What is Twitter and why should you use it?
Twitter is a ‘microblogging’ system that enables you to send and receive short posts called tweets. Tweets can be up to 140 characters long and can include links to related websites and resources.
Twitter users follow other users. If you follow someone you can see their tweets in your Twitter timeline. You can choose to follow bodies and organizations with similar academic and personal interests to you.
You can create your tweets or you can retweet a message that has been tweeted by others. Retweeting means that messages can be shared immediately and efficiently with a great number of people.
Why use Twitter?
Twitter has become frequently popular with academics as well as students, policymakers, politicians, and the common public. Many users fought to understand what Twitter is and how they could use it, but it has now converted the social media platform of choice for many.
The snappy nature of tweets means that Twitter is generally used by smartphone users who don’t want to read lengthy content items on-screen.
Twitter allows you to:
- easily increase your research, for example by producing links to your blog stories, journal articles, and news items
- reach a large number of people instantly through tweets and retweets
- follow the work of other experts in your field
- build connections with specialist 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.
Five Tools to Help Research Hashtags:
1. Twitter Toolbar: You can search terms, keywords, and people by entering them into the toolbar at the top of the page on Twitter. If you want to see tweets surrounding a certain topic enter that term into the search bar, and it will bring you to all related tweets. For example, if you wanted to see tweets related to the google, enter #google into the search bar, and all tweets tagged #google will show up.
2. Hashtags.org: Hashtags.org provides research to help businesses grow social networking strategies.
4. Twitter Reach
5. Social Mention
(3-5 are social analytics tools that can provide analysis of your tweets and hashtags.)
Wordsmith your profile with keywords for search and fun facts for people.
Once you have decided why you are using Twitter, what your target audience is, and gone through the primary setup, now you want to show up in search. Include keywords in your Twitter profile.
What Should You Tweet About?
The type of information you tweet can rely on whether you are tweeting as a person or as an organization, project, or group.
If you have a personal Twitter account you may require to combine tweets about your research with tweets about different things that are of interest to you, for example, fun, news stories, and general observations. Insights into non-academic features of your life can help make you an attractive person to follow.
If you are tweeting on side of an organization, project, or group then you may choose to only send research-related tweets. Twitter is a relatively informal communications tool so don’t be frightened to embrace a personal, friendly, and entertaining approach to tweeting.
Examples of things you can tweet
- Details of new publications or resources you’ve created
- News items that highlight your research
- Links to any blog posts you’ve written
- Questions to invite feedback
- Interesting news items you’ve got
- Interesting pictures
- Replies to other people’s tweets
- Retweets of other people’s tweets
Some Tips to Improve Your Twitter skills
Check out Twitter Tools like Insightpool or Tweepi to target who to follow or who you want to follow you.
The best way to build your network is to consider your content specifically to those who would be engaged in following you and make it interesting and worthwhile. Insightpool or Tweetpi are excellent tools for this. Two other useful tools are Twitonomy, which provides analytics, and Twtrland, which offers up social intelligence.
The follow-first rule:
I follow you then (hopefully) you follow me. This is by far the most common way to get followers. Twitter puts limits on how many users you can follow. Here are the guidelines: “Every account can follow 2,000 users total. Once you’ve followed 2,000 users, there are limits to the number of additional users you can follow. This number is different for each account and is based on your ratio of followers to following; this ratio is not published.”
The favorites-follower rule:
I click ‘favorite’ on your Tweet, then you follow me. This method helps you gain targeting following by first finding Tweets that match your interests and targeted keywords. Then you click ‘favorite’ and often they reciprocate. This takes more time, but gives you a much higher quality and engaged following.
The offer-follower rule:
You follow me, I give you something: information, ebook, etc. Make sure to give away something that your target
The fan-follower rule:
You follow a celebrity, they tweet you about them. You follow celebrity types to keep up with their tweets. Twitter helped this process a lot by featuring the Twitter address of famous people in the Twitter registration process.
Choose your lists:
Twitter lists allow you to listen to relevant conversations, identify influencers, and filter out the noise so you can focus on the people and topics you care about.
Two ears and one mouth rule:
Listen (and research first) before you speak. It is much better to listen about twice as much as you tweet if you want a strong following that is engaged and targeted to your purpose and passion.
Listen with Topsy:
Topsy.com is a Twitter search engine that lets you see if anyone listens or cares. Let’s you see the latest Twitter results in the past hour, day, week, 20 days, month, or all-time — with a cool trending graph. Also, be on the lookout for a great social media tool called TinyTorch. This premier tool enables you to easily find relevant social content in your industry.
Alternate tweets by the time of day and day of the week:
Social media scientist Dan Zarrella says that the best time to tweet if you want to be retweeted is on Friday at 4 p.m. EST. That’s according to total data he has analyzed for millions of retweets. The engagement levels on your Twitter account may vary based on your industry and other criteria.
Use the Buffer App Tool (one of my favorites) to schedule your tweets. Test different days and times. Monitor engagement by using Buffer’s Analytics tab. Define patterns among your Twitter followers. Schedule your tweets for your optimal days and times. Don’t neglect weekends. Some Twitter users see higher commitment over the weekend. But the only way to know is to test and watch your results.
Use great #hashtags:
Hashtags classify your tweets, which makes it easier for others interested in your topic to find them. Turn the keywords you want to be known for into your hashtags. Create a hashtag by placing the # symbol in front of your keywords.
Find existing hashtags with lots of traffic by searching for them using the Search Bar at the top of your profile. View a list of related tweets by clicking on a hashtag inside a tweet.
Make a hashtag for every situation and presentation you do. Put your hashtag right at the bottom of every slide in your PowerPoint to make it easy for people to see it and tweet while you are presenting.