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Dos and Don'ts of tweeting

By Joel Fischer | China Daily Asia | Updated: 2017-03-07 10:20

Dos and Don'ts of tweeting

[Photo/2017 Twitter]

Donald Trump has been known to do it in the middle of the night. Kim Kardashian has done it more than 22,000 times. Many people don't understand why you would want to do it at all.

We're talking about tweeting and, unlike posting your entire life on Facebook, this social media activity demands a particular set of skills.

Why use Twitter? It's a way to have a one-on-one virtual connection with your heroes and anybody who interests you. Likewise, you can share your life and views with an almost limitless number of people. And it all has to be done within the tantalising limit of 140 characters of text – plus photos, videos and links – which really helps you focus your mind.

Katy Perry has the most Twitter followers, with 95.6 million of the micro-blogging site's 317 million monthly active users. Justin Bieber isn't far behind with 91.5 million, followed by Barack Obama and Taylor Swift with around 83 million each. The heaviest hitters of Twitter are pop stars, heroes of sport and other celebrities. But you don't need to be famous to create a buzz with the right tweets at the right time.

In fact, Katy Perry is a great example of how to do it well. She has a bubbly tweeting style that mashes up chat about her tours and her music, insights into her emotional roller coaster over the US election, and playful titbits about her daily life. "Done with my Christmas shopping", she tweeted, and posted a link to her Instagram page that featured crazy gadgets like a "pet emergency evacuation jacket" and a "chocolate donut camera".

To get started on Twitter, pick a simple, memorable user name like @KatyPerry, post a short profile and choose a photo. Some tips: avoid punctuation such as underscores in your name, post your own photo (not a photo of your dog, it's not Facebook) and don't be an "egg person" – referring to the default egg-shaped image when a user hasn't posted their own picture. It's the ultimate Twitter fail, and won't get you any followers or respect.

Then, it's time to start tweeting by sending your updates ("what's happening?") and following people. Building up an army of followers can take time. Generally, the more people you follow and the more you tweet, the more followers you'll get. To become a Twitter star, you need to carve out a reputation for posting original, eye-catching tweets on trending topics – and maximise your visibility by mastering the use of hashtags.

Twitter Analytics will show you how your tweets are performing and who is following you – right down to their age category, country, income bracket, gender and interests. If your popularity is flagging and your Twitter ego is keeping you awake at night, you can turn to the unscrupulous tactic of buying thousands of "followers" from online sites. But do beware – there may be a lot of fake profiles in there and, at the end of the day, it'll feel like paying a crowd of people you don't know to come to your birthday party.

Happy tweeting!

Dos and Don'ts of tweeting

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