12 Most Definitive Ways to Master Twitter

12 Most Definitive Ways to Master Twitter

With more than 140 million active users (and growing), Twitter remains one of the go-to social media platforms for individuals and brands. I’m a huge fan of Twitter and use it not only to share content, but also to connect and converse with friends, industry peers and prospective clients.

Of course, as with any other social site, Twitter requires your time and effort to be successful. The platform has its own language made up of hashtags, RTs and abbreviations—and, of course, the 140-character limit, which forces users to be concise.

Whether you’re just starting out on Twitter (if so, where the heck have you been?) or have been using the site for years, try these 12 tips to make your Twitter experience even more productive and engaging.

1. Schedule sparingly

Handy Twitter dashboards like HootSuite allow you to schedule tweets, which can be a lifesaver when you’re swamped or traveling. A word of caution? Don’t over-rely on scheduling. Otherwise your account will resemble that of an automated robot—and other Twitter users will be less likely to engage with you and the content you’re sharing. After all, we all like to know that there’s a real, live person on the other side of the computer screen.

2. Promote yourself and others

At the risk of being annoying (or worse, spammy), you may be hesitant to promote yourself and your work on Twitter. Yet Twitter users love new, fresh content, whether it comes from you or someone else. Just be sure you’re sharing and promoting what others are doing, too. Like other social media platforms, Twitter is most effective when it’s used as a two-way street. And the more you share what others are up to, the more likely they’ll be to return the favor.

3. Tweet tease

Want to entice people to click on a link? Don’t give all of the information away up front. Instead, write a compelling teaser that will entice your followers to read more. After all, which tweet do you find more interesting? “The perfect time to post a blog is …” or “New research indicates the best time to publish a blog.” The first one, right? Just remember—when it comes to Twitter, a little tease can have a big impact.

4. Show, don’t tell

The great thing about Twitter—well, there’s a lot of great things about Twitter. And one of them is the potential for other followers to share your tweets and content, thereby introducing your ideas to a larger audience. Want to get your content RT’d? Then make it compelling enough to share—and don’t ask for RTs in your tweet. If I like what you have to say, I’ll share it—no questions asked.

5. Stay positive

We all know those Debbie Downer types who use social channels to moan and groan about their lives, their relationships and their businesses. And really, what good does it do to focus on the negative? Instead, stay positive. We all have bad days (or bad weeks), but if you feel yourself about to go on a Twitter tirade, step away from the computer—in fact, sit on your hands if you have to! This is especially important if you use Twitter for business and to connect with prospective clients. You don’t want professional connections to see you at your worst, right?

6. Mix it up

Keep your Twitter stream fresh with a mix of content and conversation. After all, Twitter isn’t just about sharing—it’s about connecting, too. Have you ever clicked on a Twitter user, only to find the last few days’ worth of tweets are nothing but links with no personalization? That may signal an over-reliance on scheduling (more on that in a minute) and automation. And if you’re not on Twitter to discuss and converse, well, what’s the point?

7. Provide contextual clues

Just as you wouldn’t share a link, photo or video on Facebook without an accompanying description, make sure you provide contextual clues for the content you’re sharing on Twitter. After all—wouldn’t you be more likely to click on a photo or video if it’s paired with a description?

8. Minimize the mundane

You might be tempted to give your Twitter followers a peek into your daily life by sharing things like what you’re eating, for example. Yet it’s best to keep this sort of mundane information to a minimum. You don’t need to enact a blanket ban on all personal tweets—but make sure you’re balancing them with interesting, relevant content that will keep your followers engaged with your stream. The same goes with Foursquare check-ins—do we really need to know where you are at all times?

9. Limit lingo

Twitter has a language all of its own. Hashtags, which track everything from Follow Friday (#FF) to various Twitter chats (#beonfire) to random thoughts (#winning), are great tools with which to follow various events or subject matter. Yet use them sparingly, along with abbreviations. Filling your tweets with too much Twitter jargon can make them confusing and difficult to read.

10. Watch your count

The 140-character limit can be tricky for Twitter users. You’re forced to be brief and to the point. And if you’re sharing a link or other content that you’d like others to RT, it’s best to keep your tweet under 120 characters so that others can easily share without having to modify the existing message.

11. Add your thoughts

One of the best ways to share content and create relationships with other Twitter users is to retweet what they’ve shared. When you RT something, take it one step further by adding your own thoughts or recommendation. You likely won’t have much room for your remarks, but taking the step to personalize a RT lets your Twitter network know you’re invested in what you’re sharing.

12. Stay current

Twitter is a fast-moving stream of real time information. And that means you need to stay current when posting links and content. Twitter has a shorter shelf life than other social networks; information rapidly gets stale, so keep that in mind as you choose what to share.

Sure, Twitter has its nuances—but at its heart, it’s like any other social network. Put in time and effort—both with what you share/say and who you connect with—and you’ll find a vocal, engaged audience that can add to your online network of resources.

I want to hear from my fellow Twitter users. What other tips would you add to the list? And what benefits does Twitter offer that you can’t find with other social platforms?

 Featured image courtesy of shawncampbell via Creative Commons.

