No, a tweep is not a horrible insult, some kind of cross between twit and dweeb and wimp; it just means a person on Twitter. Twitter is the social media platform, a Tweet is what you share, and hopefully by week 4 of #tptSMsurge, you are a Tweep!
For many of us, Twitter is uncharted territory. Facebook is our old friend, Instagram is quick and simple, and Pinterest appeals to our visual nature. So where does Twitter fit in?
Twitter is THE place to connect. You can use #hashtags to search for exactly what or who you are looking for, and better yet, others can search and find you. You can join a chat for your grade (#1stchat = first grade chat) or for your subject (#pechat = physical education chat) or even for your style of teaching (#tlap = teach like a pirate).
Since it is "Follower Friday" we'll be focused on how Twitter and TPT fit together. Let's start by taking a look at a few Twitter bios from some TPT authors. If you're new to Twitter, your bio is one of the first steps to creating your account. You'll want it to make it perfect so that who you are really shines through. If you are already a tweeting machine, don't worry, these tips will make your bio even better.
First check out Maria (Maria Manore Gavin on TPT). She uses a photo of herself for her profile photo and her real full name. Her twitter handle (@kindercraze) is consistent with the name of her blog. To further the connection between Twitter account and blog, she uses her blog banner as her header photo (not pictured here). Her description is specific and searchable. If you were searching for Kindergarten teachers on twitter, you would find her. Maria also shares a little bit about herself to help create a connection: "polka-dot enthusiast and over of all things tidy, brightly covered & organized." She mentions her blog in her bio as well as including the link below. Finally, she maximizes the number of characters available, using about 140 of the 160 characters allowed. You will notice that Maria's focus in her bio is on her blog, NOT her TPT store.
Next up is Jennifer (Cult of Pedagogy on TPT) who also uses a photo of herself for her profile photo and her real full name. Her twitter handle (@cultofpedagogy) is consistent with the name of her blog and store, and her header photo (not pictured here) is consistent with the type of images she uses on her blog. I think you are getting that consistency is key here. Jennifer includes "NCBT" to highlight her accomplishment of being a National Board Certified Teacher as well as to help connect her with other NBCTs. Like Maria, she mentions her blog in her bio as well as including the link below. In her bio, Jennifer also includes a link to Teacher's Guide to Tech, a digital binder (think ebook) that she has written, another accomplishment. Finally, Jennifer chooses to share her home state which would help her to connect with other educators locally. Similar to Maria, you will notice that Jennifer's focus in her bio is on her blog, NOT her TPT store.
And last but not least, there is Erin (Erintegration on TPT). She uses her blog button/store logo in place of a photo, but still uses her real full name. Her twitter handle (@Erintegration) is consistent with the name of her blog and her store, and her header photo (not pictured here) emphasizes her specialization in iPad resources. Like Maria and Jennifer, Erin's bio is specific and searchable, including "3rd grade teacher" and "Technology Integration Facilitator." Her blog is linked below her bio. Erin also includes the information about the Twitter chat she hosts, #tptchat, on Sunday nights from 8 to 9 pm Eastern Standard Time. This is her only mention of TPT, and it is an indirect one.
Tips & Takeaways:
1. Your Twitter bio is not the place to market your TPT store. It is a forum for connecting with other educators and like-minded individuals. Make sure your bio fosters these connections.
2. Twitter and blogging go hand in hand. Include a link to your blog, either in your bio or in the space below for a link, and create a Twitter handle that is consistent with your blog name.
3. Include specific, searchable terms in your bio like the grade or subject you teach. Using hashtags will make you even more searchable.
4. Maximize the 160 characters. Think about how to use that space to tell people what you do or believe in, to share your accomplishments, and to create a connection through personal details or humor.
5. Don't be an egghead. Whether you choose to use a real photograph or a logo, have some kind of image to represent yourself.
Want to Know More?
For more tips on a stellar Twitter bio check out this article (with great examples) or this one (which also discusses the challenges). Just for fun, you can use this Twitter Bio Generator to create a bio for you. Caution: it may be entirely inaccurate, but will make you laugh.
So now you are probably wondering, if TPTers aren't tweeting about TPT, what are they sharing on Twitter? Like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, you always want to think about how you can provide content of value to your followers. Becky talked about the basics of Twitter and some tech tips here yesterday. She'll give tips for varying your content on "Mix It Up Monday," but let's begin to think about the topic by looking at some TPTers' Twitter feeds.
This first Twitter feed comes from Englishlulu (@englishlulu on Twitter; her TPT store is Mrs. E's Literature Daydreams). Englishlulu is an English teacher in London.
Her tweets include one about test data IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) and a retweet about grading boundaries. As an English teacher in the US they don't mean much to me, but both of these tweets would appeal to the majority of her followers, other English teachers in Great Britain.
Another tweet is a personal reflection: "so proud of our kids today." Englishlulu uses a hashtag at the end of that statement, #results2015, which would include this tweet in a search of that hashtag.
The final tweet includes a link, a hashtag, and an image. The shortened link takes you to a post on her blog, Mrs. E's Literature Daydreams, which details a back to school/getting to know you activity with a free download. The hashtag would cause this tweet to show up in the feed for #engchatuk. In addition, tweets with images have an engagement rate 5 times higher than tweets without images.
Next up is The Science Penguin (@SciencePenguin on Twitter; her TPT store is The Science Penguin). She is a self described "teacher turned curriculum artist" from Austin, Texas.
While all of the tweets shown here are connected to teaching, the first tweet is related to science, her content area specialty. It includes a shortened link which takes you to one of her blog posts. Four days later, she shared that same tweet with a hashtag and an image and its engagement tripled.
Shown here are four of the seven tweets The Science Penguin shared on August 6th. Tweeting often is important to establishing your presence on Twitter. It is likely that she uses TwitterFeed or a similar service to automatically tweet posts from blogs that she follows. Each of those tweets includes a shortened link to the article and its source, like @elaclassroom (tagging another Twitter user like that is called a mention).
Because she is using the source's twitter handle rather than just the name of her blog, this tweet will show up as a notification for @elaclassroom, who will then likely retweet and/or favorite the tweet, which creates more exposure for both Twitter accounts.
Besides using shortened links and mentioning other Twitter users, The Science Penguin also writes her tweets in a certain style (title casing), almost like newspaper headlines, and keeps them fairly short (70-100 characters is best). This makes her tweets very easy on the eyes and ideal for retweeting because there is room for the retweeter to add his/her own thoughts. If you use Twitterfeed, it gives you choices of how you want tweets to appear and the option of adding content at the end of the tweet, like a mention or hashtag.
Tips & Takeaways:
1. Know your audience (your followers) and provide content that is relevant and valuable to them.
2. Adding appropriate hashtags will also help connect you with your audience.
3. Again, Twitter and blogging go hand and hand. Use your tweets to lead people to your blog (especially since that is where you may be marketing your resources).
4. Make your tweets easy to read and medium sized, long enough to say something of value but still short enough for a person retweeting to add his/her commentary as well.
5. Increase engagement with your tweets by mentioning others and/or including images.
Want to Know More?
For more tips on writing great tweets, check out this article (it shares the research behind its suggestions) and this one (which breaks down the components of the perfect tweet).
Feeling overwhelmed? Wondering how you were going to remember all of this? I put all of my tips & takeaways into this infographic for you. Save it, pin it, make it your desktop image, whatever works for you. Hope to see you on Wednesday 8/19 for our final #tptSMsurge chat.