Six Truths to Help You Rule on Twitter

More than 200 million active Twitter users send more than 400 million tweets per day. That’s a lot of talk about the Oreo blackout, Royal Baby, and Sharknado, but peppered in between the pop culture and the snark is a wealth of interesting information.

Twitter 101 comes down to: Research, follow and build relationships with influential individuals. But establishing the right network doesn’t guarantee results. Given the virtual fire hose of information flooding the social media landscape every second, getting seen and getting shared is challenging, even when you post interesting information.

Researchers at UCLA and HP Labs have forecasted a way to determine a tweet’s popularity with 84 percent accuracy. If you want to get your social content noticed, abide by these truths:

You need to understand what you’re looking to accomplish

Compressing your thoughts into 140 characters is challenging. But with competition from so many sources, concise writing is a must. Think about your audience and what it is you want them to do. Are you encouraging them to apply to your talent community? Post about the interview experience on your Facebook page? Share job postings with their network? Whether you’re using the medium for conversation or sharing thoughts, ideas or other information, the best practice is to have a strategy and a content plan to ensure what you put out there aligns with your goals.

A great hook will make you irresistible

A cursory look at my Twitter feed (@99GR81) reveals people who are sharing inspirational quotes, talking about their family vacations, and complaining about lengthy Monday morning commutes. Injecting some personal information and personality is good (I share tons of my photography and my love of the New York Rangers), but without an interesting hook, you won’t grip your followers’ attention and keep them interested in learning more or taking the next step in the relationship. Look at Twitter as a conduit to the rest of your content – whether you want someone to apply for a job, view your Instagram feed, participate in a survey, or visit your career site, use it as a hook to get people engaged. If what you’re sending resonates and is actionable, they will @respond, retweet, or direct the tweet to influential people in their network.

Gather useful information – and share it

Filling the content pipeline with original content is costly as well as time and resource intensive. But it’s only part of a successful content strategy. Third-party content created by others can complement your own messaging and position your organization as a thought leader. Finding, organizing and sharing information makes you a more worthwhile contributor and helps followers quickly identify what you’re talking about, what they should do with the information and why it’s valuable to them.

There’s power in a name

Name brand status goes a long way on Twitter because the audience typically places higher trust on the source. Similar to a recognized brand, news organizations’ tweets typically get shared because users understand the content – there’s usually a headline with a link to the full story. To be seen as an established credible source for information, take a straight-forward approach and tap into the power of a well-written headline. Clear content from a reputable brand has higher probability of being shared because the audience trusts the source and is willing to associate itself with an esteemed brand.

You’re one hashtag away from being seen by thousands

Hashtags allow you to brand your content in a way that makes it findable for followers and non-follower alike. Use hashtags to not only help your audience categorize the content you are publishing, but also to allow users on other platforms to see the content you share. Remember, success in social media is not about sharing with your own network; it’s about getting your network to share your message with their networks.

Long links are a turn off

Long links are often seen as spam and waste precious characters and valuable visual real estate. But they do nothing to help content get re-shared. URL shorteners like Bit.ly offer stats and a super-convenient sidebar. They also allow you to use more of your 140 characters for more important messaging and give you great insight into metrics.

In 2013, the question is no longer whether Twitter can play a major role in your marketing efforts, but how. What are you Tweeting about? Let me know @99GR81 

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Steven Ehrlich
Written by Steven Ehrlich

Fueled by an addiction (and brand loyalty) to Diet Coke, Steven has spent the past 18 years as a complete "tech geek." As an early adopter of everything from the Apple Newton and the Compact Disc to Satellite Radio and the iPhone, Steven has focused on the use of emerging tools and technologies to enhance both brand articulation and recruitment for a multitude of organizations including Yale University, Exelon, Walmart, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Steven is constantly on the move, both in the office and out, working with TMPers and clients alike to explore, develop, and implement strategic initiatives leveraging social media, new technology, and innovative employer brand delivery channels. He is one of the agency's thought leaders and is often found in front of a crowd - large or small - yakking away about some new thing-a-ma-jig or a socially-enabled whos-a-what-sis. At TMP Worldwide, Steven has met some of the brightest, hardest working, and talented people with whom he has ever had the pleasure to work. He is an advocate and brand evangelist for the agency and loves coming to work every day.

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