It’s Twitter Tip Tuesday — every Tuesday we’ll focus on one Twitter Tip and show you how to integrate it into your social media strategy. This week we’ll show you how to ask for help on Twitter.

If you are like most people, when you first start on Twitter, you’re a little tentative. You might not know how to use a Twitter List, or even how to retweet. Don’t worry — that’s normal. The good news is that you don’t have to keep your uncertainty or your frustration to yourself. Twitter is largely populated with people who are willing to help, if and when you need it. The secret? You just have to know how to ask.

Expand Your Reach

Expand Your Reach on Twitter

On Twitter, you’re restricted to 140 characters, so you’ll have to make your questions very specific and brief. Remember that the only people who see your tweets are your followers, so when you ask a question, you’re not asking all of Twitter’s 100 million members, you’re asking only the people who are following you. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, however, that can help you expand your reach.

If you can’t get a question answered from your immediate followers, try using a hashtag in your tweet. For example, if you have a question about retweeting, phrase your question like this: “How do you #retweet?” By adding the hashtag, you’re tweet will be seen not only by your followers, but also by the thousands of people who are searching the hashtag “#retweet” at any given time.

You can also send an “@ reply” or Twitter mention, by including a specific Twitter handle in your tweet. In other words, if you phrase your question to include a specific Twitter member, that person will see your tweet whether they’re following you or not. Here’s an example: “Hi @Sprout_Insights – Do you have any articles on how to use Twitter Lists?” In this case, @Sprout_Insights will see your tweet in their “@Mentions” tab on Twitter and will likely respond with the answer your looking for.

You can find relevant people to whom you can address your questions by clicking on the “Who to follow – view all” tab on the Twitter homepage. Type a keyword in the “Search by name or topic” field and you’ll get a list of people who tweet on that topic. Pick one or two accounts and address your questions to these people specifically. When you get answers to your questions, be sure to thank the person or people who replied to you.

Just Ask

Just Ask Questions on Twitter

Once you’ve got the mechanics of Twitter down, you might have questions about things unrelated to Twitter. For example, you might want to know where you can find a good seafood restaurant in a city you’re visiting, or how to start a WordPress blog. Twitter is an amazing resource for referrals, and esoteric information that people are eager share — all you have to do is ask!

[Image Credits: Dhammika Heenpella, David Goehring]