The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

Conquering your Twitter feed can feel a bit like crossing six lanes of traffic on foot, at rush hour. And while there are thousands of tips available for using Twitter effectively, many of them can be pretty complicated. It shouldn’t take a PhD in Twitter usage to make good use of your time on social media. One of the best ways to learn is to DO, which requires a few actionable tidbits you can put to use right now to make your tweets more effective.

Twitter

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12 Actionable Tips for Better Tweets

 

1. Easy Retweets. Make it easy for readers to retweet your high-points when you publish content.

When you publish a shareable tidbit you want to promote, add this section of code, replacing the “____” with your tidbit, and your twitter user name for the “@UserName”. (Just remember to respect the 140 character limitation. You can use this Twitter Character Checker if you’re unsure.)

<a href=”http://twitter.com/home/?status=_______. via @UserName”>tweet this. </a>

It will look like this:

“Making it easier to retweet is always a good idea.”-tweet this.

2. Track and Shorten. Use a URL shortener and tracker to gain insight into your retweets. The more data you have, the better you can fine tune your marketing efforts.

Bitly is a great tool for Twitter, but there are many others available.

3. Interact. Balance auto-tweets/scheduled tweets with real time retweets and live interaction.

Twitter scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Buffer are essentials for business owners and social media managers but it is still critical that you spend time interacting on Twitter.

4. Brevity is Best. Be short, but intriguing if possible. You don’t have to use all 140 characters if you can entice them to click with 120.

5. Be Personable. Allow your personality to shine. It can be easy to hide behind your brand and get caught up in the anonymity of online interactions. But personal interactions and authentic personality can help you build connections with others.

 

Personality

 

6. Keep It Clean. Watch what you Tweet. While being yourself is important, it’s crucial to choose your tweets and retweets wisely. You are representing your brand, your client’s brand, or your boss’s brand. If you wouldn’t say it in front of an audience comprised of your boss, your customers, and your mother, don’t tweet it. (Of course, if your brand is off-color, this tip doesn’t apply. Let it fly.)

7. Relevance is Relative. Don’t be afraid to “go off topic” and tweet about current events or something your followers or clients will care about. For local businesses, you can really capitalize on this and garner community support by involving yourself in what matters to your customer base.

 

Local Business Twitter Tips

 

8. Keep it Interesting. Retweet the things that interest you to attract like-minded followers.

9. Use Keywords. Include relevant keywords in your profile description to make it easier for new followers to find you.

10. Retweet Responsibly. Make sure you’re not retweeting broken links, spammy content, or bad information. If you won’t take the time to click and scan, don’t bother retweeting because your audience won’t either.

11. Keep Focused. Keep the bottom line in mind. It can be easy to get caught up in the information overload that continuously flows out of your Twitter feed. But remember you’re on Twitter to generate traffic for your website and generate income. Don’t get sidetracked. If you have trouble knowing when it’s time to get off the Twitter train, set a timer.

12. Variety is Good. Try to vary the times of day you actively spend on Twitter so you don’t miss out on interacting with people in different time zones. You might meet some terrific people by hanging out on Twitter late at night or early in the morning from time to time.

Tweriod is a Twitter tool that can help you determine when you should be focusing most of your Twitter activity.

 

These tips are designed to hone your tweets, focus your audience, and expand your reach to make your time on Twitter more productive. Using Twitter effectively can help boost your business, and like most things, you can put in a lot or a little effort, and your results usually reflect how much work you put into it. But putting a few actionable tips into use right now can increase your effectiveness while you’re digging into the deeper aspects of using Twitter for business. As busy professionals, we don’t always have the time to research best practices thoroughly in one or two sittings. Actionable tips can help you tweet better, now, while you tweak your Twitter usage and learn valuable information.

What actionable tips do you have?

We’ve all seen those people on social media who overuse hashtags. You may have even met someone who speaks hashtags in a face-to-face conversation. And you’ve probably grumbled about hashtag use at some point in time because, let’s face it, hashtagging overuse can be annoying.

If you’re one of those hashtag over-users, not to worry. There’s an intervention waiting in your near future.

