How to use Twitter: A guide for beginners
Twitter, the fast-moving social media platform where users post news-flash-style blurbs, is the conversation hub of the internet. And if you’re building a personal or business social media presence, you want to be part of that conversation.
But getting your start on this app can feel like jumping into a game of double-dutch. You need to keep up and stand out if you want to gain an audience. Good news – users who learn to take advantage of the app’s features and trends will findtheir rhythm in no time.
Exploring the ins and outs of social media is part of the fun process of becoming a better content creator. Read on to learn how beginners using Twitter can go from novice to expert.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a social media app designed to facilitate short commentary-style posts. It’s the perfect platform for rapid-fire conversations, breaking news, and stream-of-consciousness posts.
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Since its launch in 2006, Twitter has added features like GIFs, photo and video posts, polls, and in-feed advertisements. The platform also bumped its stringent text limit of just 140 characters to 280. In February 2023, the platform extended a generous 4000-character limit to premium Twitter Blue subscribers.
With 450 million worldwide users, Twitter is a place where businesses and aspiring influencers can get their start. Carving out a space on the lively platform is an opportunity to inspire deeper connections with your audience and reach new users to boost brand awareness and improve perception.
Twitter for beginners: get your start
Ready to start Tweeting but not sure how to launch your Twitter presence? First impressions are everything. Use the following guide to Twitter basics for a flawless account launch:
Focus on your profile. While writing a compelling bio and picking the perfect profile picture may not be as fun as drafting your first Tweet, creating a coherent image is essential – especially if you’re running a brand account. Use a profile image that represents you (like your logo), and stick to company colors and brand guidelines. Whether an individual or company, keep your Twitter voice and image aligned with your vibe.
Show some love to other accounts. Follow accounts that post material that interests you or pertains to your industry. Like a few of their Tweets. Social media flattery can go a long way, and those likes could result in a follow back and engagement with your content.
Learn the basics of the app. Like many other social networks, Twitter allows users to like and reshare content (called Retweeting) and tag other users (mentions). On Twitter, you can also create threads, enabling you to link several Tweets and tell a longer story. Users with regular Twitter accounts still have a 280-character limit per Tweet, but the threads feature can help you build a narrative in spite of the brief nature of Tweets.
Tweet. It’s normal to overthink your first Tweet. Ensure the Tweet aligns with your voice and overall content plan. If you are a clothing brand that routinely posts styling tips and new products, you might announce you’re excited to join the app and give viewers a sneak peek of your content. If you’re a comedian, drop a one-liner to hook your audience.
Gain traction with hashtags. Using hashtags is an intelligent strategy for getting your Twitter content in front of new users. When you add a hashtag to a Tweet, users searching for content under that tag can find your post organically. Use trending hashtags when possible to gain even more traction. You can research which hashtags are trending by logging on to Twitter.com from a computer web browser and checking out the “Trends” section under the “Explore” tab.
Post consistently. Audiences lose interest in an account when there’s a lapse in content. Keep your followers on the edge of their seats by posting consistently. That said, you also don’t want to overwhelm your audience with content. If you post so frequently that your Tweets are always at the top of someone’s Twitter feed, this may be more intrusive than beneficial. Devise a savvy posting strategy by planning your Tweets ahead of time around content pillars (categories of information) your audience enjoys.
6 tips for first-time Twitter users
Having a cohesive image and a solid content strategy is a strong start for anyone learning to use Twitter. Once you feel comfortable and secure in your mastery of basic social media skills, amp up your potential with these six Twitter guidelines for beginners:
1. Make the most of 280 characters. Unless you have Twitter Blue, you must limit your Tweets to 280 characters. Spend time drafting your posts, cutting out unnecessary words and information to create a direct, easy-to-digest message. Keep your writing punchy, and if you need to tell a longer story, use a thread instead of trying to overstuff information in a single Tweet. But if you’re a Twitter Blue subscriber, you can post Tweets of up to 10,000 characters!
2. Make data-backed decisions with Twitter analytics. All Twitter users can access in-app analytics once they activate their Tweet activity dashboard. Use the data to learn what type of content your Twitter followers enjoy. You can track how your Tweet activity trends over time, see how long people spend looking at your content, and track individual Tweets’ engagement, such as the number of Retweets, likes, replies, clicks, and views.
3. Use templates. Many third-party design apps, like Canva, offer templates for major social media applications. Use these tools to create a visually consistent post series that includes your brand elements.
4. Interact with your audience. Like comments and respond to mentions. Interacting with your audience reminds them of your human side, even if you’re an internet superstar or corporation. And don’t forget to check your DMs – responding to followers gives you another opportunity to build a loyal audience.
5. Stay on brand. Straying from your personal or brand voice may be tempting if a user leaves an incendiary comment or is trolling you. But avoid the temptation. Keep it professional and preserve your image. If need be, you can block the user to prevent future harassment and conflict.
6. Use Twitter Lists. Twitter Lists allow you to curate groups of accounts based on their content or relationship with them. A List is like a mini “Following” tab, allowing you to scroll through content created by a few specific accounts. For example, you might make a List of all the DIY home decor accounts you follow to help you stay up on your target audience, check out the competition, and discover new trends.
As you head into the Twitterverse, you’ll run into some new terms – and a standard dictionary can only get you so far. Here’s the basic lingo you should know:
Handle. A handle is someone’s social media name, often preceded by the @ symbol.
Retweet. Retweeting is the action of sharing another user’s content to your audience.
Quote Tweet. This Twitter feature allows users to Retweet someone else’s content and tag on their own message.
Thread. Threads are longer-form Twitter narratives composed of multiple Tweets.
Pins. Using the pin feature, you can affix a Tweet to the top of your page. New visitors will see this Tweet first, despite the chronological order of the other posts on your page.
Even if you’re clear on how a beginner can access and use Twitter, you likely have a few remaining questions. Here are the answers to common queries.
Should I use my real name on Twitter?
It’s up to you. You can choose to protect your privacy or let the world know who you are. But if you have a brand, are a public figure, or want to become a social media celebrity, you may want to use your real name for your Twitter handle so users can easily identify you. Otherwise, create a catchy name that touches on your interests. Consider using the same handle for all your platforms so followers can find you everywhere on the web.
Who can see my Tweets if I have no followers?
Even if you don’t have followers, anyone can stumble upon and see your Tweets so long as your Twitter profile is public. Twitter accounts are public by default, but you can protect your Tweets if you want to limit who sees your content with a private account.
Keep learning with Linktree
Social media is constantly changing, and Twitter is no exception. Stay up on the latest and keep sharpening your Twitter tools with Linktree.
On our blog, learn how beginners can analyze their Twitter page to find the best time to post, limit sensitive content, and correctly size photos. Plus, find out how to verify or unsuspend an account, clear your search history, and find your personalized Twitter URL.
And remember: The space in your Twitter bio is precious, so use it wisely. Adding a Linktree to your bio allows you to promote your presence on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and a personal website, all in one place.