Never has 140 seemed like so little as when you’re trying to squeeze down a tweet, amiright? And then you figure in 23 of those precious characters are used for a link and 24 of them for an image and you’re left with 93. Ninety-three characters to craft the perfect message, build your brand, give important information and/or be hilarious. It’s quite a lot of pressure. (One time I resorted to calling President Boren “DBo.”) BUT there is hope. Here are seven ways you can immediately improve your Twitter content. No, you can’t get more characters, but these seven tips will help you maximize what you’re working with!
1. Kill the Reply
Let’s get right to it on this first one. Say you see a tweet and want to reply to it. Great. Do that. Just hit that reply arrow and send it to that person/place/thing. But let’s say you want to start an original tweet (one you are creating) with someone’s handle (If you don’t know what a handle is, see #4). Put a period before “@” to kill the reply. You see, if you were to tweet something like: “@morganday is the best #ContentMarketer in the world.” that tweet would only go to @morganday and anyone who follows both you AND Morgan. If you want your entire following AND the world to know that Morgan is the best, tweet: “.@morganday is the best #ContentMarketer in the world.” Sure it’s an extra character but it’s so worth it where your reach and engagement are concerned. Also go follow @morganday. She really is the content marketing queen.
2. Camel Case
You may have noticed in the explanation of point numero uno that when I used a hashtag the first letter of each word was capitalized (#ContentMarketer). This is not simply for personal preference – though it does look really nice, don’t you think? Per Digital Gov’s “Improving the Accessibility of Social Media” Toolkit, camel case should be used for multiple words within a hashtag; that is, capitalize the first letters of compound words. It makes it easier visually and for screen readers to pronounce the individual words more clearly (e.g., use #DigitalGov not #digitalgov; or #BoomerSooner not #boomersooner).
Camel case should be used for multiple words within a hashtag; that is, capitalize the first letters of compound words.
3. Designate an Official Hashtag
Speaking of hashtags – designate an official one for your business or organization. This not only helps build your brand but allows Twitter users to follow the entire conversation in regard to what you are doing. We use #BoomerSooner and right now, for a limited time (until playoffs is over) we have an awesome OU emoticon at the end of it (see below). Fancy that! We’re just like #StarWars and #Touchdown and #BB8.
Your official hashtag can be a short motto or phrase you use frequently, a call to action or even the same as your Twitter handle. Here are some examples from around OU: @OU_Football = #OUDNA; @OU_MBBall = #TakeNotice; @OU_WGymnastics = #makeitcOUnt; @OU_Alumni = #LiveOnUniversity
4. Use Handles
Are you tweeting about someone who or something that is also on Twitter? Use their handle! (Their handle is their username – the thing with “@” in front of it.) This not only alerts them that they’re being discussed, it also gives them the easiest opportunity to share with their audience and interact with you.
5. Put a Photo or GIF on it
As we learned in 7 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Facebook Page, content with photos is super important. The same goes for Twitter. Like on Portlandia when they “put a bird on it,” when tweeting, always think to yourself, “put a photo on it.” As an added bonus, Twitter is also a wonderful medium for using gifs. I <3 gifs so hard. They’re so fun. And Mason, our photographer, has also recently a new kind of mixed media content called cinemagraphs that blow peoples’ minds and do really well on Twitter. Read about them on Mason’s Friday 5: Cinemagraphs blog post.
According to Social Media Insider, you can get a 150% increase in retweets just by including images.
6. Tag Photos
As we already discussed, 140 characters is not a lot of characters. So if you don’t have the room to use someone/something’s handle, you can still tag them in a photo! This will still let them know they’ve been discussed and is a sly way to incorporate them into your tweet without using any characters! You can tag up to 10 people. (WINNING.) This feature has been perfect when promoting things like Small Business Saturday or when posting about #TeamWebComm on the @ouwebcomm account. Tagging people in photos is perfect for when you’re talking about more than two people and by people I mean handles.
Yes, this was also a point on the 7 Ways Facebook Post but because I use social media networks primarily for branding purposes at OU, the same goes for Twitter. For added customization on Twitter, I use Bitly to make shortened and easily-customized links. Why would I post http://www.ou.edu/content/web/news_events/articles/news_2015/holiday-gift-guide.html when I could post http://bit.ly/SoonerGiftGuide? The answer is, I wouldn’t. I also like that the Bit link easily tells people exactly what it is they’re about to click on. And it’s so fresh and so clean. Best of all, you can create a Bitly account for free and from there create your custom links, have access to analytics to see how your links are performing as well as an archive of your links if you ever need to reuse them.
Tweet ya later,