21 Twitter Conversation Tips

There’s nothing like a good social media conversation to ensure that you gain plenty of followers. However, most people just don’t understand how to make the best use of Twitter. Engaging in intelligent conversation is the best way to build trust, gain followers and establish yourself as a guru online. With that in mind, I’ve compiled some tips to help you do all that on this popular social media platform. dreamstime_11436196

1. Be positive. People shy away from the negative, so stay upbeat and you’ll find more are drawn to you. Also, you’ll get more positive tweets, which is definitely a plus.

2. Offer information. Giving out useful tidbits will endear followers to you and result in more retweets. Think about what your followers could use and then give them what they need.

3. Respond to others. When you see an interesting tweet, comment on it. This is the best way to start a conversation and is far more effective than waiting for someone to respond to you.

4. Stay firm. No one likes someone who wobbles between two opposing views, so don’t be afraid to state where you stand. It might not be popular with everyone, but you’ll gain respect.

5. Avoid public arguments. If you’re going to be talking heatedly, keep it private with emails or DMs. No need to share with the world!

6. Know when to DM. Replying to someone will still appear publicly, but a direct message will only be seen by that person. It’s best to DM any private information (email addresses, etc.).

7. Keep track of information. Is one of your Twitter contacts pregnant? Make note of her due date and check in once and a while. People love it when others remember things that are important to them.

8. Help others out. If someone is having a problem and you have a solution, let them know. If you can’t help, retweet the message so someone else can help.

9. Be funny. Who doesn’t love humor? Just be careful, humor doesn’t always translate well over the internet.

10. Stay active. Make sure you are tweeting on a daily basis. Most people will ignore someone who only pops up once in a while.

11. Set up your tweets. If you’re going to be offline for a while, make sure to use a system like TweetLater that will allow you to continue your online presence.

12. Don’t sell. At least, not all the time. A good rule of thumb is to have 1 promotional tweet for every 9 regular ones.

13. Promote others. Make sure you let people know when you find a great blog post or website. It will boost that blogger and also give everyone who follows you some value.

14. Tweet frequently. If you typically respond to someone more than 12 hours after they tweeted you, chances are you don’t have a good conversation going. Try to tweet more often and stay on top of replies.

15. Ask questions. You’d be surprised how many people feel the need to answer a question and this is a great way to get the conversation ball rolling.

16. Get some help. Just following on the Twitter website can be next to impossible. Install a desktop client that lets you keep track of everything easily, such as TweetDeck or twhirl.

17. Work on spelling. Unfortunately, many people have atrocious spelling on Twitter and that can turn others off. You don’t have to use a spellchecker, but learn the difference between lose and loose, at least.

18.  Retweet important messages. Any time someone tweets something useful or important, make sure you share it. The original sender will appreciate this and so will your followers.

19. Get personal. People will be more likely to talk to you if they don’t feel you are a cold, impersonal business. That doesn’t mean tweet about a trip to the bathroom, but letting Twitter know you’re human can’t hurt.

20. Share successes. Don’t do it in a gloating manner, of course. This often brings plenty of cheers from fellow tweeps and opens up the conversation.

21. Appreciate your followers. Follow Friday is one meme that you can use, but simply thanking your new followers is a great way to go, too.

Networking these days is very personal. When you use Twitter, make sure that you keep things friendly and open and interact with as many people as you can. It will result in more traffic and improved expert status.

  • Mirna - i loved the simplicity and the thoroughness of this blog post - it was a perfect compliment to your call on How to Use Social Media & SEO to Attract TARGETED Customers.
    I loved that the first thing you started with is BE POSITIVE - I've noticed that in my tweets and different posting, the positiveness pulsates and touches everyone, in most cases, the retweets or @replies are in the same mood.
    On the call, I loved when you spoke about the personalization of the brand! Knowing that you have worked with clients in the UAE, how did that play there. Was the personalization appreciated?
    Would love to carry this conversation forward?
    thank you

    • Hello John,

      I am glad you liked the interview and the post. I definitely agree that being positive goes a long way and one of the keys to building great relationships online. My client in the UAE was a SEO client; however, they definitely seem to appreciate personalization.

  • This is GREAT. I love the simplicity of this - clear and concise. I just wrote a brief post about how using Twitter shouldn't cloud your real life experiences with real life people and how small businesses might consider 15 minute chunks rather than epic long Twitter sessions. http://bit.ly/cQZwHu Seems like giving guidelines like yours would be brilliant. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Keith R Leitden

    Mirna,

    Thank you for a wonderful blog on Twitter useage. For those of us thst are still learning the ropes this is great timing and very usefull

    keep up the good work!

  • A great list of the most important ways to connect on Twitter. Great job!

  • Mirna:

    Getting into Twitter and these tips will help. For number 16 which one do you feel is better for a person fairly new to Twitter?

    Thanks,

    Rob

    • Thank you all for your great comments. Rob, for #16 at the time I wrote this I was a Tweetdeck fan. Then I switched over to Seesmic Desktop, and now I recommend Hootsuite. You should try them all to see what would work best for you. Good luck!

  • Awesome tips for twitter conversation, I covered all the important, I mean 25 Golden Rules For Building a Better Twitter Relationship here - http://tinyurl.com/yby46ug <-- You can check here 🙂

  • Great tips! I prefer @mentions to DMs due to all of the spam. One way to guarantee you won't convert on Twitter is to have a spammy auto-DM! A spam auto DM = an unfollow from me.

