Twitter Mastery


Twitter can be a powerful tool for any start up business. We wouldn’t be here today if we didn’t have Twitter when we started out.

Whilst other forms of marketing like SEO can take months to yield any real results Twitter can give you immediate access to people interested in your services so building followers should be something every business owner takes seriously.


Some Useful Twitter Terminology
Term Definition
Follow Following another user means that all their tweets will appear in your feed.
Click on their user name, and their profile will appear on the right of your
screen, with a bright green Follow button. Just click this to follow.
Who to follow
This is a list of Twitter’s suggestions of people or organizations that you
might want to follow, based on points of similarity with your profile. Scroll
down the list and click the green Follow button next to anyone you want to.
Unfollow To stop seeing someone else’s tweets, go to your following list and find
the person you want to stop following and hover the cursor over the green
Following button until it is replaced by the red Unfollow button, then click.
Block From time to time a spammer or other unsavoury character may appear in
your Followers list. Click the head and shoulders icon next to the unwanted
follower’s name so that the ‘Block [their name]’ option appears – click this
and they will be removed from your Followers list.
For any form of spammer or malware user it’s a good idea to click also
‘Report [their name] for spam’ so as to limit their capacity to annoy others.
You should look at and weed out your ‘Followers’ list regularly. Twitter shows
the new followers at the top of the list.
Retweet or RT To share somebody else’s tweet that you have seen in your feed, hover
above it and select retweet. It then goes to all your followers, with a small
arrow icon, which shows others that this wasn’t originally your tweet.
Reply To respond to somebody else’s tweet, hover over it and select the Reply
option, which will then appear in their @Mentions column. They may also
reply to you, so check your @Mentions column.
@ Used in tweets when you want to mention another user. Also the first part of
every Twitter user name – for example @LSEimpactblog
Mentions Check your @Mentions column to see when others have mentioned you.
# Hashtag – used to categorize tweets. Popular topics are referred to as
trending topics and are sometimes accompanied by hashtags, such as
#london2012 #davidwilletts. Click on any of them listed on the home page
and you’ll see a list of related tweets from many different users. Including
popular hashtags that are already in use in a tweet may attract more

Hashtags are also used as part of ‘backchannel’ communication around
an event, be it a conference, a TV programme or a global event. An event
audience can share comments, questions and links with each other while
continuing to follow the formal presentation.

Direct Message
or DM
These are private messages that you can send to other Twitter users. Click
the Message menu at the top of the home page.
Given that a typical web address is rather long and clumsy, free URL
shortening sites such as and provide shorter links
which you can paste into tweets. Simply copy the web address of the page
that you’d like to share, paste it into the box on either site, and you will be
given a short link which will re-direct anybody who clicks on it back to the
original page you want to share.

Tweeting Styles

Once you are happy with your profile, understanding the three tweeting styles is next.

1. Substantive tweet style are written in complete sentences, and are always intelligible on their
own. This style can appear formal or corporate so is often used by large organisations or news
outlets, such as @intoxcy8me.
The first part of the tweet is a shortened URL, used instead of a long link
which would take up too many characters. Links in the form of shortened URLs to news stories
will tend to appear at the end of the tweet, but sometimes can be found at the beginning.

This style is suitable for teaching-based use and for Twitter accounts linked to blogs, as well as
official department accounts. For individual academics this style may seem uptight, but is more
suitable for senior academics already known for their research intensive careers.

2. The conversational style is much more fragmented and relaxed, the opposite to the
substantive style, with users sharing stories from a variety of sources, engaging in conversation
with others, and making more use of abbreviations. The content is eclectic and covers
professional and personal interests, so is popular with individual tweeters from all backgrounds.

This style will be a comfortable fit with younger academics, and the personalized element can
help students to empathize with tutors if used for a teaching-based account. The style can work
well for blogs which thrive on comments and interaction, although is problematic for department

3. A middle ground or compromise style is feasible and is widely used in academia. Many thinktanks,
blogs, magazines, and companies also adopt this style of tweeting, as it takes the best of
the substantive and conversational styles. Again, this tweet ends with a shortened URL.

