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Search: what you need to know about twitter hashtags

Hashtag Guide

[Tweet “"Social media is an ingredient, not an entree." – Jay Baer”]

Hashtags are a fantastic way to promote your brand, meet new customers, and engage in conversation around your niche. They entered mainstream conversation on Twitter (though they’ve been around for years), and recently Facebook picked them up.

Now that Facebook has hashtags too, it won’t be long before everyone’s using them.

In this guide, we’ll show you what it takes to join the hashtag party. (Don’t panic, it’s really simple. Scout’s honor. And we’ll do our best to make you smile.)

History of HashtagsInfographic courtesy of Kevin Basset.

What are Hashtags for?

Hashtags help people find stuff and share stuff. People use hashtags all the time to find stuff related to their hobby, or a recent news story, or a cause close to their heart.

Likewise, you can use hashtags to find and share all this kind of stuff, and lots, lots more.

How do you make a hashtag?

You create a hashtag by putting a pound sign (#) in front of a word.

Let’s imagine you’re a sports brand in the running niche. As part of your engagement strategy, you tweet about your own runs.

You could tweet:

Beat my personal best. 10k in under 37 minutes.

Which does the job. But why not add a hashtag?

Beat my personal best. 10k in under 37 minutes. #running

That way, people who are interested in running are more likely to come across your tweet and follow your brand.

From a marketing perspective, hashtags help you engage in conversation with customers and potential customers, and they’re an opportunity to boost your brand’s visibility.

How do hashtags help people discover your brand?

In a few ways.

Lots of people “monitor” hashtags. That means they’ll track everything that’s said on Twitter around a hashtag they’re interested in. So they might track a hashtag for #socialmedia or #business or #troutfishing. Whatever. If you’re including hashtags in your tweets, people who track those hashtags will see your tweets.

Next, people discover hashtags through search. Searching for a hashtag on Twitter is a quick way of finding out what’s being said right now about a particular topic.

Hashtags can also “trend”. This is when hashtags become so popular, they get into the trending side bar on Twitter. Trending is the dream of every viral marketer. When a trend is relevant to your brand, you can jump on that bandwagon, and ride it for all it’s worth. Because trending hashtags get a ton of attention.

What other crazy things do people do with hashtags?

If this is the first time you’ve been introduced to hashtags, your mind is probably whirring with the possibilities. Or maybe you’re drawing a blank. Either way, no worries. We’ve got this covered. Hashtags can be used for:

Creating memes. A meme is a hashtag when suddenly everyone wants to give their opinion or share their story. Great memes go viral. Examples include #ARelationshipIsOverWhen, #UnlikelySequels #iGrewUpWatching and #CrapNamesForPubs.

Being Funny. People with a weird sense of humor use hashtags all the time. And sometimes they’re pretty funny.

Just got fired. #BadDayAtTheOffice

Find People to Follow. If you’re a writer and you feel a bit lonely hammering away at your keys without a single literary friend, you can search the hashtag #amwriting to find other writers. Writers use it all the time when they’re not writing, so it’s a fun way of finding other procrastinators. If you’re not a writer, you can find another appropriate hashtag. More on that in a minute.

Eavesdrop. Yep, seeing what random people around the world have to say on an issue can be lots of fun.

Make a name for themselves. Successful hashtag creators are the wonder workers of the social media world. To most of us, their craft is shrouded in mystery, but read on to discover their secrets. Then you can (maybe) make a name for your brand with hashtags. No promises. We’ll show you how, but it’s up to you to do the work.

Find interesting stuff. Like what’s going on in your city. Or what artists are drawing over in Hong Kong. Or how to wrestle a bear. Do a random hashtag search, and you never know what you’ll pick up. (Always practice good hygiene)

Guide to Twitter Hashtags

Twitter is the spiritual and virtual home of hashtags. Without Twitter, hashtags would still belong to the realm of geeks and the secret societies called IRCs who probably run the Internets.

So, the advice you learn on Tweeting hashtags can be applied anywhere. That includes on Twitter’s arch enemy, Facebook.

Let’s start with the basics.

Hashtag Basics

Pay attention! If you ignore the rest of this article, and learn this, you’ll still pass the quiz at the end.

