How To Use Twitter

Posted on May 24, 2010 by Michelle McGonagle

Twitter for Business

Twitter can be an effective way of marketing your business by simply microblogging‚ and getting recent news about your business to the public. Get the word out about you and your company using one of the most popular social media websites worldwide. Go to Twitter’s website at and sign up today!

Tweeting & ReTweeting

After setting up your twitter account, you simply post on Twitter just like you would on Facebook or MySpace. With Twitter, your posts are limited to 140 characters, forcing you to be brief and to the point with your posts. You can ,tweet about anything, from posting links to recent blogs, news, recent activity, or retweeting others posts that you think are interesting. In order to retweet a post, simply select the options button to the right of that post, and select retweet. Once you retweet someones tweet, that person is notified, via @replies showing the user that they were mentioned by you (will explain later). The more you post, the more followers you potentially obtain, which means the more people that know about you and your company.

Followers & Following

Also like Facebook and MySpace, you develop friends, which are referred toas followers. The advantage of Twitter is that you dont have to follow back your followers, in which allowing them to see your posts but your Twitter feed is not being filled up by theirs, unless you simply want it to. The more your post, the more followers you can potentially obtain. Twitter users

Sample Twitter Page

Sample of Twitter Feed

search everyday for certain topics, which can lead them to you and ultimately start following your tweets. So make sure to use keywords and interesting topics to lure in more followers. Want to start following someone that you know or that posts topics that you are interested in? No problem. Simply do the same and search for their names or search those topics tofind someone tweeting something that catches your eye. To follow them, simply click on their username and click the follow button under their name on their profile page. After youve followed someone, their tweets are updated on your feed for you to view.

Sample of Twitter Feed

As you can see, youre now following @aaronortega, @micheliente, and @ummedia. Since they are the only people you are following, their and your tweets will be the only ones appearing on your feed. Once they start following you, your tweets will be added to their feeds amongst the other people they are following, allowing them to view your posts.

@Replies or Mentions 

Sample of @Reply or Mention

Sample of @Reply or Mention

As you can see here, @micheliente retweeted your tweet, which then shows on your @reply or Mention page on Twitter showing you that she mentioned you. Mentioning or @replying someone, allows them to know that you have included them in your tweet by mentioning them, or are simply posting something directly to them by @replying. By starting off your post with the username, the post goes directly to them and not posted to the rest of your followers as an update (unless they are followers of both of you), whereas if you just include their name in your post, such as this sample of a retweet, it is posted on your feed for all of your followers to see mentioning the person.

For example, this post: @micheliente how are you doing? is to go directly to @micheliente and only shown to @micheliente and your mutual followers as an @reply. Whereas, if you were to post: Had fun hanging out with @micheliente this is posted as a regular tweet, and shown to all of your followers, and letting @micheliente know that you mentioned them. By @replying or mentioning someone, this is a great way to interact with your followers and build relationships between them and your business.

To view any mentions or @replies made to you, simply click on @brentisaacksinc under Home. Also, to view your retweets only, simply click on Retweets under your Favorites tab, this will show you who has retweeted your tweets.

@Reply or Mention Section

@Reply or Mention Section

Direct Message or DM

Direct Messages, or DMs as its known to Tweeters, are private messages sent directly to your twitter inbox. These are like @replies except no one can view them except the person you sent them to. If you ever want to send a message to a person that you dont want made public, you send them a DM instead of @replying them. Similar to sending messages on Facebook or MySpace instead of posting a comment on their wall. To view your messages, you simply click on Direct Messages under your mention tab @brentisaacks.


Favorites are your list of your favorite tweets, acting almost like a bookmark. Say there was one that just made you LOL or a post about an article or event you dont want to forget about, simply click on the star on the post to choose it as your favorite. To view your favorites, simply click Favorites under Direct Messages on your Home section to the right of your feed.


Trending Section

Trending Section

Twitter has trends where people include #hashtags in their posts, such as #FollowFriday (or #ff), #LOST, #stevejobs, #greatday, etc. #Hashtags are basically tags that people include in their posts showing that their tweeting about a common subject, thus trending. For example, #FollowFriday is a popular trend for Twitter. This trend is typically used…. well, on Friday! Users mention other users that they recommend to their followers to follow. For example, you would post on Twitter: #FollowFriday these guys will make you laugh! @micheliente @aaronortega @ummedia or #ff these guys are great! @micheliente @aaronortega @ummedia

Follow Friday is a great way to get more followers for your business. By mentioning users, you get their attention and they usually offer the favor in return by mentioning you in their post, thus ultimately getting their followers to follow you, building your followers list and spreading the word about your business.

Another example on trends of a certain subject could be: Steve Jobs is a genius! I love my iPad! #stevejobs #apple #ipad or a certain mood: Do things have to be so complicated? Hurry it up and just tell me! #get2thepoint Here people can see that you were talking about these trends, thus allowing for people who search these to see your post.


