Before you hire someone to run your Twitter account, they should be checked for basic Twitter competency before you hand over the keys to your brand. Here are some things any Twitter brand pro needs to know.
1. The dot-mention
Starting a tweet with a username pretty well guarantees that it won’t be seen by anyone except you, the user mentioned, and any mutual followers you may have. If you want to start a tweet with a username as a noun in your tweet you need to prepend it with a character. The crowd has spoken! Just place a period in front of the username to prevent it from being treated like a reply.
2. The favorite button isn’t anonymous
As part of Twitter’s revised algorithm, certain Tweets are put in your followers Timelines when you favorite them. Be wary, this can have devastating consequences for your brand.
You wouldn’t want to favorite a magnificently hilarious and inappropriate tweet and then have your brand’s name saying “[your brand here] favorited:”
I can't belive my grand mothers making me take Out the garbage I'm rich fuck this I'm going home I don't need this shit
— 50cent (@50cent) August 26, 2010
3. People love to be told what to do
Doing the whole “RT if you like xyz” is incredibly effective. Hijacking things like sports/university affiliations are a very good way to get tons of cheap exposure.
Conducting a very important survey:
RT for pray-leen
Fav for praw-leen#OhTheSuspense
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) November 13, 2014
4. Don’t phone it in.
Lots of brands think they can get away with auto-posting their Facebook Page statuses to their Twitter accounts. Every single one of those tweets comes with a “fb.me” link. Nothing advertises your ambivalence to Twitter quite like this.
These channels are different, and should be handled differently.
Scheduled content should be handled appropriately, as well. If it’s obvious that a tweet was sent by a robot because no human wanted to be around to pull the trigger, some may perceive apathy. Use scheduled posts sparingly. Using scheduled posts for time-based contests (“We are going to announce a secret contest code word at 1 PM MST”) is a great way to ensure flawless execution of a time-sensitive campaign. Other tweets? Proceed with caution.
5. Visual content is most likely to win
Twitter’s research states that a Tweet with a photo is 35% more likely to be retweeted.
6. Hashtags are a force
Don’t try to be cute with hashtags. Hashtags are used to allow the wealth of Twitter’s jabber congeal around a subject. Used wrong, they can backfire terribly.
DiGiorno Pizza proved that hashtag hijacking is not always the best idea with this Tweet. The #WhyIStayed hashtag was being used at the time for victims of domestic abuse to share why they stayed in an abusive relationship.
Remember: with Twitter you are not in control of the discourse, and things can turn against you very quickly.
Have a burning question for @robinthicke? Submit your ?s for tomorrow's Twitter Q+A using #AskThicke! pic.twitter.com/LwWKWlBysg
— VH1 (@VH1) June 30, 2014
Here is where VH1 tried the hashtag #AskThicke. The discourse soon shifted. People were grilling Robin Thicke for sexism, calling his hit song “Blurred Lines” a rape anthem, among other things.
If you’re going to go with a hashtag, make sure there is no way for it to backfire. Comedy Central’s @midnight is a pace setter in this space.
7. Be personal
Nothing charms your followers more than a friendly discussion on Twitter. Use emoji and emoticons. Make jokes. Talk to other brands. People are on Twitter to chat without boundaries. Go for it.
@aiexa08 @JetBlue We sometimes share clothes, and scrapbook together. Is that weird? ^BT
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) February 1, 2013
You have 140 characters, and you should use them wisely. Don’t use hashtags ironically or flippantly. Your tweet should have meaning, and not be a waste of your followers’ time.