  • Creating a hashtag is super, super simple. You just put a pound sign in from of a word. Or group of words. #LikeThis. Got it? Anyone can do it, at any time, with any word. There are no rules. Except, be nice.
  • Searching for hashtags is equally simple. Just type the hashtag you’re looking for into the Twitter search bar. If you’re looking for the #monkey hashtag, enter #monkey into the search bar.
  • Spamming is not cool. Let’s say everyone’s tweeting about the #SuperBowl, which happens from time to time, so you think, “Aha! I can jump on this bandwagon!” It’s maybe a sensible thought. But if you sell cars, and use the #SuperBowl hashtag to send out spam about your cars, that’s not cool. Stay on topic.
  • Mix it up. Don’t always use the same hashtags. The more varied you make it, the more likely you are to be discovered by a wide range of people.
  • The 1 or 2 rule. One hashtag in a tweet is plenty. Two is an abundance of sufficiency. Three hashtags is not only a crowd. It’s an abomination, and will make your followers #RunAway.
  • Get the Hump. I mean, use CamelCase. If you’re writing a #HashTagWithMoreThanOneWord, start each word with a capital letter. #thatwayitmightpossiblybelegible.
  • You can click hashtags. If you see a hashtag you like in someone else’s tweet, click it. Then Twitter will automagically search for the best tweets which include that hashtag.

Now you know how to create hashtags and how to use them. But what if you want to find hashtags so you can intrude on conversations that are already happening?

Let’s look at that next.

Finding Twitter Hashtags (And Getting Yours Found)

Hashtags.org tracks hashtag trends in real time. It also has a searchable archive of hashtags, with definitions and a 24 hour trend graph.

To have hashtags.org track any hashtags you create, follow @hashtags on Twitter.

Tips on Going Viral

Everyone wants their hashtag to go viral. It’s just a thing we all dream of, like owning a ferrari or having a pool in our backyard.

(Okay, not everyone dreams of those. But if you do dream of making it big with hashtags, this stuff’s for you).

Here’s what you gotta do:

  • Back it up with content. Trying to become a top ten hashtag hit with a hashtag alone is like going for a round of golf with only a putter. You’re on a losing streak before you even got started. If you want a hashtag to go viral it’s got to be a campaign. That means linking your genius hashtag with stunning content on your blog, Facebook page and YouTube account. The bigger buzz you create around your hashtag, the more likely you’ll make it big.
  • Ask for Help. Sometimes you can’t make it on your own. Except, when it comes to creating a viral campaign, sometimes is never. Pull out the big guns. Ping everyone in your network to let everyone know what you’re doing. Ask them to pay back every favor you’ve ever handed out. The more people you can get on board to start with, the better your chance of success.
  • Ask for Help, Part II. You thought you were done with eating humble pie? Nope. Virality is a hungry beast, and you’re the one who’s volunteered to feed it. When you tweet out your hashtag (which you should do lots), ask for retweets. When you ask for retweets, you’re four times more likely to get retweets. That’s scientifically proven by Mr. Dan Zarella himself.
  • Be funny. Or at least have a good time. The more feel-good you inject into the virus (sorry, viral campaign), the easier it will be to spread your deadly disease. Funny is money.
  • Go to town. You’ve made the hashtag, so for Zuke’s sake, use it! Don’t be shy. Get it out there. And if at first you don’t succeed, try again. And again. And again.

How to Track Hashtags

You can track hashtags with Hashtags.org, if you sign up for a free account. However, we think that’s a bit of a hassle day to day.

Our everyday tool of choice for tracking hashtags is TweetDeck. You can create your own column for each hashtag you want to track, and follow the results in real time.

If you’re a Hootsuite fan, it does the same thing.

Twitter Hashtags

Guide to Facebook Hashtags

Recently, Facebook officially launched support for hashtags.

This is serious business, so let’s cut the smiles, get your professional face on, and find out what this is all about.

Click Those Hashtags! Hashtag Search and Hashtag Pages

As on Twitter, Facebook hashtags appear as clickable links. Clicking the hashtag pulls up a search, integrating nicely with Facebook’s new power search bar.

Searching for a hashtag brings up a timeline of public updates that include the hashtag. Additionally, if you update your status while on the hashtag timeline, your status includes the hashtag by default.

You can also go to a hashtag page using the URL facebook.com/hashtag/nameofhashtag. For example, the URL for the #socialmedia hashtag page is facebook.com/hashtag/socialmedia.

Hashtag pages are created automatically. When you invent a new hashtag, Facebook creates a page for that hashtag.

Aside from manual searches, or visiting the hashtag page, at the moment there’s no way to track a Facebook hashtag. This is likely to change as Facebook rolls out more features around hashtags.

Do Hashtags Boost Your Edgerank?

