Short messaging service Twitter may be short on characters, but it is long on usefulness for savvy social media folk. You may be an early adopter of this amazingly effective social media tool or perhaps you’re a newbie wanting to pick up some tips on how to rock your Twitter world. Well, we have some very useful tips to serve up including the current best practices that can help you slam dunk your tweets every time you tweet.
First, what are tweets? They’re brief messages of 140 characters or fewer that are shared via Twitter. You don’t have much space for sharing your information, which means making judicious use of every character, using hashtags and supplying a link with most tweets.
Second, there are some misconceptions about Twitter that need to be addressed and replaced with current, factual information. Read on and we’ll see how you can maximize the effectiveness of every tweet.
1. Starters — Assuming that you already have an account, you can move on to the second point. For newbie users, you’ll want to choose a Twitter name as close to your business name or personal name as possible. Sometimes, however, your name may be taken, requiring you to come up with a variant that people will instantly recognize. For instance, if your name is John McCoy and that name is taken, you can choose ReadJohnMcCoy or JohnMcCoyTX or an other state abbreviation after your name to identify yourself to people that know you.
2. Profile — Your profile section is where you have the opportunity to tell everyone about yourself. Use a real photo as your tweet handle is for you personally. You can use a company logo if you’re tweeting on behalf of your business. Avoid avatars as you want people to make an instant association with your face or logo and your Twitter account. Fill out your biography, taking advantage of 160 characters to tell your story. Provide a link to your website and don’t protect your tweets — you want to maximize your Twitter presence, not limit it.
3. Tweets -- What should you tweet about? Well, you can write anything and some people do. However, if you’re interested in imparting useful information, you’ll need to carefully choose your words and tweets. Yes, you have a 140 character limit, but a good rule of thumb is to send out tweets of 120 or fewer characters. That way, people can share (retweet) your information without having to shorten it on their end. Retweet as much as you want, but be mindful that being too self promotional can backfire, causing people to unfollow you. Convey authority and assemble a natural following of people that are interested in what you have to share.
4. Hashtags — Those little # marks you see with tweets are known as hashtags. Place a # before a word such as #Twitter and that word is highlighted and easier to find when people are searching for it. Limit your hashtags to three or fewer and experiment with those that work. If you want to harness a Twitter trend, then visit those links and see how people are making use of hashtags. Check out the Ann Smarty hashtag guide in the resources section at the end of this article for guidance.
5. Links — Imparting advice such as sharing tips, news or other information means you’ll want to include a link to your site. You can paste up a headline and catch people’s attention, but do not stop there: add in a link for your followers to click on and find what you are sharing. Your links are automatically shortened by Twitter or you can use a link shortening service such as ow.ly, bit.ly, goo.gl, deck.ly or su.pr to shorten your links for you. Using a link shortening service has an important advantage: you can access related analytics to see how your tweet performed including retweets by other users.
6. Photos — When you compose a tweet, you have the option of including a photo. Used wisely, this option can be a powerful way to attract people to your post. Photos are eye candy, but only if they are funny, unique or interesting. Maybe you caught an accident on camera and want to share that information with your followers. Or, you have a gratuitous cute baby or sleeping kitten photo. Write a powerful tweet and add in a related photo. You can identify your location too by clicking the appropriate button to the right of the photo button. This last move will attract local Twitter users.
7. Retweets — You can gain a reputation for being a helpful Twitter user by selectively sharing someone else’s message with your own followers. Known as “retweeting,” this option sends out a powerful message to your followers that you can care what they wrote and have decided to share this information. You can go a step further here too: Add in a little note, if there is room, such as “terrific read” to alert your readers.
8. Etiquette — It should go without saying that interacting with people online requires politeness, something that seems to be strangely missing for some Internet users. With Twitter, avoid getting into arguments with people. Leave a polite comment, if you would. Your reputation can be quickly sullied if you step out of line or lash out at another user.
There are other considerations for best use Twitter practices including making use of a desktop client such as TweetDeck, HootSuite, Seesmic and DestroyTwitter. These tools offer a more user-friendly way to access Twitter and can allow you to schedule your tweets when you’re busy.
Freelance Folder: How to Write a Great Twitter Bio to Get Targeted Followers — http://freelancefolder.com/how-to-write-a-great-twitter-bio-to-get-targeted-followers/
Search Engine Journal: Ultimate Guide to Twitter Hashtags — http://www.searchenginejournal.com/twitter-hashtags/9419/
Media Bistro: Top 5 URL Shorteners (And 3 Honorable Mentions) — http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/top-5-url-shorteners-and-3-honorable-mentions_b3988
Twitter: Automation Rules and Best Practices — https://support.twitter.com/articles/76915
Anita Everhart is a professional blogger that gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice. She writes for OrganicSEOCompany.com, a nationally recognized Organic SEO firm that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country.