Last week, on the super secret ChicagoNow Facebook page, someone mentioned how they get a lot of traffic from Facebook, but hardly anything from Twitter. I thought I'd check our Hammervision stats and I discovered that (beep-hoop, beep-boop) we get about a third of our traffic from Twitter. Since, by internet standards, that makes me a "Twitter expert" I thought I'd write down a few tips for tweeting, based mostly on scientific research into what annoys me when other people do things.
1. Tweet. Be present. I often follow back human beings, but if you only have about three tweets to your name, I'll assume you're a spambot and forget you exist. Also, your egg avatar doesn't help things.
2. And, even more importantly, ENGAGE. And that doesn't mean, "Hi, read my post on bullied baby seals in the North Atlantic that just want to listen to Liza Minnelli." That means jumping in on other people's conversations, thanking folks for writing good posts that are not your own, getting into heated arguments about Star Trek vs. Star Wars, etc... You get the idea.
3. Don't link your Twitter account to your Facebook page. This is one of my biggest Twitter pet peeves. Twitter and Facebook are two separate entities; treat them as such. Many people follow you on both Twitter and Facebook, so give them different content or you'll start to sound repetitive (and, frankly, a bit like a spambot). Also, on Twitter, we usually don't get your entire Facebook post message (140 characters, and all), I'm not going to click a link just to see that your sentence ends with "boobs." Give your followers a reason to follow you on both social media sites. It takes about three seconds to compose a tweet. Don't recycle your Facebook nonsense.
4. Don't follow the follow back-ers (even better -- don't be one of these people). This one's easy. If someone has 26,000 followers and follows about the same number of people, chances are they're just going to wait for you to follow them and then drop you. Because they're assholes and it's all about them. Extra warning: These people often mention in their bio that they are an "expert" at something or have a self-published crime novel to sell.
5. Join in the conversation during big events. I'm a big fan of doing this. Pick an event -- Blackhawks game, Mad Men season finale, the Emmys, the November elections -- and just start chatting and commenting. You might pick up some new followers. You might make some new friends.
6. Use "#" responsibly. This goes along with tweeting during events. Use the official hashtags (they're always floating around the slug at the bottom of your TV screen), or take note of what hashtags other people in your feed are using. This will make your tweets available to the people watching that specific hashtag. This could lead to more RTs and follows and FRIENDSHIPS for you. (Never forget -- It's all about relationships on Twitter. Random folks won't retweet you (because why should they?), but your buddies will.)
7. Log on to Twitter at different times of the day. In my YA novel class the other day, we were talking about how the life cycle of a tweet is about five minutes. That means your tweet probably only reaches the handful of people who are on twitter at the exact moment when you post it. So try checking out Twitter at different times of day. Check first thing in the morning and right before going to bed. You'll reconnect with people whom you probably forgot existed.
8. RT other people. I need to be better about this myself, but you should try to retweet at least three other people for every link you post to your own content. As a wise woman likes to say, "Generosity is currency," especially on Twitter.
BONUS #9: Follow me on Twitter. I'll try not to break most of my own rules.
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