Mastering the Twitterverse with Best Practices and Tools

Some say you can master Twitter in just 20 minutes a day; others say it only takes 12 minutes.

The fact of the matter is that creating a strong presence on Twitter does not take an excessive amount of time, but it does require dedication. You can learn how to effectively use your time by educating yourself on best practices and helpful tools.

For beginners, Mark Schaefer – author of the The Tao of Twitter – recommends for quick and easy ways to become a Twitter pro in just twenty minutes a day:

  1. Tweet three times per day at three different times of the day and vary your content. Send a tweet about: something interesting you saw, heard, or read that is non-work related; news related to your business or industry; and your opinion about something going on in the news.
  2. Monitor and respond to mentions and direct messages.
  3. Read through your Twitter timeline and retweet a few of the people you follow.
  4. Tweet a Follow Friday mention on Fridays.

If you’ve mastered the basics, Socially Stacked has tips on maintaining your Twitter presence in just twelve minutes a day!

Regardless of your level of expertise, Social Media Today has some quick tips and tricks to boost engagement with your Twitter handle.

  • Tweet from your brand’s handle on Saturday and Sunday; engagement rates are 17% higher on the weekends.
  • Send your tweets between 8am and 7pm; engagement rates are 30% higher.
  • Include image links in your tweets; they double engagement rates.
  • Trim your tweets to 100 characters or less for a 17% higher engagement rate.
  • Send a tweet with a link in it; tweets with links receive and 86% higher retweet rate.
  • Include hashtags in your tweets for two times more engagement.
  • Spell out “retweet” as opposed to using the shorthand of “RT” for a 23 times higher engagement rate.

Lastly, it’s important to monitor the metrics around your Twitter presence. There are a slew of free tools available that provide basic metrics including link clicks, retweets, mentions, followers, etc. My favorite is HootSuite. Not only does it provide metrics and reports with visually appealing graphs, but it also serves as a monitoring and publishing tool.

What other best practices and tools have helped you build and maintain a strong Twitter presence?

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Brands Do Care…

What’s said about them in the public sphere, that is.

I recently had a bit of a run-in with Time Warner Cable. They charged me twice for the month of June and I was not pleased. As a poor college student, deducting an extra $101.48 (yes, it’s that much) from my account is in no way acceptable. To solve this problem, I chatted online with an “Analyst.” She told me that they had not received multiple charges no matter how many times I tried to convey to her that the money was removed from my account, therefore they obviously had received it. After the pseudo-pleasant conversation with the “Analyst” during which I did my best to keep my cool even though I was wrapped up in a frustrating situation, I took to Twitter.

I received a reply less than 30 minutes later.

By end of day on June 3, my bank account was credited with a $101.48 refund.

Here’s the real kicker: my boyfriend’s roommate ran into the same situation last month. He called Time Warner Cable several times before being able to convince them that they had charged him twice. Finally, he was told he would receive a refund within 24 hours. It was two weeks before his account was credited.

Why the discrepency? No consumers in the Columbus area will hear the many calls my friend made to TWC, but the tweet I sent on June 3 is visible not only to the Columbus community, but the whole world. This is now part of the crisis communication PR professionals are trained in. Brands don’t want bad blood circulating around the web and the only way to rectify the situation is to create a timely resolution to the problem. In my case, TWC did, and therefore they received a tweet from me thanking them for their speedy solution to my problem. And while word of mouth is still a huge part of a brand’s communication strategy, it may no longer be a brand’s main concern.

Twitter Proves Worthy in Breaking News

I’m not a big news junky. I probably should be as a young professional entering the world of PR and marketing, but I don’t get weak in the knees over the smell of a newspaper or read The New York Times with my morning coffee (especially since I hate coffee). But I was thrilled that Twitter proved itself a worthy news source on the morning of May 30, 2011.

I awoke at 9:53 AM to my boyfriend asking for one more hour of sleep. Being as wide awake as I was, I reached for my trusty LG Ally and checked my Twitter feed. With that “I just woke up” feeling still upon me, I scrolled past many tweets of similar content before realizing what I had read.

“Jordan! Wake Up! Tressel resigned.” Not only did Twitter successfully break this news to me, but it also got my boyfriend out of bed before 10 AM.

Within five minutes, Jordan and I had spread the news to our parents, who naturally passed the news on to others. It amazed me that without picking up a newspaper or visiting a digital paper I was able to disseminate breaking news to people  I came in contact with.

It’s mornings like that one that remind me why I love social media and why I am so thrilled to be entering the PR/marketing field in the digital age. I can imagine that things will only shift more in the coming days, weeks, months and years, but it’s an exciting challenge to know that I will be part of transitioning the world into the use of social media to benefit our businesses, our communities, and our world.