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This blog is for all those who have not yet signed up for Twitter but want to get started. If you are a savvy Twitter user, don’t read this blog; but you might be interested in my The Top Five Do’s and Don’ts for Tweeters blog.

 

I frequently get asked “how do I get started on Twitter” – and in future, I want to be able to simply forward this blog as an answer. It’s my passion to get people excited about social media and to share the things that I’ve been lucky to learn.

 

Here’s “How to get Started on Twitter in 10 Easy Steps”:

 

1. Go to http://www.twitter.com

 

2. Sign up: Name, Email, Password (change password periodically for security)

 

3. Pick your username: Short & Memorable (think of people typing with 2 fingers on a PDA). I am @nathomson vs. @natascha_thomson. @nathomson is what is called my Twitter handle.

 

4. Set up your profile (Twitter will give you a page to do that after signing up), or simply go to http://www.twitter.com/yourhandle (e.g. mine is http://www.twitter.com/nathomson) at any time. You have a “home page”, which shows all your friends’ Tweets, and a “Profile” page for all your Tweets. On the “profile” page, there’s an “edit your profile” URL under the box for the picture. Select it. Now, all you have to do is:

 

5. Upload a picture. I learned in my first week on Twitter that if you don’t have a real picture, people question your sincerity and committment (exception for corporate handles and the like, e.g. @SAP).

 

6. Complete your bio. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. The bio provides all people know about you on Twitter before they get to know you (apart from your picture and handle name). The bio tells people WHY you are on Twitter, that is WHAT you are planning to Tweet about. It communicates your brand on Twitter. Think well about who you want to be on Twitter and that this creates a permanent record in your history. I never follow people who don’t have a bio. You can also add a URL to your blog or LinkedIn page.

 

7. Create lists. Go to your “profile” section and click the lists drop down. “Create a list”. My lists range from “Social Media Experts” to “Close friends”. All that matters is that you can put any person you decide to follow in a list right away, in a list that later on makes sense for you to monitor. Otherwise you will never be able to use Twitter in a meaningful way because it gets overwhelming. For example, I can browse my “Social Media Experts” list in the morning for the latest news in that area, and my “Close friends” list when I need to relax.

 

8. Install (for free) Tweetdeck (or Hootsuite, or whatever tool you like; the point is: Twitter.com is not the way to manage Twitter successfuly). Then log in with your Twitter account. When it launches the first time, you will think: “Wow, what’s this?”. Play around with the tool. You can have columns for:

– Direct Messages (D) that only you can see = private (or as private as the Internet gets); you can only DM people who are following you and who you are following.

– Mentions (@) – people used your Twitter handle in their Tweet (e.g. if they retweet you)

– All Friends – column of all the people you follow

– Click on “+” at the top in TweetDeck and add either a hashtag (e.g. #social) or a Twitter handle you’d like to follow (e.g. @SAPMentors). You’ll see all related messages in a separate column. (Hashtags are great to follow events, e.g. #sapphirenow, or topics, e.g. #yoga; people tend to make up their own # for fun, e.g. #FOMO (=fear of missing out) or #newbietoTwitterwatchout)

 

9. Find people to follow. To start, ask your friends or colleagues for their Twitter handles so that you can practice; also follow news sources. While all Tweets can be found on Google, if you start a message with @, e.g. @nathomson, the messsage goes (mostly) only to that person. They know you are directly addressing them. If you have a bio, other people will find you and follow you but there are many tools out there to find people with similar interests to yours; this blog lists some.

But, think quality not quantity. You don’t need to follow everybody who follows you, but most people will tell you that initially they did follow most people who followed them to get started. Just remember, once you have hundreds of followers, administration is a lot of work, so think ahead.

 

10. After TweetDeck opens, click on the yellow box at the top that says “Compose Update” and type your first message (YEAH!). I’d love to be your first Tweet, for example: “@nathomson Tips have worked out. Glad to be on Twitter. Please respond if you get this” :-). I might even Retweet you :-).

 

Now that you are flying solo, simply check out all the button on your Twitter.com page and on TweetDeck to learn more. It’s a lot of fun. You’ll make new friends and learn a lot, I can promise you that.

