Instagram and Facebook are easy to use. You post a life update, a cute picture of your cat and a video of yourself traveling. But Twitter (rebranded as X) is a different type of social media platform that revolves around microblogging.
The vibe on the platform is different.
You can educate others, join in on in-depth conversations and learn a lot on X that you can’t really do on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram or any other social platform. Learning how to use Twitter for beginners can be intimidating because it does seem a bit “cliquey,” but we’re going to show you how to get started in three steps.
Step #1: Start With All of the Basics
Social media basics can help you get started on Twitter like a pro. Engagement and interactions are valued on the platform, so it’s important to do a few things when just getting started:
1. Setup Your Profile
First, you’re going to create an account, and you can do this with:
- Phone number
- Email address
You’ll want to choose a handle, or username, that embraces who you want to be on Twitter.
Once you’re done, you’ll want to fill in your profile. If you want to be taken seriously, you’ll need to do the following:
You’ll also have the option of adding your location. Businesses will often fill in this field, but as an individual, this isn’t 100% necessary.
2. Choose Your Niche
Next, you’ll want to “choose your niche.” The term “niche” is used loosely here because with 350+ million users, you’ll find that many people do not choose a niche. If you want to browse and comment on hobbies that you like, there’s no need to waste your time on this step.
However, if you’re using X for personal or business branding, a niche is important. You can build authority and trust by posting:
- Content relevant to your niche
- Staying within your niche when commenting / following others
With this in mind, a niche will allow you to stay on brand and avoid confusing followers.
3. Learn About Different Content Formats
Twitter has a few different forms of content that you can post. You may want to post a simple text tweet, and this is fine, but images receive three times the engagement. Videos have even higher engagement than images.
You can and should utilize the different content formats on Twitter, including:
Eventually, you may want to create Twitter chats and other forms of content. We recommend starting with these formats and rehashing them to fill up your content calendar.
4. Explore Hashtags
Hashtags will empower you to be found on X. You can click the magnifying glass to see trending hashtags. However, every niche has its own hashtags that you’ll want to use when posting. These tags will help others find your content.
You can explore these tags on your own or use third-party platforms, such as:
Experiment with these tags and add them into your posts to help other accounts find you organically.
5. Create a Content Calendar
Finally, you’ll want to create a content calendar. Often, people create social accounts, post for a few days or weeks, and then they suddenly abandon their accounts. Creating a content calendar will hold you accountable and ensure that you:
- Post frequently
- Plan for your account’s success
You can make an in-depth calendar, but you don’t need to complicate things. Simply create a free Google Sheets and add in the following:
- Post text
- Post media (if any)
- Time to tweet
- Checkbox of the tweet being sent
If you create a simple file with these cells, you’ll have a much easier time managing your posting schedule. You’ll also find third-party tools that allow you to schedule your posts, such as Hootsuite or Buffer.
What a first step!
If you follow just the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to using Twitter as a beginner. However, now you need to build up your following and really start standing out in your industry by strategically posting content.
Step #2: Strategically Posts Content
Twitter, like any other social platform, is all about content creation and engaging with others. You have a content calendar that you just set up, but now it’s time to fill it in to gain followers. A bit of experimentation needs to go into these steps to see what works and doesn’t for your audience.
However, we recommend the following:
1. Post Multiple Content Forms
Post multiple types of content, including text, video and even polls. You’ll also want to switch up the forms of content that you post, such as:
- Multi-image posts
- Educational posts
- Product/service teasers
- Customer testimonials
- Industry news
- Personal insights / studies
- Actionable posts
You want to keep your followers engaged and learn what types of content they prefer. A good mix of content and insights will keep your followers coming back to check your tweets. When you have 100 or more tweets, scour your data to see which types of content your audience likes and create more of it.
Of course, some of these ideas are for businesses and will not perform well for individuals.
2. Post At the Right Time
Tweeting at the right time can help you expand your following and get a lot more engagement. But your followers can be in one of many time zones, which means the right time to post can vary a lot.
However, it’s recommended by Buffer, which has a lot of data to go off of, that you post at these times:
- 1 PM for any time zone is best
- 8 AM and 9 AM are universally good times to post
- Posting Monday – Wednesday by 3 or 4 PM is ideal
- Thursday and Friday posting should end at 12 PM and 1 PM, respectively
Saturday posting can be done all day, but Sunday’s best time is a window from 9 AM to 12 PM. All of these times are Eastern Standard Time and should be adjusted to your time zone.
Posting about 4 times per day seems to work best before engagement drops.
