Twitter is a great social network that many people use for micro-blogging, marketing, and networking. It has been an important tool in building my blog, and I’ve also met many wonderful people who share my interest in mental health advocacy.
This post contains my advice and suggestions based on my own experiences with my Twitter account. I created my account in late 2011 and have gone through plenty of trial and error. What works for me may not work for you, but I hope that you come across something in my post that is helpful to you!
1. A picture is worth 1,000 words
A good start to getting your Twitter account in great shape is to upload a Twitter profile picture. Most people have one already, but I still see the occasional account that lacks one. People are more likely to follow and interact with someone if their account has a profile picture.
The best policy is to use a picture of yourself, especially if you’re a blogger or entrepreneur, though it’s not a requirement. If you’re a business owner, you may opt to use your logo instead.
Already have a profile picture? Great! You’re off to a good start!
2. So that means two pictures is worth 2,000 words?!
Another good thing to have is a header on your profile. It’s a great space for you to show off your brand or company, creativity, or interests. Definitely don’t leave it empty!
As a blogger, I usually use a graphic with my blog’s name for marketing purposes, but I’ve also used other images that feature some of my interests so that it helps me seem relatable to others who might share the same interests. For example, I’ve used a photo of the UFC Octagon, one of my favorite bands, and even flowers.
3. Give us a teaser
Your Twitter bio is a great space for you to tell us a little bit about yourself. Some people choose to share their name, age, occupation or hobbies, interests, or their contact information, but there’s no set format for setting up your Twitter bio. A little teaser is great so that your followers can learn a little bit about you.
In my Twitter bio, I always include the fact that I am a mental health advocate and blogger as well as my email. I also include the link to my blog. Be sure to add a link to your blog or website if you have one!
4. What’s in a hashtag?
A hashtag is a searchable keyword that you can add to your tweet. It’s a great system for categorizing tweets so that more people can find yours and so that you can search for any topic you’re interested in.
To create a hashtag, just put the # symbol in front of your chosen keyword.
Using hashtags is a great way to get your tweets out there. If someone searches for a hashtag you used in one of your tweets, your tweet will show up in their search depending on how many other people have used that hashtag and how recently your tweet was posted.
Hashtags are also great for finding people who share a common interest with you. For example, I will do an occasional search for blogger or mental health-related hashtags to find new people I can connect and interact with who also blog or care about mental health advocacy.
While using hashtags is great, be sure to use them responsibly. While you want to include good, relevant hashtags, you don’t want to include too many. A good rule of thumb is to always have more text than hashtags in your tweet.
5. Did you mention me?
The “mention” feature is an important tool when building your Twitter connections and followers. It’s a great way to start conversations and make new connections.
To “mention,” or tag, a Twitter user, all you have to do is put the @ symbol in front of their Twitter username. If you aren’t sure what their Twitter username is, it is located under their profile name on their profile, and it is also the last part of their Twitter profile URL.
For example, my Twitter profile URL is: http://www.Twitter.com/ItsNicoleCarman. “ItsNicoleCarman” is my Twitter username. To mention me on Twitter, you would add “@ItsNicoleCarman,” which is commonly referred to as a Twitter handle, in your tweet.
Any user you mention will receive a notification and will be able to see and respond to your tweet! Your message(s) will be public, so keep that in mind.
6. Quality over quantity, my friend
One of my best pieces of advice is to focus on quality rather than quantity when it comes to your followers. Having healthy engagement on Twitter is extremely important regardless of your goal(s) with your account.
Having a lot of followers is impressive, but if your engagement is scarce, your follow count is essentially irrelevant — you might as well have 0 followers if you don’t interact with anyone.
If I see that a Twitter account has very little engagement, that lets me know that they aren’t connecting with their followers in a way that most benefits them.
I recently came across a blogger who has just over 70,000 Twitter followers. “Wow, they are definitely doing something right,” I thought. I took a brief glance at their tweets to get an idea of what format they use so that I can try and improve my own tweets, but I was shocked when I started scrolling. I saw the occasional like or two, but that’s about it. There were no replies or retweets on most of their tweets.
I see plenty of bloggers with less than 10,000 followers who have very healthy engagement because they focus on quality over quantity. They spend their time networking and making connections in addition to promoting their blog.
If you focus on the quality of your engagement, your Twitter follower count and your blog views are guaranteed to improve. It may not happen quickly at first, but stick with it and hang in there. Building a successful Twitter account takes time and a lot of patience.
