Twitter is powerful tool. I almost always recommend that businesses start out with Twitter when it comes to social media. But like anything, Twitter is only powerful if you know how to use it.

Over this years, I’ve discovered a number of game changing hacks that will take your Twitter game to the next level. These small tweaks—on top of all the good stuff you’re already doing—can have a tremendous impact on your business bottom line.

1. Pin a Tweet to the Top of Your Profile

The latest Twitter updated gave users the ability to pin a tweet to the top of their profile page—but most people haven’t caught on yet! This is actually a very valuable feature. Regardless of when someone visits your profiles, they’ll be able to see one of your best tweets and immediately know what you’re all about.

Not all tweets are broadcast tweets. Personally, I spend a lot of time replying to tweets, live-tweeting events, and sharing quick personal stories. I spend even more time sharing highly valuable business and marketing content, but if you happened upon my profile right after I replied to a dozen mentions, you wouldn’t know that. All you would see are those conversations flooding my profile feed.

That’s why it’s so valuable to utilize the pinning feature. If new Twitter followers could only see one tweet, what would you want it to be? Pin that tweet to the top so they always will. I’ve pinned a tweet with a link to this post!

2. Don’t Start Tweets With An @ Symbol

This is one has been said many times, but since even Twitter veterans still make this mistake, it bears repeating: unless you’re having a conversation with someone, do not start your tweets with @username.

Although these tweets show up in your profile feed, they will not show up in the feeds of your followers—unless they happen to be following the user you mentioned. Twitter does this to filter out conversation clutter. Twitter assumes that if you and are having a direct conversation with someone else, most people won’t want to follow your conversation unless they know both of you. That’s why it gets filtered out.

However, if you want tweet about another user so that all your followers can read it, you’ll have to move the @username away from the beginning of the tweet. So instead of tweeting, “@ccampb85 has a really great blog – you should check it out!” (only people who follow both of us would see it) you’d want to tweet, “I really like @ccampb85′s blog – you should check it out!” (everyone following you would see it).

If this is a little bit confusing, I recommend checking out Garvy Vaynerchuck’s slideshow on the topic. He doesn’t a great job of explaining it!

Most people include a link to their website in their profile where it says URL (although some people even forget to do this!). The thing is, when users search profiles on Twitter, this link won’t show up. For example, when I search users for the word marketing on Twitter, one of the first profiles listed is Ad Age as seen below. They did includ a link to their website in the URL section, but it’s not visible here.

Instead, they they should also included a link in their bio. Most people will not click through to the extended profile. They will either click Follow, click through to a link in the bio, or if you’re lucky both. If they’re no link to your site, you’re losing traffic. See below, where Chris Brogan does it right.


4. Activate Twitter Cards On Your Website

Did you know you can control how your website content is display on Twitter? By activating Twitter Cards on your website, links shared on Twitter will display photos, videos, and other media automatically. This allows you to take up more real estate in users’ feeds, and will increase click throughs to your website.

It only requires a few lines of code on your site, and you get to choose which Twitter Card will work best. Instructions can be found at the bottle of this page.


It’s amazing how few people take advantage of Twitter Cards—especially since they’ve been proven to increase click throughs. Would you rather someone share a simple tweet with a link, or a robust media-rich tweet like this one:

5. Collect Email Addresses On Twitter For Free

Twitter Cards have another use beyond displaying your website content in a better way. Twitter Cards can also be used to collect email addresses. Typically, this is set up during a promoted tweet campaign when a business is paying to advertise on Twitter and collect more leads. Promoted tweets with Twitter Cards tend to perform very well because they make it easy for users to opt in. They don’t have to enter their email address manually, they simple need to consent with one click and Twitter will pass the information along.

Now here’s the secret most people aren’t aware of. You can create a Twitter Card that collects email opt-ins for free. You’ll have to make it through the ad manager, but once it’s created, you can use it without paying to promote it. This is very valuable because you’re decreasing the barriers involved with collecting email addresses. Your followers won’t need to click through to your website or enter their email address. They can opt in without leaving Twitter.

You can send these tweets out to all of your followers, or send them as a reply anytime anyone shares your content or says something positive about your business. Here’s a great guide with instructions on setting up Email Twitter Cards for free. It’ll a few steps, but it’s pretty easy to do.

6. Don’t Hashtag Words In A Sentence

Another common mistake that many Twitter users make is overdoing with hashtags. This is bad for readability and gets pretty annoying after a while. Don’t get me wrong, hashtags are hugely valuable. They open your tweets up to an audience far larger than your own, but it’s important to understand how they work. Any word included in a tweet is searchable, regardless of whether or not there a “#” in front of it. Hashtagging words in the middle of sentence adds no value, and is kind of distracting. If you want people searching for “Toronto” on Twitter to find your tweet, you don’t need to write, “The traffic in #Toronto is horrible today”. You can just write, “The traffic in Toronto is horrible today” instead.

Where hashtags do come in handy is when the word you want to be searchable is not included in your sentence. For example, “Traffic is horrible on Lakeshore – avoid it if you can! #Toronto”. There, the hashtag provides context, and makes your tweet searchable for anyone looking for information about Toronto—even though it wasn’t a part of your sentence.

7. Keep Your Tweets to 120 Characters

If you’ve been using Twitter for a few days now, you’ve probably figured out that you get 140 characters per tweet. It can be easy to max that out. I know I often spend time finding ways to shorten tweets to get them under the prescribed 140 characters! However, you’ve probably also noticed that people retweet a lot of stuff, and you’d probably like them to retweet some of your stuff from the time to time.

Make it easy for them by keeping your to tweets to 120 characters. It’s common for people to add a little bit of commentary at the beginning of a retweet but they need a few characters to do so!

8. Track Your Mentions the Right Way

If you’ve been using Twitter for even a few hours, you’ve probably figured out what it means to get mentioned on Twitter. When someone includes your handle, it shows up in your Notifications tab. But these likely aren’t the only mentions you’re getting. There’s a good chance people were talking about your business before you were even on Twitter. They would have simply tweet your business name without including your handle. Many people are probably still doing this.

It’s a good idea to be aware anytime someone is talking about your brand. These “mentions” could be complaints you need to address, questions you should answer, and even testimonials you’ll want to collect!

So how can you find them if you’ve been “mentioned”? It won’t show up in your notification tab but you can search for tweets with your business name in the. You’ll have to keep searching on a regular basis, though. Personally, I would forget!

Fortunately, there are a number of services that can track these mentions for you. Many Twitter tools include this as a feature of their product. My personal favourite is Sprout Social. It tracks mentions of my brand (and anything else I tell it to track), including shares of my domain. That makes it easy for me to find out who’s sharing my stuff. It will show up automatically in my inbox—along with official mentions.

Next Steps

All of these tips can implemented in less than an hour. With the exception of Twitter Cards, each individual hack takes a maximum of 5 minutes—many are just changes in how you tweet. Commit one hour in the next week to following through with all these tips. I bet it will only take half an hour and the impact on your business will be worth much more!

What have I missed? What are your most valuable Twitter tips? Let me know in the comments!