Jan 06

hashtags101One aspect of planning a Twitter party or chat that people often seem to need help with is selecting a hashtag.

At first glance, it might seem to be one of the easier pieces of the Twitter chat puzzle: it’s usually no more than several characters in length — how tricky can it be, right? But if you want to get the most out of your hashtag during your next Twitter party or chat, here are a few things you might want to consider:

Length: It may seem like a ‘no-brainer’ but it’s true: the shorter the hashtag the better. Since you only have 140 characters to work with in a tweet, you need all of the real estate you can get. That doesn’t necessarily mean make it so short that it goes unnoticed. It’s one thing to tweet an abbreviation everyone recognizes (like #TGIF or #FF), but a hashtag that is abbreviated that stands for something very few people would know (like #ACTP for Acme Company Twitter Promotion) won’t garner many clicks. For brevity’s sake, you most likely will only want to use one hashtag as the Twitter party’s hashtag rather than cluttering up the event with two. However, if your company typically uses another hashtag in tweets, you might want to use both when promoting the Twitter chat.

Appeal: Hashtags are not case sensitive. If you type in #TGIF or #tgif in Twitter search you will get the same results. Mixing up lower and upper case letters can help with readability. Which hashtag is easier to read: #acmeconewyear or #AcmeCoNewYear? If you want your hashtag’s message as clear as possible, consider using both upper and lower cases to make each word stand out.

Best Practices: There are some things you cannot do with a hashtag. Hashtags cannot include spaces or punctuation — the minute you add either one, the hashtag ends (for example, if you type ‘#Acme Co’ or ‘#Acme-Co’, the hashtag would only be considered ‘#Acme’). You can start your hashtag with a number, as long as you include letters (it cannot be all numbers). Which means #2015 will not be searchable, but #2015Acme will). Also, if you accidentally put a number or letter immediately before your hashtag (like promo#AcmeCo), your hashtag (#AcmeCo) will not be searchable either (source: Twitter Help Center). Twitter also discourages hashtag ‘stuffing,’ or including as many hashtags as possible in a tweet with the hopes of getting noticed. You just might get noticed by Twitter — as a spammer.

Avoid Epic Fails: Occasionally, selecting the wrong hashtag has a way of backfiring on a promotion. Consider the infamous hashtag to promote singer Susan Boyle’s album: #SusanAlbumParty. The hashtag ended up trending, but mainly because tweets took the non-case sensitive tag, made a few new capitals and gave the tag a not-so-nice meaning (#SusAnalBumParty). Take a look at your hashtag from all angles and make sure it is incapable of being altered to create an unintended meaning.

For more information on planning a Twitter party or Twitter chat, get our eBook!


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Jan 05

Sometimes tweets can do a lot of good. We’ve seen this happen during times of natural disaster, when a single tweet can alert family members that a relative is safe, or spur on action by people to help, donate or volunteer. Or in areas of the world with political strife: one tweet can help people mobilize in protest, disseminate vital information, or tell people in other parts of the world exactly what is happening to them through words, pictures, and video — often when their government won’t.

new_birdAs the news of the tragedy in Newtown, CT began to unfold, people took to Twitter and Facebook to express their shock, anger and support for those affected by the shooting. Social media became a community that people could turn to, to offer support and collectively try to make sense of it all.

However, some companies scrambled to try to figure out what to do with their scheduled programming. Should marketing campaigns be put on hold? Should a live event on Twitter be canceled or go on as planned?

The results were mixed: some Twitter chats were canceled or rescheduled, while others carried on as planned; some advertising on social media ceased, while other posts and tweets continued. In what is still considered to be an evolving medium, it seems that on social networks — at crucial times — confusion reigns. But the backlash can be swift and sometimes unforgiving.

For example, Kmart had a toy chat scheduled for the afternoon that the news broke. They decided it would be best to cancel it. In tweeting about the cancellation, they used their chat’s chosen hashtag, but also included a hashtag about the Connecticut shooting that was trending at the time.

