Someone's heretic.


Things I've written.

10 Unique Tricks to Power Up Your Twitter Game

Twitter is celebrating 10 years today, and I've been tweeting during 4 of those years. Over this time, Twitter has become very near and dear to my heart.

I've met so many wonderful people thanks to it and have been blown away by the various communities I've found there. Twitter is by far my favorite social media service.

I don't have thousands of followers, but I think I do a fairly decent job with what I have to work with. Between @ mentions and stand-alone posts, I send out roughly 17 tweets a day, and despite the fact that I'm not famous, I do maintain a high Twitter Engagement Rate. This means that the tweets I do send out are generally very effective for my audience size. I'll be writing more about this in the days to come.

Over the past 4 years, I've picked up a lot of Twitter tips and tricks. Some of them are fairly obscure, and I don't see people using them very often. Because of this, I thought it might be helpful to share some of these "Twitter secrets" to help others up do better on Twitter.

So, in celebration of Twitter's 10th anniversary, here are 10 unique tricks to power up your Twitter game:

1. Use Twitter analytics.

If you're like me, you probably didn't even know Twitter had an analytics tool. Once I discovered it, I started to check it on a regular basis to see what information I could glean. One of the greatest lessons it taught me was to be more purposeful and proactive about what I tweet. I use to fire off random thoughts and ideas without really considering if what I was saying was engaging with people. 

If numbers and data intimidate you, at least check out the main dashboard where you can see some key stats and look at overviews for each month.

2. Use the line breaks.

Too many people forget that you can hit “return/enter” when composing a tweet. Doing so in moderation can help your tweets to stand out in the crowd, and they can be used for added emphasis and style. For example, here's a tweet I sent out last week: 

3. Leverage threaded tweets for trains of thought.

I started experimenting with threaded tweets after observing Austin Kleon’s Twitter usage. He is the master of leveraging threaded tweets. What do I mean by "threaded" exactly? Simply put, it’s the act of replying to your own tweet. You click reply, delete your @ name, and the new tweet gets threaded to your previous tweet. This way, people can follow along with your train of thought.

Also, it allows you to make a lot of tweets one right after the other without cluttering up your followers' feeds and annoying them. How exactly? Because as you tweet more within a thread, it hides the in-between tweets with a “read more” type button, giving people the option to dive into the thread only if they want to.

4. Use threaded tweets to breath life into past tweets.

Did you know it's possible to revive old tweets without being an annoyance? When you reply to an old tweet, it brings it back up to the top of the timeline. Don’t do this obsessively, and only do it if there’s something truly valuable to add to the original tweet, but it’s a great tool to use to expand upon past thoughts and add new content to it.

Often, I’ll tweet something out and then hours later add a follow up thought via a threaded tweet. The original tweet ends up getting exposed to some of my followers that missed it earlier, so it’s added value all around. Below is an example from yesterday. I had tweeted a quote from a book I was reading, and then I asked some discussion questions a few hours later.

5. Create a list of people you might want to follow later.

I’m the first to admit: I don’t follow everyone back. My Twitter timeline is very important to me because I carefully curate it so that it's full of content I want. Sure, I could just follow thousands of people and manage my interests with lists, but I don’t want that hassle. I spend enough time on social media as it is without a bunch of lists.

Still, lists can be valuable. For instance, I have a list of people that I’m interested in following but unsure if what they Tweet is right for my feed. Instead of following them immediately and then having to unfollow later, I’ll add them to my "Interesting Tweets" list, monitor it for awhile, and then officially follow them later if I find their content engaging.

Kleon's flow chart.

Kleon's flow chart.

6. Stockpile your drafts.

I was inspired to do this after seeing Austin Kleon’s flow chart for sharing. Perhaps you didn't know, but Twitter has a drafts function, and I use it constantly. When I have a random thought or idea I’d like to share on Twitter, I often will type it up and save it in my drafts for later. My drafts folder is full of content, so if I have a down day where my creative juices just aren’t flowing, then I’ll open up my drafts folder and tweet something from it.

In fact, this post started out as a Tweet in my drafts folder. I decided it warranted more than 140-characters, so I turned it into a blog.

7. Delete tweets that don't go over very well.

Call me inauthentic, but I delete my bad tweets all the time. Usually this happens when I think of something and tweet it out without giving it any consideration. If a thought turns out to be a dud or not worth people’s time, I often end up deleting it. It might feel lame, but most people won't even notice, and it will keep your feed valuable to your followers and prospective followers.

Utilizing the drafts folder has helped me cut back on the amount of junk I have to delete. There is a lot of value in thinking about the things you tweet for awhile before you actually send them out. I live by that Austin Kleon flow-chart I mentioned earlier. 

8. Use the Quote Retweet function effectively.

A lot of the time, a regular retweet is the best route for sharing something you like, but using the Quote Retweet function allows you to add your own input and thought to a conversation that is already happening. For instance, Micah Murray saw a tweet I made about some Mormons who knocked on my door, and he did a Quote Retweet to turn it into a funny moment:

9. GIF responsibly.

Twitter recently added a GIF keyboard, making the quick and efficient usage of GIFs a lot more practical. Don’t go too crazy with it, but a good GIF can take a good tweet and turn it into an extremely good tweet. Also, there are a lot of fun and creative ways you can use GIFs. I often will look through popular GIFs and come up with clever connections between the GIF and something my followers and I are interested in.

Consider the following tweet:

Confession: I actually crafted this Tweet before the political debate even began. I came into live-tweeting that debate with several pre-planned tweets. I thought it would be fun to use some Hunger Games clips, so I searched through the catalog and saw that wonderful GIF of Katniss and the birds, and I immediately thought of Trump talking. My apologies if you're a Trump supporter. ;) 

10. Ask thought provoking questions using polls.

I love asking loaded or deep questions on Twitter and the simple act of turning a basic question into a poll will get more people engaging with it. After all, it's very tempting to weigh in on a poll when you can add an anonymous vote. From there, I often have people asking following up questions or expanding upon the selection of stock answers I have written. Here's an example:

Am I leaving anything out?

Well, those are all of my Twitter secrets for today. I'm always eager to learn new tricks, so if you have any interesting ones that I didn't mention, please leave me a comment! 

Let's become better Twitter users together.