Home > How to use Twitter (psst…you need to get more personal).

How to use Twitter (psst…you need to get more personal).

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 8.36.48 AMThe web is choke full of anonymous feeds and boring drivel that no one reads. I know this because I was guilty of just auto posting my lenses and blog posts on Twitter, and you know what? No one cared. I rarely got retweets or quality people following me or personal interaction and I hated using Twitter.

Then a couple of weeks ago I decided to really study my Twitter account and I realized that it was time to put up or shut up. To start being real (which I am on other platforms) or shut it down. So I embarked on a fun journey and emerged with these tips  in no particular order which I hope help you as much as they did me.

1) Follow people that you like. I happen to love Nicole Curtis from Rehab Addict. It’s one of my favorite shows and Nicole is awesome at Twitter. She’s fun and personal and generous with her Tweets so I follow her because I am engaged by her content. Don’t follow people who you don’t enjoy or  who auto post or who haven’t used Twitter since 2010. Simple as that.

2) Don’t follow just to get a follow. This goes hand-in-hand with #1. Only follow people you like, don’t follow them because you think they will follow you back. There are people on Twitter who are serial follows and they will always, always follow you back but they don’t add much value to your Twitter experience.

2) Never, never, never auto tweet. If you’ve got an anonymous feed coming from somewhere and you never check into Twitter you’re not going to engage anyone unless maybe you’re a big business who is sharing information such as deals, they get away with it. Instead hand Tweet blog posts, lenses, pins or other media yourself and change up the text to make it personal and unique.

3) Only RT (retweet) the things you care about. Over retweeting can annoy people. Do this instead. Say you see a new lens by someone you love. Instead of retweeting their post create your own with an @ to the person who wrote the lens. This is much more personal and generous. For example. I found a recipe from BritFlorida that I loved so I composed this Tweet:

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 9.48.28 AM

4) Don’t @ someone every single time you post. Be selective and share content with people because you think they’ll enjoy reading it. Remember if they follow you they’ll probably see it anyway.

5) Tweet daily. Being a daily active user on Twitter is very beneficial. On the flip side. Don’t over Tweet. Make every Tweet unique, interesting and useful.

6) allows you to curate content into an online newsletter. It can work for niche interests. For example, if you’re a knitter and have a lot of Twitter followers who knit you might engage them with curated content. However I see a lot of really, really bad newsletters. If you’re just mashing a bunch of unrelated content onto a page you’re not likely to engage anyone. Also make sure you have enough content to publish. There’s nothing worse than asking people to view a near empty newsletter.

7) Use hashtags. I see so many great posts that don’t use any hashtags. This is how people find and share your content. For example, if you create an awesome. DIY lens use the #DIY hashtag. This way people who are interested in DIY can find you.

8) Add a personal touch. Just sharing the title of your lens is not going to cut it. Make sure you say something interesting and use a few hashtags (3 at the most).

9) Be generous. Twitter is most enjoyable when you’re generous. Use the 50/50 rule to share content. 50% of the time use your own content and 50% of the time share content from other people you like. Also favorite posts you love and reply to people.

10) Use photos. Twitter is visual too and people like interesting photos. It’s easy to link your cell phone camera into your Twitter account.

11) Don’t share spammy content. I see a lot of  win $500 or get cash back type of posts. These will completely turn people off and they add no real value to your account.

12) Upgrade – Twitter has a cool new format for your home page. Be sure to upgrade your account and add some nice photos.

Finally, think of Twitter as an extension of yourself. Post real, interesting, hand written posts that you think other people will enjoy reading and have fun. When there’s a real person behind the Tweets people start to care (and share) more. You’ll also gain a reputation for being a quality Tweeter that that matters.

What’s your favorite Twitter tip?

Bonnie Diczhazy is the Editor-in-Chief of the SquidooHQ Blog. Send her a Tweet at @bdkz.


    Excellent tips Bonnie! I need to use hashtags more often. I usually forget…oops. They are quite useful and I like searching for tweets of interest on a subject or location. I enjoy using photos…especially for my gardening related tweets. Rehab Addict is one of my favorite shows too!

  • Arachnea

    Great advice on using twitter. For some tweets the “@” before a username can become habitual. I made that error last week when sending out posts and used the @ instead of the #. It wasn’t until I was about done that I’d realized what happened. So, for me also, allowing a few seconds between composing and hitting the enter key is a must-do. I have a few followers who make it a point to retweet many of my posts. I try to do the same for their posts which I really like.

    • bdkz

      I know what you mean. I used to use the @ and # interchangeably.