A spokesperson for Kmart said the use of the promotional hashtag was necessary to inform those who were planning on participating in the chat of the cancellation. However, some have argued that their goal could have been reached by using only the hashtag intended for the chat, not the trending tag as well. By including the trending tag in the tweet, it appeared to some that they were taking advantage of the trend to gain greater exposure for their promotion. According to Kmart, that was not their intent. But unfortunately, it came across that way to some of those who were following the trending topic hashtag.

Some lessons to be learned in similar, difficult situations:

When in Doubt, Don’t Tweet (or Post). Posting about anything business or sales-related in the middle of a tragic event can cause others to question your sensitivity. If you have any doubts about whether or not the timing is appropriate–don’t do it. Rescheduling a chat or delaying posts won’t cost you much in time, but will help you save face. Also, when most people are seeking more information about a breaking story, or trying to cope with the news and are reacting very emotionally to it, they are not likely to be interested in hearing your marketing messages or taking part in a Twitter chat. So why risk it?

Never Hijack a Hashtag. It’s one thing to contribute meaningful content to an existing tag. But don’t combine it with any other hashtag, no matter how well-intentioned. Some have done it by mistake; others wrongly seize an opportunity.

Be In Tune With Your Followers. Take a look at their tweets. Take their emotional temperature. Are they reacting strongly to something? Then make sure your tweets are appropriate and do not offend. No one knows this better now than Kenneth Cole, who sent out a tweet during an uprising in Egypt that not only included a trending hashtag, but also mentioned one of Cole’s products, and seemingly made light of a terrible situation. An apologetic tweet sent two hours later did little to put a positive spin on this gaffe. (Some even wonder whether the designer truly regretted the original tweet, and perhaps even subscribes to the ‘There is no such thing as bad publicity’ theory.)

We’ve all heard the expression, When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When encountering a sensitive situation, the best advice for a business might be to do as everyone else does: turn off the marketing messages and be a human being.


Nov 05

Over the years, we have all seen the articles: Facebook Beats MySpace; Twitter Challenges Facebook; Will Google+ Take Over Social Media?–And so on. We are often left guessing which titan will fall, and when they do, who will be there to lay claim to the pieces.

However dominant Facebook may now seem, there appears to be a shift in the air: people are playing favorites. Not everyone logs into the same social network everyday. Some networks appear to be attracting certain demographics, turning many into ‘niche networks.’

For example, LinkedIn has positioned itself as the networking leader for business people, while Pinterest has really caught on with females, especially those who love crafting, cooking, decorating and family fun ideas. A jobseeker might log into LinkedIn first thing in the morning, eager to make new connections, while an avid Pinterest user might create a new board to pin ideas on while she enjoys her morning coffee.

New social networks that have cropped up recently are being described as new alternatives to the old standards: Pheed.com and App.net offer social media users a twist on the social network. Pheed.com allows those who create ‘channels’ either offer content for free or charge for it, which some believe might create more meaningful, worthwhile posts. App.net is a paid service that promises add-free content. We checked out Pheed recently, which seems to carry itself with an edgy, cool, ‘insiders’ feel, thanks to a soft launch that courted a number of celebs and musicians. While app.net has positioned itself as an alternative to Twitter, one for those who are serious about technology and  seriously opposed to advertisements.

Rather than seeing one social network replace another, it’s more likely that these networks and any others created hereafter will succeed if they can find — and retain — certain niches (we can’t lay claim to the idea; they’re already being called ‘niche networks’ by many). The idea here being that certain formats and online venues naturally attract certain people. Someone who logs into Pheed to check out his favorite independent artist is most likely not spending the rest of his day pinning pins on Pinterest, and vice versa.

How can this help your business when it comes to social media? Know that it might not pay to be everywhere. Social media is free in the sense that many sites don’t charge a fee to use them, but time really is money. Posting on every site out there might not be worth your time or effort. Instead, know your audience and find your niche. Where are your customers hanging out? On Twitter? Then focus more on tweeting and developing a conversation with them. Are your products visually appealing and likely to be pinned & repinned? Then concentrate more on creating fabulous photographs that will make their way across boards on Pinterest. Are you an up-and-coming brand whose future clients are teens who love hip hop? Then it would be worth setting up a channel on Pheed. Social media can be time consuming. Most of us can’t be everything to everyone. It’s best to find where your audience is and be there too; connect with them where they’re opening and willing to take part in a conversation.


