Social Media Tips

Top Tips

  • Post compelling content regularly
  • Respond to members who proactively post
  • Ask questions to spark conversation
  • Target content to different audiences
  • Include links
  • Post photos and link to videos

Twitter Tips


Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet.

  • People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.

  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword.

  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.

  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.

Example: In the Tweet below, @eddie included the hashtag #FF. Users created this as shorthand for "Follow Friday," a weekly tradition where users recommend people that others should follow on Twitter. You'll see this on Fridays.

Public events often promote a specific hashtag to help make it easier to follow the conversation around the event.  For example, for last year’s commencement with President Obama, our hashtag was #barnard2012.  For the Christine Quinn event, our hashtag was #quinnatbarnard.  And at the Women in the World conference, the official event hashtag was #wiw13.  If you are tweeting from an event, it’s a good idea to use the official hashtag.

When and how often to tweet

Tweeting regularly (at least once or twice per day, most days of the week) keeps you on people’s Twitter home screen and top of mind.  Tweeting too frequently can be considered an annoyance, and tweeting too infrequently can make people more likely to ignore you.  A good rule of thumb is to strike a balance between tweets that inform, engage, and converse and tweets that are self-promotional in some way.

Immediacy is also an important element of Twitter, particularly when using a hashtag as part of a public event.  “Live tweeting” an event is one example where a delay of even a few minutes can be meaningful.  Live tweeting is to engage on Twitter for a continuous period of time—anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours—with a sequence of focused tweets. The focus can be a big live event that everybody's paying attention to (e.g. a TV show or an award show) or it can be an event you create yourself (e.g. a Q&A session with your fans).

Following people

Following someone on Twitter means:

·      You are subscribing to their Tweets as a follower.

·      Their updates will appear in your Home tab.

·      That person is able to send you direct messages.

Getting followers

The best way to gain friends and fans on Twitter is to engage with people, follow others whose Tweets are interesting or meaningful to you, and be an active part of the Twitter community by reading and posting high-quality information.

Getting followers is an important part of using Twitter effectively, because the more followers you have, the more people who are subscribed to your Tweets.  Grow your follower base by publicizing your Twitter handle frequently.  Consider adding it to the President’s Office page on the website, printed materials, and mentioning it when speaking at events.  We can also cross-promote your Twitter handle through the main @BarnardCollege account.

Some followers may be spam.  To report spam:

1.    Visit the spam account's profile.

2.    Click the person icon. This brings up a drop-down actions menu.

3.    Click on Report @username for spam.

Following back

Twitter etiquette suggests that you follow back those who follow you.  However, there is also plenty of spam, PR and marketing accounts who will follow you in the hopes that you will follow them back.  You do not need to follow these accounts.

Etiquette do’s and don'ts

  1. Do go in with a plan. Make posts strategic and only share information that's relevant to followers.

  2. Do use the 80/20 self-promotion rule. Some self-promotion on Twitter is ok, but if your tweets are entirely about your own projects, people will tire quickly of your posts.

  3. Don't get too personal. Information shared on Twitter is public and stays that way.  Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a reporter to see.

  4. Don't sound too buttoned up either. Try to keep your audience in mind by posting things that are relatable, useful, and/or entertaining.

  5. Do interact with followers. If your followers reach out, it’s a good idea to respond and include them in the conversation so they'll feel more connected to you.

  6. Do try to keep your tweets to around 120 characters. This will allow other people to retweet you and add a few comments without going over the 140 character limit.

This article is a great overview of Twitter etiquette and is worth a quick read.

@BarnardCollege on Twitter

The main @barnardcollege account is managed by the Communications department.  Our tweets generally fall into the following categories: promoting a public event, promoting a student event, live-tweeting an event, just-in-time posts about something happening on campus right now, and feel-good posts like a photo of students studying under the magnolia tree.  We also post about inclement weather or other emergency situations.

We try to always include either a link to more information, a photo, or both in our tweets.  We also try to tag any relevant people or groups as well.