9 ways to up your Twitter game

Are you making the best use of the ‘real estate’ of your photos? Do you search up gifs or take polls? Here are some pointers from Cision.

Does it ever seem that everyone else embraces Twitter in ways that your organization doesn’t? Do you envy others’ flashy gifs and engaged followers?

Turns out it’s not hard to up your Twitter game. You just have to understand the platform, your fans and the journalists you’re trying to reach, says Stacey Miller, senior communications manager at Cision.

In a Ragan Training session titled “The new Twitter playbook: Breakthrough tactics that ignite business and engagement,” Miller opens up about ways to boost your engagement at a time when the platform is rapidly evolving. (Think of Twitter’s controversial plan to boost its 140-character limit to a maximum of 10,000.)

Here are some Twitter tips and trends you should be aware of, says Miller, who will speak at Ragan’s Social Media & Storytelling Summit at Facebook in July. (Cision is a sponsor of the summit and Miller is a sponsored speaker.)

1. Try a tweet-by-tweet narrative.

You don’t have to say it all in one tweet, Miller says. Try telling your story in a series of tweets. Make sure it’s a story, however. Tell it in your own voice. Have a story trajectory.

This means giving “a sense of where the story is going,” Miller says.

2. Use multimedia.

“It is imperative that we communicators start focusing on really great user-generated content,” Miller says. “So we’re talking video, we’re talking micro-video, we’re talking graphics.”

If you primarily tweet text, think of ways to enhance your tweets with images and multimedia. How about all the interesting data at your fingertips? Organize that information visually for your tweets, and it becomes far more valuable, she says.

3. Promote reporters, not just yourself.

Those poor, lonely journalists, slogging away on their stories and tweeting them to the world, only to be ignored. Why not give them a boost—and get their attention while you’re at it?

It takes 30 minutes a day, Miller says. Tweet your posts to reporters, and retweet their stories—adding commentary while you’re at it. This adds value for them, and it will get you noticed.

“It’s really about elevating them and lifting them up—and expanding their network and being helpful to them before they every help you,” Miller says.

4. Now do the same for your influencers.

You probably have other people who are really helpful to your brand—influencers, brand ambassadors or whatever you call them. These can be bloggers who are well versed in topics of interest to you or social media figures with a broad network.

As with the reporters, figure out what they’re talking about and promote their content, Miller says. Comment. Add value.

That way, when you do have something to ask them for, you can say, “We’ve got a new campaign I’m launching; we’d love it if you could participate.” These influencers will know who you are.

5. Know your Twitter algorithms.

Yes, some of us decried the new, Facebook-like approach to Twitter feeds, which favors posts that the Twitter gods deem relevant (or at least I did). Yet the new algorithm forces organizations to put out better content—posts that would draw more eyeballs and engagement.

“It made us focus on things that got better results instead of just sharing content out there and not really looking at the effects,” Miller says. “It’s only bad if you aren’t sharing relevant content.”

6. Think like designers.

Twitter has updated the feed to show expanded photos in the timeline, rather than chopping them off. How well are you using that extra space?

“We’re not just writers. We’re not just communicators,” Miller says. “We’re not just posting to social media. We should be using every single inch of real estate in the photos that we post to capture the eyeballs in the timeline.”

7. Create a consistent schedule.

If you’re promoting broadcasts, podcasts or other forms of communication, Twitter can help. You can, however, expand your reach through consistency:

  • Hold your radio shows weekly, and at the same time.
  • Broadcast your topics to help recruit attendees.
  • Create contests for engagement. “People love winning things,” Miller says, “and people love to be recognized on social media.”
  • Use feedback as your driver.

This pays off over time: “There is a 28 percent higher purchase intent for customers exposed to video on Twitter vs. the online norm,” Miller says.

8. Use the gif button.

When you open the window to write the tweet, it’s right there next to the camera and location buttons.

Use it frequently? You get an A. For those of us who never click it, however, it’s worth giving it a try now that you know how important images are. Just click where it says “GIF” and search for a keyword that relates to your post.

If you’ve been wondering where people get all those forehead-palming and eye-rolling gifs to express dismay, now you know.

9. Find out what interests your followers.

Wondering what your readers think? Poll them. For instance, you could ask what topic you ought to blog on next.

“I think polls are one of the most under-utilized features of Twitter,” Miller says.



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