With over 170 million active users and playing a significant role in media consumption, Twitter has turned into the go-to site for real-time updates and gathering snippets of info from those we're interested in. Pretty much everyone knows how to put a tweet together and how to reply to users, but what about more advanced features such as shortcuts, apps and SEO. If you want to improve your knowledge or want to pick up a few tips and tricks to help you get more out of the service, then read on.
With many of us spending large amounts of time on Twitter every day, there has to be a quicker way to use the desktop interface and that comes in the form of keyboard shortcuts. As you can see from the list below, there is a shortcut for pretty much every one of the actions you carry out on a daily basis.
Over the time that you've been using Twitter, there is a very good chance that you have given some apps permission to access your account. While most of the apps are fine, it is worth checking in here to see what apps you have given access to recently and purging some of the ones you no longer use.
Sometimes you can come up with a good tweet, but feel that it's not ready to be posted for the world to see. If that's the case, there's a vast number of apps and tools that will allow you to schedule tweets for later. Tweetdeck is one example and if you're looking for something a little more advanced, then Buffer is a great tool to use.
If, for whatever reason, you're tweeting content that isn't suitable for general consumption, activating this option in settings will either display sensitive content (those that users have marked as such) or mark yours. The latter will mean that users will be warned about your content before they proceed.
Instead of taking screenshots of a tweet, you can now embed it into your blog post and allow visitors to interact with it if they were viewing it on Twitter. To do this, find the tweet you want, expand it and click details. You will see the option "Embed this tweet" appear in a new screen.
Deleting Location Information
While you can turn geotagging on, sometimes you might not want people to know where you're are or have tweeted from. If this is the case, head to settings and you will find the option under 'Tweet location.'
If you're looking for particular topics or searching for updates to an event, using a hashtag to search can bring you more accurate results. Provided you know what the main hashtag is (eg: #London2012), you can find out more real-time info.
Linking to Facebook account
The majority of social media sites allow cross-posting and Twitter is no exception. In your profile settings, you will find this option at the bottom of the page underneath your bio.
Twitter recently redesigned its search feature so it's a good place to start when discussing features. Behaving more like Google and Facebook by suggesting users, searching terms can be filtered by top, all or best yet, 'People You Know.' The latter allows you to see what those users you follow are saying so you can jump into the conversation or add your own comment.
However, if that isn't enough for you, you can take things a step further and increase your search capabilities. When you've viewing a search result, clicking the cog icon up in the top right-hand corner to bring advanced search. Here, you can filter by words, accounts, location and even moods to find what you want. Alternatively, you can access advanced search here.
Similar to how you find advanced search. On the search results page, this is the second option offered in settings alongside advanced search.
A section some users tend to ignore, but more valuable then most people give credit for. Discover's main function is to expose you to content and users you mightn't have found through your normal feed. Alongside presenting the major stories appearing on Twitter, the activity section shows you everything that's been happening with those you follow, such as retweets, follows and favourites so you could find new content and users to follow.
Follow by Category
Not content with presenting news, the Discover section also gives users the chance to find new people to follow based on interest. Just click on browse category and Twitter will present a list of topics that might interest you.
Search and categories aren't the only ways of finding friends on Twitter. In discover, you can click the 'Find Friends' section and find users through your Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail or AOL account.
The majority of people have a blog so it's a good idea to include a follow button so that people can find you on Twitter. Simply visit Twitter's button page and select the share content or follow button, fill out the details and embed it into your site.
Hashtag & Mention Buttons
If you've created an event or covering one, installing a hashtag button is an effective way of getting the message across. The process is the same as installing the share and follow buttons and is handy if you want to get your content out there.
Less is More
You may post interesting content or say witty things, but when you're doing so, you want to give people the opportunity to retweet your stuff. As a rule, you should leave leave 20 characters worth of spare to allow this. If it's possible leave 40 since that way, the person retweeting should be able to fit in a quick comment.
For those cases where you're retweeting something that's too big, modified tweets come into play. Marked as MT, this lets people know that this tweet has been edited so you can cut down the least essential parts or reword it so you can tweet it.
Yes, Twitter and every other third-party app automatically shortens apps, but using a URL shortener has its benefits. For one, all URL shorteners include analytics so you can see how effective and popular your links are. Handy if you're a business or blog and want to see how many clicks a link got.
Chances are you're following far more people then you can keep up with. Lists are a handy way of counteracting this. By creating different lists for different categories, you can easily follow the same number of people without being overwhelmed.