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Oct 29

With Hurricane #Sandy barreling down in the East Coast and major power outages expected, @FEMA (The Federal Emergency Management Agency) issued a statement today urging people to stay connected via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook when other modes of communication fail. One of many tweet reads:

People’s in Sandy’s path are also being urged to charge up their phones and to follow certain Twitter accounts, such as @FEMA, for updates, alerts and tips. Local governing agencies are also setting up or pointing people to certain Twitter accounts to keep people informed, since many might still be able to access social media sites via phone during the storm.

During many emergencies over the last few years — tornadoes, hurricanes and the tsunami in Japan — people who found themselves without a landline or land internet connection — were able to connect via smartphone. Many Twitter accounts, especially those for news services and government agencies, dedicated their Twitter accounts to posting information and updates about the disasters. People also were able to locate family members and friends via social sites.

Here’s a list of sites & accounts to follow during #Sandy:

National Hurricane Center – get text/email updates

@NHC_Atlantic – National Hurricane Center

@usNWSgov – NOAA’s National Weather Service

@WeatherChannel – The Weather Channel

@TWC_Hurricane – The Weather Channel Hurricane Updates

LIVE Updates/News from the New York Times

GOOGLE Map for Hurricane Sandy

GOOGLE Map Specifically for New York City







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Oct 19

Article by Lillian Sanders, Guest Contributor

If you are looking for a new job, you may be judged on your credit rating as well as your social media rating. For jobs that require a good understanding of social media, how often you update your Twitter and Facebook, as well as what you post, may help you get hired.

Third-party companies like Klout use data from many social networking sites to create a score that represents how much influence you have. The higher your score, the more people pay attention to what you have to say. Unfortunately, a high number of followers is not enough to raise your score. You must also engage your followers and influence them with your messages.

In 2009, noted blogger Anil Dash was on Twitter’s list of suggested people to follow. Although he gained upwards of 100 new followers per hour, this did not increase his website traffic, replies or retweets on Twitter. This is because these new followers were not listening to his messages, nor did he have any influence on them.

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams believes that retweets are more important than the number of followers. Retweets help you reach a larger audience, and since they trust the person who retweeted your message, they are likely to trust your message. Twitter does tell users when and who retweeted their message, but they do not display how many users saw your message.

Klout uses a complicated algorithm that is designed to measure how important social media users are. It gives each user a number from 1 to 100, with 100 being the most influential. Companies can use this number to help their customers. Hopefully, this number will not be used to tell how important a person is, but rather give ways the company can help the person.

Some hotels have already started upgrading a person’s room based on their Klout score in hopes the person will give a positive review on Twitter or Facebook. Instead of giving perks to only a select few, companies could use this information to suggest local restaurants and attractions based on the person’s interests on social media sites. In addition to a number score, Klout also gives a list of topics that the user tweets about regularly. This would help the company make suggestions, and the customer will be happy with their stay and have a positive opinion of the company.

This seems to be a better way to use Klout and social media influence. Since not everyone uses social media for their jobs or pleasure, it seems unfair to punish those with a low score. It is like picking the most popular person out of a room and offering them an upgrade.

Lillian Sanders is a creative writer from Michigan. She thanks TweeParties for the guest posting opportunity. As a writer, Lillian is contributes to CD Duplication in Orlando helping create marketing presentations.


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Aug 17

Twitter announced this week changes to its API that will limit the number of times a third-party client can access Twitter (see Mashable article Twitter’s API Update Cuts Off Oxygen to Third-Party Clients to learn more).

While this news has some developers scrambling (or seething, depending on who you talk to), what exactly does this mean for the general Twitter populace? For starters, it could change how you tweet.

