It's time for me to step my Twitter game up. I recently attended the Nearpod Pionear Summit, and I got to bend the ear of two Twitter power users in Monica Burns and Jennifer Williams. Both Jennifer and Monica clear 20,000 followers, and I want to get up there with them. My Twitter game isn't bad at over 5,000 followers, but they gave me some good tips to get even better. Being in the ed tech sphere is all about reach, and here are the five things I am doing to raise my game.
1. Chat, Chat, Chat:
Chatting is one I knew, but I had gotten away from. Twitter chats are easy ways to find like-minded educators on Twitter. The idea is that you get on a hashtag at a particular time of day to have a conversation centered around a topic. There is a moderator who sparks discussion by asking questions that folks respond to.
The good thing about chats, is there are tons of them out there. You can find a list of all the chats in the country on Cybarman's Page (sites.google.com/site/twittereducationchats/education-chat-calendar) You can also easily chat through Participate Learning's platform (participate.com/chats) which gives you an amazing way to see the chats and tweet directly from their platform. I also like their platform because it catalogs who is chatting which makes it easy to follow like minded individuals.
Chats are a great way to build that PLN because you start to realize you see the same folks in several of the same chats. From that, a relationship is born, and you can become fast friends when you see them on the Ed Tech circuit.
2. Always post pictures
Most of us respond better to images, so why not use them on Social Media? They help catch they to what you are trying to say, and everything can have a picture thanks to the magic of programs like Canva and Spark Post.
Both Canva (canva.com) and Adobe Spark Post (spark.adobe.com/about/post) give you the ability to design graphics for Social Media and in Canva's instance many other things. Personally, I have known about Canva for a while, and I have used it to design social media graphics. I do however find it to be a bit cumbersome at times. There are just so many options within it, and I end up spending lots of time customizing my post to fit what I am trying to say.
Monica suggested Spark Post, and it has been something of a revelation to me. It makes creating those graphics simple and quick, and it even has an app. All you have to do is start with the text, pick a template, and then pick the picture. You then get a great graphic, and that takes me to the next tip.
3. Tag, Tag, Tag
A few years ago, Twitter added the ability to tag up to 10 people in a picture. The original goal was to allow users to let other users who were in their pictures know that those pictures had been posted, but in reality, you can use that function effectively to expand your social media reach.
If you're like me, this comes in handy because it lets you ignore the feed. If you have a large following the actual feed of what folks you follow post is a jumbled mess. There is just SO much in there because you get every tweet from people that you follow. If you tag a person in a photo, it shifts that tweet into their notifications where they are much more likely to see it, and if they see it, they are much more likely to retweet it. That's called expanding your reach.
The one thing that gets funky with tagging is, "who, so you tag?" I have built up enough friends that I have a list of people saved in notability to tag. Some I tag for some things, and others I tag for other things. Ideally, I try and tag the ten people that have the most reach and I know are also interested in the topic.
4. Have content
I also have been a content provider for a while, but I need to step up my game in a big way in this space. To get folks interested on Twitter you have to have content that people care about, and I think there are two avenues to go: original and sourced.
Original content all starts with a blog or a website. You need to have a place that you totally control to put your ideas out there. For me, edtechspeeddating.com is that avenue, but there are others out there. Medium and Word Press can be good places to start a simple blog, or you can go full on website with something like Weebly or Google Sites.
On my front, it was interesting to hear Monica talk about her personal blog and to listen to some of the tips she had for that medium. The first was to not worry about advertising. You can make some money off Google Ad Sense when having a blog, but in reality, it's not enough to have a passable income. I have tried this in the past, and it was interesting to hear about how that was still her take even though her blog is wildly successful.
I think she also made me think about how I structured my blog. For the longest time, I have had three blogs: deep thoughts, app of the month, and gadget of the month. Going forward, I just have the blog. I think from a reader's standpoint it was too much. I needed to simplify. I also could easily roll the same type of app of the month blogs into my main blog. My hope is that it will make it easier for me to post, and it will make it easier for me to have articles that catch the attention like this one about upping your Twitter game.
5. Use IFTT
One of the things I struggle with is managing all of the things that come at me social media wise. I want to be proficient on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and the others, but I don't want to have to post separately to all of them. That's where If This Then That (iftt.com) comes in.
The idea behind IFTT is to be able to set off an internet reaction that ties to apps together. For example, I have an IFTT recipe setup that natively tweets any picture I post to Instagram. This allows me to post on Instagram and try to grow my Instagram following, but these post still go on my more followed Twitter account. You can also setup IFTT's that use Facebook. It comes down to what you need.
If you're not on Twitter, it's time to start. It can be a fantastic way to grow your following as well as connect with other educators. If you're a Twitter user, hopefully, these tips will help you step your game up. I know they will be part of my strategy!