10 tips to get you started on Twitter

New to Twitter? No problem. Follow these 10 tips and you’ll be well on your way to a successful presence there.

1. Use your real name

Shaw Grigsby

Shaw Grisgby tweets a short video update on a tournament morning.

This is pretty self-explanatory. Make your Twitter handle your name: @JohnDoe or @John_Doe or @JohnADoe or @JohnDoeFishing. Try to create one without numbers and too many symbols, and ideally you want the same exact handle you’re using for your Facebook page and elsewhere on social media. When it comes to branding yourself, you want to be consistent.

2. Brand yourself

It’s time to create a personal brand identity. Who are you? How do you want others to see you? What makes you unique? And why should anyone care? On top of answering those important questions for yourself, you also want to foster an image. Do you have an interesting look? A color you always wear and that wraps your boat and vehicle? Aaron Martens is known for his purple, and Skeet Reese has his signature yellow. You don’t have the name recognition those guys have yet, so go with something bold. Be different. Create an image that lingers in minds long after the weigh-in is over. Kevin VanDam even has his own logo. There’s no reason you can’t, too. And then drive home the image of you by using consistent branding imagery in the header (1500×500 pixels on Twitter) and profile (400×400 pixels) photo spaces across all the social media platforms you’re on.

3. Twitter ≠ Facebook

It’s been said that Facebook is for connecting with the people you know and that Twitter is for connecting with the people you want to know. Nowadays, Facebook has evolved to serve more of the latter purpose, too. Companies use it all the time to foster online community with both customers and those they want to become customers. Even so, they’re very different platforms. Twitter is for quick, microblog posts. Facebook allows for much more than that. A general rule is to post more detailed posts less often on Facebook and less detailed posts more often on Twitter. I know it’s tempting to simply have your Twitter posts automatically post to Facebook, or vice versa. But don’t do it. If you’re going to be on social media, do it right, and make unique posts that cater to the qualities of each platform.

4. Post often …

Experts say the ideal frequency for posting to Twitter is five times a day. It’s not a hard rule, but it’s a good mark to aim for. Five times daily may sound like a lot, but remember that your posts can be quite short and actually can’t be any longer than 140 characters. Start out posting once a day to get a feel for it, and then up the number of posts gradually. As you get comfortable, posting multiple times daily will become pretty easy.

5. … But have something to say

Don’t just post for the sake of posting. Keep random posts about anything outside the realm of your life as a fishing pro to a minimum. You don’t want to throw a tweet out there about nothing helpful or particularly interesting simply because it feels like time; you always want to be adding value for your followers and potential followers. Every post should be focused on your brand and your goals. Your content should always be reinforcing your passion. And don’t hesitate to retweet someone else’s post. Share helpful fishing tips, funny anecdotes, anything interesting that will start a conversation with your followers — just remember why they followed you in the first place: They share your interest in the sport of fishing.

6. Make every word count

Take advantage of Twitter’s bio area to tell people who you are. Twitter will limit you here to 160 characters, so you’ll want to choose your words carefully. Tempting though it may be, you don’t want to use this space to be quirky, to get a laugh, or to just be a smartass. At least not until you’re hosting “The Tonight Show.” Remember, you’re trying to build a brand. Don’t be afraid to ask a significant other or friend who is good at writing or has a knack for marketing to help you out. And make sure you throw in some keywords like “professional,” “angler,” “bass,” etc., to help anyone that’s searching these terms on Twitter to easily find you.

7. Add a link

This one is simple but crucial. Twitter will allow you to add a link below your bio, so make sure you provide a link to somewhere people can learn more about you. Hopefully that place is your website.

8. Monitor and reply

When people tweet at you, they expect a response. When it’s a company, users expect that response within an hour. Luckily, no one expects that from a personal brand like that of a busy fishing pro who’s likely managing his own social media. But responding within 24 hours should be what you shoot for. If you want some professional help monitoring mentions of you across social media and everywhere else online, there are some services to help with that.

9. Be a pro

Though Twitter is somewhat more forgiving than other online mediums, do your best to keep your tweets typo- and error-free. Also set up your profile with some professional-quality, dynamic photos of yourself and maybe your boat. These should be the same as, or at least similar to, the photos you’re using on Facebook and elsewhere. Remember, consistent branding. Adhere to these exact dimensions to ensure the photos don’t end up awkwardly cropped:

  • Header photo: 1500×500 pixels
  • Profile photo: 400×400 pixels

10. Reciprocate follows

It’s basically become Twitter etiquette to follow anyone back who follows you (there are even tools to tell you who isn’t following you back so you can return the favor). That’s probably an especially good strategy right now when you’re trying to build your brand and online profile. People will like that you were engaged enough to follow them back, and, in theory, it will ultimately lead to more followers for you.

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Author: Nathan Benson

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