Here are a few simple steps toward setting up your presence on Twitter. At the end of this section is a glossary to help explain some of the Twitter terminology.
Step One – Create a content calendar or editorial calendar. Before you set up an account, get a clear sense of what you want to accomplish with this Twitter account. List some messages that you’d like to share with your audience. Create a schedule for how often you’d like to post. Include major holidays in your editorial calendar as well as major milestones for your group or organization.
Step Two – Select your Twitter handle and set up new account. Your Twitter handle is your Twitter ID or name. It must be fewer than 15 characters, but the shorter, the better so that it can fit more easily into the 140-character tweets of people sending messages your way. We recommend naming your Twitter account with the university name leading or following your unit group name. For example: @UNCG_Garden or @LambdaChiUNCG.
Please note that we will list ‘official’ university accounts in the connect.uncg.edu social media hub directory. ‘Official’ university accounts means that they are recognized and promoted by the university. One of the requirements of an official account is that the university name appears in your title somewhere.
To set up your account, go to Twitter.com and follow the instructions to sign up. Please remember to use a uncg.edu e-mail address if you are setting up the account for UNCG purposes. The e-mail address will not be displayed to the public, but it will be used to notify you of activity on your Twitter account.
Step Three – Add content including name, location, bio, link, avatar and background. It is important to fill out the bio as completely as possible so that potential followers can get a sense of what your Twitter account is all about. Filling out your info will also help your account to rank in SEO and appear in search results.
Avatar is a term used for your profile picture. Uploading an avatar image is a requirement for all ‘official’ UNCG accounts. For your ease and convenience, we have created a family of UNCG avatars for you to select and build from. Please fill out this form for assistance getting your avatar. This is a preferred option for branding but you can also upload your own photo or graphic. If you choose to upload your own, consider the following:
• Size = 128×128
• Ensure that graphic elements are wholly visible and not cut off along the edges.
• Use colors that are not too bright or too dark. You want to make sure that people can easily see and read your avatar.
• For Twitter, you can also create a background image. Size = 1600×1200.
The following link provides a comprehensive explanation of how to change your profile picture as well as size and dimension requirements: Twitter Help Center | How To Change Your Profile Picture or Information.
The following link will help you to customize your Twitter background: Twitter Help Center | How To Customize Your Twitter Design.
Step Four – Include the FERPA statement. FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Every ‘official’ UNCG account must include this statement. For an example, see the University Twitter Page: @UNCG.
Step Five – Begin tweeting according to your content / editorial calendar. Tweets must be no more than 140 characters. It is good to have at least five tweets before you begin following other accounts, because before they decide to follow you back, they will want to see what kinds of topics you tweet about. If you have no tweets, they will not follow back.
Try to keeps tweets as concise and conversational as possible. Try to include a messaging mix that includes tweets that are conversational, informative and friendly. It’s also interesting to your followers when you include links, pictures, videos and other types of media.
Step Six – Search for people to follow. There are many interesting people on Twitter to learn from and have conversations with. Find and follow these people. Engage with them by answering questions they ask or retweeting things they say that you think are relevant to the audience you are trying to attract.
For tips on finding the right people to follow: Twitter Help Center | How To Find People on Twitter: Twitter Search!
For more information on what it means to “follow” someone on Twitter: Twitter Help Center | What Is Following?
Step Seven – Create lists. Twitter lists are a great way to categorize the people you are following. It can help you get the information you need quickly. You can have both public and private lists. Public lists help promote the accounts on the list, while private lists are for your own sorting purposes.
Types of lists that you might find helpful include: UNCG accounts and news, students, members of your group and accounts you can learn from. For a walkthrough on how to create a Twitter list, check here: Twitter Help Center | How To Use Twitter Lists.
To help you start out, the @UNCG Twitter account has created some lists of Twitter users that you might be interested to follow: @UNCG Twitter Lists.
Step Eight – Converse! Twitter gets interesting when you start having conversations with other users. You can send them messages called @mentions or you can reply to things they post using an @reply. The same method is used for both, the only difference is where you place their name within your tweet.
To send an @mention to SuzyQ, just put her Twitter handle (including the @ sign) somewhere in your tweet. For instance: I would love to hear @SuzyQ speak at our alumni event coming up.
To send an @reply, make sure to include the person’s Twitter handle (including the @ sign) at the very beginning of the tweet. For instance: @SuzyQ that’s a really great question. I will have an answer for you soon.
Placing the Twitter handle at the front of the tweet limits the reach of the tweet to only people who are following both you AND SuzyQ. This is so that people’s back-and-forth conversations don’t clog the Twitter streams of other followers who can only see one side of the conversation.