Every time you post to Facebook, Facebook gives your post an Edgerank. The higher the Edgerank, the more of your fans will see the post.

Typically, the more a post is liked or shared, the higher its Edgerank.

At the moment, and as far as we know, hashtags don’t influence the Edgerank of your posts. However, Edgerank does determine whether and where your posts show up on the hashtag page.

Hashtags Help Your Reach Out to New Fans

As on Twitter, the most important role Facebook hashtags play is helping to boost the visibility of your brand. If you include hashtags in your posts, you’re more likely to be discovered by people who’ve never before come across your brand.

What Facebook Hashtags Should I Use?

Choosing the right hashtags, like much of social media marketing, is more of an art than a science. If there was a simple answer, everyone would be doing it.

What’s important is creating a unique strategy for your brand. The hashtags you use will reflect your niche, your brand values, and the audience you want to reach out to.

Use a mix of popular hashtags with a broad appeal, and niche hashtags, which helps you be discovered by people who’s interests and values match those of your brand.

Always be on the look out for new and exciting hashtags. If they’re relevant to your brand, jump aboard those bandwagons!

Hashtags and Privacy

Just because a Facebook post includes a hashtag, that doesn’t make it public, and it doesn’t mean it will automatically show up in search.

If you’re using hashtags from your personal Facebook account, make sure your privacy settings are set to public. If you only share hashtagged updates with your friends, then what you share won’t become part of the bigger conversation around the hashtag.

Crossing Platforms With Hashtags

Is Facebook raining on Twitter’s parade by adopting hashtags? Well, yes, yes it is. We’ve got a sneaking suspicion Facebook wants to steal Twitter’s thunder. Hashtags were one of Twitter’s key USP’s, and with that gone, we may see even more migration of content and updates from Twitter to Facebook.

As a brand, the battle of the social networks needn’t concern you too much. You only need to keep an eye on the trends, and if Twitter starts to fall behind, then you can adjust your social media strategy.

In fact, you can use hashtags going cross-platform to your advantage. Now, if you’re planning a hashtag campaign, you can use it on Twitter and Facebook, giving you double the impact.

Hashtags and Google Search

(Other search providers are available)

Search for a hashtag on Google right now, and Twitter is usually the top result. As Facebook finds its feet in the world of hashtags, this could change.

Where Can I Find Hashtags?

Want to get a head start by putting some hashtags in your pocket, ready for later? Never fear! We thought you might want to do that, and we’ve put together a collection just for you.

We’ve got some wildcards in there, because keeping things random is always fun.

Now, get onto Twitter and Facebook and go use a hashtag! What are you waiting for? If you’re not sure which one to use, we recommend #SocialCaffeine as a fine starting point.

Your Turn!

Which hashtags have made the biggest difference for your brand?

[Tweet “"Tactics without a strategy is worse than doing nothing at all." – Li Evans”]

Twitter Following

Around the world, Twitter users share over 400 million tweets per day. A quarter of a billion users log into Twitter every month, and by December 2012, 163 billion tweets had been posted to the side.

Twitter’s open format makes it the most powerful social networking tool for reaching out to other people. As the old adage goes, business is people. Twitter, then, is the ideal social network for doing business.

Even just five years ago, if you wanted to reach out to an influencer in your niche, you had to do a ton of research on Google, then dig around for a phone number or email address, begging favors until you got to the person you needed.

Now, pretty much any influencer is just a tweet away.

Needless to say, Twitter is a must-use tool for brands. If you’ve never tried a social network outside of Facebook, Twitter is the place to start.

In this guide, we’ve put together 49 ways to boost engagement on Twitter. We’ve searched the internet high and low for similar guides, and this is the most comprehensive we’ve come across. Some of our tips are for beginners. Some are for intermediates. And some will be new to even advanced users. We wanted to put together a guide that can be used by anyone to learn something new and extend their Twitter reach.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started boosting your Twitter engagement.

1. Buzz Up Your Bio

Want followers? We live in an age of snap decisions. Just like you, no one has time to waste doing in-depth research on who they follow on Twitter. Instead, we decide as fast as we can, based on the information available. A person’s Twitter bio is one of the first places we look to help us make that decision. Does your bio fizz or flop? Not sure? Ask your followers what they think.

2. Make Your Bio Search-Friendly

Twitter is a network, so most of the time, people will find you through friends-of-friends. That said, some people will come across you with a Twitter search. They’ll search for writers, or plumbers or designers in their area. Have you told Twitter where you live, so people doing local search can find you? Have you injected keywords into your bio, to make it search friendly?

