I’ve created a “work accountability group” with three of my mom friends. We all work for ourselves and it’s been hard to stay focused during this pandemic. We decided to meet at a coffee shop once a week to check-in, state our work goals, support each other, and help hold each other accountable.
Our first meeting last week was amazingly fruitful. I shared my idea for a new startup that crossed into one of my friend’s lane as she is now a publicist for a publishing company. My other friend has her own startup in the staging business.
They asked me to teach them about Twitter so I thought I’d gather my thoughts here and share. Let’s get started! I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. (I actually hate Facebook. I LOVE Pinterest. I use YouTube as my personal video family archive. I feel cordial towards LinkedIn. I like Instagram but don’t use it well. My kids told me stay off SnapChat as it will embarrass them. Ditto to Tik Tok.)
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a social media platform where users can send and receive short posts called Tweets. Tweets can be up to 140 characters long and can include links to relevant websites and resources, and include images and/or videos.
“A Tweet lasts about 18 minutes. A blog post lives forever. You might get more traffic early on in the life of a post, but in many cases, a post will continue to get traffic from SEO and social sources forever. In some cases, your post might actually get more traffic the longer it’s been online.” from Ghost Blog Writers
–> Takeaway: Think of a Tweet like an ice cube in a drink. It has an effect, but not for long.
Who Uses Twitter?
“The gender breakdown for Twitter users among US adults shows that 24% of men use Twitter while 21% of women use the platform. Within the platform on an international basis, the breakdown is 66% men and 34% women.
Most Twitter users are outside the US. With a total of 330 million global monthly users, 262 million are outside the US. It’s often used for breaking news from around the world.
In the US, the regional breakdown includes:
- 26% of those living in an urban area use Twitter
- 22% those living in a suburban area use Twitter
- 13% of those living in a rural area use Twitter
Twitter education demographics
- 13% of those with high school education or less use Twitter
- 24% of those with some college education use Twitter
- 32% of those with more than college education use Twitter
Twitter income demographics
- 20% of those making less than $30k use Twitter
- 20% of those making $30k–74,999 use Twitter
- 31% of those making more than $75k use Twitter”
Data from Sprout Social
–> Takeaway: Does Twitter reach my target demographic? It’s great for breaking news around the world. It reaches an international audience. But does it move the dial for my messaging?
Why Use Twitter?
Twitter is a great place to build your own community. I would say that it’s the easiest platform to build a following because it’s a fairly low-risk commitment. Twitter is like speed dating lol!
“Twitter allows you to:
- easily promote your research, for example by providing links to your blog stories, journal articles, and news items
- reach a large number of people quickly through tweets and retweets
- follow the work of other experts in your field
- build relationships with experts and other followers
- keep up-to-date with the latest news and developments, and share it with others instantly
- reach new audiences
- seek feedback about your work and give feedback to others
- follow and contribute to discussions on events, for example, conferences that you can’t attend in person
- express who you are as a person.” from Economic and Social Research Council
–> Takeaway: Twitter is probably the easiest platform to build a community because it’s the lowest risk of a social media commitment.
How Do I Set Up Twitter?
Twitter is actually one of the easiest social media platforms to set up. You simply need an email address. It does not have to be your main email address either. It can be one that you set up in Gmail simply to get up your Twitter account. Emails of notifications from Twitter WILL go to that email account but no one else has that email address.
There are a few things to think about when setting up Twitter:
- Ideally, you want a Twitter handle that matches the URL of your website if you are a startup. In terms of branding, it’s just too hard to keep track of different social media identities for the same person/company. When choosing a URL, make sure Twitter (and the other social media platforms you plan to use) have that handle available.
- You want a square image for your profile photo. The maximum filesize for profile photos is 2MB. The recommended dimensions for profile images are 400×400 pixels.
- You will want a header image as well. The recommended dimensions for header images are 1500×500 pixels.
- You want to grab your Twitter handle ASAP (especially immediately after you purchase a new URL).
You can also decide to make your Twitter account public or private. You can also change this setting at any time.
–> Takeaway: While it’s easy to set up a Twitter account, think about your long term branding. It’s ideal to use the same Twitter handle across all your social media channels. Ideally, it’s also your website/blog URL. But note that your Twitter handle could get hijacked as soon as you purchase your URL so act swiftly to lock down your social media accounts.
Building Your Followers on Twitter
You will want to think about what your Twitter feed is all about. What do you want to talk about and promote? This will drive the audience that you will get.
What is a “Good” Tweet?
There are all kinds of ways to write tweets that go viral. Humor mixed with irony seems to work. Going viral, though, is like winning the lottery. I think it’s better just to create a consistent stream of good content on Twitter which may be a mix of Retweets, Tweets, and Comments.
Tweets with an image or video attached get better visibility. Here are 13 Good Tweets You Can TOTALLY Copy Right Now!
To follow or not follow?
Following people on Twitter is one way to get their attention and possibly a follow back. Blue verified check-marked Twitter people are not likely to follow you back in exchange for your follow, but other people might.
Think of Twitter as a cocktail party that you wander around and talk to people (only without smooth transitions). Twitter is a conversation, so talk to people and promote their messaging when it moves you. Don’t just promote yourself.
There are many ways to engage besides “talking” (e.g. creating a tweet either to message, engage, or respond). You can RETWEET with or without your own message on top. You can LIKE a Tweet with the heart button. Each of these actions may be noticed and appreciated by the person or organization with that Tweet. You can DM (a private direct message) Twitter uses as well as long as they follow you back.
–> Takeaway: There are many ways to engage on Twitter to build a community. There is no wrong or right way. It’s a personal decision on how you want to interact.
Tagging People on Twitter
If you want to make reference to people or organizations on Twitter, you can tag them by including their Twitter handle using the “@”. To tag me on Twitter, for example, use @PragmaticMom. By tagging me, I will see your Tweet on my Twitter notifications (assuming that I check. I do!). If I asked Twitter to send me email notifications for tagged tweets, I would also get them via my Twitter email account (which might not be my main email account).
–> Takeaway: Tagging people helps them to see your Tweet and that you are engaging with them.
Because a Tweet has a half-life of 18 minutes, it can be hard to find Tweets, especially Tweets with similar content. Creating a hashtag is a way to corral the Tweets into a “bucket.” You can use well-known hashtags or create your own unique one. Using popular hashtags helps you get noticed by an established core user group. Creating your own helps to separate out your own messaging which might be useful for an event.
One place to find popular hashtags is to see what is currently trending on Twitter.
- They always start with # but they won’t work if you use spaces, punctuation, or symbols.
- Make sure your accounts are public. Otherwise, the hashtagged content you write won’t be seen by any non-followers.
- Don’t string too many words together. The best hashtags tend to be relatively short and easy to remember.
- Use relevant and specific hashtags. If it is too obscure, it will be hard to find and it won’t likely be used by other social media users.
- Limit the number of hashtags you use. More isn’t always better. It actually looks spammy. from Hootsuite
There are also apps like Hashtagify that help you identify the best Twitter hashtags to reach your audience.
Here is a giant list of 93 Free Twitter Tools and Apps.
–> Takeaway: Hashtags help to get your Tweets noticed and help you to build your community. It will take a little trial and error to find the right ones for you.
I think this is enough information for my presentation. There are more fine points to using Twitter but I’ll stop here. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do a follow-up post.
p.s. Related posts:
To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.