Getting Started with Twitter: 51 Tweeting Templates

twitter-bird-white-on-blueIn my ongoing series Getting Started with Twitter: 10 Steps to Twitter Competence, I’ve shared how Twitter novices can dive into one of the fastest-growing social media sites on the web. From choosing a name to the basics of tweeting, from recommending Twitter apps to suggesting ways to get more Twitter followers, I hope I’ve provided at least one new idea you can implement in order to increase your enjoyment of the site and your engagement with your audience.

In this next-to-last installment of this ten-part series, I’m offering 51 Twitter templates: questions and quotes that may help you entice and engage your online audience.

To tweet the line, click the link.

Questions

1. How would your friends describe you in three words?
2. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
3. What book(s) are you reading right now?
4. What’s the best question you’ve ever been asked?
5. How can I help you accomplish something today?
6. What are you most looking forward to right now?
7. Who are the top 3 people you follow on Twitter?
8. What’s your favorite website?
9. What means the most to you in the world?
10. What one movie could you watch over and over?
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Getting Started with Twitter: Using Twitter Ads

twitter-bird-white-on-blueSince beneficial influence is a key factor in using Twitter to its fullest potential, you may wonder

Should I use Twitter ads to gain followers?

I am not an expert on this particular subject, but I recently enjoyed a good experience using Twitter ads. Don’t worry. I’ll point you to better resources in addition to sharing my small story.

Due to Hootsuite‘s largesse, I received an email with a $100 voucher towards Twitter advertising for my @Writers_Read account, a twitter handle I use for my other blog, WritersOnReading.com. With nothing to lose except time spent learning their ad models, I visited ads.twitter.com and redeemed my voucher.

Twitter’s ad management console is very straightforward. This stands in stark contrast to the seemingly overwhelming world of Facebook advertising. If you’ve been looking to get into online advertising and you’ve amassed at least some followers (let’s say 100), you’d serve yourself well by trying out Twitter advertising.

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Getting Started with Twitter: How to Get More Twitter Followers

twitter-bird-white-on-blueLet me begin by stating that I do not have the single, magic bean answer to the question

How Do I Get More Twitter Followers?

While “social media experts” may tell you that a certain service (namely, theirs) will help you amass followers, they’re likely not the kind of followers you’d want (if they’re even real).

Some online sources say there’s little cachet in a large Twitter following, but we have a difficult time not ascribing some level of greater influence to those who have larger numbers of followers than we do. While numbers alone don’t tell the entire story, they help us to form a quick impression of someone we only know through a glass screen.

This, in part, is what gave rise to the sometimes controversial site Klout, which purports to tell you and the world around you how influential a person you may be. Last I read, they’re even attempting to incorporate real-world influence into their otherwise all-digital universe. But I digress.

The key to getting more followers is to be someone others want to follow.

That may sound simple, but there are multiple ways to achieve this goal. Celebrities, sports stars, authors, and business leaders have a built-in followership. That’s why they can easily have millions of Twitter followers in a short amount of time. But what about someone just starting out on Twitter, like a new business owner?

If you’re serious about using Twitter to enhance your personal online profile or to augment your business, you’ll need to learn how to use Twitter differently than if you were only using it personally. The following is by no means a comprehensive list, but I’ve experienced moderate success with my work Twitter account (@FVmomentum) by following a few simple guidelines.

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Getting Started with Twitter: Recommended Twitter Apps

twitter-bird-white-on-blueWhile there’s currently a certain level of annoyance on the part of third-party Twitter developers because of Twitter’s new API rules, Twitter’s willingness to let developers create apps on top of their software has been a boon both to Twitter and many of these developers. While these factions argue about OAUTH and tokens and other dev-speak, it’s us, the end-users, who have reaped the benefits of the Twitter ecosystem.

A broad array of Twitter apps abound that can help you do just about anything you’d like to with Twitter. Below, I’ll share what I actually use, plus provide a list of other services that may interest you.

What Twitter apps should I use?

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Getting Started with Twitter: Linking Twitter with Facebook

twitter-bird-white-on-blueSince Facebook has amassed nearly a billion users and Twitter has approximately half of that number, another question often asked by Twitter newbies is:

Should I link my Twitter and Facebook accounts?