3. Add Your Avatar

Twitter avatars are a must for boosting engagement. Profiles without avatars don’t show up in search, so you’re less likely to be discovered. Also, including a picture of yourself gives followers a sense of who you are, laying the foundations of a trusting friendship.

4. Smile!

Your avatar picture should be a picture of you, smiling. Having your face up creates an immediate emotional connection, and sharing your smile sends out good vibes. We’re not just saying this. Researchers flashed images of smiling faces in front of people for just four milliseconds. This tiny exposure to a smile created a mini emotional high in the person viewing the picture.

Plus, smiling’s good for you. So this one’s a win all round.

5. Tweet to be Retweeted

Retweeting will be the main way your followers engage with you on Twitter, so as far as possible you should aim for retweets. Every retweet puts your brand in front of a wider audience and has the potential to win you new customers. Many of the tips in this guide will teach you how to maximize your retweet rate.

6. Say Hello

Whenever you get a new follower, send them a quick message to say hello and welcome them to your tribe. If you’ve got time, check out their bio and ask them a relevant question. That kicks off the conversation and shows you’re an approachable, friendly person.

7. Reply to People

As far as possible, always be the one to have the last word. Not because you want to win the argument (you shouldn’t be argumentative on Twitter anyway), but because you’re the one who cares enough to always reply. Sounds impossible? Aaron Lee does this, and he’s got close to half a million followers.

8. Tweet Lots

Within reason, the more you tweet, the quicker your follower count will grow. Don’t flood your followers with tweets, but do update your feed regularly. Ideally, you should be tweeting at least four times a day, and up to twice per hour. Research by communications group Ragan found people who posted a concentrated number of tweets in a short time span had 50% higher follower growth compared to those who didn’t.

9. Follow People

Twitter’s a two-way game. If you want people to follow you, you’ve got to follow others. Don’t be a red carpet tweeter. These are the people who can count those they follow on their fingers and toes while expecting everyone to follow them. As Lori says: “Popularity never made you smarter in school, why would it now?”

10. Practice Strategic Following

Just as important as following people is who you follow. Be smart about who you network with on Twitter. That means finding the thought leaders in your industry, and connecting with them. You can find relevant people by searching keywords in Twitter’s advanced search tool. Alternatively, find someone you respect, and check out who they follow. You can’t go far wrong doing that.

11. Ask Closed Questions

Closed questions can only be answered yes, no, or with a single word. They’re questions such as: Do you like chocolate? Are you happy right now? What’s your name? Where do you live?

Because these questions are so easy to answer, they have a higher engagement rate than open questions. When you want to get your audience talking, closed questions should be the first weapon you pick out of your arsenal.

12. Ask Open Questions

Sometimes, closed questions aren’t enough, especially when you want to engage your audience in-depth, or you’re mid conversation. In cases like these, open questions are totally appropriate. You won’t get so many answers as when you ask closed questions, but the answers you get will be more insightful.

13. Make a Vine Video

Available for iOS and Android, Twitter Vine lets you make and share bite-size six second videos. Vine recently ousted Instagram to become the top social sharing application. It’s set to become a mainstay of engagement on Twitter, so get using it now to claim your early adopter advantage.

14. Share Images

Like video, images are great for attracting a crowd. In fact, tweets with multimedia content, whether its image or video, receive four to five times more engagement compared to those without.

15. Curate Content

Business owners often assume content marketing is a ton of work because it means creating a ton of content. Not so! You can be a content marketer without creating any content, aside from tweets. How? Be a curator. Collect compelling, relevant content from other sources, and bring it together in your Twitter feed. Then you’ll be seen as an expert is your field, without creating anything. Simple, no?

16. Share Links

Curating content has another important purpose — it means sharing links. Tweets with links have an 86% higher retweet rate compared to those without.

17. Make the Most of Your Assets

If you’ve got the time to create your own content, you should totally do that (as well as curating the content of others). And, gone are the days when content had a limited shelf-life. With RSS-readers in decline (and Google Reader utterly kaput), people are increasingly finding content on social media. You can keep old content evergreen by delving into your archives and sharing it again. Many of your followers won’t have seen it the first time around.

18. Make Your Posts Short Enough to Retweet

One of the greatest legends in Twitter lore is that of Tiny Buddha, who grew a follower count of hundreds of thousands without following anyone. On top of sharing practical wisdom, Tiny Buddha had a practical strategy. Every tweet was short enough that it could be retweeted.

When you’re targeting a tweet to be retweeted, make sure you leave enough characters to put “RT @YourUserName” at the beginning of the tweet.

19. Time Your Tweets to Perfection

The time of day you tweet has a huge impact on how many people will see what you’re sharing.

20. Use the Magic Dot

Sending a message to a follower on Twitter, but you want everyone to see it? If you stand a standard @reply, starting with the person’s username, only people who follow both of you will see it. Instead, start your reply with a period. This is the magic dot, and it means all your followers get to see the message.

21. Hashtag!

We’ve written extensively on hashtags, and for good reason. Hashtags help people discover you and your content. To create a hashtag, you simply put a pound sign in front of a word or phrase, #LikeThis. If you’re not currently including hashtags in your tweets, start today, and watch your follower count grow rapidly. Chances are you’ll double your engagement.

22. Mix Up Your Hashtags

Once you’ve found a solid hashtag that’s connected with your niche, it’s tempting to stick with it. Run with what works, right? When it comes to hashtags, however, experimenting is the name of the game. Find as many different hashtags from your niche as possible. Each hashtag will reach out to a different audience.

23. Don’t Stuff Hashtags

Hashtags are brilliant. Hashtag stuffing is not. You only need one or two hashtags per tweet, maximum. Three hashtags or more, and engagement starts to plummet.

24. Track Clicks

Engagement ultimately comes from your audience appreciating what you’re saying. If what you share is useful, inspiring and entertaining, they’ll want more of it, and want to spend more time hanging out with you. How can you find out whether you’re sharing the right things, aside from tracking your follower count?

Watch what people click. Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer App allow you to track how many people click each link that you share. Watch carefully which types of links attract the most clicks.

25. Count Replies

As well as tracking clicks, you should also keep tally of the number of replies you receive. Which posts provoke the most comments from your audience? Keep track over time of how many replies you receive. If the number is going up, then you’re on the path for engagement success.

26. Tot Up Retweets

Typically, around three quarters of your audience engagement will come from retweets. As with clicks and replies, notice which types of posts attract retweets. When your followers want to share what you’re saying with their friends, then you’ve hit content gold.

27. Repeat What Works

Tracking stats has one ultimate purpose. When you’ve discovered what works, do more of it. That’s all.

28. Remember to Say Thank You

Sadly, we live in a world where people feel like they have a right for things to go well for them, for everyone to be helpful, and for everything to work as it should. As such, it’s rare for people to say thank you. You don’t say thank you for things you believe you have a right to.

Break that mold. Start thanking people on Twitter for sharing things you find helpful, for being themselves, or for taking the time to retweet you. As you’re going against the norm, you’ll stand out. And people loved to be thanked, so you’ll be remembered too.

29. Listen for Trends

A couple of times a day, tune into your Twitter feed and find out what’s going on out there. You don’t always have to join in the chatter or click any links. Just get a feel for what people are talking about. When you know what’s hot in conversation, you can be a better conversationalist.

30. Kick Off Conversation

Twitter is no place for shyness. Plunge into the conversation. Reply to the tweets of people you follow. Start conversations. Be the one who reaches out. Think about how great it feels when people take the time to reply to you, and know you’re giving that feeling to others.

31. Ask For Help

If there’s one that makes anyone in the world feel good, it’s helping others. So, if you want to make your followers feel good, ask them for help. What’s more, being willing to ask for help shows you’re a real, vulnerable human being. This helps strengthen your connection with your followers.

32. Be Helpful

In the same way that you can ask for help on Twitter, you can reach out and help others. And you don’t even need to wait around for those you follow to raise the alarm. Instead, you can search for questions in your niche. We recommend the InboxQ Chrome plugin. You give it keywords, and it keeps you updated around the clock on any questions asked on Twitter related to that keyword.

33. Be Consistent

Imagine if you followed CNN’s Twitter account, and the person responsible for updating CNN’s feed started sharing details of last night’s party. Or, less extreme, what if Baseball America one day switched the topic of all their tweets to football?

When you’re using your Twitter account as a promotional tool, you must give your audience what they expect. Treat your professional Twitter feed as you would a blog. It’s about one topic, and you should stick to that topic. Drive off the beaten path, and you’ll rapidly lose followers.

34. Be Yourself

Being consistent doesn’t mean you can’t be yourself. Sure, some parts of your life are best known only to you. But that’s no excuse for making your Twitter feed bland. Pour soul into everything you do on Twitter. Have a good, positive energy, and you’ll draw people in.

