Social Media Matters: Optimize your Twitter experience

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, Nov. 2, 2012
Metro section

Optimize your Twitter experience

There are several ways in which to make your Twitter experience the best that it can be in order to achieve maximum impact.

To maximize your number of followers, I always suggest not connecting your Twitter and Facebook accounts. I’ve never understood this practice unless it’s for a 140-characters-or-less text-only update which would show up the same on both platforms. Once you start sharing links, photos or hashtags, then everything just gets jumbled.

TwitterHashtags mean nothing to Facebook followers and links posted to Twitter don’t show up properly on Facebook (i.e. with a proper preview). Both platforms speak different languages and in order to maximize their effectiveness, I always think it’s a good idea to update them separately unless, as I said, the update is purely text with no links, photos or hashtags involved.

Besides, why should someone follow you on Twitter if they’re already Facebook friends with you and they see all your Twitter posts there? Part of an individual’s clout or credibility on Twitter is the number of followers they have. Are you sabotaging your Twitter effectiveness by automatically linking to your Facebook page? (Or vice-versa?)

As for updating Facebook and linking it to your Twitter account, you’re losing out on retweets from other Twitter users. If you’re constantly using up all 140 characters in your tweet (this would likely always happen if you’re posting from Facebook, which allows much longer updates), then people tend not to retweet because it makes it too difficult to edit to fall within the 140-character maximum.

If I have to edit your tweet because it’s too long to retweet it (have I said “tweet” enough yet?), I may spend about five seconds (literally) trying until I get frustrated and move on. This means you’re missing out on the important leverage that Twitter can provide: being retweeted by other users. Make it easy for Twitter folks to retweet you!

Also, when linking from Facebook, you can’t properly “mention” someone on Twitter (using the “@” sign followed by their username). This means there’s a likely chance that they’ll miss your nice message about them. You want your business colleagues and friends to see that you complimented them on Twitter, right? Of course! Then it’s important to use Twitter properly to ensure they see it! The same goes for Facebook!

If you’re posting an update that you’d like retweeted, always make sure you don’t use up all 140 characters available. I try to use only about 100-110 characters if I’m hoping to have something retweeted. That way, there’s room for the retweeter’s name and a short comment. Make it easy for someone to retweet you!

As a writer, I cringe when I see typos and errors, however if you’re trying to stay within the 100-110 character range on Twitter, it’s perfectly acceptable to be liberal with writing styles. If you absolutely need to, write “you” as “u” or leave the periods out of “a.m.” and “p.m.” if you’re talking about times of the day. Delete spacing if you can.

Remember, Twitter is not a university term paper or a newspaper that follows a certain style guide such as the Canadian Press or Associated Press. The important information is the content, but spelling is still important. For example, “Today’s event starts at 1 p.m.” can be rewritten on Twitter to “Today’s event’s at 1pm”.

If you want to be taken seriously, make sure your profile is up to date, contains your real name and has a decent photo of you. The default “egg” photo Twitter uses is something that should be replaced as soon as possible after creating your account. Account users who leave the egg up are pretty much declaring they don’t know what they’re doing or that they’re not taking Twitter seriously.

And finally, it’s always a good idea to go through your list of followers from time to time to weed out the fake accounts, pornography sites, prank sites, etc. If someone is checking out your Twitter account for business purposes and sees a bunch of fake, porn and prank sites following you, their “Wow! John has 500 followers on Twitter” soon turns into “John has 500 followers on Twitter, but half of them are porn and spam sites.”

Keep your followers’ list as legitimate as possible by weeding out the garbage. That way, the integrity of your account will be intact when business associates are ascertaining your credibility on Twitter. You may not always be able to catch every one, but it’s best to weed out what you can on a regular basis. Be diligent!

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Every week, I feature one or more YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current to Oct. 30. Have a favourite YouTube channel? Please let me know and I may feature it here.

1) Mormon Tabernacle Choir (2,369 subscribers): It may surprise you that the world-renowned choir just announced its first official YouTube channel earlier this week. After seeing unauthorized content make the rounds online for years, the choir finally decided it was best to take control.

The channel already boasts thousands of subscribers and more than 40 videos with nearly 10,000 total views. I fully expect these numbers to grow exponentially over the weeks and months ahead, especially with Christmas coming next month and with Easter happening not long after that. If you love choral music, be sure to subscribe! (Most popular video: Pilgrim Song – Mormon Tabernacle Choir – 500 views.)

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