Currently, Twitter boasts 200 million users, and that number continues to grow. Twitter limits users to 140 characters per update which are called Tweets. Twitter is vibrant, active, and is excellent for connecting directly with new and existing customers. Like any other social media platform, there is a method to the madness, and there are a few things users need to be mindful of to avoid looking like a Twitter rookie.
- Having No Profile (or a sparse one): Your Twitter profile is your chance (at a glance) to tell people who you are, what you’re all about, and give them a reason to follow you. Not taking the time to craft an effective elevator-pitch-style bio and adding a professional picture (as opposed to the generic Twitter egg, the one that screams “backyard BBQ of ‘98” or “ooh-la-la!”) is a serious misstep. Consider your Twitter profile as your online business card and optimize the 160 character profile to the fullest.
- Hashtag-itis: Hashtags are a great way to provide a means of tracking relevant tweets, but #that #doesn’t #mean #you should be #hashtagging every #word. The rule of thumb with hashtags is to not use more than 2 per Tweet.
- Sucking Up Every.Last.Character: A mere 140 characters may not sound like enough when trying to share your current blog post, upcoming webinar or newest product. Even so, Twitter users need to consider shaving their 140 character limit down to a slim 120. Why? If retweeted, around 15-20 characters will get eaten up by the “RT” and the Twitter handle of the person retweeting. What this means to you is that part of your original tweet will get chopped off if you’ve used all 140 characters allowed. To avoid valuable information being lost, keep Tweets short-n-sweet.
- The Barrage: Ever seen someone shoot out a large number of tweets in a row, spaced about 1 second apart? This practice screams “I’m not on Twitter much, but I have 5 minutes right now so let’s get this over with.” Feed hoggers like this are quickly dismissed as spammers or just plain annoyances and unfollowed in the blink of an eye. Use third party platforms like Hootsuite or Buffer to space your tweets out in a timely manner and avoid the barrage.
- Long Links: Again, your 140 characters are like precious gold, and anything you can do to shorten things up is all good. Use a link shortening site like bit.ly or tinyurl.com to shorten long links into a manageable amount of characters.
- Making It All About You: If you only tweet your own information and links, followers will quickly lose interest in what you have to say. My advice is to follow the 80/20 rule; post 80% helpful or entertaining content and save the 20% for your self-promotional info.