Twitter is pretty straightforward. Post a message. Your followers see it. Repeat.
But if you want a truly customisable and controlled experience, there are several tricks to make Twitter work for you.
From animated avatars to the best way to find what you’re searching for, we came up with some great tips that will turn you into a power Twitter user.
Twitter comes with a few standard backgrounds to choose from. But if those aren't good enough, there are some cool online tools that will help you customise your background. If you run a business, it's a good idea to add your contact information and website to your Twitter page's background. We suggest trying Free Twitter Designer. It links to your Twitter account and lets you create a custom background in the browser.
Twitter's search function is good for finding people, but Google can help you look deeper. Type 'site:twitter.com' and enter your search term. You'll find all the tweets containing the information you're looking for.
Buzzfeed wrote this great tip for animating your Twitter avatar in just a few simple steps:
Head over to 3fram.es and upload three photos you'd like to use for your avatar. You can also use your webcam to take three shots on the fly. 3fram.es will mash your photos together into an animated GIF. Download the GIF and use this free resizing tool from Free Art & Technology before uploading to Twitter.
Twitter's list feature lets you curate groups of people with similar interests. It will help you keep friends, coworkers, news sources, etc. separate. If you make your lists public, it can help other people find new tweeters to follow.
Using Twitter's website to check tweets is fine for many people, but there are a ton of great clients that add extra functionality you won't get there.
If you manage multiple Twitter accounts, or want a way to easily track mentions, direct messages, and new followers all at once, use TweetDeck or HootSuite. You can arrange columns for each category and view updates in real time.
Twitter helped speed along the popularity of URL shorteners like bit.ly and TinyURL. Even if the link you're sharing fits within 140 characters, do your followers a favour and shorten the link anyway. It looks cleaner and less cluttered.
Many Twitter clients like TweetDeck and Twitter for iPhone and iPad have URL shorteners built in, so take advantage.
The popularity of retweets grew organically from the community of early Twitter adopters. Now Twitter has a built-in retweet button that makes it easy to share someone else's tweet with your followers.
If you want to add commentary to someone's tweet before retweeting, copy and paste the Tweet and type 'RT' before it. TweetDeck makes this easy. It includes an option to automatically copy the tweet along with 'RT' before it.
We've seen it before, and we'll see it again. People accidentally send direct messages as tweets and embarrass themselves. Before sending a direct message and possibly damaging your reputation in front of your Twitter followers, double check you are posting the message correctly. One way to avoid the future errors is to turn off direct messaging over SMS.
If you're relatively new to Twitter, the lingo can be confusing. We broke it down for you in an earlier post, but here are some of the basics you're likely to see:
- RT = Retweet
- NSFW = Not safe for work.
- OH = Overheard
- DM = Direct Message
When you conduct a search on Twitter, you have the option to keep the term saved for quick reference later.
You can also set up columns in TweetDeck or HootSuite to update your favourite search terms or hash tags in real time.