  • Mike

    Thanks for these ideas as 'general advice.' However, I think an important part of Twitter (and other social media) is to "be yourself." Knowing that not every person can follow every tip, a couple thoughts: Some people aren't funny or positive. Some people could spark conversation with a well-done argument. And companies like Dell have broken #12 - Don't sell - successfully, according to Mashable.com. There are good nuggets here, but even the Twitter creators say there are no rules for Twitter (I think reported on nytimes.com), which is what makes it work so well.

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  • I especially appreciate #3 on the list. I'm surprised by how few people respond. I don't take it personally, but it makes me wonder why they're on Twitter!

    • I agree 100% Sara...it really is too bad that you try to have conversation with some people on Twitter and they don't even bother responding! They would rather just promote and mind their own business..so wrong! I wonder if they get any business that way, but I can't ask them because they don't respond. LOL 😀

  • Rob

    Mirna, What is the rule on blocking someone? I mean not the obvious rule of blocking rude or vulgar behavior, but what about other businesses who might be a competitor?

    In my mind, it's always a good thing to work with competitors. In fact I follow several who are in the very same business as me and have exchanged ideas, problems, etc.

    Last year a fellow business associate/franchisee ( I am part of a nationwide franchise) a person whom I had a friendship with for a few years, suddenly and without any disccussion blocked me. When I asked why she merely said "oh you are a competitior" which is odd because before twitter, we exchanged ideas through phone calls and emails. In fact, our store was open and running a full year before hers and she frequently came to visit us at our store, asked questions, call us with problems or to vent... we were always very gracious and helpful....now suddenly because we are both on twitter, I am a competitor??

    To make matters worse, after blocking me from her account, she continues to read my tweets. If she sees something that appears to be a violation of our franchise agreement, she calls and whines to our corporate office which sets off a string of emails that I must answer and usually, what I tweeted is innocent of any infraction.

    Proper etiquette-twitter or otherwise-should be to never alienate someone you supposedly have a real life relationship with like a co-worker or co-franchisee. And too, if you are going to read someone else's tweets whom you've blocked from your own, it's really stupid to go tattle telling!

  • Rob,

    Thank you for the great comment and sorry you are going through this. I think this will make a great poll and blog post that I may take on next week! This question does come up a lot at conferences I attend.

    I am with you...I have become buddies with my online competitors and do not see them as a threat in any way because we all do things differently.

    However, in the last few years I did have to block 1 person from all my networks because she was being a copy cat and that does get annoying. She was not in the same industry when I met her, but decided to jump in because she saw my success. Unfortunately, it has not stopped her because she still can visit my site and see who I am communicating with online, and it still the copy cat...now I have learned to laugh it out!

    The best thing to do is ignore and move on because you cannot afford to waist anymore energy. Obviously, this person who is taking the time to read your tweets just to complain is jealous of your success. Feel free to block her as well...there is no rule against that. Remember, you have to be authentic online and do whatever you are comfortable with.

  • Mirna -
    Thanks so much for a clear, concise and VERY helpful instructions about Twitter. I was just in a discussion about Twitter with someone last week. I just could not get her to understand that just because everyone on her Follow list was NOT doing those steps didn't mean that Twitter was BAD (and in her words a waste of time). It just means that those folks are not using it properly. Oh well, I'm not letting her negativity hold me down!
    I'll be sure to print these and really USE and make sure I"m using Twitter the GOOD way!

  • Thank you for your comment Kim. Please do not others that tell you social media is a waste your time bring you down. The people who are saying this are the ones who are not using it properly, and go online to waste time with silly things.

    Just from using Twitter alone, not only have I brought on clients, but also International speaking engagements (the next one is Mexico),others wanting to interview me,etc. I have also connected with people I never thought I would connect with in the real world (like my favorite authors). You really do get what you put in on Twitter.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Getting personal is a great way to get to know people better, It is hard to let our guard down online, but it is worth it.

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  • Tracy Brown

    Hi Mirna!

    I love this blog post, and choosing one top C is just so hard... I particularly like numbers 1, 7, and 15.

    However, I am going to go with #1, Be Positive, as the top C. Here's why:

    When I follow a person on Twitter, or connect with them on FB, or frequent their blog, etc., even if they have great information, the fastest way to turn me off is if they focus on the negative - whatever that may look like.

    Now, that doesn't mean that they have to be a Pollyanna of sorts, but it does mean that they need to focus on solutions in tough situations. Or, ask for help without hitting a downward spiral. Likewise, if they go into a defensive or an attack mode, well, I just don't have the time for it!

    So I think #1 can really encompass a lot online. It's the first thing I keep in mind when I am reaching out on behalf of myself, my company, or a client.

    Thanks again, Mirna, for your post! And PS: Your graciousness and positivity are two of the top reasons why I follow you! (Not to mention the great content... the practical advice... the great resources...)

    Best,
    Tracy

  • Hi Tracy,

    Thanks for your comment and for participating in Fun Friday, even though you left it on the blog. The question was actually to pick a C from the 21 Essential C's of Social Media blog post, which is different than this one, haha. But yes, you make very good points above and I agree people can see if you are positive or not even through the computer.

    Thank you so much for your gracious compliments. I am really glad you are following me 🙂

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