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BY ASHLEY SCHROEDER
There are no hard rules on how to tweet, but there are certainly best practices.
Mind your characters. As journalists, we often write tight to keep our stories to a certain length. Harness your inner editor by sticking to the maximum 140-character limit. Twitter, Hootsuite and other services show your character-count as you type, so there’s no excuse for a truncated tweet. Bonus points if you stay under 120 characters, making it easier for people to retweet you without having to worry about rephrasing your original message.
How much time? If you want to be retweeted, then you need to be trendy. Share timely news. And tweet often. According to Twitter, a good basic rule is three to five tweets per day. You might try tweeting a couple different times a day to see how your audience reacts, and adjust accordingly.
Share useful information. It can be provided by you or another resource. Add a hashtag on key words so people can search tweets on the same topic.
A picture speaks a 1,000 words. Pictures and video carry more influence than simple text or links.
Retweet others who tweet about you. You shouldn’t retweet everyone who mentions you, but when you do it now and then you show personality, gratitude and transparency.
Engage other Twitter users in conversation using @replies and mentions. The @reply feature makes communication between users easy. BUT NOTE: Be careful about how you compose your tweets. Only start a tweet with another user’s Twitter handle if you’re intending to start a direct conversation with that user. A tweet started with an @reply is only seen by the sender, the user mentioned, plus people who follow BOTH of those two people.
Unless that’s what you wanted, simply include a period before a tweet that starts with a Twitter handle, and then all your followers and the general public (assuming your privacy controls allow so) can see the update in their Twitter stream.
Tell followers what to do. It doesn’t matter if you’re a TV show host or a fishing lure company. If people are following you (or even if they’re not as they might find you from keyword searches), don’t assume people will know to click a link or watch a video. Always include a verb like in this sample tweet. More #job posts in the Outdoor Market this week! Are you an #OWAA member? Sign-up for email updates!
Ride the trends, join global conversations. Relate a local, national or even world-wide event back to your audience. Participation in Twitter trends can help you boost your engagement.
Make your followers feel special. Try using phrases such as “behind-the-scenes,” “sneak-peek,” “exclusive look.” And show them a picture of what’s going on. Social media users love being part of a select crowd, and exclusivity gives them that. It also drives referral traffic to whatever web page you link to.
Follow, follow, follow. Following is a fantastic way to discover compelling content and inspire ideas for your own tweets. Follow accounts that are interesting to you or your business.
Not sure where to start? Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and other social networks all work differently and what is acceptable on one website is not necessary cool on the other. Listen and watch. Sign up for Twitter and take a look around; you don’t have to start writing your own tweets right away.
Social media takes time to learn and participate, so plan for it within your weekly schedule. ♦
— Currently the communications manager for OWAA, Ashley Schroeder recently relocated to Casper, Wyoming. When she’s not busy overseeing OWAA’s online presence and communications with members, supporters and the public, she can be found out running and training for marathons or back at her computer doing freelance website and graphic design work. Contact her at email@example.com.