7. Don’t judge yourself based on your follow count
Regardless of where you are in your journey to building your Twitter account, don’t be too harsh on yourself if your follower count or engagement isn’t where you want it to be.
As I mentioned in #6, building your account will take time. Every person on Twitter who has the stats you dream of all started with a follower and engagement count of zero.
I see some bloggers with 50k+ followers. "Wow," I think. But then I scroll & see maybe 1 or 2 likes or RTs on all their posts. I also see others with less than 10k w/hundreds of likes, RTs & replies. Point is, never judge yourself based on your follower count. You're doing great.
— 💚🎗Nicole Carman (@ItsNicoleCarman) August 22, 2018
Just try and relax and continue being yourself. You’re doing great!
8. Sending automatic tweets or direct messages to new followers
Automatic tweets and direct messages are sent to your new followers via a third party application.
I have mixed feelings about them. Based on the information that I have personally gathered from other Twitter users, most people seem to dislike receiving an automatic tweet or DM when they follow someone. In fact, while I was typing up this post, I ran a 24 hour Twitter poll to get an idea of what some of my followers think about them. Check out the results below!
How do you feel about the use of automatic tweets (that tag you) or DMs when you follow someone?
— 💚🎗Nicole Carman (@ItsNicoleCarman) August 24, 2018
Speaking from my personal experiences, I strongly dislike receiving them and I will never utilize such a system. While I understand why some people may prefer to use them, I feel as though it takes away my personal touch that can’t be achieved with something done automatically. I would much rather type a manual tweet or DM to someone.
With that being said, I have received a couple of automatic DMs that weren’t that bad. It was still obvious that it was an automatic response to my following that person, but their message still seemed genuine. If you’re going to utilize an application that sends automatic tweets or DMs to your new followers, be sure that you attach a genuine message to it. I also recommend changing your tweet or message every once in a while to give some variety or provide your new followers with more recent information.
9. Link ediquette
Adding the links to your blog posts on Twitter is a great way to market yourself and your blog, but only if you do it in a way that will resonate with your followers.
Instead of posting only a link, include some text that tells your followers what the link is and why they might like to click on it. Don’t forget the hashtags! Check out my before and after tweets below for an example! The first image is of a tweet containing only a post title and a link. The second image contains a more improved version of the same post. Which one would you rather click on?
See the difference? I’m still working on my Twitter account so you don’t see a drastic difference in the numbers right now, but by adding some text and some hashtags, I improved my tweet and am moving in the right direction.
10. Text with an image goes a long way
Including a relevant image in your tweet is a great way to draw the interest of your followers. Adding an image won’t be appropriate for every tweet, but adding the occasional photo can spice up your Twitter feed and make it more appealing to browse through.
11. Did someone say… train?!
Twitter “follow trains” are a great way to build your follower count and meet new people, especially if it’s a follow train within your niche or category.
A Twitter follow train starts off with one tweet. It often identifies a niche or category and some brief rules that you should follow if you wish to participate. I love posting and participating in Twitter follow trains because it allows me to meet some new people in my niche.
I’ll show you an example of one of my more successful follow trains.
At the beginning of my tweet, I always identify the niche or category of the follow train. Then, I include some brief instructions to let people know how they can participate. If you start your own train, be sure to include hashtags. A great one to use is #bloggerswanted, and there are various blogger RT accounts that are more than willing to retweet your follow train.
Participating in follow trains has been one of the best ways that I have improved my Twitter follow count as well as my engagement. The key is to find trains that are in your niche or category.
12. #FollowFriday is fantastic
#FollowFriday, or #FF, is another great way to connect with other Twitter users in your niche or category.
I follow a lot of bloggers on Twitter. One thing I love to do is check out everyone they add in their #FollowFriday post because, 9 times out of 10, they are recommending their blogger friends or bloggers that they think their followers will enjoy discovering. I follow every blogger I come across to help support them, and I have found tons of bloggers by doing this.
I also do the same with my fellow mental health advocates, which has enabled me to meet more advocates.
Be sure to host your own #FollowFriday, too! Many people make it a habit to share their #FollowFriday tweet every week. It’s a great way to support your fellow bloggers and followers! There’s no specific format you have to follow in order to post one. Just be sure to tag the people you’re recommending. I posted mine from last week below in case you need an example!
What works for you on Twitter? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear what tips and tricks you’ve come across that work with your own account.