According to Social Times, as of March 2016, 320 million people use Twitter each month. If you’re like 87% of Americans, you know what Twitter is, but you may have no idea how to use it. It was launched ten years ago in 2006, it can be an incredibly effective promotion tool and yet exactly how to use Twitter remains a mystery to many.
Here are some top reasons you should be using Twitter:
- Ability to connect with prospective students. If your prospective students are on Twitter, you need to be too.
- To brand your institution. You don’t have to be a huge university to build brand awareness on Twitter. You just need to be dedicated and tweeting regularly.
- Tweets can go viral. If you’ve never had a tweet go viral, it’s hard to understand the phenomenon. But it happens, and it can happen to you.
The good news is: If you take a little bit of time to understand how Twitter works and best practices you need to follow, you will be happily tweeting and sharing your message with millions of users across the world.Twitter Best Practices
- Keep it short
Part of Twitter’s appeal lies in how effective and concise it is. Twitter bios are 160 characters maximum, and tweets are 140 characters maximum (this includes any short links you add). It’s important to make your tweets as concise as possible. Studies have shown that top tweets average around 70 characters.
- Listen and observe
This is actually advice straight from Twitter. By using search.twitter.com, you can find comparable institutions and people and keep your finger on the pulse of what is relevant in your field. Notice which tweets get a lot of likes, retweets and responses, and create that kind of conversation with your followers.
- Be a follower
Just as you want to observe what your competitors are doing, you will want to follow influencers in your field and thought leaders in related fields. You’ll want to engage with what they have to say about college marketing, student recruitment or the application process. You can agree, disagree or just add something to the conversation, but if you’ve engaged with them, they are likely to also do so with you.
- Follow the 80/20 principle
Eighty percent of your Twitter use should be interacting with your followers: retweeting their tweets, liking their tweets, tweeting things that are fun, interesting and engaging and using hashtags and images. The remaining twenty percent can focus on promotion. Yes, you read that right: One fifth of your time should be used for call-to-actions. But remember, these must also be concise and interesting.
- Analyze, analyze, analyze
Twitter has a fantastic analytics dashboard that shows you your top tweets, top mentions, and top followers month to month so you can see who your demographic is and even the best times of day to tweet. There are also applications like TweetDeck and HootSuite that will allow you to schedule your tweets ahead of time to hit optimum times. Not using these tools is a big mistake, so use them!
Hopefully by reading this post, you’re feeling a bit more confident about using Twitter to promote your institution. Twitter also offers a quick tutorial for businesses, to help demystify the process.
In order to be most effective on Twitter, you do need to Tweet regularly. It is hard to build your brand and follow the 80/20 principle if you are simply logging on a couple times a month. You need to set a plan for how many times you plan to tweet per week and follow that plan, even when it isn’t convenient.
It takes time to build your brand on Twitter, but the investment is worth it. Business Insider said it well, “You tweet, people follow and your network grows.”
So start tweeting!
Download our infographic to learn why you need inbound marketing for student recruitment.