Social Media 101: Twitter

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Social media terminology has become ingrained in our day-to-day language. No longer does “tweet” refer only to the sound birds make – all thanks to Jack Dorsey, creator of Twitter. On March 21, 2006, Dorsey sent the first tweet, "just setting up my twttr.” Within a few short months, Twitter launched to the public and has continued to grow since, reaching a milestone of 1.3 million users within the platform’s first two years.

Just like Facebook or Instagram, knowing why you're on Twitter is essential to your success. If you’re here reading this blog, you're probably searching for ways to make your Twitter reflect your personal brand and further bolster your career.

If that is the case, your first step to mastering Twitter is to clean up your profile. Select a professional headshot as your profile picture, preferably the same shot you use on LinkedIn. Have your biography relate back to your industry or area of expertise and select a header that doesn’t draw attention away from your feed. When in doubt, less is always more!

Once you’ve done so, now is the time to review past tweets for anything that could be taken as inappropriate or controversial. While you do this, also take an audit of the types of tweets that have performed well. This task will help you create the best, and most beneficial, content moving forward.

The Twitterverse is quite large (330 million monthly active users at the last check in), which means it can be difficult to break through the clutter with your tweets. As you create your content, be sure to include your thoughts and not just a regurgitation of the article you are sharing. Instead of a retweet, quote tweet with your own commentary to the original post.

Twitter allows tweets to be up to 280 characters (double the original character length). While the lengthened limit has ignited mixed responses, one benefit is that it does allow you to expand upon your thoughts and craft more unique tweets. However, just because you can tweet 280 characters doesn’t mean you should. Like we said earlier, less is always more.

While you may be using Twitter for professional purposes, we do recommend including some personal tweets in your feed. Personal doesn’t have to be snapshots of your life, but content that informs, educates and entertains. Think about what your audience engages with the most and provide them with similar content. In addition, incorporating real-time tweets shows current and potential Followers that you aren’t an automated bot, but a living, breathing person!

Long gone are the days of tweeting basic thoughts without supporting content. To energize your tweets, include photos, links and videos to your tweets. One way to add personality to your feed is to utilize GIFs. From iconic movie scenes to viral memes, GIFs can enhance even the simplest of tweets.

Twitter is quite possibly the easiest and best way to engage on social media. You can easily acknowledge any tweet by a simple like (tap the heart) or a retweet. If you are looking to spark a conversation, you can tweet a reply or even quote tweet with an original thought! All the Twitter jargon may seem overwhelming at first, which is why we created this glossary of social terms to help you out.

Just like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, hashtags can — and should — be utilized on Twitter. On mobile and desktop, you can find a list of trending hashtags that were selected for you based on who you follow and what you like. If you have something to say about a topic, say it and use the trending hashtag. Avoid using hashtags that have few uses, as they are unlikely to pick up traction for your tweet or increase your Follower count.

Twitter can sometimes seem like the scariest social media platform available, as it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle and hard to come up with content that resonates. The good thing about Twitter is there is a space for everyone to share both personal or professional content. By familiarizing yourself with the platform and finding your niche, you too can be good at Twitter.