What Is Twitter?

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What is Twitter and how can it be useful to my Group?

Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service found at twitter.com. It enables users to send and receive other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are limited to 280 characters posts and are shown on the user's profile page and sent to other users who have elected to follow them (known as followers). Twitter is especially helpful in reach alumni and the media.
View the College of Charleston’s official Twitter account.
View the College’s officially recognized social media accounts.

Getting Started

  • Establish a username and name that resonate with followers and the College. Use the same name on all social media accounts.
  • The username and avatar will be the most viewed part of your Twitter profile.
  • Select a background for your Twitter page. You can contact us for College-branded backgrounds or you can choose your own. You will not be linked as an officially recognized account with the basic blue Twitter background.
  • Optimizing your profile for Twitter searches:
    • A carefully selected name is the most crucial part of being found in searches. This is because most users will not search for you by your exact username and will add spaces that do not match your username. For example.
    • Make sure the name includes words you believe will be used when searching for the profile; CofC, College of Charleston, etc.
  • The "one line bio" will appear with the username and name in search results. Use this area to note your relationship to the College of Charleston if your username and name have not already made this clear. For example, only using "CofC" may create confusion since not everyone knows “CofC” is the College of Charleston. You must include “CofC” or “College of Charleston” in your title or info to be officially recognized.

Understanding Twitter

  • A Twitter handle is your @NAME. Anytime someone uses your handle, it will appear in your “Mentions” tab and it is referred to as a mention. You should respond to the tweet if appropriate. Using a handle is like talking to a person or organization.
  • A hashtag is #WORDS with no spaces. A hashtag is used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet. It is also used to categorize tweets. If you Tweet with a hashtag, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your tweet. More about hashtags.
  • @reply allows you to publicly reply to a tweet with the Twitter handle of the original Tweet first.
  • RT is retweet and is a way to forward a tweet to your followers.
  • Favorite – it is best practice to “favorite” tweets that are complimentary of your department or group. Then you have a list of testimonials.
  • Website links can be too long for a 140-character tweet. Use bit.ly or TinyURL to shorten them.

Getting the Word Out

  • Follow others - this allows communication between you and your followers and is part of Twitter etiquette. Strive for a 1:1 ratio between followers and those you are following. Otherwise, Twitter may identify your account as spam and delete it.
  • Search for key words relating to your department or group – then read the bios of the people who are tweeting on these topics and follow them if relevant. Search for CofC or College of Charleston to find alumni to follow. Klout is a tool that tracks influence on Twitter and Facebook. See who is a thought leader, connector, or a decision-maker.
  • Add a link to your department or organization's website on your Twitter profile.
  • Follow other official College pages to cross-promote.
  • Include an invitation to follow your organization on Twitter in your e-mail signature.
  • Use word of mouth to encourage people to follow you.
  • Include your social media information in promotional materials.

Now what?

  • Tweet regularly (at least once a day) - appoint more than one person to tweet if needed to continue regular content.
  • Humanize your tweets by posting them in a personal style.
  • Use one to three hashtags in each tweet so that your tweets are searchable.
  • Include links to drive followers to your website. Inbound links also improve your page rankings with search engines.
  • Don't over post information that is not interesting to your followers.
  • Understand why people follow you. If your followers want information about the group you represent, they probably don't want to know your daily activities.
  • If you choose to tweet about your daily life, include interesting information or facts. Rather than stating that you just ate lunch, mention details such as the location, who joined you, the menu item ordered and whether you would recommend it.
  • Engage followers by asking questions and collecting feedback.
  • Respond to questions or statements from your followers. Do this publicly if the response is interesting and acceptable for all to see. If not, use the direct message feature.
  • Don't get defensive - use discretion when addressing negative comments and provide constructive feedback.
  • You might want to use a platform like Hootsuite or TweetDeck.