How To: Twitter



What is Twitter?

Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows users to post short messages that show up in the Twitter feeds of the people who choose to follow your account. Twitter offers instantly updated information for just about anything you can imagine.
Here’s the catch: Twitter allows only 140 characters per post, called a tweet, so tap into your creative side to make your message fit.

What can Twitter do for me?

Twitter is an effective tool for Truman organizations and departments that need to share frequent content about meetings, events, news, and even emergency information.

How do I use Twitter?

Start by creating an account here on Twitter.

Optimize your account for Twitter searches:

Note that a username and a name are two separate items. For example, TrumanState is the username and Truman State University is the name. Usernames are character-limited.
Make sure the name includes words you believe will be used when searching for the profile; Truman, Truman State University, etc.
Enter your e-mail address, password, and agree to Twitter’s Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
By doing so, you must not:

  • Impersonate others through the Twitter service
  • Publish or post other people’s private and confidential information
  • Publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others
  • Use the service for any unlawful purpose or for promotion of illegal activities
  • Create serial accounts for disruptive or abusive purposes
  • Engage in username squatting
  • Use’s address book contact import to send repeat, mass invitations
  • Publish or link to malicious content intended to damage or disrupt another user’s browser or computer or to compromise a user’s privacy
  • Use the Twitter service for the purpose of spamming anyone
  • Use obscene or pornographic images in either your profile picture or user background

Customize your profile

Use the column on the right side of your account page to upload a profile picture, write a short bio, and set up Twitter on your mobile phone so you can post tweets from anywhere.

The one line bio will appear with the username and name in search results. Use this area to note your relationship to Truman State University if your username and name have not already made this clear.

For example, only using “TSU” may create confusion since there are several universities who use the same acronym, and is not allowed to officially associated with Truman.

Start tweeting

  • Stay under the 140-character restriction. Use shorthand and post links that provide more information.
  • Include links. Drive followers to your website from tweets. Inbound links also improve your page rankings with search engines.
  • Use images or videos if possible. Studies show that tweets that include images/videos enjoy significantly higher engagement and may show up higher in your followers’ feeds.
  • Shorten links. Links can be long and quickly take over a tweet’s 140-character limit. Use or TinyURL to shorten them.
  • Tweet regularly. Appoint more than one person to tweet if needed to continue regular content.
  • Understand why people follow you. If your followers want information about the group you represent, they probably don’t want to know your daily activities. If you are a Truman celebrity, your followers are more likely to be interested in your life events.
  • Follow others. This allows communication between you and your followers and is part of Twitter etiquette.
  • Re-tweet! Tweet the content posted by another Twitter user, adding your own comments if you wish.
  • Use hashtags and tags. Hashtags consist of using the # symbol followed by subject words such as #truman. They help organize information by subject, are searchable, and are conversation drivers. Tags are your way of referring to other Twitter users in your tweet so they are notified when you are talking with them or about them.
    An example tweet might be:”I am going to the @TrumanMensBball game tonight @TrumanState. #collegebasketball”

Other tips

  • Use other tools. Research external applications that are designed to help Twitter users enhance the Twitter experience. The Twitter website itself is prone to going down based on heavy traffic so consider skipping to manage your Twitter accounts and check out more reliable management services including TweetDeck and Hootsuite.
  • Find the thought leaders. Spend time engaging people who are interested in similar topic areas. This means identifying the most influential social media users in your niche area. Find them by searching hashtags or looking through your followers’ follower lists. The one-line bio is helpful for this.
  • It takes a village. Twitter itself does not have a way for multiple people to uniquely access one account other than by sharing the username and password among administrators. CoTweet allows multiple people to help manage multiple Twitter accounts and stay in synch while doing so.
  • Use photos in your tweets. TwitPic allows users to upload photos from the web or a mobile device and post them on Twitter in a very easy fashion. Other picture tools include yfrog and Plixi.

Additional resources

Learn the Twitter Lingo
Twitter best practices for businesses and organizations
26 Twitter Tips for Enhancing Your Tweets