    • Barbara Radisavljevic

      It’s hard, since different sites have different symbols for tags and mentioning people. I just learned something new recently. If you put a period before the @ (.@Gale427 for example) it will let all my followers, not just me, see the post. Otherwise, only the sender and and I will see it. I haven’t tried it yet, though. Just read about it yesterday.

      • Arachnea

        Barbara, thanks for the tip. I’ll have to try it.

  • francesqm

    Being a newbie in Twitter, these tips would surely help me gain more friends and followers…thanks so much :)

    • bdkz

      You’re welcome!

  • SmartChica

    Thanks for the good info Bonnie. It’s reignited my Twitter flame.

  • SmartChica

    I have a social media client I post for on a regular basis and using a scheduler like Hootsuite or Buffer is a great way to write your tweets and then schedule them to post for a specific time of day. Tweriod (you can get a free account that gives you one report each month–it’s really all you need, initially) tells you what time your audience engages with your posts, and then you schedule them accordingly so your conversations have the chance to hit a larger audience. But, as Bonnie mentioned, auto posting is just a bad idea, and that’s different than scheduling.

    For instance, I have a social media client whose audience interacts as early as 6AM on weekdays, and you can bet I’m not getting to the computer that early to post, or even think. So I use a scheduler to do it for me after I’ve crafted a message the day before. :-)

    • bdkz

      Good point : )

      • 3QuartersToday

        Very true, auto tweet is different than scheduling. The only auto tweet is use if from Pinterest and I get good response from that auto tweet.

  • katiesnow

    thanks, I always wondered how to use twitter. great info!

  • tipsanddeals

    Thanks for the tips. I am still learning how to use Twitter, these will help.

  • LoreleiCohen

    I just updated my Twitter page to be a bit more personal. I have not used hashtags yet as I still find them confusing when I am trying to visit someone else’s article and I keep being redirected elsewhere. I like simple.

  • Waxing-Lyrical

    Great advice! My own would be to phrase a tweet as a solution to a problem. There’s always people out there looking for answers…

    • bdkz

      Very true. Asking a question is a great idea.

  • paperfacets

    I have always liked twitter, but you are right about posting with some engagement. There are so many lenses post on both twitter and facebook without any extra input at all. It does not matter if it is an old list directory or twitter it all seems to get misused by so many after awhile.

  • Laura Brown

    I posted a whole long lens about Twitter on Friday. My tip, which you didnt mention is to always let someone know when you have followed them. Tell them why you followed, where you found them, that you read their site, something. People who do get followed often don’t always notice new followers. So, introducing yourself is great and you are far more likely to be followed back.

  • Laura Brown

    I often leave a comment on someone’s Twitter account instead of their blog. For one thing, I can skip dealing with their commenting system and word verification. It also gives me a reason to introduce myself on Twitter and most people do follow their readers.

    • 3QuartersToday

      I like Twittering someone on their blog too. I can engage in a conversation where I rarely get notified of blog comment replies, either that or they get lost in the vast deluge of emails.

      • Laura Brown

        I get stuff lost in email all the time. I don’t even check it every day any more. Gmail help by sorting it into junk files but, it’s just too much junk to deal with. I think we need a Do Not Email list the way we have a Do Not Call list for the telephone.

  • vikksimmons

    Great tips, Bonnie. I definitely need to shape up my Twitter IQ.

  • Anonymous831

    I’m new to Twitter and still figuring things out, you helped so much. My favorite Twitter tip is using hashtags properly.

  • Wednesday_Elf

    I’m pretty much a ‘Twitter’ novice, but your tips are showing me a way I can learn ‘how-to’ Twitter. Thanks, Bonnie.

  • handmadewithspirit

    Wow, thanks I am new to social media other than facebook. I wanted to branch out and find other means to connect with other online businesses so we may help each other and today I found you! So thanks so much for the help. I wondered around twitter for about 30 minutes and felt like I was reading a strange new English I had not heard before but you have inspired me to give it another try. So I guess my tip is for people new to try it more than once. Thanks so much!

  • NoProblem

    My tip would be to tweet regularly and try to find the time of the day when the response is biggest. It’s pretty similar to blogging, just with less words and more funny characters.

  • rauspitz

    Very good advice but you left out one really important thing. Hashtags are great but a lot of smart Twitter types suggest that you keep it ot three in any given Tweet. They also suggest that you keep the hashtag fairly short and specific.

