1. Go to Twitter.com and click on Get Started Now – Join the conversation!
2. Create a Username – your own name is great or combined with a good keyword, or a business name or username you typically use online.
3. Follow the other instructions, then Create your account.
4. SKIP adding current friends until you’ve established some tweets and edited your profile.
5. Click on Settings and fill in your website/blog/Facebook as URL.
6. Fill out your one line bio – 160 characters with a good description including key words.
7. Add your general location or specific town. Geotagging is optional – it shows exact location.
8. I do not recommend protecting your tweets, they will not be indexed by search engines.
9. Save your Account settings then click the Notices tab. Choose your preferences.
10. Click the Picture tab, and upload a picture. Any size is OK, and you’ll be asked to crop it. I recommend a clear photo of you, or professional headshot. Not cartoons or logos! Save.
11. Click the Design tab and either choose one of their designs for your background image of your Home page or click Change Background Image to upload your own. A custom image should be very large – about 1600×1200 pixels. Click Tile if you have a smaller image but wanted it repeated automatically to cover the screen. Save changes.
12. Click Design Colors tab and at the very bottom you can play around with the color scheme of your Home page – the side bar, links, text. Save changes.
13. Tweet a few things! This is not the place to go in blazing with sales pitches. Share something you are working on or an inspirational quote. Several tweets in a row before you start inviting people will give them a sense of who you are when deciding whether to connect with you.
14. Click the Find Friends if you’d like to search for existing contacts in Gmail, AOL or Yahoo.
15. Or click Invite by Email and add your email contacts, separated by commas, which will send an email to them letting them know you have a Twitter account.
16. Find NEW people to follow (who will maybe follow you back) by clicking the Browse Suggestions or Find on Twitter tabs. When you see someone interesting, click the +Follow button and their tweets will appear on your Home page as part of your “feed.” Find more potential connections on sites such as www.twellow.com and www.wefollow.com
17. Begin replying to or Retweeting people in your feed. When you see a tweet to reply to, hover over the right side and click Reply to comment back to them, or Retweet to send their message to all of your followers. Your goal is to interact by Replying or Retweeting MORE than posting your own messages. Alternatively, manually reply by using @whatever at the beginning of your post for a reply, or RT: and copy/paste the tweet for a Retweet.
18. Favorite some posts, quotes, or website links you like by hovering over the tweet and clicking the star. These are used as bookmarks and can be accessed in the sidebar.
19. Visit people’s Profiles (to read their bio, see their website or see their tweets) by clicking on their username or @name in a Reply or Retweet. While on their Profile page, you can do several things.
20. On someone’s profile page, click the button with the gear and you can send a Direct Message to that person. Direct Messages (DMs) are private. You can only DM someone who you are following and who is following you back.
21. You can also Reply/Mention them from their profile.
22. Add them to a List using the Lists button. Create Lists that make sense to you – this is like sorting contacts based on commonalities. You can only create 20 Lists and they show up as a link on your sidebar. People can follow your lists, and you can follow theirs.
23. Go back to your Home page. Your @username link on the sidebar will show you any tweets others have posted that include your @username. These are usually replies that you may want to reply back to. Sometimes they are mentions, which you can also reply or acknowledge.
24. Direct Messages shows any private messages you’ve sent or received.
25. The Favorites link lists any tweets you’ve clicked the star next to. You can import these into your Notes application on your Facebook fan page or profile by copying the RSS feed link on the bottom right into the Feed box when editing your Notes application. (Ask if you need help!)
26. The Retweets link will show any posts your friends have Retweeted, or posts you have Retweeted, or the best part, posts of yours that others have Retweeted. Since Retweeting is a subtle endorsement and exposes the original poster to a new group of people, they are valuable!
27. Use the Search Box to search on a relevant topic to your target market. Put phrases in quotation marks for best results. For example, “Sonoma County” would show me anyone on Twitter who either has Sonoma County in their bio or has tweeted about Sonoma County. You can then choose to follow them if you think it would be a good connection.
28. If you like the search results you find, click Save This Search. That search term will now show up as a link on the side bar which you can check any time to keep an eye on the buzz around that keyword or phrase.
29. Trending Topics are things that the majority of people in a specific area are talking about on Twitter. You can Change the location of the trends easily and see what is going on in other areas. Clicking on one of the Trending Topics gives you a feed of posts from people mentioning that phrase. You can then choose to follow some or Save this Search.
30. The Following grid shows a sampling of who you are following. You can go to other people’s Profile page and see who they are following. Click on some of the people and if they are interesting to you, follow them as well.
31. If you find someone particularly interesting and don’t want to miss a tweet, you can subscribe to their tweets via RSS in a feed reader by clicking the orange button at the bottom of their Profile page.
32. Back on your own Home page, click on the number you are Following to get a list of all those you have connected to. From there you can add them to Lists or unfollow etc.
33. Click on the number of Followers to see who is following you. If you are already following them as well, there will be a green checkmark. If you’d like to follow them and aren’t already, click the + people button and add them to a List etc. You do not need to follow everyone back but you can see their last tweet to decide, or you can click on their name to visit their Profile and see what they are about. If there is some potential for common interests it is a good idea to follow them back.
34. Click the Listed link to see who has you on one of their Lists. It’s nice to be noticed!
35. If you see a # before a word, that is a “hashtag” that people have added to aid in searches.
36. Click the Help link on top if you are ever confused. They do a good job of explaining things!
Remember this is SOCIAL media. Use Twitter to start or participate in conversations!