How to Use Twitter: The Basics

Notebook of love most engaged on Twitter

This profile on The Notebook is rated one of the most engaged with Twitter profiles.

Short and sweet, that is what Twitter is all about. Just the basics. It’s all about making a big impact with a small number of words. For example, you might want to pull a cool piece of data from a blog post rather than just use the post title in your tweet.

Tweet Length

140 characters are allowed, but use 120 instead, which leaves room for people to add “RT @username” for retweets. (Retweeting is when users share someone else’s tweets.)


Retweets are a way of sharing the tweets you like. “Add RT @username” before the message for retweets. You can also @reply with your reaction to a tweet.


Mention other users by their Twitter usernames (preceded by the @ sign with no spaces) in your tweets. Mention a celebrity as they often respond to fans. You’ll see their response on your Mentions tab. Use this format to talk to others: @McDougallSocial Thanks for the cool Twitter info!


DM stands for direct message and this is how it’s done: DM username This is a message.

Follow people

Follow people for them to follow you back, that’s going to end up being one of your main strategies for growing your reach on Twitter.

Favorite a tweet

Favoriting relevant tweets like following people is another way to gain more exposure on Twitter by getting your name out there more.


Categorize Tweets by keyword

  • The hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (with no spaces in between) categorizes those tweets and helps them show up more easily in Twitter Search.
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any tweet shows you all other tweets marked with that keyword.
  • Hashtags can be placed anywhere in a tweet—at the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often trending topics.

3 Other Resources for Beginners on Twitter

  1. Social Scoop: Twitter for beginners by Jessica Johnson
  2. How to Use Twitter a Beginner’s Guide by Sean Clark
  3. Twitter for Beginners: From Hashtags to Followers by Katie Pilkington
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