Monday, December 12, 2016

Twitter ABCs

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Sometimes we tend to overcomplicate social media, especially Twitter. Today I'd like to share the basics with the ABCs of Twitter.

A is for Accessibility. It’s important to be easy to find on Twitter. This means your twitter handle needs to be as close to your own name as possible, and your avatar (picture) is recognizable as you.

B is for Bio. Even though your Twitter bio is only 160 characters long, it’s prime real estate. It tells your audience what to expect from your tweets. You can include hashtags, but don’t make them the only thing you list.

C is for Connections. The point of Twitter is to connect with other people with similar interests. It’s not your private station to broadcast commercials from. Keep self-promotion to a minimum and you’ll find some valuable relationships through this social media platform.

D is for Discipline. Small consistent steps will result in a strong Twitter platform. It’s not enough to share updates several days a month. Instead, set a goal for 4 – 6 updates on 3 – 4 days a week. It won’t take much time, but it will pay huge dividends in visibility and reach.

E is for Evaluate. Evaluate what you’re sharing on Twitter. Is it valuable to your audience or are you just adding to the noise? I share one of four types of updates:
  • An inspiring quote or Bible verse.
  • A thought provoking question.
  • Something funny.
  • A link to something I (and hopefully my audience) finds helpful.

F is for Focus. Even though I vary the types of updates I share on Twitter, I keep my message (and my Twitter personality) consistent. People who follow me know I post about writing, social media and things for military families.

G is for Grandmother. I’m convinced that my grandmother would have enjoyed social media. It’s a digital neighborhood that she would have understood. There’s a give and take here, and a willingness to courteous and helpful.

H is for Hashtags. Hashtags are one of the best things about Twitter. Do your best to limit yourself to no more than two (at the very most three) per update. And take time to do a quick search on Google for the best hashtag for the topic you’re tweeting about.

I is for Irritating. Yes, there are some people on Twitter who are irritating. And if they waste my time, I don’t hesitate to unfollow them. I encourage you to do the same.

J is for Jump. Don’t be afraid to jump into the Twitter universe. The easiest way to get started it to dive right in and learn as you go.

K is for Keep On. Don’t expect instant results. Like anything worth doing, growing a Twitter platform takes time (and don’t forget consistency). Don’t get discouraged and give up.

L is for Less is More. Even though Twitter updates can be up to 140 characters long, stop at least 20 characters early. This leaves room for retweets and comments.

M is for Myself. It’s critical that we're honest and genuine on social media. We don’t have to over-share but we do need to be authentic.

N is for Nice. Nice a word that is—in my opinion—underrated. I have never in my life regretted being nice, even when the other person didn’t treat me the same way.

O is for having an Open Door Policy. Make yourself accessible and visible on Twitter. Don’t protect your tweets, require followers to be approved and refuse to engage in conversations.

P is for Promotion. Promote others ahead of yourself and you’ll find your Twitter popularity exploding. Promote yourself ahead of others and you’ll always struggle to grow your platform.

Q is for Questions. Asking questions in your Tweets is a great way to get the conversation started. Don’t neglect these types of Twitter updates when you’re planning your social media interactions.

R is for Reciprocate. Twitter etiquette leans heavily on reciprocal relationships. If someone follows me, it’s proper etiquette for me to follow them back. The only reason I don’t is if the appear to be spammers or share updates that I consider inappropriate. Just because they seem to share updates that are far from my topic isn’t reason enough to not follow them back. I’ve found a lot of good connections because I took a chance and followed someone back who appeared—at first—to not share similar interests.

S is for Schedule. Make sure you schedule your daily Tweets. Don’t send them all out at once, but spread them out throughout the day so you reach more of your audience.

T is for Time. Watch the clock when you’re on social media. There’s a law of diminishing returns that comes into play after about thirty minutes on any social media network—Twitter included. Spend no more than thirty minutes a day and you’ll get the most return on your time investment.

U is for Update. Learn which type of Twitter update to send for each situation.
  • A Tweet is for something you want to share on Twitter.
  • A Retweet is when you repeat what someone else said. It’s not the best etiquette to Retweet a post that mentions you. It’s better to Favorite the Tweet or Reply and say thank you.
  • A Reply is when you answer or comment on a Tweet. It’s proper etiquette to Reply and say thank you when someone mentions you on Twitter.
  • A Direct Message is private message sent to someone through Twitter.

V is for Vacation. Don’t try to work Twitter (or any social media) seven days a week. Instead, give yourself regular breaks. Your tweets will stay fresh and you aren’t as likely to suffer from burnout and overload.

W is for Wisdom. Be wise online. Don’t share your vacation plans in advance or while you’re gone. Don’t make yourself a target by sharing your location when you’re out. And most of all, make certain any photos you share don’t have embedded geocodes, especially if they’re pictures of children. There are people out there who are looking for such carelessness and by not being wise you are raising the risk of becoming a victim. 

X is for X-ray. Learn the bones of a good Twitter update and you’ll never lack for something to say. I use headline writing techniques to compose my tweets and it’s the perfect way to connect with your audience in short bursts of information.

Y is for Yelling. Writing a Twitter update in all caps is LIKE YELLING. I reserve my use of all caps for the title of a book (since it isn’t possible to italicize in an update).

Z is for Zoo. Yes, at first glance Twitter can seem like a zoo. It can be mistaken for  a series of unrelated updates that make no sense to anyone. But take time to get to know your way around and you’ll find a gold mine of relationships and connections waiting for you.

This is my Twitter alphabet, I'd love to know what you'd add to it. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Don't make #Twitter complicated #SocialMedia expert @EdieMelson shares Twitter ABCs (Click to Tweet)

Don't let #Twitter confuse you, #SocialMedia expert @EdieMelson shares Twitter ABCs (Click to Tweet)


  1. Edie, I follow the ABC's and they definitely work. Thank you.

  2. Thanks! These are great tips. I have dipped my foot into twitter but your blog is giving me just the push I need to jump in.

    1. I think you'll find the water's fine in the Twitter ocean! Blessings, E

  3. Jumping into Twitter this week. Bursting to share words of encouragement from my new mini book. Edie, I intend to read everything you have written on Twitter -- SO sorry I missed your class at The Cove, CCC 2015.

  4. I get frustrated with Twitter. How do you delete unwanted followers? How do you keep them off in the first place? I'm techy challenged, which makes some social media platforms difficult for me.