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12 Most Glaringly Obvious Reasons You’re A Twitter Newbie


You decide to conquer Twitter. You figure “hey, it can’t be that hard if my niece can do it.” (by the way, that was me, a few years ago)
So I opened my account. And sat there, dumbfounded by all the lingo, # thingies, afraid to touch the keys for fear anything I did might blow up or worse, someone would surely yell at me.
It didn’t happen. Nothing blew up, nobody yelled (though they probably should have). I did make multiple newbie errors which I see hundreds of people make each day. Which is cool.
As long as you don’t keep making them.

Ergo, my 12 Most guide to save you my gaffes:

1. The ask:

‘So, what do you do?’ I’m asked at least once per day. Dude: read my Twitter profile first. 99% of us state what we do in our profile (I’m an author and social media consultant whose unicorn is a dumbass. I will also cut someone for Nutella.) I appreciate the attempt at interaction. Truly. But take a sec & read my profile. This not only shows you have a brain, but that you’ve taken a microsecond to use it. (Too snarky? I don’t want to be snarky. #okaywait.)

2. The reply:

PLEASE tweet someone back using the REPLY button. This way we know what you’re referring to, as do other people, who want to find out what ‘That’s so funny!’ means.

3. The RT or retweet:

Rather than using the RT button, use ‘RT @RachelintheOC’ then copy and paste my tweet if you want to RT me. Alternatively, copy & paste the tweet & say ‘via @RachelintheOC’ at the end rather than simply hitting the RT button. Why? Here’s a great explanation from one of my Twitter mentors, Ray Beckerman. Bottom line: This way, it counts (SEO blah blah, if you care about such things). Triberr uses via. I like Triberr. Ergo, I like via.

4. The spam:

I’ve gone on (and on) ad nauseam (in fact, I think I’ve spammed myself at this point) in previous articles on about link spamming, so I’ll spare you the soapbox. Suffice it to say you need a good content (no link) to promo (link) ratio or people will unfollow, block, or tune you out. A typical ratio for a personal account is 3 to 5:1; pro account is 1:1. Notice I didn’t say all links. Provide content, folks!

5. The 2,000:

You are NOT stuck at 2,000 followers. When I see people say ‘Sorry, I can’t follow you back cause I’m stuck,’ my eyes roll so hard they’re in danger of getting stuck. Use ManageFlitter to clear out the eggs, nevertweeteds, and nonfollowbacks. Be brutal. Do it weekly. Those celebs might be interesting #snore, but do they help you, RT you, add to your content in any way? Then dump ‘em. Yes, there’s a 10% ratio limit after you hit the 2,000 mark. But nobody is stuck.

6. The auto DMs with the dreaded link:

Many people assume this is what they should do to get additional likes or even sales. Well, you know what they say about making assumptions. If you have a link in your DM, remove it now. The auto DM itself isn’t bad (if you make it cool) — it’s the link that makes you look spammy. Make it stop. If you have an auto DM, make it interesting, at least.

7. The follow train:

Avoid. Why? #teamfollowback is a sure sign that you are hoarding followers and don’t care who they are (even if you do, the impression is you don’t). Therefore, why should we care about you? The best part about Twitter is curating your own little world within the huge Twitterverse. You manipulate it to be whatever you want it to be. Where else can you do that besides well, a video game? Follow whomever you want, not some random train of people who have nothing to do with you or your interests. Get off that train, baby.

8. The profile, avatar, and links:

Profile: You have 160 characters for your profile, so use it! Why people have NO profile, I’ll never understand. Put something. Why is it difficult for some people to create a profile (besides the fact that they’re not writers?)? See point #9.
Avatar: Choose a hi-res shot. Why? When enlarged, it will look blurry or pixelated and you’ll look like a newbie. Didn’t take it with a hi-res camera? There’s an app for that! #seriously.
Links: Shorten them. I recommend because you can customize your clicks (see what I did here on my @RachelintheOC profile) but you can also track them. This is useful for authors especially to know how many clicks we get from Twitter to Skynet Amazon.
Two links: Yes, you can now add TWO links to your Twitter profile — too cool! One goes in the area where you write your bio; the other goes in the URL area. Shorten both. Looks more professional.

9. The branding:

When I see tweeps write this in their profile: random tweeter (or some such nonsense) I cringe. Hey, I get it. Not everyone is on Twitter for marketing, sales, or business. They just want to see what The Biebs ate for breakfast. Cool. But for those of us who are (why you’re reading this), branding is key. What six keywords represent you best? Hashtag three in your Twitter profile, use them consistently in your tweets, follow people with similar interests. Make it organic and it will feel natural. ‘See your hashtag, become your hashtag.’

10. The follow back:

If you’re under 2,000 followers, why aren’t you following people back (if they fit your target)? This is your key building phase. I follow 50 people every day. I give them one week to follow me back. If they don’t — gone. That’s plenty of time to follow someone back. Check your follows! (P.S. You may see this hashtag: #flb {followback}. Now you know.)

11. The thank you:

It’s cool to thank people for RTs and stuff. Just don’t clog up your stream with twenty thank you’s all at once. I wrote about this previously on my blog. This is an excellent way to lose followers or never gain them in the first place. Wait. Redhead say what? Yep, that’s right.
Antithetical to everything you’ve ever been taught, thanking people can make you lose followers on Twitter because all someone sees when they come over to check out your stream is this: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU… how interesting is that? So, still thank people but:
Bitch it up: use one of your branding hashtags. When I thank someone, I say #NutellaHugs on my @RachelintheOC stream, since I’m clearly obsessed with the stuff and I want to be friendly.
Thank them in DM. Are you thanking people so you can look good to others, or so you can truly be thankful?
Thank them in other ways: follow them back, RT them, follow their blog, email them, shout them out, introduce them to someone else…

12. Read the link before commenting:

Probably the most annoying thing ever. This is how I help you from looking the fool. This is how flame wars start. This is how you look like that guy.
I get it. Everyone wants to get a laugh — I know. I’m a humorist. But take a few seconds to read the link first. (One guy thought he was making a joke about society when in reality the post was about a young girl who started a charity for kids with cancer. Do you want to be that guy? Didn’t think so.)

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