24 Nov Top 7 Twitter Tips and Tricks

To follow up from my last article Social Media- What’s the Big Deal, I’ve decided to share my top 7 tricks for effectively using my favorite social media platform: Twitter.

I’ve had so many conversations with artists about social media, many of whom have a frustrating relationship with it because they feel like they “have” to be on it, yet don’t understand how to use it. I am always a fan of finding the platforms and tools that work for you, but that can be difficult to discover if you don’t understand how to use them in the first place!

I love Twitter because it is brief, succinct, and with only 140 characters at a time, you get the headlines. You can connect with people from all over the world without “friend-ing” them, like on Facebook, where they now know your relationship status, can see pictures from the last 10 years, or be privy to other personal information you may not want to share. On Twitter you can keep people at a safe distance, yet establish a deep connection.

Here are 7 things I’ve learned about using Twitter:

1. Your Twitter ID or name is called your handle. For instance, my handle is @sarahjeagen. When you learn the handles of friends, colleagues, and even celebrities and products, you can follow them and see their tweets in your newsfeed!

2. If you start with an @ as your first character you’re starting with someone’s handle, and it only shows up on the newsfeed of that person and whoever is following BOTH of you. If you’re trying to promote someone or something, and you say

@sarahjeagen has this great new post about Twitter! Read it to learn more at www.sarahjeagen.com/top-7-twitter-tips-and-tricks

That tweet does not go to all of your followers, only to me and anyone who happens to follow BOTH of us. If you would like a tweet to be seen by your entire follower list, start that tweet with ANY character other than @. You can say

.@sarahjeagen has this great new post at www.sarahjeagen.com/top-7-twitter-tips-and-tricks

And because you started with a period, it will be seen by all of your followers.
You can also restructure the sentence to say something like

Have you read this great new post about Twitter from @sarahjeagen? Check it out www.sarahjeagen.com/top-7-twitter-tips-and-tricks

Again, because you didn’t start with a handle, it will show up in the newsfeed of all of your followers. This is essential to understand in order to use Twitter correctly.

3. When you see someone else’s tweet you can choose to Retweet (or Quote Tweet), Favorite, or Reply. A Retweet means that you are sharing that tweet just as it is with your followers. A Quote Tweet allows you to share that tweet and add a message of your own to it, like

I love this post! RT: @sarahjeagen: Check out my new article about Twitter! www.sarahjeagen.com/top-7-twitter-tips-and-tricks

Favorite means that a tweet is put in your own favorites list that you can revisit at any time, and people can see who has favorited each tweet. Twitter has recently started blurring the lines between favorites and retweets, so we’ll see if they become the same thing sometime soon. When you click Reply, the tweet automatically starts with the other person’s handle. This is a way to have a back-and-forth conversation between the two of you without clogging up the newsfeeds of all of your followers. Again, it will only show up in the newsfeeds of people who follow both of you. Keep in mind, however, that these are NOT private messages, so it is advisable not to share information that you don’t want made public.

4. #FF means Follow Friday- it is a way once a week to promote your favorite people, collaborators, products, etc by encouraging others to follow those accounts. You can do this is in lists like

#FF My favorite Seattle actresses! @LisaCoronado, @carollani, @bellawonder, @TheDiMarcoActor, @RachelDelmar, @asilnavel, @trinmiller

Or you can do individual Follow Fridays like

#FF the adorable, talented, fearless actress @LisaCoronado! She’s a force to be reckoned with. Check out her latest project @znation

Not only does promoting others help spread the word about their work and projects, but it is a great way to let those people know you’re a fan of their work. As a result, they frequently return the favor, follow you back, or start a dialogue. But don’t do it expecting something in return — promote the people you genuinely believe in! Everyone appreciates unsolicited promotion, and you can tell when it’s heartfelt.

5. Hashtags and keywords are a great way to see what people are saying about a certain topic. Perhaps you want to see reactions to the winners from #Emmys2014 — simply click on that hashtag in Twitter, and it’ll show you a newsfeed of tweets using that hashtag. This is a great way to jump into conversations, research project, filmmakers, and film festivals, and start dialogues on Twitter.

6. You can also organize people into lists. If you create a list and add handles to it, you’re really creating unique newsfeeds. For instance, I could make an “indie Filmmakers” list, and add people whose work I enjoy and want to follow. When I go to that list, I will only see tweets from those filmmakers! It is a great way to keep up with news and the latest events from a certain group of folks, and you can choose to make your lists public (other people can see them and subscribe to them) or private (you’re the only one who has access to them).

7. Twitter chats, or Tweet chats, are frequently organized conversations on twitter that use a custom hashtag. The organizers of the chat will announce the unique hashtag, and then anyone who would like to participate can jump in! Again, find topics that interest you, whether that is script writing, filmmaking, certain festivals, shows, or artists, and jump into the conversation. By clicking on the tweet chat hashtag, you’ll be taken to a feed of everyone using that hashtag – sort of like being in a chatroom. Folks often use these chats to ask/answer a series of questions, pose issues and solutions, and generally share information! You’ll find the people who are interested in the same topics you are. Be sure to jump in and participate!

Social media can be confusing, but when it is utilized effectively it is an incredibly powerful tool that can connect you to people all over the world. Choose a platform or two to focus on and really master, and find your audience there. And if Twitter is your jam, I’m hoping these tips will help you start out on the right foot! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below or ask me on Twitter.

Happy Tweeting!

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2 Comments
  • Jackie O'Brien
    Posted at 12:10h, 04 December

    Sarah thanks ! You are so awesome!

    • Sarah J Eagen
      Posted at 13:19h, 04 December

      Thank you so much for reading, Jackie 😀 I hope it helps your Twitter experience!