This style conveys personality well without being too informal, and is a good fit for a smaller
academic department. However, ‘control anxieties’ or internal rivalries can complicate its use in
large departments, and it is not really suitable for whole-university level.
The table overleaf shows the pros and cons of each tweeting style in more detail.

Tweeting Styles

Style Features Pros Cons
– Tweet is always in full

– Few abbreviations are used,
except for shortened URLs

– Must be independently

– Normally each tweet is the
headline or ‘taster’ for a blog
post, web article or other
longer piece of text

– Focus is consistent and
solely professional or singletopic

– The team producing tweets
often remains invisible

– Always make sense
to all readers

– Especially
accessible when
viewed in a
combined stream of
many tweets from
different authors

– Attracts followers
with well-defined

– No conversational
element, so can
appear corporate
and impersonal

– Hence may turn
off some potential

– Takes a
professional skill to
always write crisply
and substantively

Conversational Style – Most or many tweets are
fragments from an ongoing
conversation with followers

– or thoughts from many
different aspects of tweeter’s

– Content is eclectic, drawing
on professional interests
but also on personal life,
commenting on current
events, etc. and so covers
diverse topics

– Includes author photograph

– Conveys personality
well for individuals,
or organisational
culture for collective

– Attracts people who
like this personality
or culture (usually

– Good at building
‘community’ and
identification with site

– Some tweets only
make sense to those
who are involved in
their conversation

– Very hard to follow
in a Twitter feed
from many different

– With eclectic
contents many
followers may not
value many of the

– Hence incentives
for some folk to
unfollow over time

Middle ground or Compromise Style – Most tweets are substantive
as above but some are short
and conversational

– Goes beyond a ‘corporate’
focus without being too

– Uses retweets to diversify/
liven up the tweet stream

– Uses team photos, and the
blog site or website identifies
team members well

– Injects more
personality or
culture into a
basically professional

– Most tweets are

– Some
tweets will not make
sense when read
in combined tweet

Building up your followers

Whether you’re using Twitter as an individual or for a group project, tweeting regularly will ensure
that you regularly attract new followers.

Collective accounts for departments, research projects, and multi-author blogs are the easiest
to keep active because there is a constant stream of news and information to tweet about.
It is perfectly legitimate to repeat tweets in a rephrased form throughout the day, as not all of
your followers will be paying attention all the time.

Individuals might want to decide how often they want to tweet and try to stick to that, once
a day is the perfect starting point. The speedy and concise tweets will become a part of your
routine and you’ll realise that you’ve become a regular tweeter. Try to send out tweets at a
time of day when most people may be looking out for them, usually 10-11am, or 2-3pm for UK
readers, but bear in mind that international readers will access at different times.

Individual tweeters rarely repeat tweets, but some respond to comments in ways that help direct
attention to the original tweet. Also learn lessons from which style of tweet works best for your
audience. Which get retweeted or bring in most readers for your blog or research papers?

Updates from special events (like seminars, conferences, research trips) can be interesting
for your followers. Departments, projects and professional bodies can use also conferences and
events to tweet more often. Aim to provide those who could not come in person with details of
what is going on, commentary or gossip, links to podcasts or webcasts of the conference, details
of where to download papers, and so on.

Many conferences now assign a Twitter hashtag (#) to their event. Using the main search bar
you could do a search for the relevant hashtag, then scroll through the results to see who else is
attending and is worth trying to talk to at the end. Others will be flattered that you’ve seen their
tweets, and will no doubt have tips to exchange.

Following other users is an important reciprocal means of growing your followers. If you
consider following someone, look through their tweets first to make sure, because being a
follower is a kind of endorsement. If you follow them, they are likely to follow you.

Promote your Twitter profile through your email signature, business card, blog posts and
presentations, and encourage others to contact you this way if it is appropriate.