Austinites List Wall

Austinites List feed



According to Twitter, lists are timelines you build yourself, consisting of friends, family, co-workers, sports teams, you name it. Basically, lists are pretty much your way of organizing the tweets from the people you are following. You can categorize them by city, topic, family, co-workers, business relationships, etc. For instance, here you can see I have a list I made called austinites. This is my list that Ive included people who live in Austin (Are you in it?). This allows me to enter into a feed that shows only their tweets. Underneath that, youll see @toddbarnard/austin. When you see this under your Lists, you know that these people have included you in their lists as well.

Mobile Twitter

Mobile phones have increasingly become a major part of our lives – lets just say we do more then just talk on them. For most of us, our personal AND business life is partly run on our mobile device. Besides checking email, watching videos, surfing the web, and reading the news, social media has increasingly gone mobile as well – Twitter being #1.

Most tweets are made on the go. Here are some great applications that you can use to easily use to tweet from your mobile phone.

iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad

Twitter for iPhone

Twitter for iPhone (formally Tweetie 2) is a free app with an impressive UI (user interface) that makes it the most popular Twitter client for iPhone (and best in my opinion). While being Tweetie 2, it actually cost users $3 to use this app, forcing people to turn to free apps such as TweetDeck and Echofon. With the recent buyout from Twitter, it is now accessible to all iPhone users (and Android) for free. Not only does this app have a clean UI, the functionality with this app is still enjoyable with their offline mode, allowing users to read past tweets, follow new people, reply to tweets, etc. without an internet/data connection. With this app you are also allowed multiple accounts so you can update any of your accounts all from the same place. Another plus, the updated app now includes search and user suggestions through categories (Celebrity suggestions being my favorite!). This app is unfortunately only good for iPhone and iPod Touch. The iPad version is not worth using, even for free, but no worries, a better version is in the making.


TweetDeck is another brilliant application that you can download for free as well. Just like Twitter for iPhone, you can manage multiple Twitter accounts from your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. An added functionality with this app actually allows users to manage both Facebook and Twitter. With TweetDeck Desktop, this app will automatically sync, syncing any new activity from your desktop to your mobile app, and vice-versa. With a quick shake to your iPhone or iPod Touch, you can check for any new updates.


This Twitter app is a basic app that includes all the basic functionality of Twitter for your iPone, iPod Touch, or iPad. For $5 more, you can get the pro version of Echofon which includes no ads and push notifications of mentions and DMs.


For the iPad, this is the app to have. This app has been said to be ‚one of the best looking iPhone apps without a doubt. It is a free app for all iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad users with a $4.99 upgrade to Twitterrific Premium which removes ads from the timeline and allows for multiple twitter account management. The apps display provides you with all the basic functions, such as tweets, mentions, and DMs, as well as lists, searches, and trends. The iPhone versions interface is similar but less cramped, it allows users to access the same information on one screen.



This popular Twitter app for Android phones is free with an available upgrade. The free version allows for the same basic Twitter functions, including lists, and with a shake of the phone it brings up the latest updates on Twitter. If you have multiple accounts that you need to manage, you will have to fork out the cash and pay for the upgrade.


Seesmic for Android allows the basic functions as Twitter with the ability to take photos and record videos and post them directly to Twitter via yfrog. It also includes the option to Geotag your tweets to share your current location and includes push notifications of mentions and DMs.

Twitter for Android

The Twitter for Android app is unfortunately only available for phones running Android 2.1 and above, but is notably beginning to become the most popular Twitter app for Android ever since the launch of the free app. Its an easy app to use, that allows for basic functions including sharing links and photos via share button. It also allows you to read tweets with the home screen widget, view tweet locations on a map, and also see your contacts tweets on your phonebook, GoogleTalk list or any other Android QuickContact application.


Twitter for BlackBerry

This app is one of the most popular Twitter apps for BlackBerry today. Allows basic Twitter functionality plus the ability to take photos from your BlackBerry and post them via TwitPic or yfrog. It also automatically recognizes #hashtags and has a notification icon that shows you the number of new messages in your timeline.


This app is another popular Twitter app for BlackBerry because of its ability to Geotag your tweets, automatically updating your location for you, and most recently, it supports Twitter lists. This is additional functionality outside of the basic Twitter app functions.


This app gives you the ability to track all your saved searches and Twitter lists. Additionally it has push notifications notifying you of new @replies and DMs.

Windows Mobile

Tiny Twitter

Ever have one of those friends that fills up your feed at times? Then this is the app for you. This is a free Twitter app for Windows Mobile that includes a unique function outside the basic Twitter functionality. Along with the basic functions, this app actually allows you to temporarily suspend a Twitter users tweets from appearing in your timeline while remaining in your follow list – so they have no idea (talk about sneaky!).


This is another free popular Twitter app for WIndows Mobile that is also open-source. Along with the basic functions, it allows you the ability to take pictures and post them directly on Twitter, multiple accounts management, and also a unique sliding interface that allows you to drag tweets to the left in order to take action on them.