Twitter Logo

API or ‘application programming interface’ is basically the gateway to Twitter for other apps. There are limits on how many times an app may contact Twitter, and this week Twitter restricted those limits even more. According to Twitter, these changes are intended to “deliver a consistent Twitter experience” for users. Twitter is trying to encourage the development of apps that help with things such as analytics and influence rankings, and discourage use of apps for aggregating tweets or apps that people would use as a Twitter client instead of using Twitter itself. This makes sense for Twitter: they want people to use their client and see their ads and promotions, not someone else’s.

However, many third-party clients are popular not just in day-to-day use, but for communicating more easily during Twitter chats and Twitter parties. Applications such as Hootsuite, Tweet Chat and Tweet Grid are used by thousands every day to attend chats. At the start of nearly every Twitter party we host, we tweet out a “custom link” for people to more easily attend a party via TweetGrid. As of right now, attending a Twitter chat strictly on Twitter without the help of a third-party client is not an option many users want to take.

This isn’t to say that all chat apps are immediately being put out of business or that the chat apps we mentioned above are done for; however, they might be limited on how much they can grow, the maximum number of users they can have, and how many tweets they can access per hour. So it is possible some of our favorites will be affected and we might have to get used to the idea of attending a chat in a different way. Twitter says they will work with some developers who have reached their limits to gain more access than what is allowed. But how many apps and which ones will get special treatment are still for the most part unknown (though tweet collector Storify was mentioned by Twitter as being an app that exemplifies the types of Twitter apps developers should be creating.) This could lead to serious issues for Twitter chats and Twitter parties as the events grow in popularity. Many of these apps are free to use, and exist with the hope of generating ad revenues to fund themselves. This clashes with Twitter’s goal of generating ad revenue, and could be a reason why these limits now exist: to turn eyes away from apps and back to Twitter where their clients’ ads are running.

On the bright side (if you can call it that), Twitter-owned aggregator Tweet Deck most likely will not be compromised. It works in the same way as many of the third-party aggregators and since it has the Twitter stamp of approval, we can only guess that it would not be subject to strict API limitations. In the future, we might be instructing Twitter party and chat attendees on how to use it for a better chat experience. Or much to the disappointment of developers and Twitter users alike—the only option for a better chat experience.


Jul 20

In requests for more information about our Twitter party and Twitter chat services, we are often asked, “How can I get my hashtag to become a trending topic on Twitter?”

The question’s frequency makes sense: To have your hashtag or brand name displayed along Twitter’s ‘trending topics’ column is a coveted position, with the top or ‘promoted’ trend costing an advertiser a reported $120K to achieve it. Trending topics are seen and monitored by millions of sets of eyes per day; to be one of them can be game-changing for a company. When a user clicks on a trending topic, they will see a list of all recently-tweeted tweets that contain that term. For companies, this means having more people learn about them and get introduced to their products and services. And free advertising that could be seen by millions is impossible to resist.

What exactly makes a topic trend?

According to Twitter, “an algorithm determines which topics are ‘trending’ in the location you’ve selected. This algorithm identifies topics that are immediately popular, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis.” What this means is, one million people each day might tweet Justin Bieber’s name, but sheer volume doesn’t make a topic trend. A trending topic usually represents a surge of tweets, even if the volume is less than that of a topic tweeted about regularly. It’s Twitter’s way of trying to keep is users aware of what is current and newsworthy. If sheer volume was the only factor, Justin Bieber might be the top trending topic every day for years, making the whole point of having trending topics useless.

How do I do it?