3. Create Threads
Nested threads allow you to share a wealth of knowledge with your followers and work super well for engagement. Some threads have tens of thousands of shares and likes. You can and should begin using them by:
- Clicking the Tweet button
- Typing out your Tweet
- Click “+” near the Post button
- Continue with your thoughts
You’ll want to create very informative, in-depth threads a few times a week at most. These threads can help you gain followers and become an authority in your industry, but you want to make sure what you’re sharing is truly amazing content.
With posting at the right time out of the way, all you need to do is follow these tips to continue building your X account.
Step #3: Follow These 10+ Tips
The tips in steps one and two can help you get started on the right foot on Twitter. If you’re looking to grow your following, these 10+ tips can help:
1. Be Consistent, But Don’t Overdo It
If you want to grow a following on Twitter, it’s important to post consistently – but don’t go overboard.
If you’re tweeting every five or ten minutes, you may start annoying your followers. The last thing you want to do is oversaturate the following you’ve worked hard to build.
How do you know if you’re tweeting too often?
Check your engagement levels.
If you’re tweeting more often and your likes, comments and follows start dropping, this may be an indication that you’re posting too often.
2. Jump on Trends
One way to stand out in the crowd and start attracting new followers is to jump on trends whenever they’re relevant. Check trending hashtags and see if you can add anything of value to the conversation.
Many brands get creative when jumping on trends. This tweet from Animal Planet is a perfect example of how a brand can jump on an unlikely trend. On National Peanut Butter Lovers Day, the brand posted about a hidden ingredient in peanut butter that may be harmful to dogs.
When you can jump on trends in creative ways, you can really expand your reach, grow your following and start building authority.
3. Don’t Just Promote – Engage
Twitter is a social network. Sure, it can be used to promote your brand and its offerings. However, the primary purpose of the platform is to engage with others.
Far too often, businesses only publish posts that link back to their websites.
But if you want to build your following, you must interact with other users and publish other forms of content (as we discussed previously).
4. Take Full Advantage of the Character Limit
Tweets now have a character limit of 280. Take full advantage of it. Rather than just posting a few sentences, you can expand and get more creative with your content.
5. Make Data-Backed Decisions
If you’re trying to grow your following, you’ll need to change your strategy from time to time. But when you make those changes, it’s crucial to ensure they’re based on logic and not just gut instinct.
Take the time to analyze your Twitter analytics. See what’s working and what isn’t working.
Use the data you have to make smart decisions about your Twitter strategy.
6. Engage in Twitter Chats
Twitter chats are, essentially, live chats that focus on a specific topic. They are often hosted regularly and have a sponsor who hosts the discussion.
Chats are a great way to get more involved in the Twitter community and get to know other users. It’s also a great way to build authority and stand out in the crowd.
7. Automate Whenever it Makes Sense
Automation can save time on social media, but it does have a downside. The last thing you want is for your Twitter account to feel like a chatbot.
To find a balance, be selective about what you automate and use it wisely. You can use automation to:
- Schedule your posts ahead of time instead of tweeting manually
- Automatically tag tweets containing certain hashtags
- Streamline the customer service workflow
Make sure that you’re not using automation tools to send DMs to new followers or spamming your followers with messages that have links.
8. Make Use of Graphic Templates
Tweets with images typically get more engagement, but creating individual graphics for every post can be time-consuming.
Consider creating graphic templates that you can edit. For example, you can create templates for event announcements or quotes from your blog.
Along with saving time, templates can also help build brand awareness. Followers will come to recognize when you’re posting certain types of content.
9. Be Inspired by Others, But Don’t Copy Them
When you’re building your brand and following on Twitter, it’s natural to perform competitor analysis to see what’s working for them.
It’s great to be inspired by what your competitors are doing, but there’s a fine line between being inspired and copying them outright.
10. Personalize Shared Content
If you’re sharing content on Twitter, take a moment to personalize your tweet. Don’t just tweet the title of the article. Many other users on Twitter will be tweeting just the title of the post, which will make it even harder for your content to stand out.
Find something interesting in the article and add it to your tweet along with the link.
11. Make Use of the Retweet with Comment Feature
Retweeting is a great way to boost engagement and gain new followers when you want to share something interesting that another user tweeted.
But you can add to the conversation by using the Retweet with Comment feature. Adding your own commentary will make the retweet more personalized and add value for your audience.
If you’re just getting started on Twitter, this guide will help you set up an account and start building your following. Make sure that you’re focused on creating valuable content and engaging with your audience.