twitter

Twitter Hashtags: The Rules

 

Last week I was creating a slide for a workshop aimed at academic staff and research Postgrads, entitled Twitter for Improvers. On the slide I was attempting to explain what worked with hashtags, and what didn't - for example putting in punctuation causes the hashtag to break.

Then I thought, it would be better to actually do these as tweets (show don't tell!) - I did so just with the idea of print-screening them and deleting them, but lots of people joined in with replies and RTs and I added some ranty opinions on hashtag use as well as the factual and logistical stuff...

So here, in Storify form, is what works and what doesn't: The Laws of Hashtags!

(If you can think of any more leave me a comment.)

Creative Commons header image by GeoBlogs.

Two More Twitter Changes: Group DMs and In-Tweet Analytics

Following on from my post on the excellent new Twitter video, there's a couple of other things Twitter have introduced in the last couple of weeks.

The first is group Direct Messaging, where you can set up a group of people (up to 20) and privately message them collectively. The conversations can include pictures and be about specific tweets. This is potentially very useful for taking a problematic conversation or dispute out of the public eye but staying within the platform. From the point of view of libraries, that's great. From the point of view of librarianship, I'm not so sure.

The second feature is and tweet-by-tweet analytics within the mobile app. I mentioned in my previous post about Twitter's new Analytics how what the stats really show you is how few of your followers see each tweet (it's around 11%, and that's assuming it's not part of a conversation or at a weird time of day in which case it's much less, or if it's RT'd in which case it's a bit more). The ability to click on each tweet in the mobile and app and see the stats right away just reinforces this - here's a tweet linking to my last post, which got ReTweeted 21 times, and was still only seen by a number of people which amounts to just over half the total number of followers I have.

Twitter11.PNG

I'm not totally convinced the link clicks figure is accurate though - not just because it seems really low! But because it doesn't correspond with my website's own statistics or Google Analytics, which attributes a lot more click-throughs to this particular tweet.

But the total number of impressions I do trust. So what do we take from this as libraries? If something's important, you have to tweet it more than once! And it's also worth tweeting at the peak times for when your followers are online - this is usually around 11am and 3pm, but you can find out more specifically using Tweriod, which I'd recommend you do.

[Edit: Since I wrote that I checked Tweriod and it seems to have gone to a paid-only service, which is a real shame - FollowerWonk should tell you when your followers are most active though, so use that instead.)

Twitter Video is here! And it's going to be great for libraries

 

NB If you're reading this and can't find Twitter video on the app, don't panic, it's being rolled out across all accounts but not everyone has it yet!

I resolutely refuse to include things in my training just because they're fashionable, and for that reason I still don't talk about Vine in any of the sessions I do. I think Vine can be great (some of the 'Vine-magic' stuff is awesome), but I'm yet to see an absolutely essential use for Libraries or in HE, so it gets left out. [Edit: I've finally seen a good example of a Library Vine account! Check out Newcastle Lib's here.]

Part of the problem is that 6 seconds is just too short for the kinds of ideas I have of how to use what you might call 'social video', as opposed to the more permanent videos you find on Vimeo and YouTube. I feel like I've been waiting for something like Vine, but less trendy...

Happily last week Twitter launched an alternative to Vine (which it also owns, by the way) which I do think we can get some proper use out of. You can now take 30 second videos and upload them to Twitter, where they'll play within the tweet without people needing to leave the site or the app. (At the moment you can't use video already on your camera roll.) The videos can be combinations of several shorter clips like Vine, but it won't automatically loop, and it won't play without someone hitting the 'play' button.

If Vine is the short-attention-span but bang on-trend toddler of internet video, Twitter video is its more considered older sibling. Less cool, but maybe with more meaningful things to say.

Here's how it works (email subscribers, click the title of this post to be taken to the web version if the pictures aren't appearing):

Image taken from Twitter's blog - click to be taken through to the relevant post

Image taken from Twitter's blog - click to be taken through to the relevant post

Like Vine it records as long as you hold the button, and you can quickly stitch together multiple clips - as many as you can fit into 30 seconds, in fact.

Note the third screen-shot there - you can delete, and drag to re-arrange the order. So it may be worth recording the most important parts (the start and end) first so you know how much time you have left for the rest, then re-arrange the order - rather than meticulously creating something with 20 clips, only to not have enough time for the ending and having to redo the whole thing.