Often a trending topic is something that is newsworthy that suddenly becomes talked (or tweeted) about by a large number of people at the same time. For example, an event being watched on t.v., such as an awards show or sporting event, are likely to become part of a trending topic due to the number of people who are likely to tweet about it at or around the same time. So there is the element of timeliness as well as volume that seems to make for a trending topic. Your goal then should be to get a lot of people tweeting your hashtag at the same time. If you do not have a national stage to work with (such as a high profile t.v. show or event), then a great way to attempt to achieve this is a Twitter event, such as a Twitter chat or party. Twitter parties occur at a specific time, have a certain hashtag that people will tweet to be included in the event, and usually have a significant number of attendees online at the same time who will tweet using that tag. However, simply deciding to have an event and holding it won’t guarantee that your hashtag trends; you still have to put together a quality event with a skilled host, informative content, noteworthy or high-profile guest contributors and awesome prizes and special offers to really get some buzz. We’ve found that those elements are a big draw when it comes to Twitter parties, and are most likely to get tweeted about. However, there is a downside to becoming a trending topic during a chat: hashtag spam. Once you’re topic starts trending, beware of spammers hijacking your tag by using it to promote their own links completely unrelated to yours. Be prepared to offer followers of your chat an alternative hashtag to switch to for purposes of the chat, to steer clear of spammers and get the chat’s conversation back on track.

How not to do it.

Twitter has specific guidelines for hashtags and tweeting that, if not followed, could get your account flagged when trying get your hashtag to trend. If you see another topic trending and try to get your hashtag noticed by including it in a tweet along with the other trending topic’s hashtag, that is considered spammy and unacceptable (Twitter does not like unrelated hashtags in tweets; it’s misleading). Repeatedly tweeting you hashtag, or encouraging others to do as much as possible so as part of a tweeting contest, in an attempt to get it trending without adding value to the conversation the hashtag is part of is another no-no (tweeting contests are acceptable if limited to one tweet per day). Also, taking a trending topic hashtag and tweeting out links to your profile or website along with those trending tags is another way to get into trouble. On Twitter, like everywhere else on the web, organic is good. Create hashtag tweeting opportunities that are natural and not forced. While it’s great to get a topic to trend, it’s even better to provide excellent content to your followers, become a value to them, and remain in good standing with Twitter.

With ‘Tailored Trends,’ Are Trending Topics as Valuable as They Once Were?

Recently, Twitter allowed users to get ‘tailored trends’ — or to turn their list of trending topics into a column customized just for them. Twitter says this about tailored trends: “Trends offer a unique way to get closer to what you care about. Trends are tailored for you based on your location and who you follow.” To turn this setting off or on in your own account, go to the “change” button next to the trending topics column. Click on that, and you’ll get the option either to turn this feature off or on, depending on your current settings. The intent of this feature is to help users see trends related to those issues/places/people who matter most to them. Tailored trends takes into account a user’s location and those users he/she follows to come up with a list of trends that are relevant that user alone. With this feature turned on, the topics you see trending are no longer the same as what everyone else is seeing, but rather made just for you. What does this mean for trending topics in general? When your hashtag trends, it may not be seen by as many eyes as in the past, since everyone might not see the same trends. However, if you don’t succeed at making your hashtag trend on a worldwide (or countrywide/citywide scale), it still might have the ability to trend to your followers — or those who might really matter to you and who are already eager to hear what you have to say. Tailored trends might have put somewhat of a damper on widely-viewed trending topics, but on the flipside, the service might help topics that would normally have trouble trending on a large scale now get noticed more easily. On another note, if you are hosting a chat or party, and see your hashtag ‘trending,’ check to make sure whether or not you have tailored trends turned on. You just might be ‘trending’ to a limited audience, rather than citywide, nationwide, or worldwide.


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Feb 17

By now, everyone has heard of Pinterest, even though not everyone can use (at the time of this writing, Pinterest is an invitation-only site. You can visit the Pinterest home page and request an invite. Or leave a comment on this blog post including your email, and we’ll try to send you one!)

Why all the interest in Pinterest? It’s a fun, rather addictive and quickly growing site, and those that have Pinterest accounts log in and log in often. According to an article from WSJ Online, in January alone 11 million unique visitors visited the site, which is more than double the 4.9 million who visited in November 2011. Also according to the WSJ article, those who visited Pinterest spent 100 minutes on the site in January — quite impressive when compared to the 19 minutes spent by those visiting business social networking site LinkedIn.

