Twitter Basics: Know These to Twitter Smarter

Posted by on Jun 19, 2016 in A frugal Life, Frugal For Everyone | 38 comments

Twitter Basics

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at

I’ve been a Twitter user since January 2014 and since that time have sent out roughly 5500 tweets, am following 675 Twitter users and have 785 followers. Rather amazing since all this time I had no idea what I was doing. Definitely time to correct that.

Besides learning the Twitter Basics I also wanted to learn how to promote My Etsy Shop on Twitter without spamming. Library staff directed me to, an online video training business, where they believed I could find the right answers. They were right.

I’m not normally a fan of video training but this was different. The instructors used a conversational tone and this, along with the clarity of the audio, made learning easy. During the free 10-day trial period I devoted all my time to it and was able to complete the following courses:

  • Twitter Basics
  • Twitter Essentials
  • Twitter for Business
  • Advertising on Twitter
  • Up and Running with Canva
  • Selling on Etsy
  • eBay Essential Training for Sellers
  • Pinterest for Business
  • Learn Instagram – The Basics

Now I can’t possibly be the only person not knowing the Twitter Basics therefore I’m sharing  a few of the highlights from my Twitter training, focusing on those things I didn’t know – quite a lot as it turned out.

  1. Navigating Twitter:
    • Home – always returns you to your timeline (the constantly moving stream of Tweets)
    • Notification – keeps you updated about replies to a tweet, retweets, direct messages
    • Clicking on the profile photo activates a drop-down menu for profile view, lists, help, keyboard shortcuts, Twitter Ads, analytics, and settings
    • The Who to Follow column lists people Twitter thinks you may want to follow
    • On the top left is about you – profile photo, header photo, Twitter name, number of tweets, number of people you follow and followers
    • Under that is the Trend bar which contains hashtags and topics everyone is talking about – good idea to check some out and even add to the conversation.
  1. The importance of the Twitter Profile:
    • Use keywords in your bio
    • Add a header customized to match your other online sites. I used Canva for that
    • Clicking on @name on your home page will bring up the edit profile button to update your bio:
      • add a real photo of yourself or your business logo (400 x 400 pixels)
      • add your header (1500 x 500 pixels)
      • give your location if you want
      • insert your website URL
      • change the theme colour.
  1. Twitter Etiquette:
    • includes no blatant self-promotion
    • no adding affiliate links
    • no using all CAPS
    • never use negative commentary
    • no details – less is more.
  1. Hashtags are nothing more than Keywords with the pound sign in front of them. You don’t have to use hashtags that already exist but can use any searchable keyword. Find these at: or (lists trending and popular hashtags). Using more than two hashtags is not recommended.
  1. Timing Tweets. To get the most out of Twitter, Tweet no less than twice a day at least 4 hours apart. 2-5pm EST is thought to be the best time to tweet. Sundays 1-5pm. are better for tweeting than Saturdays. After 8pm everything pretty well closes down.
  1. Scheduling Tweets. There are scheduling tools available.
  1. Twitter Tools and what they do:
  • Tweriod analyses the tweeting habits of your followers and suggests the time when it makes the most sense for you to tweet.
  • Twellow allows you to find users that have the keyword you entered in their profile.
  1. Twitter analytics provides 28 day summary showing changes over the previous period for
    • Tweets – Impressions – Profile Visits – Mentions – Followers
    • Also shows top follower, top tweet, top media tweet and more.

A different free measurement tool is @Kred which scores you on your social influence and outreach.

  1. Tweeting Tips:
  • Use fewer than 120 characters so others can add comments when retweeting
  • When adding comments to shared tweets, place the cursor at the beginning of the tweet 
  • Use link shorteners.
    • links, optimizes them across every device and marketing channel, tracks individual link analytics
    • – Shortens links, also has link editing, detailed click statistics, and custom Domains
    • links, shares files and tracks visits. Pair with Hootsuite to get deep analytics with each link you share

A shortened URL in an unknown user’s tweet doesn’t let you know where the tweet originated or if this is a link you want to follow. You can expand the URL by using

  1. Deleting, Pinning and Sharing Tweets:
  • You can’t edit tweets so you will need to delete and start over – to do that you click on the three dots underneath your tweet where you’ll see delete listed in the drop down menu
  • Other things you can do by clicking on the three dots:
    • Share by direct message;  Copy a link to a tweet;  Embed the tweet;
    • Pin the tweet to the profile page where it shows up on top of your timeline and stays there until you unpin it or it’s replaced by another tweet
  1. Clicking on the three dots under another user’s tweet allows  you to:
  • Share their tweet via DM to another Twitter user
  • Copy a link; Embed it on a website
  • You can block or mute the user’s tweets

Hover your mouse over the user’s profile photo to the left of the tweet to see details about that person.

