By Erika Stalder
When you don’t know how to tweet right, you can easily drive friends and fans to abandon you online. But done right, those 140-character messages can catapult page views on your blog, put you in touch with people you’ve always wanted to meet and earn you new followers. Here are the essential elements of becoming a hit on Twitter.
1. Tweet your secrets.
And by that, we don’t mean to suggest that you tweet personal rants, unique snack updates or any dirty confessions from the past. Instead, point your followers to a must-read article you know they’d like, or turn them on to a can’t-miss underground sale that will give them a valuable experience and keep ’em coming back for more. These types of tweets build you a reputation for being resourceful and enhancing your users’ lives.
2. Tweet at your heroes and celebs.
Talking about someone in a tweet? Address them directly with their @ handle. Whether you know the person or not, including their handle in the body of your tweet will alert them of your mention. (Twitter sends alerts to users who’ve been mentioned.) What easier way to get the ear of a celeb, industry leader or local hero?
3. Post pictures when you tweet.
It’s one thing to tell your followers you’ve had the best steak of your life at an unassuming little bistro around the corner. It’s another to show them how good it was by attaching a photo. Enhancing your tweets with pictures gives your short message substance, boosting it from mere bragging to sharing useful information with your readers.
4. Add hashtags to your tweets to get new followers.
Hash tags let you categorize your tweets and make them searchable by subject. So if you’re looking to drive traffic to your mom blog, try including a popular parenting hash tag that matches the content of your post, like #momfail, along with a link to your post and a witty one-liner. Those browsing the #momfail category of tweets will be likely to stumble upon your tweet, opening it up to an audience wider than your followers.
5. Diversify tweet topics -- and retweet.
Self-promotion is a big part of tweeting. But when all tweets focus on you, you, you, the effect is about as attractive as a blaring TV ad in the middle of your favorite movie. To keep your tweets from sounding too self-absorbed, be sure to spend at least half of your tweet time covering something other than your own projects. An easy way to do this is to engage in retweeting others’ useful tweets often. It shows others that you’re just as excited about their work as your are about your own.
Have we missed any other crucial tweet tips? Let us know in the message board below.
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Erika Stalder has written about technology for Gizmodo.com, Wired.com and Wired magazine. The author of five nonfiction books for teens, she also pens a teen advice column on ABCFamily.com.
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