35. Ask for Retweets

Ask and it shall be given unto you. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. But enough proverbs. You get the point. And when it comes to asking for retweets, it’s statistically proven that asking works. Research by Dan Zarella of Hubspot found asking for retweets with a simple “Please retweet” increases the retweet rate four times. If that doesn’t blow your mind, this will. Buddy Media tried the same experiment, and found including the phrase “Please Retweet” increases the retweet rate by 23 times compared to the average. The results may be different, but they’re all pointing in the right direction.

36. Retweet Others

Everyone knows the golden rule: do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. But few of us manage to live by it. On Twitter, you can and should live by it. You want retweets, so go ahead and retweet others.

37. Add Value to Your Retweets

When you retweet, always add value. The easiest way to do this is to add a short comment. Even if it’s just “Great read!”, your retweet will stand out, because few people bother to do this. To really give your retweets a turbo injection, you should rewrite the headline.

38. Join a Twitter Chat

Twitter chats are like weekly conferences that you can join from your office desk or couch. They’re an opportunity to hang out and connect with like minded people while having a blast. You can find a full schedule of chats here. Alternatively, if you notice someone you follow taking part in a Twitter chat, join in! There are no barriers for entry. All you have to do is include the chat’s hashtag in any tweets you want to be part of the chat.

39. Host a Twitter Party

Twitter chat’s are typically weekly affairs, and can be quite formal. What if you want to host a one-off informal event? Then a Twitter party is precisely what the doctor ordered. You can use Twitter parties to launch a new product, announce a new business venture, or celebrate a business milestone. Hosting a party is easy peasy, but if you’re nervous about how it works, then take part in one first. You’ll meet fascinating people and maybe win some new followers.

40. Talk to People – Really

There’s a world out there, and it’s burgeoning with fantastic people who’d love to meet you. People who know you in real life will always be more loyal and engaged as Twitter followers. So get out there and make yourself some friends! Attend conferences in your industry. Talk to your customers. Find a local tweet-up where you can meet other tweeters. However you do it, you’ll be glad you did.

41. Tone Up Your Tweets

When it comes to tweeting, the shorter the better. Even 140 characters can be flabby if they’re not direct and to the point. If you’re wasting words, you’re losing followers. As a bonus, by toning up your tweets you’ll sharpen your writing skills too. Concise writing is quality writing.

42. Insert Power Words

Dan Zarella of Hubspot analyzed over 30 million retweets. In his results, he listed the twenty most retweeted words. These are:

  • you
  • twitter
  • please
  • retweet
  • post
  • blog
  • social
  • free
  • media
  • help
  • please retweet
  • great
  • social media
  • 10
  • follow
  • how to
  • top
  • blog post
  • check out
  • new blogpost

These are all words that can be used by anyone in any niche, so there’s no excuse for failing to polish up your tweets with them.

43. Avoid Weakling Words

Zarella’s research also uncovered the 20 least retweetable words. These are:

  • game
  • going
  • haha
  • lol
  • but
  • watching
  • work
  • home
  • night
  • bed
  • well
  • sleep
  • gonna
  • hey
  • tomorrow
  • tired
  • some
  • back
  • bored
  • listening

Again, you’ve got no excuses for failing to avoid these words.

44. Don’t Tweet About Your Breakfast

Notice anything else about Dan Zarella’s list of the least retweetable words? They’re pretty much all about daily tasks: working, watching TV, listening to music, playing games, sleeping. Twitter started as a way of updating our friends about our day-to-day lives. It’s evolved from there. Don’t take it back to the dark ages, please.

45. Schedule Tweets

No one can be on Twitter 24/7. It’s a physical impossibility. But once you’ve built up a couple thousand followers, you can guarantee that at anytime of day, at least one of them will be online. Scheduling tweets with a tool such as Buffer App means you can connect with followers around the clock, even when you’re in a business meeting or snoring the night away. And the more you reach out, the more potential customers you’ll pull in. Research has shown that businesses who schedule tweets generate three times more leads from Twitter.

46. Snoop On Yourself

From time to time, it’s worth putting your brand name into Twitter’s search bar. You’ll discover what people really think of your brand by seeing what they say when they don’t know if you’re listening. You’ll get a good idea of what’s working in your business, and what needs to change.

No one talking about you? Then it’s time you got engaging and created a splash!

47. Inspire with Quotes

Not sure what to tweet? Put together a collection of inspiring quotes, and tweet those. Quotes are retweet bait. Use them as your secret weapon when you’re not sure what else to say. But use them sparingly, because if you become an over-quoter, you’ll quickly discover you’re under-followed.