To check if anyone has sent you an @reply or @mention, make sure you are signed in and on your home page. Click the “@ Connect” link.
The Direct Message (DM) is another way to communicate directly with another user on Twitter. These messages are private, unlike @mentions and @replies which are public. Please note that you can only send DMs to people who are following you. This is Twitter’s way of safeguarding against spammers. It also means that someone will not be able to DM you unless you are following his or her account. For instance: DM @SuzyQ Are you going to the Spartan basketball game tonight?
The Retweet (RT) is to re-post someone else’s tweet so that your followers will see it. You can include a special message in addition to the original message or leave it as is. This is a way to show you agree or support a post. For instance: RT @uncgsports: Spartans stretch win streak to five, nab 77-73 OT win vs Appalachian State. #uncg
Step Nine – Discover hashtags. Research hashtags that you are interested in, or that you plan to follow. These can be anything you feel is relevant to what you or your organization are interested in or may be tweeting about. For example, if you are interested in soccer you could research hashtags for #soccer, #soccerclub, #soccerteam, etc.
Step Ten – Go mobile. Part of the beauty of Twitter is that it is so mobile friendly. Connect your Twitter account to your mobile device and tweet on the go! There are many Twitter apps that you can use from your phone. If you do not have a smartphone, you can text 40404 to send a tweet, simply add your cell phone number into your Twitter settings when you are logged in on your computer.
Tweeting Tips –
• The more time you spend on Twitter, the more you will get a sense of the tone. Conversation on Twitter is most often very casual. People use a lot of abbreviations and shorthand. As you are starting out, try posting at various times of day and on various days of week. You will get a sense of which times of day and days of week are most effective for reaching your particular audience. Frequency also depends on your specific audience, but typically you can send out tweets several times a day without it being too much.
• If you want @UNCG to announce that your Twitter feed is live, simply send a tweet that includes @UNCG saying your feed is live and we will help to promote it.
• There are many tools to help you manage your social media accounts. These can help you manage several Twitter and Facebook accounts from one place. They also allow you to schedule some posts in advance. Here is a good resource to help you select the best tool for your purposes: Mashable.com | 5 Superior Social Media Management Tools.
• For additional set up instructions: Mashable: The Twitter Guidebook.
@ – The @ sign is used to call out usernames in Tweets, like this: “Hello, @Twitter!” When a username is preceded by the @ sign, it becomes a link to a Twitter profile.
Avatar – A term used to mean profile picture.
Bio – A short description used to define who you are on Twitter. There is a 160-character limit.
Blocking –Blocking someone on Twitter means they will be unable to follow you or add you to their list. In addition, their mentions will not appear in your mentions tab.
Direct Message (DM) – Private tweets sent from one user to another. 140-character restriction. DMs can only be sent to someone who is following the account of the sender.
Favorite – To favorite a Tweet means to mark it as one of your favorites by clicking the yellow star next to the tweet. Tweets that you favorite are listed in your profile.
Follow– To follow someone is to subscribe to their tweets so that they show up in your stream / feed.
Follower– A follower is someone who is subscribed to your tweets. Your tweets will show up in their stream/feed.
Hashtag (#) – the # symbol is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. When used before a word with no spaces, it creates a link to all other tweets using the same hashtag.
@Mention – A mention is created when you tag another user in your Tweet by including their Twitter handle (@username) in the message. For example, “I love @UNCG.”
@Reply – A Tweet posted in reply to another user’s Tweet, usually posted by clicking the ‘reply’ button. Always begins with @username. For example, “@UNCG, good question! I think my favorite UNCG memory is….”
Retweet (RT) – To retweet someone is to re-post their tweet so that your followers will see it. This is often seen as a type of endorsement of the message and is what makes Twitter messages “go viral.” Include “RT @username” at the beginning to credit the original author of the post.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization – This refers to the ways you can send cues to search engines, such as Google, about what content is on your page so that Google knows when to send users there. The more cues you are able to give, the more likely your page will rank well in people’s search results.
Trending Topic – a subject algorithmically determined to be one of the most popular on Twitter at the moment.
Tweet – a 140-character message published to Twitter. Tweets get pushed into the streams (newsfeeds) of people following the account that sent the tweet. If the account does not have privacy settings set, then the tweet will also be publically visible to other people even if they are not following the account.
Twitter Handle – The name you use to identify yourself. It appears after the ‘@’ sign. This can be changed through Twitter at any time and does not require creation of a new profile to change. For example, UNCG’s Twitter handle is @UNCG.