Annoying Hashtags

Hashtags are meant to be used to add categories for your social media posts, adding your posts with the posts of others who have used the same hashtag, so you can all get together and see what everyone’s talking about at the same time. For instance, say you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, and you want to live Tweet your reactions as you watch the latest airing and gripe about any idiosyncrasies that don’t coincide with the original plot in the books. You might add the hashtag: #GameOfThrones. Then, you can perform a search on your social media platform of choice and see what everyone else is saying.

You can use hashtags to find others with similar interests, join in a conversation, or just snoop around on a subject (or person). Hashtags take all the social media posts with the same hashtags and throws them into the same conversational bin so you can wallow in the hashtag topic of your choice without the irritation of extraneous conversations. It’s great if you tend to obsess over something and want to garner as much info as you can in a short period of time.

 

Want to know what’s happening with a particular news story right now? There’s a hashtag for that.

Need to know who’s winning a sporting event? There’s a hashtag for that.

Looking to connect with people who have a similar interest as you? There’s a hashtag for that.

Want to know what a your favorite celebrity is up to this week? There’s a hashtag for that.

Wondering how prevalent cheating on your spouse is? There’s a hashtag for that, too.

 

 

Hashtag

#HowNotToHashtag

Hashtagging is meant to categorize your social media posts, to index them, so they can be searched more efficiently. Consider them the phone book and card catalog of the Internet’s social media sites (for those of you who are old enough to have used a phone book and/or card catalog). Hashtags are great for those people who like to sort their M&Ms by color and prefer to work on a perfectly clean desk. They’re also great for those people who mix M&Ms and Skittles in the same bite and work in an utter landfill of chaos. Hashtags don’t judge.

Hashtagging done poorly can irritate those who take the time to read your social media feeds. Here are a few do’s an don’ts:

  • DO use hashtags if your social media post contains something of interest to others, such as a popular TV show, pictures of cats, or industry-specific news.
  • DON’T use never-ending hashtags, like this one: #addinganentiresentencetoahashtagisnotonlyannoyingbutitssuperconfusingtooandnoonewillreadthisallthewaytotheendanyways.
  • DON’T create your own random hashtags that will never apply to anyone else: #mycatisblueandtheskyisred.
  • DO write creative hashtags that others will love.
  • DO put some thought into your hashtags.
  • DO limit your hashtags to no more than five per post
  • DON’T post personal information you don’t want the Internet the know and include hashtags.
  • DON’T use hashtags in face-to-face conversation unless you’re with really good friends who find you funny, love you, and overlook your quirks.
  • DO check your hashtags for typos.
  • DO check your posts for potentially offensive info before hashtagging. Those hashtags can be indexed years later, even if you delete the post. Manage your reputation and your company’s reputation responsibly online.
  • DON’T put hashtags where they don’t belong, like on billboards and written communication, unless you’re announcing a new hashtag as part of a promotional campaign
  • DO keep a sense of humor when it comes to hashtagging- someone is always going to annoy you by breaking hashtag rules.

You can use hashtags to help find new social media connections in your industry or to keep abreast of the latest on a topic of interest. Hashtags can help you keep the pulse of a hot topic and find out what’s trending at any given moment online. But clogging up your social media posts with unruly hashtags is the equivalent of spamming those you’re connected with online. It’s just not polite.

#HashtagConcerns

When in doubt, don’t hashtag, especially if you’re posting for a client or company, or if you care about your online reputation.

Hashtags and social media posts have cost countless people their jobs and probably resulted in missed opportunities for numerous others. When people want to check out a new company, employee, or even someone they just met, they turn to the Internet. And those hashtags can come back and bite you. And search engines love to index hashtags and social media posts. Even if you think your posts are “private” or shared with just a few close people, adding a hashtag can make that post accessible to the public.

And if you want to make it easter for hashtag newbies to “get your tags” try “CapitalizingEveryWord. It helps clarify what your hashtag is saying.

