By Estelle Sobel Erasmus
Wondering about the wide world of twitter but don’t know how to begin? Here’s a quick guide – Twitter Parties for Beginners. I’ll tell you how in 8 easy steps and soon you’ll be tweeting with the best of them, making new (virtual) friends, and joining in on twitter parties to potentially win great gifts, books, cash cards and other prizes. I might do a little guide for Instagram in the not too distant future because I have been getting a little obsessed with social media lately! I would love to get more followers on Instagram. If you view Instagram followers packages here then you will realize it is much easier than you think thanks to Buzzoid!
Decide on a name. Go to http://twitter.com and click on the sign up link. Then pick your name. Make sure it is one that you don’t mind identifying with because you will be putting a photo with your handle (See Step 2). As I explained here, I was originally mommymusings011 because I started tweeting in 2011 when my daughter was two years old; also I wasn’t sure if I wanted people to know my name since the world of twitter was so new to me. Now that my daughter is four years old, I don’t identify myself primarily as “mommy,” plus I’ve since found the term to be pejorative to bloggers (I prefer the term mom bloggers or parenting bloggers). So recently I changed my twitter and Pinterest to be @EstelleSErasmus because well, that’s who I am. I also tweet at @MothersandMore. So pick a name that is who you are. No need to be anonymous. Also, and this is important: you don’t have to have a blog to be on twitter.
Pick a photo. It doesn’t have to be professional but you should have one. Few people want to interact with an egg (the default if you don’t upload a photo).
Have a good profile description. Write about yourself as someone who you would be interested in speaking to at a cocktail party. Does this mean you need to brag? Well if you have something to brag about (like an award, a special degree, a unique talent, lots of friends) then go ahead and brag.
Here’s mine: Formerly @mommymusings011. Award-winning journalist, former mag ed-in-chief, 2012 BlogHer VOTY, President, @MothersandMore, LTYM ’12, #ASJA, and a fierce mom. musingsonmotherhoodmidlife.com/estellesobelerasmus
My professional credential is that I’m an award-winning journalist and former magazine editor-in-chief. I also talk about my blogging background as well. The people I want to follow me get that VOTY, stands for Voice of the Year and LTYM is Listen to Your Mother. #ASJA stands for the American Society of Journalists and Authors (see Step 7). I’ve actually had quite a few people tell me that the part about how I’m a fierce mom resonates with them.
Follow, Follow, Follow: Don’t worry if no one is following you, the key is to follow people you like, admire or want to know what try are thinking. Twitter will give you access to your email contacts on twitter so you can follow them (and ideally since they know you they will follow you back). One cool aspect of following people you are interested in, is that you can see who they follow and follow those people, too. You can also see what lists they have created and subscribe to them or follow the people on their lists, i.e. People going to BlogHer13.
Curate that Content: Twitter is all about two rules: relationship building and content curation in 140 words or less; and as a former magazine editor I can assure you that’s the most fun part, and the reason that people will begin to follow you. So comment on people’s posts and retweet them (you just make sure you give a pithy comment, like… This is the word on teaching! RT[post being retweeted will appear here]….. or Great advice for tired moms! RT….. People who are retweeted often will say thank you to you in a tweet. Always retweet with a personalized comment instead of replying. Why? Because if you do that your retweet will expand their reach by going to your followers, not theirs. If they respond back with a thank you (most will), you can reply back at that point and that will go right to them and their followers will see it.
Be a Tweet Heart. After retweeting some great content; start tweeting about stuff you see; news items, things that are important to you, funny observations and commentary. Be real; be personal and you will start to get noticed.
Get into Hashtag (#) Heaven: If you are interested in a conference, a group or a twitter party, most will have hashtags. It looks like this #MothersMore or #BlogHer13. What’s wonderful about one word hashtags is that you can type them in your search box, and then find whole threads of tweets about the topic, party or group. You will learn a lot in a hurry by using hashtags. You can also add them to your own tweets. Let’s say you write a funny observation. Add #funny or #humor to your post and those people interested in humor will find you.
Party Hearty. To find out more about those parties where you can win swag and other sundry items, follow bloggers and groups. In the parenting community I like @theculturemom @momtrends @classymommy @JoLynneS @Clever_Network @MothersandMore @MommyBlogExpert @Resourcefulmom @theMotherhood @5minutesformom @Shespeaksup who hold giveaways and twitter parties. You can also search #twitterparties for a whole list; and this list is constantly updated.
My first ever twitter party I won a $150 amazon gift certificate. Since then I’ve won books, smaller cash cards, a pretzel maker, and restaurant gift certificates. Have fun tweeting away! Let me know your handle, and we can start a conversation.
A version of this post originally appeared here.
What are some of the twitter parties you like to attend?