Katy Ryan Schamberger

http://www.v3im.com

Katy is Chief Content Officer for Kansas City-based V3 Integrated Marketing, which means her days (and nights) are all about content—and deadlines, of course! Katy has long had a voracious appetite for words that’s served as the foundation for her career—first as a regional magazine editor, freelance writer and author, now as a digital marketer. A graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, Katy credits her journalism background for instilling an insatiable thirst for research that drives her to create relevant, compelling content for clients of all sizes and industries. Her interviewing skills aren’t too shabby, either. Find Katy on Twitter @KatyWrites, on LinkedIn and on Facebook. And don’t be shy—Katy loves meeting new people almost as much as she loves to write (and eat Indian food).

468 ad
27 comments
MalharBarai
MalharBarai

Great information Katy!! Business are indeed confused on ways they can leverage Twitter and end up being broadcast mediums. Your 12 most ideas should help them define a good Twitter strategy.

 

Thanks for sharing

FC
FC

Twitter rocks! It is great to be on Twitter. The businesses promoting blogs through Twitter receive immense traffic within a few days. But while promoting your product, we shouldn’t sound to be over promotional. As you said it is good to promote other marketer’s products too!

Paqui080863
Paqui080863

@frielingbailey @terrinakamura Hallo schönen Montag Abend u einen Sorgenfreien Erfolgreic Dienstag Herz Dank und L.g.

Circaroma
Circaroma

@AbsoluteAlicia well worth a read, certain things I'm going 2 do differently right away!

terrinaka
terrinaka

RT @LookSmartSearch: @landonhallman @MaxDCoyle RT @zaibatsu12 ways to master Twitter: http://t.co/LCEpaUYA RT @terrinakamura #socialmedia

johndanes
johndanes

@SthsideMktg thanks for the RT!

terrinaka
terrinaka

RT @Chindu: 12 definitive ways to master Twitter, by @KatyWrites: http://t.co/DaaZPiJr #twittertips #cjsm • via @terrinakamura

terrinaka
terrinaka

RT @ffynnonweb @DesignsOnBooks @schelcher @HBarbedo @LukaszZelezny : RT @terrinakamura: 12 ways to master Twitter: http://t.co/LCEpaUYA

IndianMusicNYC
IndianMusicNYC

@sree looking for the #supermoon. Too cloudy here?

dbvickery
dbvickery

Big fan of adding thoughts - and providing contextual clues. Much more likely to click on that URL if I know it came from a credible source (who always ensure there are contextual clues).

deborah Weinstein
deborah Weinstein

Great  Twitter  101!  Bookmark-worthy for newbies  Thanks you Katy.  

Sharyn Sheldon
Sharyn Sheldon

Thanks for all the great tips Katy. I've been on the fence about Twitter since I have enough trouble keeping up with my other social networks and several forums I'm involved in. Also, I haven't seen a lot of my competitors on Twitter a lot. Does that mean it's not worth spending time there? I'm not sure. What's your opinion on how to determine whether Twitter is a good platform for your particular market?

RossQuintana
RossQuintana

Nice post, Katy, As a Twitter lover myself I can say all good advice. A few points would depend on how you use it. I like to schedule content, every day. That being said any time someone talks to me I respond. The reason I like scheduling is that I can curate the best content I find and many people comment that they love my feed because it is always full of useful info. I also think that the because of the massive amount of posts, most people aren't going to go digging so making sure you have good content on your feed when people are looking is key. But again not everyone has to use Twitter the same way, as a social media guy I think that changes how I use it. Check out my feed @ross_quintana and tell me what you think :] 

DixieLil
DixieLil

 @KatyWrites Really concise and worthy points here, Katy.  I agree with endless RT requests and SSP. Agree wholeheartedly with #5 and #6- makes for a much more interesting profile and better business impression.  Just wondering how many people create a more personal twitter account just so they could rant, rave and qvetch? Many probably do.  

StephanieWinans
StephanieWinans

Love this! #4 made me laugh because the asking for RTs is such a pet peeve of mine.

 

Also loved #3. I work in radio, and often tell clients to write their online teases for links the way they write on-air teases- give 80% and withhold 20% to keep people interested.

dbvickery
dbvickery

@andrewsmith1443 @12Most - You are excellent at all of the above Andrew - you ARE a Twitter Master ;)

Martin D Redmond
Martin D Redmond

Great post with actionable advise.  I especially like #3, and I'm going to have to carve out some time for #6!

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

#1 is one of my biggest Pet Peeves.... the entire point of Social Media is for us to deal with REAL human beings in human terms.  I'm all for Hootesuite or Argyle Social - any scheduling program is NECESSARY at times.. but ALL THE TIME?  Why not just go back to one way Print Ads.

 

GREAT Post.

Flying_Finn
Flying_Finn

@Berryed1 @brbates99 #burn #3rdDegree #hashtag

AbsoluteAlicia
AbsoluteAlicia

@circaroma Aaah, interesting... I hope it works for you!

KatyWrites
KatyWrites

 @Martin D Redmond Thanks for stopping by, Martin! I'm glad you found tips that you could put in action - that's all part of the plan :) And I love your use of the phrase "carve out some time" - I have to discipline myself to do the same thing.

KatyWrites
KatyWrites

 @AmyMccTobin High five, Amy! I think scheduling can be great (and convenient) when used sparingly, but you're exactly right - if you come to rely on it, then you're account becomes robotic. So glad you liked the post!

Adsense