A Twitter feed is a lot like trying to count the white-lined road markings as you’re driving down the interstate going 75 MPH. Now imagine if every road marking had 140 characters on it.
Your followers likely aren’t going to see every tweet you send into the Twittersphere, unless they’re stalkers.
Here are some tips to help get more eyes on your tweets.
1. Don’t use all 140 characters
It’s like eating at a buffet. You have the option to eat, well, everything, but your stomach only wants so much. Don’t feel like you can’t use all 140 characters, but make sure to switch up the length of your tweets.
2. @Mention other handles
When relevant. If your organization received a grant from the National Science Foundation, tag them. If your organization didn’t receive a grant from Steph Curry, don’t tag him. That’s just spam.
Use hashtags. That’s what Twitter is all about. But, don’t make every word a hashtag. Research the hashtag before you use it, because there might be another hashtag that works better. For example, when tweeting about canine influenza outbreaks, instead of making #canineinfluenza the hashtag, I might use #dogflu instead because it’s more popular among Tweeters.
4. Put a period before a handle when starting a tweet with a handle
If you start a tweet with a handle, Twitter will send the tweet to the owner of the handle as a direct tweet. This means only followers who follow you and the other organization have the chance of seeing the tweet in their newsfeed. To bypass this, make a period the first character of the tweet. Problem solved. Discrete, I know.
5. Pitch your story via tweet
Have a great story you want other organizations to share? Pitch them via Twitter. Send them a direct tweet with a catchy headline that makes them want to read more. See if they bite. If they don’t retweet you, don’t take it personally. It can take a long time to establish a relationship with another organization on Twitter. Remember, retweeting and favoriting their content, too, is never a bad thing.
6. Add a picture, GIF, video
We’re a visual species. Add a picture, GIF or video to your tweet to catch users’ attention. If you do it well, it might even help you tell your “story” and save you characters. Learn more about the best dimensions for your photos and GIFs here.
Pro tip: When including a link to a YouTube video, use the “share” link that is supplied beneath the video and Twitter will provide a preview for the video in the tweet. Much more appealing to the ol’ eye. And remember, Twitter owns Vine. So your Vine videos are always going to look better on Twitter.
7. Shorten your links
Don’t share bulky and messy links. At CSU, you can shorten your links by going to s.colostate.edu.
8. Use a social media dashboard to manage your Twitter accounts
I personally prefer Tweetdeck. For many reasons, Including that it’s free. (If you want to know more, email me.) Not only does Tweetdeck help you monitor different hashtags and keywords, but you can also schedule your tweets, which is a HUGE plus. This really helps you keep your Twitter accounts organized, and help you find the exact information you want to find.
9. Monitor conversations about your organization
Again, this is what’s great about dashboards. We keep track of keywords like “CSU Vet Hospital” and “CVMBS,” hashtags like “#coloradostate,” “#pettips” and “#biomedical,” and lists of credible science handles. It will save you much more time than relying on Twitter searches to help you monitor conversations.
10. Engage. Don’t just tweet
Remember, Twitter is a social platform. Don’t only tweet out your own information and walk away from the computer. Retweet, favorite and reply to people and brands. This will help you establish meaningful relationships with your followers and become part of a larger (credible) community. You never know how that might help you in the future.
11. Speaking of credibility…
When engaging with other people and brands on Twitter (and especially when retweeting information for your followers to see), make sure the handles are credible (scientific) sources. Just do a little research on their profile and website.
12. If trending hashtags are harmless and work with your brand personality, join in on the fun
But don’t try too hard. If it doesn’t fit, then don’t force it.
13. Create a hashtag to follow a conversation
Hosting an event? Starting a contest? Create a special hashtag for your followers to use so you can track the conversation and engagement. Research the hashtag first to make sure it isn’t already being used.