|Welcome to Vegau's 'Best Practices For How To Use Twitter' resource page. While we are proud to offer a variety of Twitter advertising solutions, this page features information about how to best use the social platform.
Below are some tips and guidelines for best practices when using Twitter. Thank you for checking it out and we hope you enjoy!
1. Tweet like you have like 120 characters, not 140
Twitter is a social media platform. The concept of "social media", is, well, being social. Twitter is not only an excellent tool for gaining new thoughts or insight, but also sharing it. And after all, let's be honest, everyone loves a little RT (ReTweet) love, right?
Most people in the world of social media want others to engage them. Keeping this in mind, don't use up all of your characters in your tweets. If someone wants to RT your 120-140 character message (depending upon the platform they are using), the only choice they have is to click the RT button - which means they can’t comment (engage) on it.
Ideally, tweets that yield good RT fruit are around 100 characters in length. Add this amount to your Twitter ID, a RT, a space and the @ symbol, and your tweet could consist of approximately 115 characters or less. Those who follow you would then have approximately 25 characters to make their own remarks.
Again, your number of Twitter characters are precious - especially if you are tweeting a URL. In these cases, use link-shortening websites to reduce your tweet's character count.
2. Keep Your Account Manageable
Every social media user is different, so consider the amount of time you have to use Twitter versus the amount of people you follow. For me personally, I have found that I feel most comfortable keeping the amount of people I follow to less than 100. Some might follow less, while others might follow hundreds more. For the amount of time that I have versus being able to comfortably read all the tweets in my feed, less than 100 is my comfort zone. Once I start following over 100, for me, Twitter starts losing its effectiveness as a tool.
If you're out to use Twitter effectively, you won't treat it as the ol' "I'll Follow You If You Follow Me" popularity contest. If you want to feel good about having a lot of friends/followers, stick to Facebook. If you get offended because someone you know (or don't know) isn't following you, then you're probably not old enough to use Twitter in the first place. Just sayin'.
3. Manage Your Account
Take the time every now and then to pare down your follow list and add some new follows that may interest you. This process will help you keep up with your changing interests - as well as keep you in the loop as to who supplies the most useful information to fit your needs.
|4. Follow The Right People
There are many out there in the internet universe that believe Twitter is a waste of time. Heck, I know some of them personally. What they don't realize is if you follow the right people, Twitter is actually a time saver because as a user, you control the your own news feed. As opposed to going out and seeking news, you choose who and how much news comes to you.
If friends get mad at you for not following them, don't take it seriously. Staying connected with friends is what Facebook is for, anyway. If I followed all of my Facebook friends on Twitter, my list of people I follow would double.
Then there are the trolls. If someone is constantly negative, bitter, harassing, or tweets something that you find no value in, why would you follow them? Besides, if they're "friends" of yours then you can always stay connected with them through Facebook or other platforms. Then again, I actually know people who have "de-friended" me on Facebook because I unfollowed them on Twitter - I kid you not.
Twitter is a source of information that YOU want, so keep it that way. If your friends or colleagues are on Facebook or LinkedIn, you can view those posts in those particular newsfeeds. Heck, if you're not interested in what they have to say there either, you can even hide those posts too. I also recommend doing that… but that's another article.
Finally, since Twitter's “Who To Follow” and "Find People" options leave plenty to be desired, I recommend Follower Wonk. This is one of my favorite Twitter tools out there, as it allows you to search Twitter bios as well as compare users, amongst other features.
|5. Twitter Isn't Facebook
I've seen a bunch of accounts that have their Twitter streams linked to Facebook. My question is "Why"? Hint: the answer is not "because it's easier". Facebook and Twitter are two totally different entities and they should be treated as such. The only reason someone should have their accounts linked is if they have a ton of Facebook followers that don't use Twitter (a great example would be someone famous - who's typically on TV - thus carrying a healthy following). Otherwise, why would I follow a friend on Twitter or have someone in my Facebook news feed if their content is double-posted to the other platform? It makes no sense.
Facebook is a platform for more personal means of communication and sharing, while Twitter is a more frequent, fast-paced application. Making sure each that is used correctly is recommended so you don't tick off your friends/followers. If you use both platforms and post different content to each, I applaud you.
|6. Twitter Isn't LinkedIn
Perhaps even more annoying than seeing tweets that are posted to Facebook is seeing tweets that are posted to LinkedIn. Just as Facebook is a different entity than Twitter, the same goes for LinkedIn. I think everyone can agree that Facebook is more "personal" and LinkedIn is geared more towards professionals, eh? So when it comes to Twitter - while there can be both personal and business content - there is usually so much more that is mixed in. I can vaguely understand some people wanting to be seen or have everything they post get read by everyone, but it means nothing if you end up annoying far more people than those that are actually interested in what you are tweeting about.
|7. Don’t Be Afraid To Have More Than One Account
If I follow you because I like your take on professional hockey, I don’t want to look at my Twitter feed one day to see it taken up by play-by-play of your favorite NBA team's game. Cases like this are a perfect reason for having separate accounts. For starters, you will have a more engaged audience with each account and, as a bonus, this will help save you from losing followers!
As a Tweeter, think about it from the opposite perspective. If you're following someone for a particular reason and then they go way off base for a while, it gets a little annoying, no? Personally, I manage multiple accounts myself. As an avid sports fan, I found that my personal feed was becoming too cluttered with sports tweets. I then created an account specifically for sports. This now allows me to address and engage each audience accordingly. The same goes for my business account, as@Vegau focuses on internet marketing, social media, SEO, etc.