Only follow people that share your interests, those you can learn from, or someone whose bio appeals to you. Don’t just follow for the sake of following.

Always respond to anyone who shares a tweet, retweets or otherwise interacts with you.

Once you know the Twitter Basics you can find this information for yourself. But without I would not have known where to look and still be wondering what to do and how to do it. Now all I have to do is get busy and apply what I’ve learned. 

Talk to you again next week,


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  1. Great information, as always, Lenie! I’ve got some work to do! Next can you do Instagram? 🙂

    • Hi Meredith – I would love to do Instagram – I’ll see what I can work out. Pretty interesting stuff out there, isn’t there?

  2. Almost as a matter of principle, I am not a Twitterer. I want the words from my pen (well, keyboard) to roam free, free like wild horses running in the wind, free from the frightening constraint of a 140-character limit, free to ebb and flow across the sprawling canvas of my wayward thoughts, free to bring the essence of their expression to fruition, free to … um, sorry, where was I? OK, maybe that was laying it on a bit thick, but you get my point. 😉

    • Could it be you are a bit sesquipedalian or enjoy the use of pleonasm? – tweet

  3. I love Twitter! Good on you for amassing quite the following in so short a time. Some great tips in there, especially re analytics – didn’t realize Twitter offered this feature. And using less than 120 characters so others can add a comment. I find that the “quote w retweet” doesn’t always have the same impact as retweeting with a couple of words at the beginning or end of the tweet. Thanks for this!

    • Hi Krystyna, I have seen you on Twitter but now that I know a bit more I’ll be watching for your tweets. Your car posts are the best and so many people are into cars that I’m sure they’ll be happy if I share your tweets. One thing – I had no idea how much there was to Twitter. Basically I thought Tweet and Retweet, that’s it, but there is so much more. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Lenie,

    I am so glad you posted this! I am trying to build several things using Twitter: an audience for an upcoming comic book I wrote, gaining clients for whom I can do freelance writing, and my Beachbody business center. Unfortunately, I have no idea what I am doing. This will certainly help!

    • Steve, I’m so glad you found value in this post. I had been hearing for quite some time how twitter has such great promotional value but failed to see how. Good luck with all your ventures.

  5. Thank you for this information. As a new author, I was advised about tweeting. I will confess I am totally ignorant of this whole technology.
    Your post is very informative, especially for a former luddite like myself. I will be referencing this a lot.

    • Hi William – I think for you tweeting would be perfect. There are a number of indie book publishers and promoters on Twitter that could only benefit you. I do hope you will find my post helpful once you do decide to join. Best of Luck 🙂

  6. Some good Twitter tips here, Lenie! I’ve been on Twitter since 2009, after returning from a writer’s conference that told us we MUST be on Twitter for the sake of our profession. (i.e. to make connections and to raise our profiles.) It has been a great tool for me, and introduced me to some amazing people.

    • Doreen, I’ve heard the same thing about raising your profile and making connections. That’s why I thought I really needed to learn how to use it properly.

  7. Thanks for the post, Lenie. It’s very impressive to see the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired in just a few years on Twitter! I really like the Twitter analytics, that’s a nice add by them.

    • Dan, I truly had no idea how much there was to know about Twitter. Now all I have to do is apply what I’ve learned and that will certainly take some time. Thanks for your nice comment – appreciated. 🙂

  8. Lenie — you’re amazing to have posted some 5500 tweets in only two years. I joined in 2009 and have posted 6185 tweets so you’re sure to pass me soon. And I tweet almost every day (OK, I missed two days this week). Congratulations on becoming a Twitter expert in such short time. I’m sure Twitter will benefit your business.

    • Jeannette you made me chuckle when you referred to me as a Twitter expert – I’m a long way from that yet , maybe once I’ve implemented all I’ve learned I may have a chance at that. My biggest challenge when it comes to Twitter is writing great tweets – they, along with headlines for my blog – need to be improved and that’s what I’ll be working on next.

