Tips to improve your use of Twitter
In this lesson Hel shares how to make best use of a number of lesser-known Twitter features that can enhance your story-telling.
Hello, and welcome to this lesson, which is about Twitter. And you probably use
Twitter all the time, and you think what else is there to know?
Well, I’m going to just take you through some features that you probably know are there, but I think really add to your storytelling and mix it up a bit. So your tweets can be more interesting.
And this will just be that reminder of yes, you can use all the features of Twitter and make good use of them.
So let’s get going. So let’s start with a really basic feature of Twitter that you already use. And that is images.
So in a tweet you can put up to four images in your single tweet. And those images can tell quite a lot of the story that you’re trying to get across. And that’s brilliant.
So don’t forget that you can put up to four images in your tweet and just remember that sometimes just a single image is enough to capture people’s attention when they’re in the middle of a really noisy Twitter home feed.
There are so many tweets there and people are so prolific in putting stuff out that if you can put an image into your tweet then it means that you just might stop people from scrolling and just grab their attention.
Our brains can process our imagery in the world much more quickly than it can words, text. So think about how you can draw people into your tweet with good images.
Now the next tip I’m going to give you is to tag people. And I bet you do this already, but just don’t forget that this is a great opportunity for you to notify people who will be interested in the thing that you’re talking about.
So the worst thing you can do with tagging people in Twitter is just randomly tag the same people because you think we’ve got a big following and you hope that they’ll retweet you. That doesn’t necessarily work much of the time.
Just try and think about adding value. Who would be able to add extra insight into your tweet. Who’ll be really interested in this and would enjoy being notified about the fact that you’re talking about the subject. Sometimes you can even think about tagging your photo.
So perhaps you want to tag up to 20 people in your tweet but you don’t have room in the text. Well, add your image and then tag people into that image. And then you have kind of more room to play with as well.
But just don’t forget this because it is a feature that just allows you to have instant engagement because you know, at least the people who are tagged in it are going to look at it, and hopefully engage with it.
Next, we’re going to talk about Twitter lists. Do you use Twitter lists for your organisation? If you don’t, you’re missing a trick. I’m absolutely obsessed with Twitter lists.
So for those of you who don’t use them, they are just a way of collecting lots of people together in a list who are on Twitter, and then you can see only content from them.
So think about this. If you follow, let’s say a thousand people on Twitter, when you go and look at your home feed that’s really noisy.
There’s a lot of tweets in there and the likelihood of you finding something brilliant and really interesting is quite low because there’s so much stuff there or you’ve got to work harder to find stuff and filter through.
So a Twitter list for me is like a filter and it’ll depend on what mood I’m in. So I’ve built a list of social media managers.
So I find them on Twitter and I add them to my List, and that means that in the morning when I think, oh I’m in the mood for a chat with some social media managers, I can go to my list and Twitter will bring up tweets just from them in time order. And that really helps me focus in on the audience that I’m trying to talk to.
Now in a work context this is really useful. So I used to work for a local authority, and there was so many different audiences that we had to speak to.
So I could narrow it down, and I would add local businesses to a Twitter list or add school kids who are in the area to a Twitter list. I had all these different lists. I had a staff list, and no matter what organisation you’re in, you can find which members of staff are on Twitter and add them to a list.
And this gives you this brilliant monitoring capacity that you can just tap into what people are saying right now.
And then begin to use the Twitter lists quite strategically if you want to, or just decide that you want to keep an eye on what people are saying. But don’t think of Twitter lists as just a list of people, they are access to what those people are saying right now, which makes them really, really powerful.
One way that you can use a Twitter list is to engage more. So perhaps in your strategy you’ve decided that you’re going to talk to people and join other people’s conversations just as much as you produce content.
So if you have a Twitter list of your customers, your audience, then you can decide, right every Friday I’m going to look at Twitter lists and I’m going to start responding to people and talking to people about whatever they’re talking about.
Now you’re not going to just randomly talk to everybody you’ll just have a filter in on who those people are.
And you can just scroll through and see which one of those you can add value to which conversation can we, as an organisation get involved in that will help both us, and the people that we’re talking to.
So think about Twitter lists as a powerful filter that can help you to both keep your eye on what’s going on, but also tap in to conversations that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
A great feature in Twitter is the threaded tweet where you can tell a bit of a longer story than just what you get in 280 characters.
So a threaded tweet is just that – you write a tweet and connected to that a lots of other tweets, so you tell a story in order.