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18 Comments

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  1. Mark Chalfen
    I have noticed that during 2011 – the number of SAP professionals on twitter has really grown.

    Some just have an accounts, some re-tweet information and some really contribute.

    There is nothing to be scared of, and it does not take much time, but if you use twitter well it can provide some good insight that you would struggle to get without it.

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      1. John Kleeman
        Natascha

        I don’t use Tweetdeck and will consider using it, I currently look at tweets on the iPad twitter app or else on twitter.com. Looks useful

        John

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  2. Jarret Pazahanick
    I think it is great how you continue to bring exposure to twitter for SAP professionals as I am a big believer in its value. All the mentors seem to have a passion area they key on and it is obvious that social media is one of yours.

    Much like Greg I joined twitter somewhat late and didnt immediately see any value but I promised myself to give it a month and it is amazing how much smarter you can become by reading articles, getting insight from analysts/thought leaders as well as establishing relationships.

    I would highly recommend it for SAP Professionals.

    On a side note Natashca is being modest as she didnt include a link to the fact see was recently on the “Ten recommended SAP people to follow on Twitter” http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/24117

    @SAP_Jarret

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    1. Natascha Thomson Post author
      @SAP_Jarret Thanks :-), blushing. Appreciate your comment and glad the blog appears useful.

      One thing to add, for my SAP colleagues only (in case an SAP person reads this): there is an offical process on requesting SAP officila Twitter handles (with guidelines and all), so don’t go off setting up corporate accounts…you need approval for that.

      And, of course, Tweet responsibly, as I’ve said in other blogs. Try not to spam but there seems to be no clear consensus on what is a really good Tweet. Or do you know? Would love to see really good Tweets posted here for others to learn.

      Example of a really good Tweet: “Just commented on the new #SAP #SCN blog “How to get started on Twitter in 10 Easy Steps” URL by @nathomson” :-).

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  3. Marilyn Pratt
    Hi Natascha,
    I would also recommend to your beginner audience here to read your 5 (okay 7) do’s tips in your blog…and dont’s. “Top 5 Dos and Don’ts for Twitter”
    It seems to me that before people run off to create a Twitter account they had better know WHY and also HOW they wish to use it. Have a voice, have a persona, be real.
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    1. Jarret Pazahanick
      To follow up on Marilyn post for anyone that is interested I have posted a few “Why” SAP professionals should be interested in Twitter blogs

      Five Ways Twitter will Help your SAP Career
      http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/20051

      Value for SAP Customers to start using Twitter http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/21816

      Twitter and SAP – Whats in it for You.
      http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/23935

      Hope this helps.

      Jarret

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  4. Gregory Misiorek
    Hi Natascha,

    i was slow to pick up Twitter as i was “forced” into it, but after seeing how quick the comments were flowing in (with some of them being really pointed) i started to use it every day.
    it has become the social tool of choice, ahead of LinkedIn and Facebook, for me.
    i don’t know how i could live without it before, but i’m still learning how to use it effectively.

    @greg_not_so

    P.S. reposting to correct misspelling your name, sorry.

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  5. Vijay Vijayasankar
    1. I use twitter.com on my PC, and the twitter app on phone/ipad. No 3rd party sw for me.

    2. I have no lists. I only follow a hundred people, and only 20 or so tweet regularly. When I need to find something more – like when an event happens, I just do a search

    3. I prune the list of people I follow every month – aiming to keep it 20% of the list that follows me. So far that ratio helps me keep noise down

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  6. Tom Cenens
    Hello Natascha

    Nice to see you are spreading information to get community members started on twitter.

    I took me some time to see value in using twitter but following the right people can provide interesting information.

    Keeping the noise down is a challenge though and when possible I prefer real contact over virtual contact.

    Kind regards

    Tom

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  7. Community User
    Thanks for the blog Natascha, it is needed. Twitter can be such a valuable tool for business, and the more people that get involved, the exponentially faster the benefits will increase!

    Thanks for setting the example!

    Cheers,
    David.

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