Twitter for Education: Best Practices

Getting Social with Social Media

The overall goal, regardless of social media channel, is to engage and provide information to your audience. That information needs to be more than just your information and content; it needs to be content that is relevant and valued by your audience.

A good rule of thumb: 80% of the content shared on social media should not be about you or your brand. It needs to be about the questions that your audience has about the service you provide.

For example, a successful engagement for an organization would be to share regular content updates about the items that answer your audience’s most pressing questions and providing content in which they are most interested. Sprinkled into the 20% would be how your particular organization answers those questions.

Engagement is a different form of marketing and social media is a different platform by which educating is preferred over advertising.

Best practices for Twitter include:

When looking specifically at your Twitter for education strategy, keep these in mind:

  • Keep to 100 Characters or Less. Even though Twitter allows 144 characters, be sure to keep your post shorter than 100 characters for others to retweet and have the room to add their own comment. Posts shorter than 50 characters are often clicked more frequently than longer posts.
  • Post with Image. Imagery (including videos) increases click rates and sharing. Be sure to use relevant images that add to the story. Consider infographics, photographs, quotes, and other elements of content.
  • Add Personal Thought/Opinion. When curating the content of others, be sure to add your own thought or reason for sharing. This may be as simple as “Nice reminder” or “Great article”
  • Use # Hashtags. To share your content with those who are not currently following you, be sure to use relevant hashtags. Specific recommendations are included in the following sections. Keep the hashtags to less than two and research at to find appropriate and popular tags to use.
  • Reference Others. When sharing the content of others (especially individuals) be sure to make reference of their Twitter handle (i.e. @bartcaylor) so that they will notice the share. This will typically prompt them to retweet to their followers. This can be most effective with users with higher social authority to gather additional followers.
  • Reply Effectively. A little-recognized protocol in Twitter includes the following: When you send a tweet, if you start with the “@“ symbol as the first character, you will only be communicating directly with that user. By adding additional content prior to the Twitter handle, you will broadcast to both your audience and the audience of the user. @contact at beginning (whisper) versus public conversation (not at beginning).
  • Times to Post Most. Effective time can be discerned from Followerwonk and other tools.


Photo courtesy of mkhmarketing(CC Attribution)

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