It’s simple, really: Twitter can be used a lots of ways. News gathering, rage-inducing debating, yelling at celebrities….the list can go on. But if you cast about the Twitterverse, you’ll notice a few trends of people who could be missing out on a better social media experience. Here’s a few suggestions, from someone who works in social media for a living:
Click on #hashtags in people’s tweets. They hyperlink for a reason, and it’s to direct you to content on the very topic. Interested in Higher Education? Then the next time someone you follow tweets #HigherEd, click on it – and see if anything pops up that catches your eye.
Twitter isn’t a one-way street! But this lends itself to the next point as well:
Twitter is not a place to just spit out your upcoming events. In fact, that’s almost the exact opposite of what it’s great for, unless you’re a major celebrity and people will follow you because of your name or brand already. It’s a great place for conversation, especially with people who care about the things you do – and the aforementioned hashtags are an easy way to find those people.
But be wary of overused hashtags. For example, #HigherEd. Just follow the link and check the time stamps if you click “All tweets.” How far down will you have to scroll to find something an hour old?
A lot of popular hashtags are used so much, it’s nearly impossible to begin a conversation with like-minded individuals. Finding original thoughts in the mass of tweeted links is the proverbial needle-in-a-haystack scenario, so while there is plenty of fresh content to be found, it may not be the best use of your time to use it for much more.
This also applies to your own content – make sure it won’t get lost in the crowd of an over-saturated list.
Retweet, don’t just quote. Appearances matter! If you go to somebody’s profile and all you see are tweets with said person’s profile picture, it looks fairly narcissistic, no? A lot of times, people click “quote tweet” and a person’s content will be shared with quotation marks – but without appearing as if it came from somebody else.
It’s one thing to quote somebody and add your own thoughts before or after the thought. It’s something else to quote somebody without just retweeting them, even if the quote is properly attributed – it doesn’t look as if you’re listening and sharing.
Finally, this next point applies to 44 percent of Twitter accounts:
Tweet! According to the Wall Street Journal, nearly half of the existing Twitter accounts have never tweeted. Sure, some people use the service to gather information, but if you aren’t taking part – what do you have to lose?