On Monday, we briefly covered 5 Things You’re Not Doing on LinkedIn (And Should Be) to get you ready for the opportunities that arise in the new year 2012. Today we turn our attention to what you’re not doing on everyone’s favorite 140-character free-for-all, Twitter.
1. Create a custom background
Yes, I know most people will only see your Twitter profile page once, but that “once” is a vital first impression, the turning point where they decide whether they want to follow you. A custom background adss that professional edge that lets visitors know you take your tweeting seriously. And it’s not as complicated as you might think; check out Mashable’s “how to” post for all the info you need.
2. Schedule your tweets
The key to success on Twitter is consistently posting quality content in a steady stream, without gluts or long silences. But of course that’s not how we discover shareable content, is it?
Fortunately, there are a number of tools on the Web that can let you schedule those tweets in a smooth, steady stream. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Timely, a free tool that not only schedules your tweets for you, but chooses the times when your tweets are likely to deliver the most bang.
3. Retweet the right way
Once upon a time, there was only one way to retweet: copy the tweet content, insert “RT @[original tweeter’s ID] in front of it, add your commentary and hit “Tweet.” Then Twitter decided to get fancy and add an “automatic” retweet function that didn’t take up the extra characters. And tweeters hated it, with good reasons I won’t go into here.
So when you find an especially savory tweet you want to share, share it the old-fashioned way. For a quick tutorial, check out HubSpot’s blog post How to Retweet the Right Way in 4 Easy Steps.
4. Create an “inner circle” of fellow tweeters
When you’re out there sharing content, don’t just focus on the big news sites and the megablogs. Select a few individual tweeters whose content resonates with your followers and retweet their stuff regularly. Chances are they’ll share the love by retweeting your tweets, and before you know it, you’ll have built a solid relationship that you can count on when you really, really need some support.
5. Use hashtags … with care
Hashtags are a great way to join ongoing conversations and create your own. (If you’re not familiar with the whole hashtag thing, check out my Hashtags 101 page.) Just be careful to stick to the topic and resist the temptation to get cute by leveraging trending hashtags to promote your own content; see “Handle With Care” for a few cautionary tales.
So, those are my favorite secret weapons for the Twittersphere—what are yours? Share your recipe for Twitter domination in the comments; we’d love to hear from you!