Social Media can be quite the mine field and can get easily overwhelming. Everything is instant, messages might come in in a flash and you will find so many interesting posts worth sharing, so many thoughts you want to type out and so little space to do so. It is easy to get carried away and despite it being a sharing platform, some restraint is necessary. Not only are we dealing with the internet, which never forgets, but also with the nedsters out there with a short attention span and low threshold for nonsense (unless it is entertaining).
If you are looking into using twitter to get your voice out there, share your content efficiently and acquire a trusty followerbase – and chances are that you are indeed since you are reading this -, then read the following points through before you type out 140 characters and hit send. I promise it will get much easier with practice and it is better knowing the ins and outs before you start. So here we go!
Name’s the Game
Before you register, the most important thing is how to appear on people’s screen. You probably alreay have a name but twitter’s character allowance for names is limited. My name didn’t fit in, for instance. Therefore, you need to come up with a name that is still easy enough to use, not taken and short enough. You can still sign up with your personal name and have your username reflect your brand’s name, which you can also change any time.
If all you have is 140 characters, you need to keep your message short and poignant. Especially in this age of short attention spans, it is a very valuable exercise. Why not try different headline types, divided into three parts, showing a problem, offering a solution and a call-to-action. The best length has been found is between 70 and 100 characters.
Twitter is a very fast moving medium. This becomes obivous when you know that each tweet has a half-time of 24 minutes. To be seen, you need to be on it all the time. Having said that, don’t be too spammy. I hate nothing more than account who publish 5+ posts in a row. Not good at all. The general rule for individuals is 5 times a day and 30+ for brands. Try to at least send out 10 tweets per day.
If you can’t be glued to your phone all day but want to shout out to the world about your content, thoughts and retweets, then don’t fret. There are a lot of scheduling programs out there that will provide you with free 10 tweets at any time or an endless amoutn for a monthly fee. I can highly recommend buffer, postcron and hootsuite.
Have you ever wondered about the people who just talk in hashtags and about those that never use them? So what is better? Studies have shown that our best option for engagement lies with one to two hashtags. Any more than that and you will see a drop. However, not using any hashtags at all increases your chance of a response.
Now if you want to make sure you get a response instead of a favourite or retweet, then you do not only need to avoid hashtags, but also write a compelling offer, create a sense of urgency together with a call to action. Tell people what they need and let them know how to get it. If you add a nice picture, you chances increase twofold.
Even though the message is that images always have a higher chance of engagement, if you are shooting out 30 tweets a day and all of them have a picture, your audience might get annoyed. I know I do. So always make sure you have a big time difference between them and also add tweets without pictures to show some variation. It also helps if you use text overlays on the pictures to stress the point of your tweet or highlight information. Use the dimensions of 750×375.
If you think logically, the best time to tweet is when your audience has access and time to check their phone. In other words, tweet heavily on weekends and after working hours. Interestingly, the best times for engagement is between 11pm an 2am no matter where you are! As opposed to that, the most popular tweeting time is between noon and 1pm, where your tweet will likely gain less attention in the ocean of fresh tweets.
You can register your account for free as a business and gain access to the analytics section, which breaks down the monthly engagement and reach. You will see the most popular post, the follower with the highest reach (for a possible cooperation) and your impressions. This way you can find out if your tweets are sent out into nothingness or are actually heard.
If you combine hashtags and links or links and photos, your tweet is much more likely to have a higher engagement rate. To track down the clicks on each link, you can shorten it with the free service of bit.ly, where you can evaluate the traffic as well.
If you are retweeting another person’s tweet, it will show it as such, but if you copy and paste, always include the ‘RT’ to show it’s an exact quote or the ‘MT’ to show you slightly changed it. And it goes without saying that you can’t just take someone else’s text or picture without referring to/tagging them.
You can join already established group chats or establish your own. Make sure you always use the respective hashtag t indicate that you are linking to the group or chat or want to talk to them. There are chats for all kinds of topics out there and for all time zones. But if you are interested in travel related ones, I have a small selection of the ones I visit when I have time and am in a suitable correct time zone.
Many chats are connected with travelogx and display all the chats participants to connect with and check out their content. If you want to create your own option for linking up, that is totally possible as well. You could, for instance offer it on your blog, such as with #weekendwanderlust by A Brit and a Southerner.
If you look closely on your profile page, you can differentiate between displaying tweets and answers, only your tweets or your answers alone. So if you are tagging another person with the @, chances are your tweets do not gain as much reach. You can avoid this by tagging someone in a picture (which saves you character space as well).
You can’t tweet videos but you can link twitter to periscope, which is a live video streaming app. In contrast to twitter, you can choose to only share certain content with certain people or make it public. It’s a bit like facebook in that respect. Also, you can ‘heart’ such a broadcast and thus see how many people you have reached.
Now you know how to sparkle and shine on twitter and how to check if you succeeded. If there is anything else you would like to know about using twitter, let me know and I will happily answer. And don’t forget to click follow on my twitter profile.