Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media networks on the internet with hundreds of millions of people using the site each day.
The microblogging site allows users to read and send ‘tweets’ to their followers which are limited to 140 characters.
If managed correctly the site offers virtually limitless opportunities to engage with users around the world and share information and links with them.
RGU’s communications team manages the university’s corporate account, @RobertGordonUni, and uses it each day to promote news and events.
Creating an RGU account
Though creating and managing a Twitter account is relatively straight forward it’s important to plan how you are going to use it and have a clear objective in mind like student engagement, student recruitment or brand awareness.
A key point to keep in mind is being able to tweet regularly. Will you have enough content to keep the account up-to-date? Will you be able to respond should anyone contact you with a query?
If you set up an account for your team or department, please contact the communications team to let them know. They will then know to follow your account and look for content to re-tweet on the main account.
Permission to use RGU’s logo on Twitter must be obtained from the Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and outline your request.
It is important to note that it takes time to build up follower numbers, but this can be achieved by continually using the account and providing content.
Frequently used Twitter terms
Tweet: (Noun) A message posted via Twitter containing 140 characters or less. (Verb) Tweet, tweeting, tweeted - The act of posting a message through a Tweet.
Retweet (RT): Pass along someone’s Tweet by retweeting it. Just hit the Retweet button to send the original message to all of your followers.
Timeline: Your timeline is a list of real-time Tweets from the users you are following.
Following: Subscribe to an other user so their Tweets in your timeline. A follower is a user who has followed you.
Hashtags: Users often add the hashtag symbol (#) before words or phrases in their Tweets to categorise them for others or to organise conversations around a theme. Users can click on hashtags to see similarly-themed Tweets. #rightclick
@Replies: A Tweet posted in direct response to another user’s message. This is usually done by clicking the “reply” button in their Tweet. @replies always begin with the “@” symbol, followed by the username and will usually only be seen in the timelines of followers for both users. All of your replies sent to others can be seen in your own timeline. To make a reply public, type a dot before the @username.
Direct Message (DM): A direct message (DM) is a private message that only you and the recipient can see. To DM someone, start your Tweet with DM or D, eg: “DM @joesmith234 what is your order number?”
Mention: Bring a Tweet to a user’s attention by including their @username in a Tweet. This is called a mention and will appear to the @username you mentioned as well as to all of your followers. You can see who’s talking about you in the mention section of your Twitter profile.
Favourite: To favourite a Tweet means to mark it as one of your favourites by clicking the yellow star next to the message.
What is Twitter?
Too embarrassed to admit that you haven't a clue about Twitter, what it is or how to use it? Check out this very short video which explains it in simple terms.
Hints and tips for posting
There aren't any hard and fast rules on how to tweet but there some simple techniques you can employ to create a vibrant and active account:
- Keep it simple. Tweets should be sort and to the point. Try communicating your message in as few words as possible and use links to point followers to more in-depth content on the website.
- Use a link shortening service, like Bitly. This will reduce the length of the links you tweet and gives you the opportunity to monitor and assess the number of clicks it receives.
- When available, try to tweet pictures as part of your message. This will make the tweet more interesting to readers and increase the likelihood they’ll want to read more.
- Where possible please make use of #RGU in your tweets to keep all university related content together when people search for it.
- Don’t be afraid to engage with people who get in touch with queries, though avoid lengthy exchanges as everything you tweet is public. Instead, provide a contact email address to continue the discussion in a more private setting.
- Use tools like Crowdbooster to measure the account’s effectiveness by monitoring the number of followers you have and your level of engagement with other users through retweets and favourites.
An article from the Guardian Higher Education Network: Ernesto Priego explores the ethics of live-tweeting academic events and provides 10 points to bear in mind when navigating this emerging social media minefield.