Twitter Basics

If you or someone in your organization is not using Twitter yet, you’re missing out on an opportunity to reach people. Twitter allows instantaneous news sharing to one’s followers. That news can spread very quickly when followers “retweet” the information you’ve shared. You might think Twitter’s potential is limited, since it limit messages to 140 characters. However, Twitter isn’t the message itself. It’s the mode of transportation. Twitter exists to spread information, not change policies. Policy changes come with the more in-depth papers and pieces that are tweeted out. The main goal of Twitter is to get eyeballs on the information at hand.  Using Twitter creatively can put that information in front of thousands of people who otherwise would not have seen it.

You can easily join the conversation on Twitter. Hashtags (words following the # sign) are used to index conversations. If a hashtag is popular enough, it will appear under the “Trending Topics” section on the Twitter website, where all users can see what’s popular. This is a very easy way to see what people are talking about most on Twitter so you can add something to relevant topics.

Here are a few tips to use to get maximum impact from Twitter:

● Use quick snappy headlines. Give people a reason to click.

● Use hashtags and try to fit in with what people are already talking about on Twitter.

● Leave space for retweets. Depending on how long your username is, you should leave about 20 characters.

● Make sure you interact regularly by referencing Twitter handles when speaking to a specific person or organization.

● Include shortened links to what you are discussing for reference.

● Join Twitter chats and be sure to promote your handle to gain more followers.

For more information, check out the excellent guide to Twitter published by the group American Majority.