  9. Great information for anyone who wants to learn the basics of Twitter. Thanks Lenie for the tips

    • Hi ChinWe – nice to see you back here. There is so much to learn when it comes to social media, including Twitter. Sharing is what our group is all about so naturally I shared what I learned.

  10. I’ve known many who’ve used and I’ve only heard good things. I remember once hearing the story about the real Lynda and I can’t remember the details, but I do remember that it was very interesting.Thanks for breaking down Twitter. No matter how well you know something, you can always find something you didn’t know.

    • Erica, I really did enjoy the Lynda training, especially since the audio was so clear – you absolutely didn’t have to strain to hear what they were saying. I was actually surprised how much there was to Twitter and I’m sure I still missed some of the basics but at least I now know how to navigate the site and where to go for answers – that’s a big plus.

  11. Twitter is awesome, especially for meeting new potential editing clients. I find lists invaluable. I’m almost up to 50k tweets. It took a while to find a rhythm, and everyone uses Twitter a bit differently. It’s drives much more traffic to my site than Facebook.

    • Hi Jeri, I’m going to keep my eye on your tweets for awhile – I need to know how to compose mine better and I think an editor would be a great teacher. Driving traffic to your site is really what it’s all about. isn’t it?

  12. I noticed that you can now add photos without it counting against your 120 character word count. They announced that this would also be the case with links, though at least on my account it isn’t working like that yet.

    • Ken, I guess Twitter like every other site has to keep updating and giving their users what they want. Being able to add photos without adding character count is a huge plus. As for the links, I guess using link shorteners would help there for the time being. We’ll just have to keep trying to see if Twitter has changed that yet.

  13. Great rundown on using Twitter Lenie! I only discovered the option to pin a tweet to my profile a few months ago and I love that. I’ll be honest Twitter isn’t one of my favorite social media channels, but it is still important so thanks for the reminder. 🙂

    • Marquita, I like that option to pin a tweet. This makes it possible to draw attention to your site. I also appreciate the fact that now I know where to look for things – imagine, tweeting for two years without knowing how to navigate the site – kind of like DUH.

  14. Lenie, great guide for all the twitter-starters! I am sure it can be super helpful. Thanks for sharing

    • Hi Kristina, as you know our group is all about sharing so I hope sharing my post will help a few Twitter users. Thanks for the comment.

  15. Thanks for the tips Lenie.

    I joined twitter several months ago and I am still learning how to get the best out of it. I have around 200 followers and follow around 600 people so not well balanced. I have found a number of people follow you in order for you follow them then they “drop” you – odd!

    I promote my blog on twitter and endeavour to thank those who share or comment on my posts.

    There is so much content and fellow bloggers that I find it overwhelming at times. As a result I do not log on every day.

    • Phoenicia, you’ll find that most of the people who follow – then unfollow – are those that want to promote their own agenda like so called SEO experts. The interesting people who follow you because of what you say or share are the ones who stay. This link will let you know who unfollowed you then you can remove them from your own followers.
      Overwhelming it is although – and here I’m just guessing – it seems that the more familiar you become with something, the less effort it requires.

  16. This is great information to help anyone learn more about Twitter. Thanks for sharing in detail. There is a lot of information to know.

    • Sabrina, thanks for the comment. You’re right – there is a lot to know but at least now I know where to find the answers.

  17. This post made me look to see how long I’ve been on Twitter: March 2008! Yikes. Your review of the basics here is helpfu for sure. I appreciate knowing about your Etsy story Lenie.

    • Patricia, as I learn more about lavender use during the Victorian Era I will be adding more items to my shop. It’s a lot of fun and let’s me put what I learned to practical use – always a good thing, right?

  18. Very nicely done – I need to brush up on this myself. Thanks for the tutorial my friend. ?

    • Susan, I knew there was a lot I didn’t know but when I saw exactly how much that was, even I was surprised. Well, all I can say is better days ahead LOL

  19. Good you have learnt the basics of how to tweet, Lenie. You will know when you are successful on Twitter because people will find and follow you on a daily basis.

    • Catarina, after tweeting for two years it really was times I learned how to do it, don’t you think? 🙂

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