In my opinion, there is no right or wrong answer.

If you’d like one less social media account to update, linking your Twitter account to your Facebook account solves that. When you update Twitter, your Facebook status will also update. However, you’ll lose the ability to post longer status updates to Facebook, or to enjoy the rich media autolinking that Facebook uses to display those pretty pictures when you post links directly to Facebook. If the only two social media sites you use are Facebook and Twitter, I’d recommend linking your accounts. It’s the fastest way to update both sites simultaneously.

On the other hand, articles also abound on the vast differences between Twitter and Facebook and the need to treat each of them separately in order to get the best return from using either service. For instance, this bit.ly report on social media shelf-life states that “You can expect, on average, an extra 24 minutes of attention if you post on Facebook than if you post on Twitter.”

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Getting Started with Twitter: The Timing of Tweeting

twitter-bird-white-on-bluePeople always want to know the answer to two specific questions regarding Twitter, especially if they’re concerned about getting their content in front of as many eyes as possible. How do I know this? I’ve been (and continue to be) one of those people. Those questions are:

When should I tweet?

How often should I tweet?

I’ve seen so many articles and countless infographics trying to answer these questions. Search long enough and I’m certain you’ll find contradicting information. It’s best to tweet early in the morning, but late in the week. It’s best to tweet late in the day, but early in the week. It’s best to tweet only on weekends, but only at 4:17pm. You could drive yourself insane attempting to find the “perfect” time to tweet. The medium is such a fluid machine that, in my humble opinion, there can be no one-size-fits-all answer.

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Getting Started with Twitter: What’s in a Retweet?

twitter-bird-white-on-blueIf used appropriately, retweets are one surefire way to earn respect and gain followers on Twitter.

What’s a Twitter Retweet?

A retweet is exactly what it sounds like, i.e. when you tweet somebody else’s tweet.

“Old school” retweets look like this:

This is my preferred method. Call me old-hat, unyielding to change, or simply hip (to be square), but it’s what I’ve grown up with in the vast five-year span I’ve been on Twitter. Don’t tread on my retweet sensibilities. As we learned in the bonus tip in Mentions and Direct Messages, since you’re placing characters before the other Twitter user’s name, this tweet will be publicly viewable.

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Getting Started with Twitter: Mentions and Direct Messages

twitter-bird-white-on-blueToday we’ll discuss the relational building blocks of Twitter, also known as mentions and direct messages.

What’s the difference between a mention and a direct message?

Simply put, mentions are public, direct messages are private. The 140-character limit remains in effect regardless.

Twitter Mentions

When you begin a tweet with @twittername, that’s called a “mention.” It sends a public message to @twittername. If another Twitterer follows both you and @twittername, they will see the interaction. If another Twitterer does a search for a specific term used in your mention, they’ll see your tweet as well.

You can also mention someone in the middle of a message, like “Hey @batwood, why was your post so long and boring?” and that person will see your tweet as a mention; however, this is considered a public tweet and not specifically a mention. They effectively work the same way, but in the first instance the only people that see the tweet are you, the person you’ve mentioned, and anyone that follows both of you. In the second instance, anyone can see your tweet. You can mention anyone in a tweet, regardless of whether they’re following you or you’re following them. Just be sure you’re using the right Twitter name and to never leave a space between the @ and their Twitter username.

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Getting Started with Twitter: Choosing a Name

twitter-bird-white-on-blueMy Uncle, a pastor, poet and author, recently joined Twitter. He asked me for a crash course in tweeting. Instead of providing advice to him alone, I thought others might also benefit from the few things I’ve learned since joining Twitter in April 2007. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I do run three separate Twitter accounts, the best of which (in terms of followers, quality of content, and consistency) is my work Twitter acount, @FVmomentum.

This is the first in a series of ten posts regarding the ten things I wish I would have known when I first started using Twitter as @batwood.

What name should I choose for Twitter?

Like many superheroes, Twitter’s greatest power is also its greatest weakness, i.e. the 140-character limitation. You want to choose a name as short as possible so that you leave ample room for your tweets and links, but you still want to ensure that your Twitter handle reflects who you are (or who you’re trying to be) online.

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