Twitter Basics From a Marketer With More Than 200K Followers Here's how to get started on the microblogging platform and what you should and should not do.

By Alice Martin

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Most people I speak with feel overwhelmed with Twitter and struggle relentlessly with how to get started on the platform. If you're one of the many hiding from the tweeting blue bird, let me help you get started with a few tips:

1. Follow the Twitter sign-up process and create your profile with a picture and a bio. Before you start, research and follow around 12 famous Twitter accounts.

2. Fill your timeline with content-rich tweets and interesting topics. Don't forget to include pictures, so your timeline appears rich in visual content. Use a tool such as Tweepi or Tweet Adder and follow 250 people who have tweeted that day. You can use the setting on the tools to see their activities on Twitter, and follow the active ones, which have a higher chance of following you back. Remember to constantly tweet content from your page. You don't want your whole Twitter stream to be "Thanks for the follow."

Related: So, You Got Yourself a Twitter Handle. Now What?

3. Follow 250 people per day for the next eight days, which will bring you to the limit of 2,000. Do not follow everyone. Only follow the individuals you want seen in your timeline. This will give you more room to get over the 2,000 mark a tad bit faster.

4. Unfollow anyone who is not following you back after two days. The goal is to have more followers then following. Start the process again of following 250 per day, but not the same people. If you decide to re-follow individuals you've followed before, this could get you suspended for aggressively following and unfollowing. Getting over the 2,000 limit usually takes about 21 days, and with great content and engagement, this usually happens sooner. The Twitter guidelines/rules can be found here.

Here are some other tips for Twitter:

  • Use a picture and biography when creating your twitter profile along with a #hashtag about yourself.
  • Want retweets? Post pictures.
  • Use hashtags for more longevity for your messages.
  • Give gratitude to those who have retweeted you.
  • Retweet others when relevant.
  • If someone asks you a question that is reasonable, make sure it is addressed.
  • Treat Twitter as a tool to generate awareness for your business or cause. Be authentic.

Related: How I Went From Zero to 380,000 Twitter Followers Without Spending a Dime

What you shouldn't do on Twitter:

  • #TUI -- tweeting under the influence. Need I say more? #LOL
  • Never give your password when prompted to after opening a link. Your account will be hacked, sending spamming messages to the last people you followed.
  • Don't send several tweets to people that don't follow you back, or you risk suspension.
  • Sending the same link or tweet out within a 24-hour time is considered spam.
  • Don't be a bully.
  • Don't ask inappropriate questions publicly or send private direct messages to those who don't follow you.
  • #Don't #over-do #your #use #of #hashtags.

Remember, tweets are public and what you write will outlive you. Your activities get recorded on Twitter, so make sure you are sending messages that are appropriate for now and the future.

Related: The 7 Musts of Customer Service on Social Media

Alice Martin

President of shroomsocial

Alice Martin is president of shroomsocial, a leading digital marketing firm specializing in social media services and web development. With a background in marketing, radio and TV, Martin sees her work as an art and a science, bringing the voice of brands alive. Her clients cross the spectrum of verticals food, wine, arts and entertainment, lifestyle and retail.

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