  • RenaissanceWoman2010

    I will benefit from these tips. I’ve got so much to learn. Need to start using hashtags and applying that 50/50 rule. Thanks! Also really like Laura Brown’s tip below.

  • kschimmel

    Be generous is the best advice. I’m happy to share something that a fellow writer has done that really spoke to me or addressed a question I had.

  • nightcats

    This is great info. I have never really gotten “into” Twitter and I am planning on rectifying that right away. I wish I had a tip to add, but I really don’t. I’m in learning mode.

  • supersiva

    Thanks for those useful tips. I agree that tweeting personally always remind us that we are not overwritten by digital world completely. Still we should feel some human touch out there somewhere…My tip would be to tweet around the trending topics and get involved with the current happenings around the world.

    • 3QuartersToday

      I get my news from Twitter, I have a news lists with the major broadcasts, local stations, and targetting news channels. people like news on Twitter

  • Ruthi aka abitosunshine

    Great Twitter tips, Bonnie, especially with the personal factor! One thing, I do earn with many of my tweets, so sometimes sales tweets are a positive, not spammy, thing.

    • bdkz

      The key is perception. Just make sure that your audience knows that any sales Tweets have value or they may get turned off : )

      • Ruthi aka abitosunshine

        I have not had any issues with sponsored tweets in years. Most of my friends and followers on social networks know I am eclectic in activity and respond to that which they are interested, ignoring the rest. But that, too, is a following that took time to build and was done solely through relationship building.

        • bdkz

          That’s awesome : )

  • StephenJParkin

    This was a really good post and I must confess I too have most of your “old” bad habits. I must go and check out how I am doing now! I agree about the deals etc. as that is wht I hardly ever check my feed these days.

  • partybuzz

    Thanks for these tips, Bonnie. I’ve seen the hashtags in tweets, but didn’t know why they were there. Crazy me! :)

  • MovieMenace

    Tip: Check your your ‘Following’ list here you can make sure your friends are following you back and not ignoring you…I’m sure there not…They probably are.

  • Tracy1973

    Thanks for the tips Bonnie. I like Twitter, but often find the number of characters you can use in personalizing my tweets to be limiting. I will take all these tips into consideration though when I am tweeting from now on.

  • Andromachi

    I didn’t know a lot of these tips. thank you bonnie and everyone else for your contribution. I wish I had some to share as well.

  • artyfax

    Great tips, I have never really seen the point of twitter but maybe ……

  • flinnie

    Hi thanks for the tips on using twitter. Great info.

  • KateHon

    Thanks for the heads up! I need these tips!!!

  • Buypreciousmetal

    Really great article! But tweeting something daily is kind of outrageous

  • Andromachi

    I was wondering since I didn’t post a tip should I complete the quest or not?

  • tonyleather

    I Use twitter all the time, and it does make a difference!

  • JoanneReid

    I tweet as if the message is only going to my sister Carol. This reminds me to be personal and if possible amusing. Focusing on one specific person makes it a more real tweet.

    • bdkz

      Good idea!

  • A-Redneck

    I tweet daily and generally throughout the day at various time intervals. Much the same as I work online.

  • d-artist

    For me what’s important on Twitter is Being curious, not using foul language….this just turns me off, it’s kept me from Twitter for awhile

  • RockinPicks

    I have always been scared of Twitter. I think I am guilty of doing everything you said not to do. I think I’ll go back there and see if I can learn the program better. I rarely go to my twitter account. I am guilty of sending out tweets without looking. Push the button and run.

  • RockinPicks

    Bonnie, I just tweeted this. Is this what your talking about.

    For those of us who don’t twitter well, Bonnie from Squidoo HQ just sent out a tutorial worth reading. via @squidoo

    • bdkz


  • RockinPicks

    LOL.. already forgot the hash tags. Do they count in your character count?

    • bdkz

      and yes they do : )

  • ronniestrong

    Thank you @bdkz

  • cercis70

    Great tips…I’ve never really known what to do with Twitter. I’ll have to work on it.

  • Mickie_G

    I am the worst at knowing what hashtags to use. Thanks for the “DIY” suggestion. Those are the types of lenses I have been creating lately.

    BTW, Thanks for the Tweet of my DIY for painting wrought iron chairs.

  • kiwinana71

    Thanks for all the great advice about twitter, it will take me a while to get this all sorted out. All though I have been a tweeter for many years I haven’t used it much, will do now with all your tips to follow. Was always afraid to spam my friends.

