So you're a medium-term tweep, huh? You don't need another one of those silly etiquette lessons. Or a guide to the strictures of RTing. You need something new. The stuff the techies already know. You need '10 Twitter Tips for Non-Newbie Tweeters'.
Keep it short(er)
Yup, shorter than 140 characters: 125 is the new 140. Although you can now tweet more than 140 characters, the whole purpose of Twitter is the short message. All the cool kids are tweeting 125 or less. Why? Short, punchy tweets grab followers' attention rather than getting lost in their feeds. Plus, the more characters there are left, the easier it is for people to RT and add their own comment as well.
Don't blast all your tweets to all your other social networks. Yes, you can occasionally mention / link some of your tweets on your blog and LinkedIn / Facebook. But don't tell everyone everything concerning every single one of your tweets. Also, don't bombard the poor suckers who follow you on multiple platforms.
People don't read all your tweets in order. A single tweet can show via RSS, search.twitter.com, in a Google Alert, etc. So if it relies on a previous one for context, it may not make sense. Granted, many Twitter clients show conversations, but smartphones aren't great at this and people are lazy distracted.
Don't use Twitter as a selling tool. Instead, use it to increase loyalty and offer your followers valuable free information, advice, insight or guidance. Over-marketing tastes like sour milk in a cappuccino, and you could lose followers if their feeds clog up with your hard sell or promos. You're a resource, not a salesperson.
Pictures are critical to any social media platform, and Twitter is no exception: it even displays expanded images these days (though Instagram integration remains a pain). The stats say that tweets with pix are 20% more likely to be read and 94% more likely to be remembered*. So if you really want to engage, do it with visuals.
* Source: bufferapp.com, 2013
Obama taking out some time for some tweets. (Image: Pete Souza (whitehouse.gov), via Wikimedia Commons)
Recon the enemy
Do your research. Check out people's bio and link habits to see how and how much they engage. Use this to drive how you engage with them and what content you share. Also remember that Twitter isn't just about your tweets; it's also a great source for information on your competition. Monitor them to find out what the hot topics are.
Ask your followers questions, either because you genuinely want to know, learn and find out stuff or because you're trying to create a conversation/get feedback.
Even when you're following a large number of tweeps, you can only pay close attention to some of their tweets. By creating groups, or lists, in your Twitter client, you can have columns with the tweets that really count - grouped by user-defined criteria. And once you configure a group, you can filter the tweet stream by clicking the list name to ensure that you never miss updates from those accounts.
Twitter Places can help you to find nearby tweeps with similar interests. In the advanced Twitter search interface, you can filter tweets to a certain area. You can also tweak your settings to add your location to your tweets. Enabling this feature allows Twitter to show your followers the location you're tweeting from as part of your tweet and to personalise your experience based on location information.
Consider link placement
Position your links strategically. Sometimes it makes sense to move a link from its boring default spot at the end of a tweet. More people may click on it if it's in the middle or in the beginning. When it looks different, it draws and holds the eye.
That's it. Play nicely. Have fun. Be interesting. Follow me ;) @tiffanymarkman.
Tiffany Markman is a highly opinionated freelance copywriter, copy editor and writing trainer who has worked for over 180 clients in South Africa and across the world. She is an EMPOWERDEX-certified EME who hates misplaced apostrophes and dangling modifiers but loves pizza and pina coladas. Read more at www.tiffanymarkman.co.za, reach her anytime on , follow @tiffanymarkman on Twitter and sign up for her newsletter.
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