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Making A Habit Of Twitter

Twitter’s high drop-out rate for new users is well documented and has been an issue for some time. People hear all the hype, excitedly sign up and expect magical things to just happen, instantly. Of course, it doesn’t work like that. Inevitably, they’re underwhelmed and confused – a horrible combination at the best of times – and after an initial burst of enthusiasm they give up, and head back to Facebook.

Twitter isn’t for everybody, but it is for almost everybody. Certainly anyone who has something to say, lives any kind of life that isn’t completely and utterly devoid of events or wants to follow the lives, thoughts and events of others. And despite what a lot of folks think, very few individuals fit that description.

(Although given the amount of tweets about food intake – and outtake – this might not appear to be the case.)

So, Twitter can and will work for the majority. The trick is to make a habit of it. Here’s how you do it:

How To Make A Habit Of Twitter

  1. Swot up – it’s worth spending some time reading about what Twitter is and how it works. My Twitter 101 tutorials are a great place to begin.
  2. Be yourself.
  3. Learn the math.
  4. Use the right tools – Twitter.com is much better than it used to be but you need to be able to monitor your streams easily and effectively, and software like HootSuite is better. The same goes for mobile usage – do some research on what is accepted as the best mobile client for your brand of phone and install it. For example, Twitter For iPhone, Twitter For iPad, UberSocial (Blackberry), Twidroyd (Android), etc. Try others, but the market leader is usually the leader for a reason, and typically the best place for the new user to start.
  5. Twitter isn’t Facebook. The platform, experience and audience are completely different – and will expect different things from you.
  6. Check at least the latest tweets on your homepage 2-3 times a day, spaced apart, seven days a week. If you have more time to spare, then great, but you don’t have to become obsessed for Twitter to have value. 30 minutes a day is more than enough. It shouldn’t feel like work, and it also shouldn’t be something you want to get away from. Checking Twitter on your phone when you’re queuing at the Post Office should feel second nature and normal – not something you have to do.
  7. Pay very close attention to your mentions folder – always reply promptly and courteously. While your network size is small, use push notifications on your phone if they’re supported by your software as these work as a great prompt.
  8. Follow people that YOU find interesting – if Twitter seems ‘boring’, you’ve only got yourself to blame.
  9. If nobody is following you, there’s probably a good reason.
  10. Don’t protect your profile – it will only limit the experience.
  11. Figure out where you fit in the Twitter social space – for example, your timezone and the timezone of your audience might not be the same.
  12. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you don’t have to actually tweet at all to still get a ton of value from Twitter.

Follow these guidelines, and pretty soon you should start to get a solid feel for how Twitter works. It’s generally accepted that you need to invest 30 days in something to make a habit of it, so give Twitter a good month before making up your mind. I suspect that things will click a lot earlier, but if you’re reading and engaging each and every day for four weeks (and a bit), you’ll definitely be in a great position to decide whether Twitter is for you.

And unless you’re one of those very few, I can almost guarantee that it will be.

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