Creative Ways to Use Hashtags

Hashtags are great for live social media coverage of an event. If you’re planning a launch, premier, or other crucial event, consider brainstorming potential hashtags far in advance of the event. Your creative team can them decide which hashtags to use, and these can be released to the public a few days before the event. This can help control the flow of hashtagging so social media posts are funneled into the same indices and give the public a place to start when searching for related posts about your event.

Try to use descriptive words when coming up with new hashtags to make them easier for people to remember. Promotional hashtags are essentially mini-taglines that need to say a lot in a few words. Using rhyming words or words with a similar cadence can help your hashtag catch on.

Don’t forget to register your tag so people know what the heck you’re talking about it they see it trending on social media. You can define your tag here.

How are you using hashtags? What’s worked for you?

Finding the “secret sauce” for social media popularity is this century’s Holy Grail. Everyone wants it, few find it. But perhaps we’re looking at it the wrong way. Instead of looking for some cookie cutter formula we can mass replicate, maybe we should be looking at the psychology of what people actually do online. What really gets shared online, and why?

social media

Why Do We Use the Internet?

Using the Internet is a far different experience than it was in 1993. Back then, the Internet was vastly a place to get limited information. Now, you can do just about anything online, it’s like Vegas for media junkies. What happens here, stays here… forever.

There are basically two main reasons for going online: information and entertainment. You might pull up a webpage to find the store hours of your local home improvement store, or get a phone number for the nearest pharmacy. You may be researching the latest diet craze or that new medication your doctor prescribed.

The Internet helps you solve problems:

  • I need a good pair of running shoes.
  • How do I get my puppy to stop barking?
  • My computer is making a whirring noise.
  • Who’s running for president in 2016?
  • When is the next Game of Thrones episode airing?

These are problems that require information-based solutions. The Internet is a limitless resource for quickly garnering basic information about a problem. The best solutions to the biggest problems get shared the most online.

But the Internet isn’t just a tool for solving problems.

Enter the cats. Nearly every nook and cranny of the Internet is filled with cats, dogs, babies, people doing stupid yet funny stuff (-but mostly cats. Why? They got there first and claimed the best spots. It’s what cats do.).

And this (arguably) meaningless stuff gets shared like crazy. LOL CatZ do not solve any problems. They don’t tell you how to fix a stuck microwave carousel or why your right ribcage hurts after you eat a cheeseburger and milkshake from McDonald’s after the age of 40. But they do entertain us- and that’s where the magic happens.

You see, we’re media addicts. We carry around smart phones and tablets that are connected 24/7. We check our screens in the middle of the night and while we use the bathroom. We can’t eat a meal without a screen of some type glowing in our faces. The entertainment stream coming from our devices soothes our frazzled emotions and feeds our busy minds. The more we get, they more we want. So when something catches our attention, we share it with others, because we know they too are looking for a good entertainment fix.

Meeting the Need

Which of these two needs does your social media meet? Do you provide stellar information or star-quality entertainment? What gets shared online informs or entertains, or in the rare case, does both. And it does it well. If you want your media to be shared, you don’t need a secret formula, you just need to feed the beast.

Creating Shareable Media

Creating popular media isn’t rocket science.

Let’s face it, the strangest things tickle our fancies.

We like cute and funny things that distract us from our lives.

We have similar struggles and fears.

We have the same needs.

But not all great media goes viral. Why?

It doesn’t get seen by enough people and it’s “shareable hot streak” cools off when the next BIG THING comes along and replaces it. Its moment in the sun isn’t enough to microwave a leftover burrito.

Getting Seen Online

A few really phenomenal things go viral organically, like Charlie and his choppers:

But if you can’t get your kids to do something spontaneously adorable, and then find some way to monetize it, you’re going to need to promote your media.

Promoting your media is a lot like coordinating a well-planned military maneuver. You need to strike the masses with your information or entertainment and generate enough heat to not only nuke that burrito, but burn it to a nice golden brown. If you gain enough momentum, your media will snowball into a shareable tidbit that generates lots and lots of buzz and traffic, which translates into revenue for you if you’ve set up your website properly in advance.

So what are you sharing today? What’s caught your eye and prompted you to give it that highly coveted click?