So what is Pinterest? Similar to other social networking sites, a Pinterest user follows other people or companies “boards” or collections of images. Think of a Pinterest board as a virtual bulletin board that you can pin web images to. Popular boards include images collected by people planning a wedding, redecorating a bedroom, or a fashionista collecting her favorite spring accessories. When someone viewing a board clicks on a pin, they are then directed to the website where the image came from — or your company’s website. Therein lies the advantage for businesses: word of mouth marketing. When you sign up for a Pinterest account, you can create your own boards and pin images you find on websites to them (you can do this by inputting the link to the page the image is found on or installing a “pin it” button to your browser that allows you to easily pin an image). You can also upload an image from your phone or computer. There are many tutorials being written on how to use Pinterest, with a great one found HERE on MSNBC.com.

But once you or your company gets up and running, here are some tips on how to start to make Pinterest work for your business:

1). Create Great Images One of the most addictive parts about Pinterest is being able to create a board with a bunch of beautiful pictures on them and sharing it with your friends. Grab some great-looking images from your favorite sites, and you’ll have an awesome looking board in no time. But in creating some boards for TweeParties Pinterest account, I noticed that many websites have a poor selection of images to choose from, and some websites have NO images that are pinnable. The key for businesses here is to make sure your website has professional-looking, colorful, sharp images on them that are easy to pin (such as .jpg files). The more colorful and vivid, the better. Give Pinterest users a few good images, and you’ll be sure to land on a few good boards.

2.) Create Your Own Boards and Share Them Start on Pinterest by creating boards of anything you like: your spring collection, your award-winning products, or your  favorite recipes and share links to your boards via Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or an email blast — you name it! You’ll not only gain Pinterest followers, but you’ll also find that other Pinterest users might “repin” or share your pins on their own boards and with their followers.

3). Add the ‘Pin It’ Button to Your Website or Blog Posts Make it easy for visitors to your website to pin your images by adding the official ‘Pin It’ Button from Pinterest (see the top of this post for an example). If you have a visitor to your site that’s not there on a pin hunt, but who is in fact a Pinterest user, you might inspire them to pin something when they see it. Click here to find the Pinterest button page.

4). Have a Pinterest Contest I’ve already seen a few businesses run Pinterest contests. It’s a great way to get people to explore your website as well as encourage them to pin your images and share information about your company. A business might ask that entrants create a board about a certain topic that includes a specific number of images from that company’s website. To enter, the user sends the company the link to their new board. The intended result is to get people pinning links to your site with the hope that their followers will see them and take an interest in checking it out. Prizes can be products, gift cards — you name it! But as with any contest, be sure to follow legal rules and draft up official rules before proceeding.

Good luck & happy pinning!



Apr 15

The world of daytime t.v. looked a little less bright this week with the announcement of the cancellation of two of its longest-living stars: All My Children and One Life to Live.

Both shows–born in the era of the Vietnam War–were preceded in demise by several other soaps; the only survivor on ABC now being General Hospital.

So the big question is: Why now? How did two shows that lasted for more than 40 years each get canceled in 2011?

Times certainly have changed. The television landscape is no longer populated by sitcoms, dramas and game shows. Reality t.v. is still where it’s at. From Survivor and American Idol to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Dancing with the Stars, television viewers routinely flock to shows grounded in some sort of veracity. Even if the ‘plots’ may be manufactured or nudged in a certain direction at times, it is clear that viewers enjoy watching someone else’s reality unfold before their eyes. It is interesting that the two shows scheduled to replace AMC and OLTL are reality-based: a food show hosted by Mario Batali and a makeover show hosted by Project Runway’s Tim Gunn.

This craving for reality also has extended to–and formed a relationship with–social media. With the advent of social networking, people have been spending more time online interacting with each other. When a television program airs, a natural extension of our viewing experience is to share our reactions by engaging in a conversation with others about it via social media (think of t.v. events trending on Twitter such as the Super Bowl, the Oscars, American Idol). Viewers want interaction–and whether it is with friends and family on Facebook, or chatting with other users via Twitter–if a live event is taking place on t.v., people will chat about it. It becomes news, and by engaging in a conversation about it, they are becoming part of the event itself. A scripted drama does not have that sense of newsworthiness. If people did tweet about the plotlines of the latest daytime episodes, they might not have been compelled to do so en masse; rarely has the storyline of a drama become a trending topic.

