Twitter can be an overwhelming place, especially when you are a newer user, or only use the platform once in awhile. Where does one even start? Throughout my time managing social media, I’ve learned these are the five best ways to connect on Twitter as you’re just starting out. 1. Use Hashtags Using hashtags allows you to find people who are talking about the same things you are. For example, do you love dogs? Use hashtags like #dogsoftwitter to connect with other dog lovers! You’ll stumble upon a lot of awesome people this way. People, companies and organizations also use hashtags for Twitter chats, conferences, events and contests. It’s a great way to follow along and contribute to the conversation. 2. Build Lists List-building is often overlooked because it is more of an art than a science. First of all, what is a list? A list is a group of Twitter users that you choose and you can group people together in any way you’d like. This is a great way to organize contacts aside from just viewing your timeline, especially if you’re following hundreds or thousands of Twitter users, and you’d like to sort through the noise. Use lists as a way to find and connect with people who talk about the things you care about. To start creating lists, you can check out Twitter’s awesome guide that will take you step by step. You can find the guide here. 3. Following One of the first steps to connecting with anyone on Twitter is to follow them. Like what they have to say? Give them a follow! Don’t be afraid of following a lot of people who have the same interests or goals as you. Don’t go too crazy though – not only are there are follow limits, but also if you follow too many people at once, it gets extremely challenging to build meaningful relationships with everyone. Nonetheless, following is the best way to start those connections. 4. Retweeting Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE loves retweets, and for good reason. When you retweet someone else’s content, your entire timeline gets to see that tweet! This can mean big numbers for engagements and interactions, not to mention publicity. Of course you want your content to be retweeted, but it is also important to retweet others’ content. By retweeting other people, companies, or organizations, you are showing them your support and that your connection with them is meaningful to you. And as a social media manager, let me just say, people notice who retweets them and who doesn’t. 5. @mentions/Replies Pronounced “At mentions,” @mentioning someone, also known as tagging, on Twitter is the most direct and effective way to connect with other users on Twitter. Like what they had to say? Let them know! Whenever you reply to someone’s tweet, you are starting an online relationship with that person or company. Remember when replying to be positive and uplifting – nobody likes a Negative Nancy. With these five tools, you will be well on your way to getting the most out of your Twitter account and interactions. Have fun, get social, be generous with retweets and mentions and you will be a Twitter-connecting extraordinaire in no time! If you have go-to Twitter tips that you use often, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!