Twitter is a free social networking service where users can send “updates” of up to 140 characters to followers. It is ideal for keeping in touch with networks of like-minded people, sharing information from events, canvassing a peer group about a topic or just having conversations.
These five steps should help you get started using Twitter:
To start following someone on Twitter simply click on the ‘Follow’ button towards the right side of the screen. Whenever the person or organisation sends a message (a ‘Tweet’) their update will appear in your Twitter ‘Home’ page. This is sometimes called your timeline.
To send a Tweet type your message in the ‘Compose new Tweet’ box and press ‘Tweet’. If you find a tweet that you’d like to forward onto your followers click on the ‘Retweet’ link. Having your tweets Retweeted is the way to get your messages to a much wider audience that just the people that follow you.
The 140 character limit means tweets are kept concise. To mention someone in a Tweet just include their Twitter name, e.g. @media_trust. To include a link to a web page or article just cut and paste the website address which Twitter will automatically shorten. Include links in Tweets to those great pictures on Flickr that you took of your project, the Audioboo recording of the volunteer or the YouTube video of the opening ceremony at your heritage site.
To see messages where you are mentioned, when someone starts following you and when your tweets are re-tweeted go to the ‘@ Connect’ button.
You can create a Hashtag at any time by placing the ‘#’ symbol in front a word, this turns the word into a link that users can click on bringing together all mentions of that topic together in one place. For example #mtevents is used by the Media Trust to group together all tweets from our workshops and #heritage is often used by museums.
What to post
Here are five more tips to help you engage with your audience.
Make sure what you are liking and retweeting are relevant to your organisation and accurate.
Think about the frequency of tweets you are putting out. It is best to tweet or retweet 2-8 times a day.
Be creative and use properly sized images and videos!
Use links and hashtags! (But #Don’t use too many #hashtags)
Find out what is working for you by checking out your Twitter Analytics Dashboard.