Many social media users find it exciting to share content on Twitter. This popular social networking service allows to send and read short 140-characters messages often enriched with links or images. If you already have a Twitter account and would like to learn more about using it, read this article and start to tweet efficiently!
Text and picture by Joanna Wróblewska
Two years ago, I signed up to Twitter. There was no particular reason for me to do so, but I was curious about trying it out. It took me a lot of time to understand the basics, but I enjoy it more and more now. The philosophy of Twitter is pretty interesting, giving folks an opportunity to express themselves in short, compact text messages. Moreover, Twitter is not only about news, but also about sharing ideologies, discussing ideas and connecting during events. Famous journalists, politicians and artists appreciate Twitter for its minimalistic interface, easy navigation and popularity. Activists like famous Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei, are tweeting to make people read, think and react. And this is what I particularly like about Twitter – it gives me inspiration and encourages to act.
Tweeting seems to be easy, but creating a stunning headline including Twitter handles and hashtags is quite hard. So should you invest time into tweeting? Creatives, artists, scientists, activists, journalists, owners of small businesses and people who have no time for blogging could potentially become perfect Twitter customers. If you are one of them, take some time to check out the possibilities of Twitter and learn how to use it well for your purposes!
Signing up is, of course, the necessary step and there are many decisions to make! First, you will choose your Twitter handle starting with @ (for instance: @alternativesj or @mpheller). Don’t make it over-complicated but easy to remember. Then customize the header, profile picture and provide a short description of who you are. Use the 160 characters that are given to you well! You can (or even should) support it with a link, proper keywords, and hashtags that match your interests. The Twitter profile should show your personality and engage people to follow you at the same time.
Keywords targeting is essential for promoting your online activities. Terms, phrases, and so-called hashtags are indicators of what is accessible in the network. It would be reasonable to find keywords that are already known, in order to connect faster with users interested in similar content. To find the right words, you can support yourself with tools like Google Keyword Planner.
A hashtag is a keyword or a “theme” that can quickly help increase your exposure on Twitter. To create a hashtag you put # before a word or a phrase. It is probably the best way of searching tweets that have a common topic (for instance #climatechange, #Malala or #UWconference2015). Hashtags indicate diverse terms, names, events or even brands. They are helpful for both finding and communicating trending content. You can also create hashtags and announce them to the audience (like a hashtag created especially for a short event #ajroundtable). That can help connecting with people attending similar events or discussing particular issues.
Just remember to not use more than two hashtags per tweet. Too many of these in the same post can be overwhelming and bring more damage than profit.
The same as with blogging, regular tweeting creates more opportunities of dragging new followers. Your headlines should contain a short text (around 100 characters) plus hashtags and links. If you follow others, some of them will follow you back. Remember to keep a reasonable number of who you follow (following too many users looks weird, especially if you do not have many followers yourself). Moreover, Twitter sets limits on how many users you can follow.
A big part of your Twitter activities should be focused on favoring and retweeting content or quoting others. Hopefully, they will follow you back! If you want everybody to see your posts, do not start them with @. Twitter will recognize @ as an indicator of a direct message to another user, which keeps the conversation more private. The tweet will be visible only to you, the recipient and folks who follow both of you.
Using Twitter means to be engaged, so create encouraging content, favorite tweets, retweet and follow others back. To promote your Twitter feed, advertise the Twitter handle on LinkedIn and other social media. Twitter obviously has limitations, but it is up to you to decide whether you use it or not!