With all the different social media platforms out there, it can be hard to stay current. What’s the best format for a Facebook status? How often should I share something on Google+? Does my business have to be on Pinterest? Is there a right way to respond to followers on Twitter?

Like we said. Knowing all the best practices can get a little daunting. To help you freshen up on your social media skills, we’re going to share a few quick how-tos over the next few months.

First up: Twitter

Twitter Etiquette is Real

Sometimes referred to as “twitterquette,” Twitter etiquette is essential to forming strong relationships. No, following-back is not an obligation. You don’t need to follow all those who follow you. No, you shouldn’t spam your entire audience with each reply. Beginning each reply with a direct mention (an “@username”) of the person you’re replying to will keep your tweet from showing up in everyone’s newsfeed. Yes, you should definitely acknowledge those who retweet you. At a minimum you want to favorite their retweet.

Photos Mater

While Twitter began as mostly a text-based platform where 140 characters ruled, it’s blossomed into a space that’s often dominated by pictures. Yes, you should use a unique profile photo. (For maximum resolution, use a photo that’s 400 x 400 pixels.) Yes, you should have an engaging header image. (For maximum resolution, use a photo that’s 3000 x 1000 pixels.) Yes, you should incorporate images into your tweets. (While you can share images of nearly any size or shape, Twitter displays a horizontal snapshot of the photo in a 4 x 3 aspect ratio, cutting off the top and bottom as appropriate. The ideal Twitter image size is 1024 x 768 pixels.)

Structure for Engagement

Yes, you can use up to 140 characters. And yes, you can use those characters any way you choose. However, the most effective tweets contain between 80 – 100 characters. They open with an engaging statement or question. They include a link. And, they end with 1 – 3 hashtags.

Interested in learning a bit more about Twitter? Awhile back, Buffer shared some fantastic tips about features of which you might not be aware.