48. Google is the Tweeter’s Friend

Google trends, in particular, will help you discover hot topics. Head over to the trends website and put a generic term from your industry into the search bar (e.g. photography). In the bottom right of your screen, you’ll see a box of related terms. Click “rising” and you’ll see what’s trending in search right now. These are the topics to tweet about.

49. Avoid Blunders

Beware of jumping on any Twitter bandwagon that passes your door. After the tragic shootings at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, the word #Aurora began to trend on Twitter. The social media manager of a boutique selling dresses with the Aurora brand name noticed this, and saw it as a promotional opportunity. Big mistake.

Bonus Tip: Never Buy Followers

Having more followers looks good. It boosts your credibility. As such, it can be tempting to pick up a few followers on the black market. There are plenty of shady types who will sell you fake Twitter followers. The only problem is, these followers are fake. They actually reduce engagement as a percentage of your overall follower count, because they’re never going to retweet you or reply to a tweet. Plus if you get caught out with a roster of fake followers, the egg’s on your face, buddy.

Related Reading

4 Ways to Grow a Twitter Following That Matters
Social Media Examiner

9 Scientifically Proven Ways to Build Followers on Twitter
Inc.

How I Attracted 10,000 Twitter Followers in a Year (My 5 Step Process)
Leaving Work Behind

How to Build a Targeted Twitter Tribe of 100,000
Jeff Bullas

How to Get More Twitter Followers (The Ultimate Twitter Tips Guide)
Social Triggers

Your Turn!

Which Twitter techniques have brought you the most success?

Twitter Power User

One in five Americans use Twitter. The luxury car industry recently reported a return of $17.80 for every dollar invested in Twitter marketing.

Yet three in ten small businesses have yet to join Twitter. And many more fail to use Twitter effectively.

If you want to stand out on Twitter, read on to find out what you need to know.

How to Make Your Twitter Followers Fall in Love With You

The more your followers engage with you on Twitter, the better their relationship with you, which gives them a positive impression of your brand. What can you do to make yourself lovable on Twitter?

Make your words re-tweetable. Dan Zarella of Hubspot has researched the 20 most retweetable words. Be sure to use them!

Avoid words that turn off followers. These include “bored”, “tired”, “sleep” and “watching”.

Be generous with the favorite button. Who doesn’t love to have their tweets favorited? Whenever you see a tweet you like, hit the favorite star. You’ll be asking your followers feel good.

Don’t be a Noisy Ned. Some people love the sound of their own voice – even on Twitter. If you’ve got lots to share, spread it out through the day. Using Twitter to splurge is a surefire way to lose followers.

Limit hashtags to two per tweet. Any more, and you’ll come across as a hashtag spammer.

Share lots of links. Around 20% of tweets contain a link. Yet over half of all retweets contain a link. Want to be retweeted? Share links!

Bonus Tips on Follower Engagement

Makes sure your posts are short enough to retweet. Can your posts be shared if your followers manually retweet them, and include your username?

Retweet your followers. When someone you follower shares something you like, pass it on to your own followers. It’s a simple way to share the love.

Let your followers see your @replies. Replies usually get hidden in the Twitter system. If you want everyone to see them, then start them with a period – the magic dot. So, if I was replying to myself, I’d start it with [email protected]

Say thank you. When your followers retweet or favorite one of your tweets, drop them a line to say thanks. It’s only a few seconds of your time, but it will mean a lot to them.

How to Get New Followers

Follower-count isn’t everything, but you do need followers to get your tweets heard. Here’s what to do if you want to grow your follower count.

Follow people. Often when you follow others, they’ll follow you back. Hoping for a followback isn’t a great reason on its own to follow someone. But if you’re interested in a person’s profile – follow them. The more people you follow, the more engagement you’ll get on Twitter.

Share cool stuff. Getting replies and retweets on your tweets will bring attention to your profile. So make sure you’re tweeting stuff that your followers will want to shout about.

Join Twitter chats. You’ll meet a ton of interesting people and if you say some interesting things, it’s highly likely you’ll gain new followers.

Put your Twitter @username on your business cards. Meeting people in real life will almost always make for a stronger relationship than meeting on social media. So why not include your Twitter handle on your business card? That way you can grow your Twitter following at real life business events. Talking of events…

Tweet highlights from conferences. Attending a business conference? Why not share what you’ve learned? Be sure to use the conference hashtag in your tweets.