So how can libraries use it? Before we get onto specific themes, the most essential thing is to think mobile. The whole point of this feature is people watch short videos, where they are, within the app. Twitter offered promoted videos to paying sponsors before this was rolled out to all of us, and apparently 90% of them were watched on mobile devices. So, hit the ground running (1 second intro, max!); shoot from the chest up if you've got people in there so they can clearly be seen on a small screen; if you're speaking make sure you're close to your phone so it's not too quiet; if you use words make the font LARGE; and if possible make the video in such a way as to not need sound to make sense.

I'd love some more ideas in the comments, but here's a few video ideas to start things off:

Customer Service: answering questions with video. If you use Twitter for customer service or a channel for enquiries, you'll know that often when one person answers a question it's worth ensuring everyone can see the answer (hence the twitter dot!) as many will find it useful. There could be even more impact to answering a question with video. So for example, a basic query like 'how do I locate a DVD' gets much more interesting if the answer is a video...

Transient videos. By which I mean, something where a video is appropriate or useful or funny or tapping into some sort of meme, but which you don't neccessarily want a 'permanent record' of on your YouTube channel. It's not that Twitter videos aren't permanent of course - they are - but just that your YouTube vids form a sort of canon which needs to be left alone, so the most important videos don't drown under lesser inconsequential ones. But Twitter video would be a way of getting something out there - news about an event, say - without that feeling of permanence.

If you do need to keep them though, you have the option to embed like I did above, meaning a Twitter video can be seen by and used by those not on Twitter, via the Library website, blog, or LibGuides.

Lightning Tours. Everyone loves a virtual tour! And you need a longer video to tour an entire library, but what about a new building, or new collection? 30 seconds should be doable.

Quick-fire 'Screen Capture'. Narrate a video which tells your users how to do something useful  and then tweet it as a twitter video. So that opens up instant guides to using equipment, finding stuff, getting the most out of databases etc. Here's an example of that, explaining how to make Billboards in Photofunia. (You could even have a #30SecondsOn... series.)

Ask A Librarian. For the brave and camera-confident, get a Twitter Q&A going, and answer the best questions with a to-camera answer from someone who knows what they're talking about.

Previews. Preview a larger video (a full virtual tour, say, or an infolit guide) with a movie-style trailer on Twitter video.

That's all I can think of for now but people are bound to come up with more creative ideas, and I'd love to hear them.

There's more on Twitter Video here. How are you going to use Twitter video in your library?

Social Media: The best times to post

 

I like an infographic that actually tells us something useful. So, following the 'social media image sizing' one from a few weeks back, here's a 'when to post' infographic from QuickSprout.

I didn't used to think social media timings were important, but increasingly I think it is worth trying to hit times of peak engagement IF you're tweeting or posting something important, particularly when using social media as an organisation rather than just for yourself. If you've put effort into creating useful content, you want as many people to see it as possible.

Image courtesy of QuickSprout - click on it to view it on their site

Image courtesy of QuickSprout - click on it to view it on their site

Size matters: Cheat Sheets for Optimal Image Sizing and Update Length on Social Media

 

This posts features two massive infographics: thanks to Darren Jones and Claire Dolan who I saw tweeting about these a while back.

First of all we have the Social Media Design Sizing Cheat Sheet

The Omnicoreagency.com cheat sheet below shows you exactly how big (to the pixel) the images for each element of your social media profile need to be. This is genuinely useful for organisations on social media, as you can get a huge amount of customer interaction via Twitter and Facebook; the wrong sized image will either be distorted to auto-cropped in your profile or header pics, which undermines how professional you appear. Consistency is important on social media for organisations, but you can't literally use the same image in all circumstances because the dimensions won't be appropriate.

So for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and (both) Google+ users, here's all the info on image sizing you'll ever need...

(Scroll waaaay down to below the infographic to find a tool which will resize your images for you!)


Second of all we have the Social Image Resizer Tool

So perhaps you're convinced that size matters when it comes to social media images - but wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to actually crop your images yourself? All that faffing about and resizing to the exact pixel.

Well step forward the Social Image Resizer Tool - give it your image, then choose from various Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google and YouTube image sizes and it'll crop your image down to the right proportions.

Click to go to open the Image Resizer Tool in a new window

Click to go to open the Image Resizer Tool in a new window

 

Finally we have the Optimal Length of (almost) Everything Online Cheat Sheet

This one from Buffer is less definitively useful, but interesting all the same. Which length of Tweet, hashtag, Facebook update, blog headline, email subject line etc gets the most engagement? Glad you asked, right this way: