By Jill Kurtz, Owner, Kurtz Digital Strategy
Twitter is a great place to be part of the news of the day, whether just to learn about what’s happening in real-time or to become more of a part of trending news and topics. But, as with all social channels, you need to know the platform’s conventions in order to participate effectively.
Here are 5 things that everyone on Twitter should know and do:
Winning Way 1: Use hashtags. Hashtags group related information and are an important part of the fabric of the Twitter community. Hashtags also help you find content and for people to find your content.
Trending topics and tags are part of the Twitter home screen. You can also make notes of the tags in tweets that are of interest to you. There are also services that will help you to find hashtags:
Winning Way 2: Be clear about location. Twitter is a worldwide community. When your tweet is specific to a location, name it.
“When someone Tweets something and doesn’t put the location, I don’t even look at it because I have no idea what part of the country or world they are posting about,” says Public Safety & Security Professional Jeff Hawkins. “I will see ‘Mass shooting in Morgantown’ – Morgantown, PA, Morgantown, South Africa, or Morgantown, ID?”
Winning Way 3: Do some fact checking. I am always amazed when my tweets are shared more often than the links within them are clicked. This tells me that people are sharing my content without actually looking at it first. While I appreciate the Twitter love, it is a best practice to check out what you are sharing before you do so.
A quick look at the profile of the person who tweeted the content should give you a sense of the credibility of the tweet. If there is a link, click it and make sure that the content is something you want to share.
When in doubt, don’t retweet.
Winning Way 4: Give and receive. Twitter is a social community, which means there is an expectation of give and take.
Follow people whose content you think is helpful. Follow people who follow you.
Share great content on Twitter to help more people discover it. Retweet content you think is helpful to others. Like (heart icon) content that you think is great, giving the person who tweeted it some appreciation for the effort.
If a tweet asks a question and you have something to contribute, add your thoughts to the online conversation.
Winning Way 5: Think social, not sales. A direct pitch for a product or service is fine now and again, but people want to learn about and from you on Twitter. Follow the 80-20 rule: 80 percent of your tweets should share content and ideas, no more than 20 percent should be a pitch.