Wednesday, December 18, 2013

20 #Twitter Tips for Teachers #edtech

Twitter escultura de arena

Twenty down and dirty Twitter tips.

Use your profile to say what you are as well as who you are

Teacher, Principal, Superintendent, Football coach ... People often search people similar to themselves to follow and will use similar these terms when searching for who to follow.

Sound interesting in your profile

Yes, this is a challenge in such a small space, but because you have so little to work with it's even more important. You have to sound interesting enough that people will think your tweets will be worth reading.

Add a photo

If you don't, you will be left with Twitter's strange egg image. This is off-putting for many people, not least because it can be the mark of a spammer.

Add a link (or two)

When your profile has to be super short, anyone in doubt will click on your link(s) to decide whether you're worth following. Put a link to your blog, class website or at least somewhere else online that you have a more detailed profile (such as Linked In, or a site you regularly write for).

Only follow people you're genuinely interested in

If you follow a load of random people in the hope that they will follow you back you'll soon find yourself overwhelmed with dubious tweets you aren't interested in.

Unfollow people who don't provide value

It's OK to unfollow people whose tweets aren't relevant to you. If you don't you'll miss the ones that are. If you ignored the tip above and started out following people in the hope they'd follow you back you can use a handy little tool called Friend or Follow to work out who didn't, and at the very least unfollow them.

Tweet useful stuff 

Sometimes it's OK to tweet things just for fun or do a status update type tweet, but generally speaking educators use Twitter to find useful information in their niche. Tweet about good articles, blog posts and resources you come across, with a link. After looking at someone's (very short) profile and their link, the only other thing people can use to decide whether to follow you or not is the quality of your previous tweets. High quality tweets are more likely to get re-tweeted as well.

Self-promote respectfully

It's fine to tweet your own articles and blog posts, or to tweet about your book launch. In fact it's expected. But remember to tweet and retweet other writers' posts and articles as well.

Don't link to anything that could be considered spam. Ever.

This is really annoying, and can get your account deleted.

Use #Hashtags

Hashtags are useful to indicate what your tweet is about and help others in your niche find it (I use #writingtips regularly). But if your #tweet #looks #like #this, you're overdoing it.

If you are going to use hash tags, use relevant ones

It will help get your tweets seen by other members of the community you're trying to reach. This is especially useful if you are sharing information about teaching or asking a teaching related question. Check here and here for a list of education hashtags.

Use lists

I was really slow on the uptake with this and am still trying to rectify it. Get organized from the start if you can and create lists to "file" people into (such as writers, teachers, principals, bloggers). You'll be able to find all the tweeters you follow in a particular area really quickly, and at the very least it will help you remember why you followed people.

Use @mentions when possible

When you want to communicate with someone directly (especially to say something positive or to thank them for a service) do it with an @mention, not a direct message. This is a public shout-out to them and will get them new followers, which is the least you can do if they've helped you out, or you've found their content particularly useful.

Use direct messages appropriately

I don't particularly like it (I'd rather send a shout-out in the public stream) but it is ok to send a thank you not to everyone who follows you.

Put a Twitter button on your blog or class website

This may sound obvious but some people really don't make it that easy to follow them.

Put a Tweet this button on your blog or site

If you're active on Twitter (or even if you don't use it at all) make it easy for others to tweet your posts and articles.

Try and build a targeted following

It really is better to have 500 followers who genuinely know who you are, want to read your work and maybe even buy your book when it comes out, than to have 5000 followers who have no idea who you are or why they followed you. Building a targeted following takes time and happens organically, which brings us to the next point.

Be patient

It takes time to find your way round Twitter. Don't give up if you don't 'get' it straight away. Hang out a bit more and see if it starts to make sense to you. Lots of articles will tell you how to get loads of followers really quickly but, as with so many things in life, quality is more important than quantity. Grow your following slowly and naturally you'll get a better class of follower.

Separate your personal and professional accounts

Twitter is one of the only platforms that allows you to have multiple accounts or 'handles.' Take advantage of this ... use one account as your professional account and one for your personal stuff.

Bonus: Be sure to follow @SchoolSZ

Recommended reading to get you started on Twitter:

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