  • Spirality

    I don’t have a Twitter account. I know Twitter an be incredibly important to businesses,getting the word out about things, and public relations. But I don’t think I have anything really relevant to say especially to people I don’t even know. But I think the best tip for anyone wary of Twitter is simply to try it out. If you don’t like it, then shut it down. It might actually be fun and helpful. (Now I just have to follow my own advice.)

  • VanessaPrieto

    Great tips! I’m in the midst of the same thing… trying to figure out how to use twitter properly where it will actually be worth the time. Now I have a better understanding. Thanks for the share.

  • CalobrenaOmai

    The retweet one I had to laugh at mainly because there is a participant of Twitter that provides scholarships and would often times have quests for participants to retweet x-amount of times in order to get a bonus code for entries into a drawing. Twitter was difficult to upgrade after I got an account because my computer at the time was slower than growing grass. Its decorated now and even have a profile pic.

    I really liked the following things/people of interest; first Twitter following included scholarship sites and gaming laptop providers [like Alienware and Qosmio]. All the tips above are spot on and I’ll admit that I’m guilty of auto tweeting every now and again but not always. Some additional good tips include: make efficient use of the character/word limit, use URL shorteners [when allowed] and try to share lens links that are relevant to those you follow because they just might share your lens link.

    A good example would be my Brief Guide to Wartune lens that was in 100k+ bracket that shot up in the ranks after I shared the lens link on Twitter. Looking forward to seeing How to Use Pinterest feature article.

  • Snakesmum

    Learned something from this article – shall have to improve my Twitter useage! :-) Thanks

  • TheCureForYouthMinistry

    Tip: Chime in in cultural happenings. I love live tweeting while Blacklist or Person of Interest. I also answer questions by other tweeters even if I do not know them very well.

  • bloomingrose

    I found this fascinating. 2014 is the year I am learning about social marketing.

  • NathanLee

    I really liked the suggestion on using @username vs. just retweeting. I think this tip will make a huge difference in creating a more engaging and personal retweet. Thanks for the tips!

  • bakerwoman

    Now I can use Twitter more effectively without making big blunders. Thanks for the tips, Bonnie.

  • dgamt001

    Great lens. I only joined Twitter recently so this is very helpful. Thanks

  • 0ctavias0fferings

    Great advice for Twitter users

  • TravelsWithAuntyAnn

    Hi. Thanks for these tips. I don’t use Twitter at all these days as I am not really sure what to Tweet and I don’t want to bore people! LOL
    I am book marking this page to go through all your tips again.

  • selfhelpguru

    I really like Twitter, and actually enjoy the challenge of saying as much as possible within those 140 characters. Twitter has made it easier too now that it automatically abbreviates URLs – you get quite a few extra characters that way. The only autotweet I have set up is from Ezinearticles (only my own articles). Other than that, I share Tweets I enjoy with links to articles and blog posts that I find very interesting myself. The only thing that’s tricky is that the feed moves so fast, so I just “go with the flow” of the feed… and enjoy the serendipity of what it brings my way.

  • mojo_007

    I still didn’t get point for the last reading challenge. The one with the contest entry. It didn’t say you had to enter to get the points just that you had to read it.

  • biorra2

    Great Tips

  • PaulOnBooks

    Good advice. To extend the principle behind interaction and avoidance of mutual following, don’t post inane “golly, your post is sooper” replies all the time. Make sure that it’s clear you have read and appreciated the Tweet and underlying pages (if relevant). Use Twitter as a genuine communication medium.

  • teriann

    Twitter is grouped with the rest of the social media….it takes time to be social and focus not to get caught up in what everyone else is saying..what you may think should only take 5 minutes before you know it a whole hour has gotten away from you. Focus and being deliberate about why you are there would be my best tips. Thanks for bringing this to light Bonnie, really great food for thought. Ooops, did someone say food, is it time for a tweet or is it time for lunch…hmmm focus. :)

  • MarcellaCarlton

    I never really thought about it. Thank you.

  • WeeCatCreations

    Thank you for the advice. I’ve mindlessly posted to Twitter because I never really understood it. These tips should make my Twitter posts more relevant and readable.

  • RoadMonkey

    I am trying to start using Twitter – I didn’t used to see the point of it but I think I do now,. Didn’t know what the hashtag was for – so thanks for that!

  • Tom Maybrier

    Wow so many tips, and they’re all spot on.

    One thing I like about Twitter is it’s one of the few places where there’s almost no such thing as too much – the community is generally very tolerant of lots of tweets per day.

    Just remember that you may end up de-valuing some of your more important tweets if you’re posting lots and lots of times per day.