The last thing you want to do is spam your followers and if you're one of those people who tweets everything they can think of in the one go, you're not doing yourself any favours. Try to space out when you tweet so that you're more consistent throughout the day. If that isn't possible, use one of the scheduling tools mentioned earlier to space them out.
Images & Video
If you want better engagement or responses, sometimes an image or video is the way to go. It's good to mix up your tweets with a mixture of the two. If you're not used to taking photos or need an excuse to take some snaps, then things like the 'photo a day challenge' on Instagram is a great way of getting practice. Just be sure to choose only the best photos to tweet if you don't want to overwhelm your followers with abstract photos.
Learn the Best Times to Tweet
Tweeting is one thing, but knowing the best times to tweet is another thing entirely. If you're being strategic and want to make sure your tweets are seen by as many people as possible, then this report from bit.ly could help you. Essentially, the best times to tweet is any time between 1pm-3pm from Monday to Thursday. Bit.ly also recommend that you should avoid posting after 8pm on any day as well as after 3pm on Fridays.
Most users add hashtags onto their tweets without actually thinking about why they do it. Hashtags are supposed to signify that you're talking about a particular topic or event so in that case, only one hashtag is necessary in a tweet, and two at most. Any more than that and it's overkill.
The best way to look at favourites is not to view them as things you like, but instead things that you would bookmark for later use. Most of the time, you would favourite things that you don't have time to read, or a comment that you would like to save for future reference. So treat it as a resource that you can come back to and you will find that its value will go up.
Sometimes when you're having a discussion, you want everyone to see it instead of just the person. It might be to strengthen a point you made with a previous tweet or to help followers keep up to speed with a discussion. To do this, simply place a full stop (really you could place any symbol, but this is tidier) and it will appear as a public tweet.This rule also applies to any tweet that begins with a username.
Just because smartphones have grown in popularity doesn't mean that feature phones aren't still being used. A section for traditional SMS still exists in settings, allowing you to receive text notifications, how many notifications you want to receive is really up to you, but bear in mind that you have to enable certain followers for mobile notifications first before you can start using it.
SMS Sleep settings
Because you don't want to be woken up at 3am by a Twitter user on the other side of the world, you can choose to switch off updates during certain times. Simply turn on the settings and choose the times you don't want to receive notifications.
One of the new features for Twitter's new app update is the ability to receive notifications every time someone tweets. To activate this, go to the account you want to keep up to date with and hit the options button (person symbol). Select "Turn on notifications" and now you will now be alerted to any updates from that account.
Read Articles Later
If you have an Instapaper account and you want to save articles, just go into settings (found under 'me' at the bottom right-hand corner), and go into advanced. Here you can activate your Instapaper or Pocket account so you can save articles you find in your news feed.
Image Quality & size
Under the advanced option, you can adjust other settings such as font size (if the smallest font is too hard to read) and image quality. The latter is incredibly handy if you're having problems loading up images; setting it to 'low' will mean a lower quality image that will load up faster.
Nurph is smart in that it correlates hashtags to create an ongoing conversation between Twitter users, making it easier for them to respond to one another and chat through tweeting and creating hashtag chatrooms. You can also create Twitterbots to guide users to a chatroom and funnel all your replies into the one space. Nurph is the ultimate in Twitter community curation
dlvr.it ('deliver it' ) schedules blog posts to be delivered onto Twitter and across other social media platforms, allowing you to keep up with all social media and projecting your content to as many people and in as many ways as possible at one time or many. It's fairly by-the-numbers and simple to use, so as to be effective as possible.
TweetBoard pulls your Twitter stream into real-time and reformats them into threaded conversations. So instead of clicking 'view conversation' a viewing a feed between you and few users, TweetBoard will enable you to view the conversation, other similar conversations and any tangential tweets as well, forming one giant conversation among you and your friends and followers.
Who ReTweeted Me
Who Retweeted Me enables you to congregate all your Retweeters on one page and thank them one by one, if you so please. It will tell you how many retweets a certain tweet has had as well as the average amount of followers the Retweet-ers have and the potential reach the tweet had with their help. To top it all off, it puts the chronology of retweeting in a simple graph for you to analyse at your pleasure.
Twitter is as closed to organised chaos as humanity will ever get; TwitSweeper has undertaken the rather audacious task of cleaning it up a bit. Use TwitSweeper, either as a trial version or a paid subscriber, to rid your feed of spam. Whether it manifests itself in tweets, messages or spambots followers, TS will be on hand to shoo them away.
