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anita-campbell

Anita Campbell

CEO of Small Business Trends

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Become a Twitter Expert Using These 5 Features

November 04, 2014

Twitter started out as a simple application that more or less displayed short text messages online and on mobile devices for the world to see. The initial concept was, instead of texting short messages one-to-one, you shared them with everybody.

Twitter started out as a simple application that more or less displayed short text messages online and on mobile devices for the world to see. The initial concept was, instead of texting short messages one-to-one, you shared them with everybody. Likewise, you could see everything everyone else was saying, if you cared to look.

But in recent years, as Twitter prepared for its IPO and then gained access to public capital, it has been steadily adding features beyond simple 140-character messaging. Many of those features are powerful for small businesses trying to reach out to a broader market. Here are five Twitter features to capitalize on, and what to use them for:

  1. Twitter Cards for capturing email subscribers

    Social media is a powerful engagement and marketing tool, but most of your followers aren’t sitting there just waiting to read your latest update. They check sporadically. And they are being bombarded with a lot of messages every single day.

    But when you have someone on your email list, you are more in control of reaching them with longer, more-nuanced communications. One strategy is to use social media to build your house email list. And Twitter Lead Generation cards can help you do that.

    Twitter Lead Generation Cards can be used to embed an email signup box right on your Twitter stream. You can encourage followers and others to subscribe to your email list right on Twitter. And no, you don’t have to pay for this feature. Paid promotion is optional. If you’ve ever wondered how to convert those Twitter followers into leads, this is a good starting point. Cards also can be used to hold giveaways, deliver special offers, and perform other lead generating activities.

  2. Pinning posts to the top of your stream

    Facebook for years has had a neat feature allowing you to pin (or “stick”) a particular post at the top of your page. Did you know that Twitter also has such a feature?

    Let’s say you want to make your followers aware of an upcoming webinar you’re offering, but you don’t want to keep retweeting it ad nauseum. Instead, create a Twitter update with the webinar details and a friendly invitation to join in. Then, while logged in to your account, go to that tweet. Click on the three dots under it, for the “More” menu. Then choose “Pin to your profile page.” It’s that simple to highlight one tweet for those visiting your profile page on Twitter.

  3. Embedding tweets into blog posts

    A simple way to curate content on a timely topic is to collect tweets on the topic. Then using the Twitter “Embed tweet” feature found in the “More” menu under the tweets, you can embed the tweets into a blog post or article.

    By collecting 5 to 7 tweets, along with your own observations and commentary, you can create a crowdsourced article on a timely topic. Some CMS systems seem to automatically support embedded tweets. On others you may need to have your technical team (or if you’re technically inclined, you can do it yourself) set the site up to display embedded tweets properly. See instructions on Embedded Tweets.

  4. Image posts with text superimposed

    One of the most exciting Twitter features is the ability to post an image directly in your tweets. Take that to the next level. Occasionally take the time to superimpose text on your images.

    For example, let’s say you’ve spent hours writing the perfect blog post on the company blog. You’ve chosen a beautiful image for it, too. Instead of just tweeting out a link, how about going over to an online image-editing tool such as Picmonkey.com and adding the title of the post as text on the image before uploading it?

    Image tweets right now are getting more engagement than non-image updates. The use of text on the image adds even more information to entice people to click through or to share it.

  5. Favoriting tweets for follow-up

    The “Favorite this tweet” feature (with a little star next to it) has been around for years. But I’m noticing that small business owners and entrepreneurs are using it much more frequently.

    One day I decided to ask my followers how they used favoriting. One person told me he uses favoriting to keep track of valuable tools he sees tweets about. In effect, he uses it as a “notes” tool substitute. Another person said she uses favoriting as a way to compile a list of potential prospects and/or business partners to reach out to. She sees an interesting tweet from someone she’d like to reach out to, and adds it to her favorites list. Then, once a week, she looks over her list and decides how to follow up with those on the list.

    Using these features can add punch to your marketing and enhance your business operations. Can you think of creative ways to use these and other Twitter features?

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