Get Started With Twitter, It Doesn’t Bite: 9 Effective Tips To Get You Started And A Bonus To Make You Smile

A recent study showed that only 39% of businesses in US and Western Europe have business Twitter accounts, but more than half of them are only in the beginning stages of using it as a part of their business practice. Many self-made Internet marketers aren’t using it either, or at least not actively, even though it’s been proven over and over that tweets do actually affect rankings in all three major search engines. Tweets are bloggers’ best friends when it comes to content sharing and blog or personal promotion – and yet, many seem to be afraid of becoming familiar with the blue bird, with no apparent reason.

Read the next lines carefully:

Everyone had to start once; you can’t mess up big time until you have really big number of people actively following you, and chances are that it won’t come as fast as you may think. The sooner you start, the sooner you will have your big chance to mess it up; but it’s more likely that, before that moment comes, you will learn enough to know what not to do… so you don’t mess up after all.

A bit less afraid now? Ok, let’s get into some common sense tips to get you started.

1. You’ll never know it all, so if the fear of not knowing the lingo, the right people or the right tone is what’s holding you back – relax and let go.

2. You have to start once. You just do. Then why wait? If you start today, in 30 days you will be close to an expert for someone who is just starting; if you start a year from now, it will be 13 months before you learn something.

3. Ten followers are better than zero followers, even though they are only your friends. Practice conversation with them, learn how @mentions, RT (retweets), replies and #hashtags work. But don’t get carried away and forget what you’re there for – grow your follower base, and here’s the #4 –

4. Ten followers can easily become hundred followers… and so on. Enter conversations with people you don’t know, ask questions, offer help (just because you’re new on Twitter, you’re not new in life, and your expertise can help someone who is more experienced on Twitter, but not that savvy in whatever your field).

5. Don’t pretend you’re not a newbie. You are, and be proud of it. Introduce yourself, ask what you don’t know. Twitter is a friendly place, and everyone was a newbie once.

6. Listen and learn. Your neighbor may be using Twitter for two years, but it doesn’t mean that you should do what she does. You’re there for business, and people following you aren’t really interested in what you had for breakfast. On the other hand, someone from your industry who has a lot of followers who actively participate and share their content, must be doing something right.

7. You only need Twitter to start. Don’t waste time learning tools, learn the people and relationships instead. Tools will come later, and then you’ll know how to use them – because you’ll know where you need help.

8. Don’t start with a plan, but don’t forget about it later. To get started, you need to get into conversations and make relationships, to learn the ecosystem. Develop the plan as you learn more, as you join the communities and begin to engage. As you learn, you will be better equipped to understand how you can incorporate Twitter in your overall business strategy. Don’t rush in, but don’t wait too long neither.

9. Be nice. Be real and friendly, but not pushy. Find your tweeting voice and stick to it.

Hopefully now you’ll give it a try; and to entice you a bit further, here are some numbers: Twitter has more than 140 million active users, and 340 million tweets are being produced daily. Your few tweets will not get noticed unless you want them to be – and from there, it’s only a question of how much of Twitter activity you want to turn in your favor.

Being a responsible SEO, Jeff Gross is well aware of the importance of social signals: it’s not just about building links, now it’s more and more about social weight that content carries.

Jeff contributes to many blogs and websites, including