5 ‘Best Practices’ for Twitter

1. Choose a relevant “handle”
Ideally, this should be your name, your company name, or a recognizable and searchable variation of one of these. Interestingly: The new trend is going away from individuals tweeting as JoeSmith_CompanyName, because people are finding that they want to keep their followers even when they change jobs or locations. (If you really are Joe Smith, you may have to get creative; for example, try your state or zip code at the end of your name.)

2. Complete your profile / bio
Twitter gives you space to add a large “header” photo – think of this as free marketing space to display something unique about you or your company. In the profile boxes, add your location (Twitter is worldwide, after all), a link to your website, and a brief description so that people can decide whether or not they might be interested in what you’re saying.

3. Don’t tweet ‘stray’ links without context!
Twitter is like a living organism. It moves in real time and it is easy to scroll right past information that doesn’t catch our eyes. Be sure to give context to any link you post. A blank tweet with a fb.link and nothing to explain what content the link shares, is not going to inspire anyone to stop and click through.

4. Use #hashtags – these are Twitter’s keywords
Hashtags can provide location information, event commentary, and can even be used as a tool to host a real time chat on Twitter (search #BizChats, for example). To see hashtags in action: go to Twitter and type in #Nashville in the search tool. By giving your post a geographic hashtag, you help people pinpoint your location – and you increase your visibility to people who may have been searching for “Nashville” but not you in particular.

5. Retweet and follow back
As in life, there are etiquette rules on Twitter. A ‘retweet’ is someone sharing your content. You can interact with the people you follow on Twitter by “re-tweeting” their content. Twitter is a social network; it’s kind of pointless if you don’t retweet (share) or favorite (like) any content from those you follow. Likewise, when someone ‘follows’ you, it is courtesy to follow them back. (If you feel like they are only following you to increase their numbers, however – feel free to pass).

good tweet

Mt. Juliet Police Department has won awards and recognition for its social media use. Here is an example of an effective tweet using both a hashtag and a short vine video.