  • NotesMastery

    To get more personal, the best tip is to use words that are inclusive of your audience. For example, us, we, …etc.

  • paulwilson500

    Like the conclusion: “think of Twitter as entension of yourself.”

  • normyo-yonormyo

    Those are good advices Bonnie, but maybe you could add all the advices people are giving in the comments. For example think about the moment you wish to tweet about something. In the Netherlands I have seen the strange effect that tweeting around eleven o’clock in the morning and around nine o’clock at night will get you a lot of readers, but that is only interesting for articles that would interest the Dutch. As SmartChica wrote you also have people who would like to read tweets at six o’clock in the morning. So maybe getting to know the people who follow your tweets is an idea. One way of finding out is looking at what they like to tweet and retweet.

    Another point is to remember that not everybody who uses Twitter uses it daily, so tweeting and retweeting a few times a week at different hours might be an idea. And as with everything do not over do it and most of all do not just tweet about that one article you want people to read, that will surely be seen as spamming.

    In the end you should see twitter as a fun way of extending your presence on internet, so if you are not having fun with twitter you better leave it to does who are.

  • Lionrhod

    Great tips!

  • Barbara Radisavljevic

    I already do a lot of this. I also use Hootsuite to schedule tweets ahead. This was really handy before my recent surgery. I wasn’t sure when I’d feel like tweeting again and didn’t want my three accounts to look forlorn and deserted. I hand-schedule links into Hootsuite, and I use their browser extension to tweet interesting things I find as I browse the web. Then I can decide whether to send right away, schedule for a specific time, or let Hootsuite auto schedule for maximum impact.

    I love the new Twitter format that shows photos and conversations.

  • esmonaco

    Sounds like great advise, I haven’t joined twitter,but I guess that I should Thanks for the help as always.

  • Ladymermaid

    I am guilty for largely using Twitter for promotion but I do post additional tweets on issues that I believe are important. My other tweets are often in regard environmental news or posts of congratulations or sympathy to individuals and celebrities.

  • miriamyentraccm

    Hi, Bonnie! Thanks for letting us know how to improve our Twitter experience. I am one of those people that don’t use hash tags, but I will start NOW.

  • veryirie

    I’m embarrassed to say I’m horrible at Twitter. :( I have never once used a hashtag. I only twitter like once every two weeks. I need to really up my game if I want to have an account, I suppose. But I also don’t have internet on my old style cell phone and I think most people must be using their phones to tweet? Looks like I need to get with the times.

  • GiftRepSandy

    Good tips — but I still dislike Twitter — although I do post to three different twitter accounts. Heck! You never know when something you post will get someones attention.

  • William_Stark

    All tips are great. Thanks. But how do I find so much time for following all social media daily?

  • eltasweeqdotnet

    thank you for this information

  • Zhana21

    Thanks for the tips. Very useful. I interviewed #SmallBizLady several years ago and she talked about how she had used Twitter to create a bestselling book. She used some of these same methods like, get personal. Use Twitter to send personal messages @ people you follow. Compliment them on their tweets and, yes, everyone else can see your tweets.

    Another tip is that Twitter is great for research. Search both with and without the hashtag to find interesting new sites and material.

  • Ian Anderson

    Thanks for the tip, new one for me to check out!

  • SheilaMilne

    Yes, it’s time I became active again on Twitter. I’ve been forgetting all about it. There are so many balls to keep in the air at once :)

  • Scindhia

    Great tips. I think I need to use twitter more frequently. Thanks for the info!

  • RinchenChodron

    I do not have a cell phone camera and have never figured out how to upload a photo from my hard drive? Can you help with that?

  • tjgurley95

    Great tips! All these might help me build up some followers @tjgurley95

  • astevn816

    I confess that I have been auto-tweeting, but no more. From now on I will make my tweets more personal. Thank you for this great info.

  • DebMartin

    I’m learning. Thanks for more good info, Bonnie. Some days I just forget to tweet.

  • KonaGirl

    Awesome tips. thanks for the info Bonnie.

  • Steve_Kaye

    Excellent tips. Thank you.

  • smaughan

    These are great tips, Bonnie! Thanks!

  • sheilamarie

    Personal is always the way to go. It’s hard to take generic tweets seriously.

  • JogosFriv

    A channel information and share great I enjoyed it.

  • Judy_Filarecki

    I think I’m beginning to understand more about using twitter. Now I have to spend some time to experiment with it more than moderately revised auto tweets. Thanks fo r the info.

  • smine27

    This was a grea post as I haven’t been using twitter the right way.

  • aswaha yah

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