The Archivist is one of the premier Twitter analytic apps, allowing you to archive tweets and analyse the biggest trends. Whether you're searching for stats on keywords, hashtags or certain users, the Archivist will provide an extensive and aesthetically crisp analysis of whatever you want.
displays all your mentions and replies in a spider diagram, which, though undeniably nice to look at, can be awkward to navigate. Type in your username and the diagram will appear with legs dedicated to users you have tweeted, hashtags you have used as well as tributary users and conversations. It is a great way to visualise your tweets and the connections you've made on Twitter.
Twitter is a hard task-master where TwitLonger is merciful and sympathetic. Sometimes 140 characters isn't enough and TwitLonger understands as such. You don't want to write an entire blog or a novel, but you just need a few more words to convey your point. TwitLonger will cut you some slack and then post a link to your extended tweet on Twitter just so everyone won't miss out on it.
TweetAdder is a management tool that is designed to get you get more Twitter followers, but more importantly, it helps bring in engaged followers suited to you and whatever you are pedaling rather then just pure numbers. It is a good tool for those that are new to Twitter or want to exploit social media to their business' advantage. Fast and easy to use, TweetAdder will get you up and on your feet in no time, helping you add users and get properly involved with Twitter.
ManageFilter is quite a behemoth. You can unfollow users and bots en masse, copy and follow lists of users from other accounts, and the in-built analytics are comprehensive and allow you to pick the best time to make your most important tweets. There's even a search tool tailored to your account unlike any offered by Twitter itself; very helpful and essential for popular accounts/businesses.
Qwitter is an email service that keeps you up to date on your followers and those who have unfollowed you and the fluctuation in each. For people with a great deal of followers, Qwitter would be very useful with its daily updates, telling you how many people you have gained and lost and putting it in a statistical context as well. It has a clean design that is similar to Twitter itself and is perfectly effective if you really need to know these details.
TweetDeck by Twitter
Perhaps the most well known Twitter app out there,TweetDeck
is great and quickly becoming the preferred way to use Twitter among dedicated users as it is far more expansive and comprehensive than a standard Twitter news feed. Instead of merely viewing your 'following' feed, you can view multiple feeds at any one time, and they can be customised to your choosing. Most likely, one would use it to view replies, mentions, interactions and search hashtags simultaneously, but there are plenty of possibilities.
Social media and SEO has a close relationship. One complements the other and it shouldn't be any surprise that you can optimise your Twitter account to take advantage of this. There are many ways you can do this:
- The first is to pick a name and username that has the main keyword you want (if it's marketing then @ABCmarketing etc.). If you already have a Twitter account, then you can change your actual name, but don't change your username.
- Include your website address. it's an obvious statement, but you want to make sure people can find your site. Don't use a URL shortener and whatever you do, don't make your address direct to your Twitter account, that's just silly.
- Your bio is also important. Above all, you want your personality to shine through, but you should include some main keywords in it. You only have 160 characters so make sure the words in question are high value.
- Your profile photo is also handy for this. Make sure you rename it before you upload it. If you're happy with your profile photo, then just upload it again, but under a new name.
If you have a blog or site, it's important to know how much of your traffic originates from social media. Google analytics has made this easier with the addition of a flow visualisations, which illustrates how many visits you get from Twitter and other social media sites. Important if you want an idea of how much traffic you can generate from the site.
Create a cartoon
This is cheating a little, but it does show just how effective the medium can be if you apply a little bit of creative thinking. Electric car brand, Smart in Argentina created this brilliant cartoon using just tweets to highlight their point; that their car can fit into the tightest spaces.
Twitter itself has a vast range of guides and blogs for different sections, which is bound to come in useful at some point. Some of them include advertising & business, developers and newsroom just to name a few.
Considering that Facebook has just released its own version there, it's a good time to go back to Twitter's version, which is a year old by the way. Simply showcasing the best stories involving Twitter, the site's aim is to get you to think of the site differently and see the creative ways the service has been used.
Know Your Followers
It helps to know who exactly you're communicating to and with more people stating their location in their bio, its easier than ever to find out. There are two ways of going about this, the first way is to go though your followers and make a note of the countries and locations they're from. If you have a significant number of followers this will be quite time-consuming. The second way is to use a third-party tool like SocialBro to do all the hard work for you, giving you data which you can use to communicate more effectively.
Things You Shouldn't Tweet About
So our last tip is a little less serious, but the points made are still valid. Chances are you're familiar with the internet comic, The Oatmeal. If you're not, well let's just say you're in for a treat.