To truly unleash the power of social media, you must dedicate yourself to learning the tricks of the trade. This usually requires a generous learning curve and fair amount of trial and error. However, if you’re looking for a fast-track to social media success, Twitter may be the best place to start. It’s one of the most heavily trafficked sites on the Web, and it is known as the place where Internet news breaks first. While there are hundreds of unique features, capabilities, and tips, the following 20 tricks are all you need to become a Twitter expert.
1. Establish your goals.
As with any new marketing tool you pursue, you must establish your goals and tone. The best place to start is with your purpose. Why are you using Twitter? For some, it may be to grow brand exposure or interact with customers. For others, it’s purely personal. The best way to establish goals is to focus on your passions and interests. It will all flow naturally from there.
2. Use a good profile image.
Much like a good meta description or headline is valuable for a blog post, a good image is a must for your profile. While Twitter will hand out its iconic egg picture as your default image, be sure to change it right away. Generally, anyone with an egg profile image is considered unprofessional in the Twittersphere. Your image should be simple yet engaging. Ideally, a well-taken headshot or company logo will do the trick.
3. Target industry keywords.
So your tweets show up in relevant searches. Thanks to tools like the Google Keyword Planner, it’s easy to find out what your followers are interested in.
4. Develop a #hashtag.
There was a time when marketers wondered if hashtags were a phase, but they have solidified themselves in mainstream culture enough to be considered a fixture. If you want to garner a large following, it’s important to develop a unique and easily identifiable hashtag that has the ability to become synonymous with your name, brand, or Twitter handle.
5. Create a follow list.
For some, Twitter is less about gaining followers and more about having access to a streamlined, real-time newsfeed. If you want to narrow your focus and have your feed only display certain content, you can create a follow list. You can then manually control which accounts are displayed.
6. Follow peers and competitors.
Twitter is a unique way to gain insights about your industry peers and competition. By following their accounts, you can see what they’re doing, what issues they’re focused on, and how they interact and engage with customers.
7. Tweet at the right time.
According to research studies, the best time to Tweet is between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Data shows that engagement peaks and content has a better likelihood of going viral between these times.
8. Engage with followers.
Twitter is less about barking at people and more about engaging with them. If you want to use Twitter in the right way, start developing unique methods for engaging with followers.
9. Learn to curate.
Learning how to curate content is a major skill on Twitter. By being able to put a new spin on old information, you can push out fresh content without spending hours thinking about it.
10. Use advanced search.
Looking for something very specific? Use Twitter’s advanced search feature to find it. You can filter your search by words, phrases, hashtags, dates, times, location, and more.
11. Go mobile.
Twitter’s mobile app is one of the most responsive apps on the market. In fact, it could be better than the desktop browser version. For Tweeting on the go, download the mobile app for your smartphone.
12. Strike a balance.
For Tweeters, there is a fine line to walk between not tweeting enough and tweeting too often. According to one suggestion, you should never Tweet more than 14 times per day or once per hour.
13. Market your handle.
Just as your website, email address, and contact information should be shared with people in your network, so should your Twitter handle. Many websites allow you to publish your handle in your profile, and you should take full advantage of this opportunity to drive traffic to your tweets.
14. Favorite tweets.
There’s definitely a strong element of give and take on Twitter. To show you’re listening and not just looking for followers, favorite the tweet you like by clicking on the accompanying star.
15. Think before you tweet.
You must think before you start typing. Tweets have the ability to go viral in a matter of seconds, and any information you put forth could come back to haunt you in the future. Learn your lesson from these folks.
16. Limit self-promotion.
Twitter is certainly a great place for self-promotion and marketing, but you have to let it happen naturally. Too much self-promotion can land you in the bad graces of your followers.
17. Connect with your blog.
To facilitate traffic between your Twitter page and your blog, consider linking them up. Better yet, add a Twitter share button at the bottom of each blog post to encourage readers to share your content.
18. Use direct tweets carefully.
Direct tweets—i.e. those with an @ sign—can be effective. However, strike a balance between mass tweets and direct tweets.
19. Use landscape-oriented images.
For the best appearance on a Twitter feed, use landscape-oriented images (2:1 dimension).
20. Don’t overuse hashtags.
We’ve all seen the guy that uses 10 hashtags at the end of a tweet. If your hashtags involve more characters than your original tweet, you’re doing something wrong. As a rule of thumb, never use more than three hashtags in a single tweet.
While Twitter is an extremely detailed social media platform, you can be well on your way to expert status by following these simple tips. Happy Tweeting!
Featured photo credit: Shawn Campbell via flickr.com