Learn How to Use Twitter or Die: Confessions of a Twitter Phobe

Posted By on November 15, 2012

Learning how to use Twitter takes courage if you're shy. Sure there's risk, but there's also reward for the courageous.

Learning how to use Twitter takes courage if you’re shy. Sure there’s risk, but there’s also reward for the courageous.

Brutal.That’s how Cynthia describes the year it took her to learn how to use Twitter and build a following. She’s the resident Twit-Wit of Two Pens. She’s got a knack for one-liners, some hilarious, some serious, but no matter which, they make you want to share, respond or lurk.

Equally important, she focuses her topics only on those related to our brand—-teaching people to write from both sides of the brain. Follow her on Twitter and you’ll see how ambidextrous she is.

On the Twitter Sidelines

In contrast, I’m the Two Pens’ Twitter wallflower. My earnest nature is more comfortable with blogging where I can qualify things I want to say, hedging what so-and-so might think. Truth be told, I’m still shy, as many other women are, about jousting in a public space.

So how do I learn how to use Twitter effectively?

Experimenting with How to Use Twitter

If you concoct a strategy and then see if it works, you’ll have a plan to follow. You can tweet, retweet, @reply, etc., with purpose. So that’s my strategy with one additional component—I’m going to blog about how well my strategy on how to use Twitter works. After all, that’s Two Pens’ mission—to teach people how to write social media content that builds an online presence. You can follow me along my way.

Pick 10 Thought-Leaders to Follow

You or your business might not need thousands of followers to accomplish your social media goals. Maybe you’re a researcher who studies crustaceans or a retail business that sells outdoor gear. You only need to reach people engaged in those communities.

How do you reach them? By engaging with who is engaging them. In other words, find thought leaders with buff Twitter muscles who can lift up your reputation. At least that’s the theory—Cynthia suggested it. I plan on picking 10 to see if I can capture their attention—my first choice is below.

My Thought-Leader Pick No. 1 Knows How to Use Twitter: Danny Sullivan

Last April I gave a talk, “Balancing Sticky Content with SEO,” at a company-wide Microsoft  conference on SEO. I got to hear Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land give a talk on social signals. He’s down-to-earth, super-smart and knowledgeable. He helped me understand how you need to think about social signals as part of creating great social media content.

At Two Pens, SEO and content are my areas of expertise. If I become a Twitter thought leader in that area, I will distinguish my account from Cynthia’s and broaden our brand. So … on opening my own Two Pens Twitter account, Danny was the first person I followed. Then a funny thing happened.

Somebody Who Knows Somebody Who Knows Somebody

As a consultant at Microsoft, I’m part of an email alias that shares a lot of info about social media marketing and SEO. Last week someone posted a link to Danny Sullivan’s blog post on social signals, which is way old—first published in 2010. Someone else chimed in with a more recent blog post called Your Guide to Social Signals for SEOmoz—a website I already follow.

The post not only provided useful information but was written by a guy named Jayson DeMers (@jaysondemers), who happens to live in Seattle, where he runs AudienceBloom, LLC, an SEO and social media marketing agency that provides guest-blogging services. Now, some of Two Pens’ writer-followers might definitely like to know about that. If I passed that info on to my imagined following of a thousand, they would thank me with one hundred bows.

I began following Jayson immediately, and am now listening and waiting for the right moment to chime in—when I have something to say that even my Twitter jitters won’t get in the way of. Who knows? I might even invite him to coffee.