“What should I tweet?” – This is often the first question I get after I’ve successfully convinced someone that a Twitter account is a good idea. Much like Facebook, Twitter isn’t just for kids anymore. According to the Pew Research Center, social media use has doubled for people over the age of 50.

So, how do you tweet? If you Google “how to use Twitter”, there are a million lists that can instruct you on how to establish an account. The first, and possibly most important, task after creating the account is to decide the purpose of your Twitter account: Are you tweeting as Joe the one and only AV sales guys you need to know? Or as Joe, the guy who sells AV but also loves fishing, NASCAR, and movies? Only you can decide which person will guide your online persona.

Whether you choose Salesguy Joe  or Personal Joe, it’s important to remain consistent. People will decide to follow your tweets based on what they see. If you presented Personal Joe, but your followers end up seeing nothing but 30% off sales and 2-for-1 deals, then they will leave and never come back.

Bio: Fill out the bio on your Twitter page. I cannot stress this enough. Put a little info about yourself so that people know what you’re about. This is not just a newbie Twitter mistake. People who have used Twitter for months or years still neglect their bio info.

Privacy: Twitter feeds are open to the public (unless you close it off, in which case you have to approve every single person who wants to follow you.) So be smart about what you say since it may get retweeted many, many times. A good rule of thumb is to never tweet anything that you wouldn’t tell a stranger on the subway.

Hashtags: The second confusing thing about Twitter are the use of hashtags. I often get the question of “How do you know what to tag?” Well, sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t and sometimes you’re just being funny. Some of the accepted hashtags for the AV community are: #avtweeps, #AV, and #AVsys. I’ve also seen #audiovisual and #AVpros.

Using hashtags to search for people is another great way to get connected into a Twitter community. Here’s a list of real time people who are using the #avtweeps hashtag.

Managing a Twitter stream: Managing tweets is not as hard as you think. There are programs available that aggregate Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all into one interface. I like to use TweetDeck for this purpose. You can easily send tweets, schedule tweets in advance, read tweets from people you follow, and keep track of who is retweeting/mentioning you. TweetDeck is not the only social media management tool. A Google search will garner a long list of others.

So, that answer to “What should I tweet?” Let’s start with “Hello, #avtweeps.”