This $4.95 Twitter app for Windows Mobile may actually be worth $4.95 for all of its functionality. Besides the base functions of Twitter, this app uses or TinyURL to shrink your posted URLs, Twitpics, and Geotagging with your GPS enable mobile phone. Dont think thats enough? Well youre in luck, because that $4.95 you spend allows you to also integrate your Twitter account with Windows Media Player so you can tweet the name of the song that you are currently listening to (because youre too lazy to do it for yourself, right?). This app is also available for a 14-day free trial.

Nokia Smart Phones


This Twitter app for Nokia Smart Phones, in particular – Nokia S60 Smart Phone, is your typical post and follow app. With the free version you have the ability to quickly update your own status and see what your friends are posting. With the pro version, there is additional functionality, such as posting images with TwitPic and ability to search, for a small price.


The Gravity Twitter app is quite the popular app for Nokia S60 Smart Phones with its list of additional functionality apart from the basic Twitter functions. For a small price, with Gravity you can manage multiple Twitter accounts, save links from tweets, post images using TwitPic or yfrog, and of course, retweets, DMs, favorites, and @replies. A 10-day free trial version is available from the Oyi Store.


If youre a Nokia, Sony Ericsson, or Motorola mobile phone user, then this all-in-one application is definitely an app worth trying. This app gives you the ability to manage basically your whole social media life, by giving you the ability to manage your Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and even your Google Picasa account – all from your mobile phone. The Twitter app allows you to do the basic functions of Twitter, such as updates, DMs, @replies, etc., along side the Facebook app where you can also update your status and read and write messages. This app is available to all Java-enabled mobile phone.

Desktop Twitter

With Twitter becoming increasingly popular, among personal and business users, and possibly the #1 social media website, not only has it evolved to mobile phones, but right on your desktop as well for further organization and advanced functionality. Its been said that the best Twitter desktop apps our built on Adobe AIR platforms, which seems to be the best at allowing these desktop apps to act similar on multiple operating systems while keeping a common interface, such as for Windows, Linux and Mac.




TweetDeck was built on an Adobe AIR platform with the goal of gathering an abundance of information from your Twitter feeds and breaking it down into more manageable bite sized pieces. Far more then the basic Twitter functionality, TweetDeck allows you to split the main feed into topic or group specific columns (almost similar to Twitters Lists), along side your actual Twitter feed. Once these columns are saved, they will automatically be updated with their specific topic or group tweets, along with with the All Tweet column. This is done by saving all of the Tweets on database, allowing the you to continue using your Twitter offline – even if its Twitter that is down. Once back online, your Twitter is automatically queued with new tweets, @replies and DMs. Additional functionality include managing lists, images, videos, multiple accounts, favorites and search.Thats not all! This all-in-one app not only connects you to your Twitter accounts, but also with Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google Buzz and more.

You can download TweetDeck from TweetDecks website at

Seesmic Desktop 

Seesmic Desktop

Seesmic Desktop

This app also gives you the best of both worlds by integrating both Twitter and Facebook. This app allows you to manage multiple accounts, Facebook and Facebook Pages, and multiple Twitter accounts. Tweets and Facebook updates appear together in one column, with the ability to like and comment any posts and administer them. One of the things I personally like about this app, is that it allows you to create saved searches, which allows for companies to manage their brand by seeing what people are saying about them through creating search columns, allowing them to quickly respond to users and stay engaged. Another functionality that is incuded, besides the basic Twitter functions, is that you can also manage lists with this app, allowing you to access, create and respond.

You can download this desktop app from Seesmic at




This social software client is a app owned by Seesmic, integrating Seesmic Video accounts and continuos developments, Twitter,, Friendfeed, MySpace, LinkIn and more via With this desktop app, you get all the basic functionality including notifications for new messages, shorten long URLs, cross-post your updates to your multiple social media accounts, post images, search tweets, Seesmic Video updates, and even spell checking.

You can download Twhirl for your desktop from Twhirls website at




This desktop app for both Twitter and Facebook is unfortunately only for Mac users, but if youre using TweetDeck, no worries – you have a great alternative! The benefits of this app is that it has an awesome interface with a small icon and footprint allowing you to adjust the sizing to your liking. It allows you to filter tweets, add custom behaviors, new tweet notifications, both audio and visual, manage multiple accounts, and plenty of settings and adjustments to make sure you have the app exactly how you like it. Only downfall of this app is that with the free version you are sharing screen space with ads, unless you are willing to fork out $14,95, Im sure you can learn to ignore this little annoyance.

You can download Twitterrific for your Mac at

Twitter Guru

With all the increasing popularity and seamless development of Twitter and its corresponding apps, Twitter is only becoming more fun and easy to use. Not only does it allow you to market your company for free, you are also meeting new people and potential clients – whom I have actually built friendships with and long business relationships. Combining this How To with your passion for social media, Im sure it will be no time before you, yourself, will become a Twitter Guru and giving someone else pointers on how to widen their online presence through social media.

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