Although many reality shows are taped, they still offer that sense of suspense and immediacy: someone’s life might be changed by the drama. The events unfolding are really happening to someone. Perhaps the drama a reality show creates cannot be reproduced by a scripted drama? Bickering between hosts of The View have made headlines. Even the whereabouts and love lives of reality t.v. stars make the news. Unless you’re Susan Lucci, it’s hard to get that kind of press when you’re coming from daytime t.v.

It could be also that social media has stolen the attention of some of the soaps’ traditional viewers. When I was growing up, I remember my mom catching glimpses of As the World Turns and The Guiding Light between her daily chores. Now more and more moms log in to Facebook, check daily deals from their favorite brands on Twitter, or send text messages when they have a few extra minutes rather than turn on the t.v.

The skeptics have predicted that our love of reality t.v. will fade; however, it hasn’t yet, and I doubt that it will ever vanish completely, nor will our desire to interact with one another via social media. Then again, a similar opinion might have been held in the 1970s: that the soaps will never die. I guess never tweet never.


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Feb 10

With more than 110 million tweets being sent per day, it’s easy for most messages venturing into the Twittersphere to get lost in the timeline shuffle. Unless you’re Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber or CNN, so much of what people tweet ends up being seen only by a few followers or goes unnoticed altogether. So how do you get your missives to stand out and get retweeted? Here are some tips:

Quality: Good writing gets noticed in part because it’s easy to read. Make good use of your 140 characters by making them good ones. Always spell correctly. Use proper grammar. Write using an active voice (such as “Jane shared her quilting tips”) rather than a passive voice (The quilting tips were shared by Jane). Don’t over-abbreviate—not everyone abbreviates words the same way and tweets containing too many abbreviations slows readers down as they try to decipher your words’ meanings. Always shorten links. Use all caps and punctuation sparingly and for emphasis. The easier you make it for people to read your tweets, the more likely they will want to read them and come to know that your tweets are worth reading when they see your avatar appear in their timeline.

Content: People follow you for a reason. Maybe you represent a company that specializes in search engine optimization, or you’re a long-time sewing expert who loves to tweet about quilting tips and fabric sales. When it comes to tweeting, create content that is appropriate for your account. If your followers follow you mainly because you said that you will tweet about basketball news and NBA players, you probably don’t want to start sending multiple paid tweets for Acai berry products. An offbeat tweet now and then is fine and acceptable, but remember to stay focused on your purpose for tweeting and why people follow you. You know the saying: “Give ‘em what they want.” Give them anything else, and your tweets might become a turn off. Even if people don’t begin to unfollow you, they might simply tune out and overlook your tweets whenever they appear.

Frequency: If you send out several tweets a day—great! However, if those several tweets are crammed into the same hour, you will be missing out on the opportunity to reach more of your followers who tune in throughout the day. If possible, spread out your tweets more so that you increase the odds that more eyes will see them. If your schedule does not allow for checking into Twitter more than once a day, consider assigning the task of sending tweets to someone other than yourself. Often companies manage social media accounts in shifts, which allows them to interact and be available more for customer service questions (some companies even post their ‘tweeting hours’ on their account bios). There is debate over whether or not people should use a service that allows them to schedule tweets. Some argue that if you tweet you should also be available to respond to comments about those tweets. I agree that conversing with your followers is imporant. However, if you do not have the staff to support extended time on social media, a compromise might be in order. Try a mix of real-time tweeting and scheduled tweets. Log in to Twitter when possible to send real-time tweets and monitor follower feedback. Some services that can help you get started in scheduling are Social Oomph and Twuffer.

Twitter is all about reading. The easier you make it for your followers to read your tweets, the more likely your message will get noticed…and retweeted. Happy tweeting! ~Erin


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