Complete Guide to Twitter [Resource Hub]

Last week we brought you our complete guide to LinkedIn, and this week we’re back with another resource hub for everyone’s favorite shortform social networking site: Twitter. Whether you’re a 140-character guru or a total newbie, the resources below will teach you to conquer the platform from top to bottom.

The Twitter Basics

Still haven’t set up your Twitter account? Whether you’re using it for marketing, personal branding or simple communication, this guide will help you optimize your Twitter profile in a way that will help you get the most out of the site. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Be sure your @handle and description include keywords relevant to your interests and/or industry.
  • Choose a profile image that will instantly communicate your purpose to Twitter users (who have notoriously short attention spans).
  • Upload a custom background image to engage users and promote your other social profiles.

Learning Twitter’s Lingo

Most web discussion platforms preserve all posts to a discussion topic in the same contained space for easy reference. Think of the structure of Facebook status update – the conversation evolves chronologically in the comments section. In stark contrast, Twitter’s conversations are a series of thoughts volleyed back and forth between accounts, like a game of verbal tennis.

Because each user’s profile only displays their end of the conversation, Twitter has developed its own nomenclature for directing, sorting and organizing tweets. Get familiar with this glossary of Twitter terms to help you navigate the multi-threaded interactions that make Twitter tick.

Corral the Conversation

If the last section makes Twitter’s discussion threading sound a little convoluted, take solace in the fact that you aren’t the first person to crave a little organization in the conversational zoo. Many programs exist to corral Twitter’s wealth of personal interaction into something you can make sense of. We recommend using HootSuite to manage your social media presence. This guide will teach you how to schedule tweets, track conversions and set up multiple columns and lists to monitor the conversation surrounding your brand.

Content Marketing

Twitter is a fruitful pursuit for businesses looking to promote their products, but you’ll need to understand one very important thing before you get started: Twitter is about conversation, not advertising. Just like you wouldn’t walk into a party and yell, “EVERYBODY BUY BURT’S ICE CREAM!!”, you shouldn’t spam your followers with self-serving sales tweets that add nothing to the community.

If you were to walk into that same party with a tub of Burt’s Ice Cream, though, they might leave talking about how delicious it is – a scenario that more closely approximates how you can capture marketing opportunities on Twitter. Here’s how to do just that:

Use Twitter for Your Business – The Right Way – Conversations, not advertising.
How To Write the Perfect Tweet – Write headlines that cut through the noise. (And there’s a lot of noise.)
The Science of Social Timing – Time your tweets to be broadcast during peak hours, and post frequently enough to remain visible in Twitter’s constantly refreshing conversation stream.
Complete Guide to Newsjacking – Promote your products creatively by inserting yourself into trending conversations.
4 Awesome Types of Successful Twitter Contests – Contests are one of the best ways to build your audience – and they can require something as simple as a retweet.

Networking on Twitter

How to Use Twitter Lists For Time Management and Profit – Organize brands, thought leaders and other connections into public lists. People can save valuable lists for reference, and you can use them as an excuse to give shout outs and initiate conversations in your space.
Twitter Chat Doc – Twitter chats are discussions conducted through a specific hashtag at a predetermined time. It’s a great way to engage precisely targeted communities in conversation. This Google document lists them all.
8 Easy Ways to Network on Twitter – Suggestions for engaging the right people the right way on Twitter.

Monitor Your Brand

Some brand monitoring advice has been scattered throughout these links, but it bears repeating: custom lists and saved keyword searches can tell you what the world is saying about you – and your competitors! Use them wisely to provide customer service, brainstorm future blog content, keep track of your competitors, engage influencers and generally stay plugged into the conversation.

8 Easy Twitter Monitoring Ideas – Use Twitter and other monitoring platforms as a “listening tool.”
Using Twitter to Monitor Brand Conversation – A PR firm’s take.
Integrating Social Media Into Your Workflow – Our very own guide on efficiently sifting through the noise.

Hopefully we’ve covered our bases here, but of course this isn’t an exhaustive list of useful resources. If you have a killer Twitter resource to add, don’t hesitate to share it with us in the comments.