Twitter’s strength is that it allows you to communicate directly with friends, clients or even George Clooney, about anything as long as it's in 140 characters or less. Naturally Cyberspace is now full of experts preaching the do's and don'ts to the point that it’s hard to know what's good advice. To help here's our simple guide to conquering the #Twitterverse.
Since 2006 the 'micro-blogging' platform has attracted 255 million users with 100 million users online at any given time. Considering that the World Cup 2014 Final pulled in a third of this audience internationally if nothing else Twitter is now THE mass-audience media.
A tweet has potential to be seen by a huge number of users. As any unthinking footballer or semi-clad starlet knows only too well capture people's imagination and you can reach thousands of accounts and probably make it into throwaway newspaper. In the communications industry attracting such wide audiences are usually the goal so Twitter is the perfect tool but achieving this can seem like the most complex dark matter.
Happily, as with much in life, it helps to visualize…
See your Twitter account as Earth, surrounded by a protective atmosphere of your followers, a group of users that like what you say. All very nice but to escape this atmosphere and go inter-stellar you’re going to need the right stuff.
The best tweets are like a rocket fuelled with a particularly potent mix of propellant: quality content. In this context 'quality' is anything that captures the public's imagination at a given point. A tweet might therefore be intellient, witty, informative and probably tied into a 'trend', a topic that the masses are talking about online but also in the real world (arguably - Ed) of TV, newspapers, email and water-coolers. These are easily found in the sidebars of your Twitter page, or chosen Twitter app, often accompanied by the ‘#’ symbol. When used as a prefix to a key phrase (e.g. #Twitterverse) this typographic device injects extra kick in your tanks by signposting your tweet in user searches. It can be very tempting to create your own by using a phrase that seems pertinent but the reality is that it most likely won't attract an audience as no-one will be looking for it.
Another way to make your content attractive is to use the @ symbol as a handy hop-up. These allow you to directly reference another user and thus target your tweet, say if you want to talk about @SandraBullock and be read by her and her followers. Anyone interested in Bullock-phemera may well now discover you.
We say ‘may’ as all this will only leave your rocket ship skimming the edge of space. What is needed now is someone with plenty of clout (i.e. lots of followers) to push the Hype-o-drive lever. These users are known as influencers and they provide the ultimate Twitter currency: a retweet. Get one of these and you’ll soon be hurtling across Outer Space riding the inertia of more and more retweets that send you out into the unknown.
Or toning down the metaphor a little, your humble offering has been deemed funny, intelligent or irreverent enough to receive the kind of advocacy that immediately raises your cultural capital. This is the key factor. Get that recommendation and your content becomes trusted. Next time you want to create a #hashtag for your content it may well be that now you can start your own trend.
It’s that easy. So what’s stopping you?