8. List It
Twitter Lists are one of my favorite features, because they allow you to create curated groups of people - whether you follow them or not. Once you create a list of Twitter users for whatever category you want to put them in, you can then see a complete Twitter stream for everyone in the group by viewing that list’s page. In addition to being able to choose who you follow, this adds another level of organization to your information.
|9. Pic It
If you're like just about every other Twitter user I know, you love a good picture. Since this is the case, don't limit yourself when tweeting - post a pic! Some of the most popular tweets are those with pictures. A great example of this comes from NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski at the 2012 Daytona 500. During a red flag, Brad tweeted a picture of the track from inside his car. The pic was shown on live television and it resulted in a social media frenzy for sports fans - because no one knew that drivers were allowed to have their phones in their racecars. Not to mention, @Keselowskiadded 100,000 followers because of this tweet alone:
|10. Everyone Loves a Laugh
Keeping with the theme of what the masses like, making people laugh never goes out of style. Even if you're a total down-to-business person, throwing humorous elements your tweets every once in a while keeps things fresh and your audience happy.11. Time Your Tweets ProperlyIf you're tweeting during a fast moving event, like a game or debate, then it’s obviously appropriate to tweet immediately. If, in the instance you have something that is stupid-awesome (like a great piece of content you want to share), then it's wise to hang on to it until you have the greatest possible audience. One of the many wonderful things about Twitter is that posts are published instantly - but that doesn't mean every tweet needs to go out ASAP. If most people are likely to still be in bed by 11:00 pm and not up until 6:00 am, why would you publish something golden within those hours? I've found that mid to late morning serves as a prime time for readership and RTs, and the same goes for the early afternoon hours.12. It's Actually Okay To Tweet the Same Thing Twice
Studies have shown that after about three hours, tweeted links have sent about all the traffic they're going to. Users of Twitter (and social media in general) have different frequencies of usage, so by tweeting your link just once means that you're hoping all of your followers are logged in at the same time. Not likely. That's why it's perfectly acceptable to tweet the same information a few hours or even a half a day later. Take note that I am not saying to tweet everything twice - but if you have a good link to share, why the heck not?
13. Don’t Trust Everything That Is Tweeted
If you're retweeting any sort of news items, make sure that either your source is reputable or that you've verified the story yourself. Retweeting bad information not only puts yourself in an unpleasant situation, it can also be quite embarrassing. Don't feel bad if you've done it, either. I can name a few news personalities off the top of my head that have done this. They've since learned from the error of their ways - but at least you can start now in guarding against making the next mistake. What makes it worse is that if the news item is popular enough, the original source disappears from RTs and you are left as the source of bad info. Again, make sure of your source and/or verify the story as quickly as you can.
|14. Hash It Out
While they are sometimes abused, hashtags can be quite beneficial. For the most part, hashtags are simply a method of "tagging" a word or term so your tweets about that topic can be found by others who may be interested in what you're tweeting about. In the world of Twitter, there are good hashtags, bad hashtags, and humorous hashtags. Good hashtags help organize tweets into easily searchable information about a topic. It can be about an item in the news, individual stocks in the stock market, or even sports teams.
Here are a few examples: for a Republican debate, the tag #GOPdebate has been be used. If you're invested in the stock market and own shares of Las Vegas Sands, using the tag $LVS allows your tweets to be seen by those searching for tweets about "$LVS". In sports, fans of the NHL's Washington Capitals use the #Caps hashtag to stay informed of breaking team news, as well as live tweet during Caps games.
Those were some of the good, but now let's get to an example of a bad hashtag. When Steve Jobs sadly passed away in 2011, media organizations like CNN posted tweets relating to the former Apple Inc. CEO by using a #Jobs hashtag. Unfortunately, that tag was already being used by those who talk about the American job market. If you clicked on the tag "#Jobs" from the Apple-related tweets, you ended up seeing tweets mainly about the U.S. economy. Likewise, if you were monitoring tweets about the US job market, you ended up seeing unrelated tweets about Steve Jobs within the stream.
As a guide for best practices - if you're using hashtags, it's a good idea to research them before you tweet them. Searching out a hashtag takes no time at all, and it can end up netting you more relevant readers/viewers while also saving you from some headache.
The topic of "tweeting too much" comes down to one core issue: quality. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not shy about hitting the "Unfollow" button when someone starts clogging my Twitter stream with useless garble, but I only do it for good reason. While Twitter is awesome for sharing thoughts, news and ideas at a rapid pace, it can get quite annoying when your Twitter stream is taken up by one person's useless posts.
One of the best examples of low quality tweeting I can think of comes from the world of professional sports. In the summer of 2011, Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) went on a retweeting binge, giving a RT to around 80 of his fans. While those 80 people were thrilled, I'm betting at least 95% of AP's followers were highly ticked off. Fans follow him because he's AP - not to see AP's fans who begged to get retweeted be RT'd by AP.
Going the opposite direction, NASCAR drivers Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) and Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) provide great examples for engaging their fans and audience. Instead of giving random RTs to fans, the drivers oftentimes engage with and/or take questions and RT them with answers to them. This not only pleases the fans who asked the questions, but it also engages the rest of the followers as they are able to learn more about their favorite drivers.
So, there you have it. This concludes our 'Best Practices For How To Use Twitter' segment. Are there other suggestions you'd like to see added to this list? If so, tweet them to us @Vegau or send us some feedback on Facebook . We'd love to hear from you! Thanks for reading!