Building up your twitter followers.

Being careful with Twitter

It is important for all those in the public eye to manage their online
reputation. Academics and researchers still need to bear in mind the
importance of not broadcasting views on Twitter that could radically
backfire with their employers, colleagues, students and other
university stakeholders. Remember, all tweets are public unless you
change your settings.

It is best not to tweet if you’re feeling ratty late at night and never
when drunk either! If you do happen to tweet anything you regret, you
can find the delete button if you run your
mouse over the offending tweet.

A Twitter operation can add extra value to almost any research project in several ways.
Tweet about each new publication, website update or new blog that the project completes. To
gauge feedback, you could send a tweet that links to your research blog and ask your followers
for their feedback and comments.

For tweeting to work well, always make sure that an open-web full version or summary of every
publication, conference presentation or talk at an event is available online. Summarize every
article published in closed-web journal on a blog, or lodge an extended summary on your
university’s online research depository. In addition, sites like are useful for
depositing open web versions.

Tweet about new developments of interest from the project’s point of view, for instance, relevant
government policy changes, think tank reports, or journal articles.

Use hashtags (#) to make your materials more visible – e.g. #phdchat. Don’t be afraid to start
your own hashtag, my favorite one is #yougottobetwittingme

Use your tweets to cover developments at other related research sites, retweeting interesting
new material that they produce. This may appear to some as ‘helping the competition’, but in
most research areas the key problem is to get more attention for the area as a whole. Building up
a Twitter network of reciprocating research projects can help everyone to keep up to date more
easily, improve the standard and pace of debate, and so attract more attention (and funding) into
the research area.

Twitter provides many opportunities for ‘crowd sourcing’ research activities across the
sciences, social sciences, history and literature – by getting people to help with gathering
information, making observations, undertaking data analysis, transcribing and editing documents
– all done just for the love of it. Some researchers have also used Twitter to help ‘crowdsource’
research funding from interested public bodies. You can read more about crowdsourcing at the
LSE Impact blog.

Reaching out to external audiences is something that Twitter is exceptionally good for. Making
links with practitioners in business, government, and public policy can happen easily. Twitter’s
brevity, accessibility and immediacy are all very appealing to non-academics.

At the end of each month, Twitter can be used as a painless metric
to assess how your tweeting is working for you and your project.

Showing the growth in your followers and the number of people who
read your research blog can also be helpful for funding applications.

You could make short notes on the following:

  • The number of followers you have
  • The names of those who could be useful for future collaboration
  • Invitations to write blog posts or speak at events, which have come
    via Twitter
  • Number of hits to your own blog posts via Twitter

Using Twitter alongside blogging

The synergies here are very strong, especially for multi-author blogs updated frequently. Make
sure that every page of your blog includes a visible Twitter logo (usually grouped with Facebook
and RSS logos), and tweet about every new blog that you post, perhaps two or three times
over a few hours with somewhat different phrasing. Popular items, or older blogs which become
topical because of new developments, often merit ‘reminder’ tweets.

It is a good idea to use substantive narrative titles for your blogs that give a condensed summary
of the argument. These can then be reused as the main tweet text, along with a shortened URL.
You could also use Twitter to source guest blog posts from your followers. Doing this regularly
will grow your followers and interest in your project.

If you are new to blogging
and would like to learn more
about how others have used it
as part of a larger
communication strategy, do a search for
downloadable resources and a
wide selection of useful guest
posts, including this one by
Intoxcy8me on the role
blogging has played in
increasing the impact of his
research, are all available. A quick and simple way of keeping in regular contact with friends, and
alerting those interested in your work, is by sending regular tweets.

Whilst other forms of marketing like SEO can take months to yield any real results Twitter can give you immediate access to people interested in your services so should be something every business owner takes seriously.

If you want to start building followers and increasing your brand recognition take a look at this infographic from Ink Themes.

Effective Ways to Increase Twitter Followers and Build Your Business



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