Twitter gives you 280 characters to get your message across to your followers...so keep it short and sweet. Use the following 10 tips as a guide to using your time (and characters) most efficiently.
- Get a Handle of Yourself
Your Twitter handle should be as close to your department name as possible. It will make it easier for people to recognize your brand offline. Try to avoid underscores — they won’t hurt you, but are rarely used.
- Get Short
Use https://bitly.com to shorten and customize your links. 280 characters should be used with your content, not wasted with a full link. You can also see the analytics for that specific link and know exactly how many people clicked on your link. You can check your analytics on Twitter by clicking on your profile icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Click "Analytics" on the drop-down menu.
- Social Search
Start a conversation surrounding an event, topic, or theme with a hashtag (#). Some UMass Lowell-related hashtags include #umasslowell, #uml, #unitedinblue, and #riverhawknation. Track and analyze your campaigns with hashtracking.com. Keep hashtags short and intuitive.
- Make Your Life Easier
Use a third-party Twitter client to help with the workload. A few options are HootSuite, Tweetdeck, and Buffer. All of these have free desktop, browser, and mobile app versions. This will help you monitor your brand, respond to concerns about your service, schedule updates, and keep things organized. Scheduling tweets is okay for the weekend or after hours, but be careful of over-using this. Linking Facebook and Twitter (to push the same status) is generally not recommended. Your followers will notice that you took the time to craft specific messages for your different audiences.
- Create Lists
This will help you manage the people you want to read. You can make them public or private. Use lists in Tweetdeck (or another client) to monitor conversations from specific members.
- Brand Yourself
Use your department logo for your profile picture. Keep consistent with your other college web branding efforts. Fill out your bio. This is your elevator pitch to convince people to follow you. Customize your Twitter background to create credibility and educate potential followers about your brand.
- Create Your Strategy
Write down your goals and how you can accomplish them. Create a content schedule and carve out time in your own personal schedule to dedicate to social media. Come up with a flexible weekly schedule of what to tweet and when. Note resources you can pull from when you are low on original content. Make sure everyone on your team has this strategy guide.
Tweet regularly! Your most valuable asset is the information you provide. Tweet content that is on your website. Tweet blog posts, news articles, or retweet someone else’s relevant content. Capture photos of students, alumni, and the campus. These are some of our biggest assets to telling the UMass Lowell story. Always respond to your fans in a timely manner - especially if they offer feedback or ask a question. In the age of social media, fans expect a quick response. Engage with your audience and they’ll stay engaged with you.
- Follow & Monitor
Follow thought leaders, bloggers, hashtags, and students who mention you or are a part of your department. Often times, those pages will even follow back and engage with you. Be a part of the conversation surrounding your brand. Be sure to follow university channels (see our Social Media Directory).
- Be Inspired
Look at other higher education leaders and see what they are doing that works. It’ll help you pick up some ideas for your own page. Fake it until you make it!