Make Sure Your Profile is Up to Speed

A weak Twitter profile could be your downfall. Here’s how to make it strong, so you stand out from the crowd.

Write your Twitter bio. Having no biography makes you effectively invisible. It’s only 160 characters, so there’s no excuse for not having one.

Make your biography keyword rich. What are your potential customers likely to search for on Twitter? Your Google Keyword research will help with knowing this. Put these keywords into your Twitter biography.

Use a real photo. Not your brand logo. Twitter is about being social and interacting with people. Got several employees who want to share on Twitter? Give them all their own Twitter accounts.

Smile! A good, close up picture as your avatar is a must on Twitter. Yes, it’s true, people judge on appearances, so make sure you’re looking your best.

Link to your website. There’s no point in putting hours of effort into engaging on Twitter if people can’t find out more about you, and check out your products or services.

Set Up Systems to Make Twitter Simple

Twitter doesn’t have to be a time drain. Most small businesses can do everything they need to on Twitter in just 15 minutes a day. Here’s where to start to streamline your tweeting.

Schedule your tweets. Our scheduling app of choice is Buffer. Hootsuite is a good alternative if you need a broader range of features.

Curate the best content. You don’t have to be original to draw a crowd, as long as you’re sharing good stuff. We recommend setting aside a couple of hours each week for content curation.

How to Connect with Twitter Influencers

Twitter power users aren’t afraid to rub shoulders with the good and the great. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons to use Twitter – there are no barriers to engaging with people at the top of the pyramid.

Follow influencers. It sounds simple, but it’s an important first step. They’ll receive a notification you’ve followed them, which puts you on their radar.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Find a range of influencers who can help you achieve your goals. Not all influencers are on Twitter to engage.

Retweet influencers. They’ll receive notifications about this too.

Reply to influencer tweets. This is particularly effective if they ask a question, but it’s also good to just jump in and start a conversation.

Join them on a Twitter chat. Look through their past tweets, and see if they use a hashtag from a Twitter chat session. If so, join the next Twitter chat with that hashtag – where they’ll be available to talk live.

What to Tweet About

Not sure how you’re going to keep up with Tweeting every day? Never fear! There’s plenty you can tweet about.

Ask questions. People love to be helpful. Questions are brilliant conversation starters. And they can help you get the information you need.

Don’t be shy of sharing your opinions. Controversy can help stoke up conversations. Plus it’s good to show you’ve got personality and soul.

Use the Google Keyword Planner to find out about the interests of your audience. Make sure you cover these interests in your tweets.

Find questions to answer, and answer them. Answering questions is a great way to be helpful and grow your fan base.

Share inspiring quotes. Try to be original and source your quotes from books and magazines rather than the internet.

Use Twitter to Gain Marketing Insights

Twitter is incredibly useful for getting insights into all your content marketing. Here are just a few things you can use Twitter for.

Use Twitter to generate content ideas. Want to know what to blog about? Come up with as many ideas as you can, then share each one in a tweet. The popular tweets are the ones you should blog about.

Test your headline writing skills. Headline writing is an art that can take years to master. Twitter is the ideal place to test headlines. Observe which tweets get the most favorites, retweets or clicks – and you’ll learn what gets attention from your audience.

Find out more about your customers. The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to create products and marketing messages that resonate with them. Following customers on Twitter providers a broad insight into your customers and their needs, likes and dislikes.

Track your Twitter metrics. Want to know what’s working and what’s not on your Twitter feed? The best way to do this is to track your metrics. There are plenty of tools available that make it simple – even if math isn’t your strong point.

The Mindset of a Twitter Power User

Being a Twitter power user isn’t only about the tactics we’ve outlined above. It’s also about adopting a mindset.

Remember, funny is money. This is one of our favorite aphorisms. Having fun doesn’t only lighten your own road. It also makes you more pleasant to be around.

Keep it simple. Twitter isn’t the place to show off your extensive vocabulary. Short words and sentences are the order of the day.

You don’t need thousands of followers. Being a Twitter power user isn’t about the number of followers you have. It’s about using Twitter to achieve your marketing goals. As long as you’re headed to the right destination, don’t get hung up on your follower count.

Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. Unlike Facebook’s newsfeed, Twitter’s homepage is a live stream of fresh tweets. It’s a good idea to share the same content several times to make sure lots of your followers see it.

Give it time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was War and Peace written in a week. It takes time to become a Twitter power user. Be patient, and know your hard work will pay off in the end.