And this is kind of useful because it keeps people in Twitter and sometimes they don’t want to read your long story on your website.
I’ve seen this done quite well, particularly by people like Chief Exec’s of organisations or Corporate Comms teams who have got kind of a fun story to tell.
So you can break it down into lots of little chunks and actually the best information is in bit-sized ideas so people can understand it better.
So think about instead of sending people to your website or trying to condense the story down too much.
Think about how can I break this story up into a series of tweets that are connected to each other so that when someone clicks on it they’ll see the rest of the story and read down as far as they want to go.
And I’ll be able to kind of keep their attention and tell a little bit of a longer, more detailed but hopefully very interesting story.
A really useful feature in Twitter is the Moments function, and everyone who’s on Twitter has a chance to use Moments and you might have seen them if you yourself use Twitter and you’ve clicked on the Search button.
So when you go onto Twitter, it’ll kind of curate lots of the trending subjects that are going on, it’ll give you a list of what’s happening.
And then some stories that include other people’s tweets that kind of bring a topic together.
So, a Moment, and if any of you remember the old days of Storify, is a very similar thing to that. A Moment pulls together lots of tweets and allows you to kind of give a bit of a narrative about why they are linked so you can use your own Twitter profile to make a Moment.
All you have to do is decide which tweets need to be together and tell people what it is. So you give it a title and there you have a bit of a story.
And the way that you can use this is multiple. Like, you could, let’s say you’ve had a brilliant event and lots of people have been tweeting while they’ve been at the event, you could make a moment that includes the best ones and you could say ‘here are the most interesting things that were said about this event’. Or maybe your staff have done an amazing job.
If you’ve had a crisis of some description and you’ve been really on it, or you’ve had a lovely campaign that’s got lots and lots of interaction. Gather it together and make a Moment.
And what’s beautiful about a Moment is, it gives you a specific URL, so you could send back to your staff and say, well done.
We’ve collected all of the work that you’ve done together in this story, and we’re celebrating how great you are, or whatever. Tweet us your suggestions how could you use a moment in an effective way?
We’d love to hear about the ways that you want to use it, but just remember on your profile, you’ve got a little bit at the top of your profile that says Moment.
So other people can come back and find all your stories there as well. And it’s just a lovely way to preserve your tweets and tell a little bit the story about what they’ve been doing.
One thing that you might consider has something to do with your Twitter is to think about either hosting a Twitter chat or taking part in someone else’s Twitter chat.
So you might have taken part in one yourself. Usually it’s about bringing lots of people on Twitter to talk about a particular subject, and it’ll be like a regular thing in the diary.
So maybe a Twitter chat about a particular subject on Thursday evenings at 8pm, and for an hour lots of people will discuss different questions and different things to consider about that topic.
And it’s just such a really effective way of you as an organisation adding value. So let’s say you are an organisation that’s based in a particular location, there’s probably a Twitter chat about that.
So I know I live in Newport in South Wales and I often see people in my home field taking part in this Newport hour. So it’s kind of #NewportHour and everyone discusses a different topic about what’s going on in the area every time it’s on, which I think it’s every Tuesday.
Now I don’t really take part in it because I don’t feel like often, I’ve got that much to say, because I work all over the place. But I find it really interesting, and I do listen to what other people are saying about what’s happening in that area.
So that’s kind of an example of one type of Twitter chat that you could get involved with and add some value to. You could tell people about what’s going on and how you can contribute into the community, or whatever it is that you want to say.
But there are also different kinds of chats – there are professional chats, so I’ll often take part in the #commschat. And again, that’s a weekly time for us to all get together and talk about a particular subject.
And sometimes I’ll be quiet if I don’t know much about the subject I’ll just lurk and listen. And sometimes I’ll get involved if it’s something that I know lots about and I want to share that learning with other people.
But as an organisation, Twitter chats give you access to a different audience maybe they don’t follow you directly, but they’ll notice you take part in these chats and you become a much more kind of valuable member of their community and you’ll probably get a little bit more following, just by taking part in these chats.
So there are some things to think about with Twitter. There’s loads of things you can be really creative and use Twitter in lots of different ways.
So again, if you’ve got some ideas and some tips that you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear about it. So tweet us and tell us all about it.
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Your tutor – Hel Reynolds
Hel Reynolds is an award-winning social media and digital communications pro. Her social media training has seen amazing results for participants, who go on to be more strategic, create better content and grow engaged audiences for their organisations.