Wisdom Wednesdays: Twitter so Much More Than 140 Characters

by Jon Nelson

Are you just tweeting?  Twitter is so much more than 140 characters, and that’s constantly becoming so much truer as Twitter continues to add more features and functionality.  Take advantage of the many ways to better tell and share your story by staying on top of the latest capabilities.

Are you using links?  If not, this one is really simple.  When you tell people about something you’re doing, or something they should do, include a link.  Whether you’re tweeting, posting to Facebook, sending an email or doing a mailing, include calls to action.  Potential stakeholders need to take actions in order to become engaged.  Plus, Twitter automatically shortens your links, so you don’t have to worry if a URL is as long as a tweet.

twitter profileBut there’s a lot more you can do than simply including links with your communiqués.  “Twitter changed their account profiles so you can visually tell the story of your business,” writes  in “How to Maximize Your New Twitter Profile,” from Social Media Examiner.  “With a little thought and planning, you can now create a Twitter page that performs like a business welcome page for existing and potential customers.”  At ALDE, we’ve already taken advantage of this added functionality by uploading a header image — see our profile and view the picture above (the header image is the view of the church).  You’ll want to add one, too.  Not only will it give your account a slick appearance, but since Kingston says that “Twitter will be forcing everyone to switch to the new layout in the future,” you don’t want to leave people with a big, black rectangle when they could be seeing the change you are for those you serve.

Be sure to read Kingston’s article for a step-by-step guide on how to add a header image, plus tips and tricks for making one that will look  like you hired a big bucks graphic artist.

Kingston also discusses modifications to the photo stream, and how it appears in your profile.  She notes, “The number of thumbnails increases from four to six,” and, “The size of each thumbnail increases.”  In other words, there is a “new emphasis on your photo stream,” and it will be more Nelson-Jon-webnoticeable if you don’t upload photos.  I’ll admit adding photos to tweets is something I’ve been needing to do more.  Now I really need to do that or visitors will just see boring gray boxes.  They could be seeing what ALDE is all about, instead of only hearing it.  So don’t just take pictures, share them, too!  Look for photos from the 2013 ALDE International Educational Conference in Indianapolis this February to be live tweeted as they’re taken … and (shameless plug) don’t forget to register.

Although photos are a bigger deal on Twitter, they’ve changed the way, and what you can use, to upload them.  There are also changes to background settings and the proprietary Twitter apps.  Read up on the whole article from Kingston to get the full picture of what you can, can’t and should do – plus the why and how of it.  It’s not short, but it’s packed with much more than 140 characters of valuable information.

Jon Nelson, of Beloit, Wis., is Associate Director for Communication Services with ALDE.  He is also Principal of Nelson Business Communications, LLC.

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