always unfollow them the moment your Timeline has been set up and your Twitter profile is live.
Note, however, that Twitter likes to search any keyword you use – including what’s in the profiles and tweets of the people you follow. For a really streamlined, focus timeline, take the time to:
- Check the Twitter handles of people or companies you want to follow on their website
- Don’t follow them directly from the page that opens up: Instead, note their Twitter handle and go back to the Twitter Teacher wizard. Use its search box to find and follow them.
- The Twitter Teacher wizard then prompts you to add five celebrities. Simply enter your main keyword into the search bar, and choose from the results served up
(Remember – there are always “celebrities” within even the smallest niche!)
Next, you’ll be prompted to add people from your email accounts. You can go along with this or press the “Skip” anchor text.