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Getting started on Twitter - the absolute basics


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Getting started on Twitter - the absolute basics

Helen Say

the absolute basics of twitter

This how-to Twitter tutorial is for Twitter “newbies” and is designed to get you up and running on Twitter in 15 minutes or less.
You'll learn the basics of how to use Twitter by setting up your Twitter account, sending your first tweet and deciding who to follow on Twitter.

Fill Out the Sign Up Form on Twitter's Home Page
First, go to and click on the “Sign Up” button at the top right. Fill out the three sign-up boxes on the next page, entering your real name, real email address and a password.
It's generally a good idea to give Twitter your real name because Twitter is all about real people. You can decide on your Twitter name at the next stage. Be sure to give your real email address too because Twitter will use this to validate your account as part of the sign up process. 

After filling out your name, email and password, click "Sign Up." Next enter a phone number: this is optional at this stage but it’s an added security feature should you ever need to change your profile details or reset your password. Twitter will also use this number to call you with a verification code. You may as well do this now as without a phone number Twitter will lock your account if before you can start to really use it.

Choose Your Twitter Username
Twitter will now ask you to choose a username. Your Twitter username can be different from your real name but doesn't have to be. Twitter's suggested usernames will be based on your real name, but you are free to change it to anything you want. As you type in your username Twitter will show you if it’s already taken. 

Your username is important because it will be shown to everyone on Twitter and also form the URL of your Twitter address. If you’re planning on using Twitter to promote your business then use your business name or something that shows off what you do. 

Click "Create my account" when you’re done.

You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your Twitter account; you’ll need to do this before you can go much further.

And that’s it! You are now a Tweeter!

Getting traction on Twitter
Skip the "Find People to Follow" prompt for now, we’ll come back to that in a moment.

You should now personalise your Twitter profile. Why? Because clicking "follow" on someone often causes them to click through and check you out. When that happens, you want your profile page to tell them who you are. You may not get another chance to persuade them to "follow" you, which means subscribe to your tweets. 

So click "Profile and Settings" in the top menu on your Twitter home page (found by hovering over the monochrome image of a head and shoulders), then "Profile" and then “Edit Profile”. Here you can add a photo and banner, plus fill out a short Bio (up to 160 characters), give your location and even your website URL. You can also change your Twitter theme colour and even add your birthday!

Send Your First Tweet
Since you're no doubt itching to get started, go ahead and send your first tweet. Sending tweets can be the best way to learn how to use Twitter - learning by doing.

It's a little like a Facebook status update, only the Twitter messages you send are public by default, and must be short.

To send a tweet, type a message of 140 characters or less into the text box that asks "What's Happening?" You'll see the character count drop as you type; if a minus sign appears, you've written too much. Trim a few words, and then when you're satisfied with your message, click the "Tweet" button.

Your tweet isn't sent to anyone yet because no one is following you, or subscribed to receive your tweets. But your tweet will stay on the timeline in your profile and be visible to anyone who views your Twitter page, either now or later.

BUT you should know that once you’ve tweeted something, you can’t change it or edit it. If you make a mistake, you can decide to leave it as it is or you can delete it and try again. 

Follow, and be followed
Now you can start following people. Use Twitter’s “Search Twitter” box to look for any person or any organisation that may also be on Twitter. This can be anyone whose opinions or movements you are interested in, an organisation you use, a competitor or even you favourite film star!

Twitter will also look at your profile and location and start suggesting people for you to follow. The more you follow, the more Twitter learns about you, and the more relevant the suggestions they will make.

The easiest way to get people to follow you is to start following them. Most people get notifications when they get a new follower and will often take a look at your profile and decide to follow you back. 

So that’s the basics of getting started on Twitter. Look out for more articles showing you how to get the most from Twitter and how to use it to promote your business. 

Good luck!