Making Twitter work for you

Cornerhouse Digital Reporter Kevin Danson picks up some top Twitter tips…

Laptops, Smartphones and iPads were being unloaded as people found their seats for the Twitter session at Cornerhouse. The weather outside was dreary but the tapping on the keyboards inside was cheerful. The workshop was lead by Mr. Digital Guru, @technicalfault aka Josh.

Starting with the workshop hastag #makeitwork, Josh began by telling us the basics of how to make your Twitter account…work. First valued tip, have an active account.

Josh explained ‘Twitter is a community’. You shouldn’t turn your face from someone who is tweeting you just like you wouldn’t (shouldn’t) if that person was in front of you. Twitter’s motto is: ‘we believe that the open exchange of information can have a positive global impact and are inspired by stories of people using Twitter to improve the world in unexpected ways’. We, as tweeters, are connected. So the vital rule here is respect.

From the idea of engaging in conversation with your virtual neighbours, the majority of tweets should try and be replies to other tweets. This can help you build up a following. Mixed reviews appeared when the subject of follower quantity came up. Some thought they had to follow any and as many, since social media is all about collecting numbers, others admitted they prefer to select who they follow so their timeline doesn’t get over polluted with spam or simply, random crap.

Another interesting debate started around the question of tweeting at weekends. Certain Twitter users thought the weekend was a time when you don’t really look at your timelines while the rest admitted how visiting their tweets on a Saturday and Sunday provided a distraction from boredom or a chance to catch-up with news they missed throughout the week. Everybody has a different routine so just do what suits you best.

Josh’s advice on retweeting was to not retweet too often—it’s not fresh content—and try to keep your fresh tweets within 120 characters so you allow those who wish to retweet you give their own intro or spin on your news.

Here is a flash list of apps and websites recommended…

  • Buffer – Excellent for scheduling tweets of interesting content allowing your followers not to become flooded with information.
  • Paperli – Create a daily paper of interesting content from a random selection from those you follow (I adopted this after the workshop and it is a perfect way for me to find relevant content to my interests in a paper format). It mentions those the content has been added from allowing room for shoulder rubbing and conversation.
  • Twitter provides its own link shortening tool, but you can also join bitly. Not only will it reduce your links, it will show you details of the clicks you get from your tweets. Pretty handy. You can also link Buffer to bitly and schedule tweets to go through the bitly site already shortened.
  • Tweet Grader is an ideal tool for businesses. You can track your tweets and see the fluctuation of followers. Observe what you’re doing right or change how you’ve gone wrong.
  • Another site useful to businesses is TweetReach. From one tweet you can check how far that message went through your followers’ accounts and their followers and their followers… you get it.
  • Twitilist gives you the chance to create lists and sort the ones you follow into categories. They sync up with the app you choose to access your Twitter account with, filtering information you wish to view and provide others with recommendations in public lists and keep your personal ones private.
  • Suffer from a guilty conscious? TwitCleaner will do the dirty work for you. It scans the ones you follow and through a report with different categories, separates the wheat from the chaff. People change, interests change. If the info you’re getting no longer interests you, say adieu.
  • And there is more than just to provide you with access to your tweets. Some that were suggested from Josh were Tweetbot (iPhone/iPad), Echofon (Mac) and Tweetdeck (Android). If you know of any others feel free to let us know below.

Now for the top tips…

  • Links in tweets attract more clicks when placed at least 25% into the tweet.
  • Words which have been registered to attract viewers are ones like ‘via’, ‘@’ ‘RT’ and ‘please’. Action words are attractive also. My new mantra is; more verbs, less nouns.
  • Hashtags are a great way to bring together an event. With our #makeitwork hashtag, the knowledge of the workshop quickly spread and those who searched this tag quickly learnt about the skills Josh was departing on us.
  • Since Manchester is ranked third biggest Twitter using city in Europe (oh yeah), it has landed its name on the cities to trend. Make sure to choose it as your trending city.

And for those that missed the session and are keen to learn more, I’ve been told Cornerhouse have decided to repeat the event with Josh due to its popularity. It’s scheduled in for late May and details will be up here on the website in the next few weeks. Enjoy!

Image courtesy of eldh on Flickr