How to Set Up Your Twitter Account

Have I convinced you that you should have a Twitter account? Awesome. Here’s how to set up your account and some tips for getting started.

1. Head to Twitter and choose a username or “handle.” This is the name that people will see with the @ sign in front of it. Make it something easy to remember and work your name in there if at all possible. If you already started a professional blog, then try to the two together — you’re streamlining your web presence and brand now! You’ll also add your real name — uh, under “Name” — to your info, so people will be able to see both and find you in searches.

Cool…now you are a person on Twitter!

2. Twitter will walk you through some steps…just go with it. Answer their questions and do what they say; it’s nothing too crazy!

3. Upload a profile picture! That default little bird is yucky. Get your pic on there. Your face, not your logo. We need to see you!

4. Make it look good. Go to “Settings,” and then “Design” and play around with colors and pictures so you have a nice background. It doesn’t have to be fancy. The key is “not boring or ugly.” It should just represent you. When I did Leah’s Twitter, I tried to make it fun and food oriented and also to try to keep it similar to the aesthetic of her blog.

5. Follow some people — Huffington Post, those people you really haven’t talked to in years but you know have Twitter, Ashton Kutcher, and me. OK great.

6. Follow some more people. Now start following people you want to network with. Think of the top people in your field. See if they have a Twitter. You need to find one well-connected person and start following their people. And then start following those people’s people. Don’t hesitate if you don’t know people — it’s a big party and everyone is welcome!

7. Write some great Tweets!

8. Download Tweetdeck on your computer. It’s a lot easier to see new Tweets to reply to as well as to see your @replies.

9. Get Twitter on your phone (UberTwitter is a great app for Blackberry; you can also text in Tweets through Twitter mobile). It’s a good way to stay on top of Tweeting on the go.

Twitter is funny; it definitely takes some getting used to. You can’t “get it” before you do it though. I was on it for a few months before I really understood it. But once you realize what a powerful tool it is for helping you further your career, it’s hard not to love it.

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