3 Ways to Rule Twitter: Tips for Better Engagement

We recently discussed the latest Twitter profile updates and how to use them to your advantage. Now that you’re creating banner images and pinning tweets with the best of them, let’s dig a little deeper. According to Twitter Brand Partner Alex Ticas, Twitter has 255 million active users. Ticas also states that there are 1 billion tweets (yes, *billion*!) every two days. That’s pretty incredible. This doesn’t mean you can’t rule Twitter! You’ll just have to work a little harder to cut through the noise.

Here are 3 great ways:

1. Choosy tweeters choose GIFs.

Those often-hilarious moving images you see across the internet are called animated GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format). They were introduced by CompuServe in the late 1980s but have had a recent resurgence in popularity.

cat animated gif

This summer, Twitter announced that the platform now supports animated GIFs. Now you can delight your followers with short animated images of fluffy animals or your latest products or sale items. As with all other image-related marketing, the possibilities are endless.

Fun fact: did you know that GIF’s pronunciation deliberately echos the famous peanut butter brand JIF? CompuServe employees used to say that “choosy developers choose GIF” as a nod to the peanut butter brand’s slogan.


2. Embed photos.

Rule Twitter

If you aren’t attaching images to your tweets yet, now is the time to start! This is a great way to attract more views for your tweets, so reserve this feature for your most important messages. On Twitter, click the camera icon when composing a tweet to add your image. Hootsuite now offers the option to post images via pic.twitter.com as well so that your images will show in native Twitter feeds even if you aren’t posting directly from the Twitter platform.

Social Media Examiner offers a great article on how to prepare your images for Twitter’s automatic cropping and resizing.


3. Find Leads with Advanced Search. 

Twitter is a great place to meet people virtually and begin the path to real-world relationships and business exchanges. But what if you want to reach beyond tweets from people and businesses you already follow? That’s where Twitter’s Advanced Search comes in handy.

Do you want to see who is talking to (or about) businesses like yours? Type “to: @username” into the search box.

rule twitter

Only want to see conversations happening near you? No problem. Here is a search for all tweets within four miles of San Francisco’s 94102 zip code, tagged with #sanfrancisco:

rule twitter

You can also search for tweets based on subject and sentiment. Here is a query for people saying positive things about black shoes:

rule twitter

Get more tips for using Twitter’s Advanced Search function with Beth Gladstone‘s excellent and detailed post on Social Media Examiner.

Do you have Twitter tips to share? Let us know in the comments section!

Good Google Beta Social Search

Amidst all the iPad (or as some say “iBad”) hype, Google announced that it’s social search is now out of labs and in it’s infamous beta testing phase. Beta for Google means it’s available to you to use while they test it, but for most of us, that means it’s ready. Yes, they will continue tweaking it before it is out of Beta, but they have been known to have products in Beta for several years. Gmail being no exception.

A moving picture is worth more than a thousand words, so take a look at Google’s introduction to keeping the web as social as it is below. Otherwise, see Google’s blogpost – how social!

Is Google trying to get you out of Facebook and back onto their site? Please leave a comment.

Answers From Friends Are Best

… and if not directly from friends, the next best thing is answers from friends-of-friends.

If you haven’t tried it yet, take a look at Aardvark.

Being well connected just got a whole lot better. Whether you are tiptoeing into the social sphere carefully or frolicking in it like a jello wrestler, you will quickly see a benefit if you haven’t already.

While Google offers almost instant access to any information you’re looking for, Wikipedia is a mouse click away instead in multiple volumes in a library around the corner, and community forums offer a great way to learn and share problems and solutions, when it comes to social media, it’s all about your friends and conversations.

What’s better than asking Google for an answer to a question? Asking a friend. And if that friend doesn’t know, perhaps they have a referral of someone they know that may have the answer. The referral system has been around since Planet of the Apes and it’s doesn’t take Neil Armstrong to figure out why people trust their friends more than a big company.

You have ventured into sharing photos and status updates with your friends on Facebook and you may even be intrigued by Twitter, but what about search? Is there a place for the “social” part of “social media” in search?

I believe the answer is yes. With Aardvark, you can ask a question, any question, and either a friend of yours, or a friend of a friend will send you the answer. The key is that the answer is from a human, someone who cares, someone who has a very unique way of thinking about problems, likes, dislikes, the best places to go, the best ergonomic chair to buy, answers to coding questions, browser compatibility issues, the best place in San Francisco’s Union Square for a quick drink, and/or how to find demographic information about your twitter followers. (The Twitter demographics one was picked up and put on FriendFeed by Robert Scoble.)

Last week there was an article in the NY Times about Aardvark, the web service that answers questions through friends and friends-of-friends, which my friend Amy (Happy Birthday again Amy!) referred me to today on Gtalk. I am so thrilled for Aardvark and can’t wait for more people to try it. My experience so far has been very good and I’m betting we’re only at the very beginning of this adventure.

Congratulations on your successes, Aardvark, I’m not surprised. Thanks for offering a great service.