Becoming Confident on Social Media Using Twitter

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Regardless of how experienced you are in the business world, social media can still be tricky to get the hang of. It’s particularly difficult if you’re relatively successful and well-known in your industry but you’re a novice on Twitter or any other social channel. That’s what we wanted to discuss on our chat today—how to deal with social media and how to grow more comfortable using your unique voice. We invited social media strategist Kelly Kostanesky to help us understand how we can use Twitter better. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Kelly Kostanesky
Topic: Becoming confident on social media using Twitter
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: Why is Twitter an ideal platform for making connections?

Twitter is great because it has a relatively low barrier to entry. As our guest pointed out, unlike other social channels where you’re often under the pressure to share images or videos to initiate meaningful conversations, on Twitter you can start a discussion with anyone just as easily as talking to them in real life.

This also ties into what Dana said about Twitter being such a fast-action platform. Because there are a lot of back-and-forth conversations happening in real time, it’s a lot like a dinner table discussion—everyone is welcome to contribute. What’s more it’s also easy to discover new people and topics because of the thriving networks of hashtags and chats.

Q2: What can you do to avoid feeling overwhelmed on Twitter?

It’s common to feel overwhelmed by the rapid and vast amount of information people exchange on Twitter. Sometimes you’re so lost in all of that that you don’t really know what to say. In such situations, take your guest’s suggestions and re-share someone else’s content. If it’s a topic you’re familiar with, reply and engage with them. Or find questions and discussions about topics you know about and answer others’ questions and concerns. In both cases, not only will you have something to say, but you’ll also add a lot of value to others.

It’s also helpful if you learn to manage your Twitter feeds effectively. As Alberto pointed out, create lists so you can have completely customized feeds based on topics or interests. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to turn off notifications. Twitter now sends you push notifications for recommended tweets as well, and if you’re easily distracted, these notifications can add up quickly and overwhelm you.

Q3: Why is the quality of your followers more important than quantity?

It’s important to remember that though a large following looks impressive from the outside, Twitter’s algorithm can easily differentiate between a highly engaged community and a community that never responds to your content. That’s why it’s crucial to have people who interact with your content—and even if that’s only a small number, it’s completely fine.

Zen added another great point about treating your followers not as buyers but as friends. It’s a good way to identify how many people consistently interact with you because they genuinely want to engage with you.

Q4: Share some tips for becoming more confident on Twitter.

Most of us battle with imposter syndrome. It’s when you think you don’t deserve the praise you get—when you think that you’re not good enough. That’s the negative mindset we need to overcome.

As our guest pointed out, we all have more value to offer than we realize. A good way to unlock that potential is to find an article or a few pieces of content that you resonate with and tweet out what you gained or learned from it. Whatever the topic, if it speaks to you, chances are it will speak to many others as well.

Another good way to build confidence of Twitter is to start small, as JMatt suggested. Start tweeting out to friends and close contacts—that way, you’ll become comfortable having real-time conversations. You can slowly build out from there.

The most important thing about Twitter, and any social platform really, is that you shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes. As our friends from Interpose told us, go read up on how you can get the most out of Twitter but also experiment. The more you practice and try new things, the better you’ll get.

Q5: How can you use Twitter Lists to boost engagement?

Lists is a great feature to create custom feeds. As Kelly put it, you can create a list of users who tweet about specific topics and you’ll have a completely relevant feed based on a topic. You can also put together a list of people you think your community should follow—it’s an effective way to promote friends in your industry while making some valuable connections.

Megan also pointed out that you can use Lists as a conversation starter as well. For example, whenever you add people to a public list, they will get notified. If you’ve named your list clearly and cleverly, you might gain someone who’s not only happy that you’ve added them to your list but who might also become a long-term friend.

The biggest benefit of lists, of course, is that it makes it easy to engage with people you want to, as Justin told us. Because a Twitter List only displays tweets from people added to the list, you can create smaller lists so you can manage your conversations more easily than trying to keep up with your complete Twitter feed.

Q6: Why is it helpful to participate in Twitter chats?

You learn so many new things on every chat you participate in. However, that’s not the most important thing about participating in Twitter chats. The more valuable aspect of chats is that you get to meet so many great people, both from and outside of your immediate industry. It’s a great way to build friendships and business relationships because when you engage with people on a chat, you’re not selling—you’re instead answering questions and helping each other out. That’s a wonderful way to have first-time conversations.

As Lizzie added, if you’re a brand, participating in chats also automatically puts you on other people’s radar. It boosts your awareness even if all you’re doing is replying to other people’s comments.

Fernando also pointed out that participating in chats forces you to practice conveying your message succinctly within context. It’s a good way to hone your communication skills too.

Q7: How can you use Quote Tweets to share your voice?

Quote Tweets are a good way for you to add context to your tweets. For example, when you reply to a tweet, your response will be displayed to your followers. However, they may not always click to read the whole thread. When you quote and tweet your response as a retweet, it’s easier for your followers to follow your train of thought. It works magnificently in Twitter chats, as our guest demonstrated throughout the chat.

It’s also a nice way to acknowledge the original author of a tweet you’re resharing. As Jim told us, you can quote retweet a tweet as a way of giving credit but also as a way to amplify the message. In many cases, you can say the same message of the tweet in a different perspective to show your audience how you perceive it.

Q8: Name some Twitter users who make this a fun and welcoming platform.

Well, there are so many! Come participate in our #TwitterSmarter chat one week and you’ll meet a huge chunk of people who make this platform fun and welcoming. Led by, of course, Madalyn Sklar the host and owner of #TwitterSmarter.

Kelly also pointed out some more great people to check out and engage with, including Christine Gritmon, Nathalie Gregg, Christina Garnett, Alexa Heinrich, Gabriela Cardoza, and so many others you’ll meet if you pop into Twitter chats.

Smitha also mentioned some great people across a wide range of industries like Janet Machuka, Areej AbuAli, Lynette Muthoni, and Lyndon.

I’ve definitely left out some awesome people. But let that be a reason for you to join us on Thursday at 1pm ET for our next #TwitterSmarter chat. Come say hello to some of the older folks and meet the broad range of people who participate in our conversation every week.

Well, folks. That’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading through and for more great insights from our chat with Kelly, check out this thread. Chat soon!

About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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