In my Public Relations Case Studies final a couple of weeks ago a friend said to me: “Hey, Blonde Experience,” yes she really said that, “I feel like I should be on Twitter, but I have absolutely no idea how to use it. I think you should write a blog post about it.”

Brilliant idea! I’m a huge advocate for Twitter, ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you I’m “obsessed.” I’ve gotten a number of my friends to hop on the website throughout the year and given them the best Twitter lessons I can, but there is still more to learn. So, I decided to put together a how-to use Twitter guide on my blog.

Now, I know there are a ton of blog posts already out there educating people on the correct way to use Twitter, so I thought instead of re-writing what people have already written, I would just share those posts with everyone. Of course, I do offer my own personal suggestions as to how I use Twitter, but those come at the end.

Let’s start off with a PowerPoint created by Heather Whaling (@prtini). This is a great slideshow that goes over a lot of the Twitter basics, what a hashtag is, how to @ reply and some other Twitter lingo. Perfect for beginners.

Next, is Mashable’s Twitter Guidebook. They also go over the basics and give tips for how to build your community and use it for business if you should ever need that. (I only say that because this is aimed at my friends who will use it mostly for personal use).

The next few articles contain other tidbits of information about Twitter and how to get the most out of it. One is about using Twitter in a job search (written by yours truly), but is still relevant even if that isn’t your main aim and one using Twitter for business. Again, even if you’re not tweeting from a business standpoint, there is a lot of good advice in there.

This article from Twitter Journalism is one of a series of posts where the author talks about their experience with Twitter and the value they ended up finding. This could be you!

Now for my suggestions – and I’ll do my best not to repeat too much of what the previous articles stated.

  1. You have to be willing to put time into it! My friends constantly tell me I’m obsessed with Twitter because I tweet so often. However, to get any real benefit from Twitter you have to tweet more than once a day – don’t be afraid to jump into a conversation or respond to a tweet, even if you don’t know the person. You’d be amazed at how willing the folks on Twitter are to help out and talk to you.
  2. Participate in Twitter chats. I think this is where I have found most of my Twitter success and “met” most of the people I talk to on Twitter. There is a comprehensive list here. Find one that suits your interests and just jump in!
  3. In addition to Twitter chats, follow hashtags that interest you. I realize not everyone is a PR student. However, if you’re interested in fashion, follow tweets with the #fashion hashtag. Someone might tweet something interesting that you respond too and *poof* a Twitter friendship is born.
  4. Download a desktop client like Tweetdeck or Seesmic. These are great ways to keep everything organized and follow those hashtags like I mentioned before. You can set up columns so you see those exact tweets, way easier than doing everything from the website.
  5. Share! Did you find an article you thought was interesting? Share it! There are plenty of URL shorteners out there so a long URL won’t eat up your entire 140 characters (@rebeccadenison breaks them down here). If you have a blog share your posts on Twitter too. It’s a great way to gain readership and followers who are interested in the same things you are, which leads to good conversations and so on.

And that’s it! Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions regarding how to use Twitter (Follow me: @stephmajercik)! And to my established Twitter friends, what other advice would you offer to those new to the network? Share your links and thoughts in the comments below!