Twitter is a social media platform1 for publicly sharing information in “tweets.”2 Tweets are limited to 280 characters (text and emojis) and four photos or a video (including GIFs).3 Tweets may be sent or read at twitter.com or on its “app” (application).4
By tweeting, a journal promotes (i.e., advertises) itself, expands its audience, and strengthens its tie to it.5 The effect is more readers (i.e., “unique users”), reads (i.e., “pageviews”), submissions, authors,6 cites and other measures of impact (e.g., Altmetrics).7
There is no fee to join Twitter or send and read tweets. Those things take time and effort, however. Anyone can pay Twitter to provide extra promotional services, but those are not covered in this guide.8
Anyone can create a Twitter account at twitter.com or on its app.9 To set up multiple Twitter accounts (e.g., one for the editor, one for the journal), consult How to Manage Multiple Accounts.10 Create a Twitter Profile for Your Business lists best practices for the profile photo, header photo, display name, account @name, bio, and pinned tweet.
The basics of tweeting are at the New User FAQ. If the journal’s “tweeter” is new to the platform, start there or wing it. Once a tweeter is comfortable using the platform, business.twitter.com has a wealth of resources for getting better at tweeting. Below are key things to know and act on.
“Campaigns” refer to strategies for achieving measurable outcomes11 on Twitter and associated promotional goals.12 Two goals are applicable to a journal: increased “awareness” and “consideration” of it.13 They refer to, respectively, people knowing about a journal and then thinking about using it—as a reader or author. Those goals can be pursued through campaigns that focus on these Twitter metrics:14
Engagement—promote consideration by getting more people to see and interact with the journal’s tweets.15 For strategies, go here.
Followers—promote consideration by attracting new followers of the journal.16 For strategies, go here.
Impressions—promote consideration by increasing the number of times the journal’s tweets are seen. For strategies, see this footnote.17
Reach—promote awareness by expanding the number of people who see the journal’s tweets.18 For strategies, go here.
Website clicks—promote consideration by increasing visits to the journal’s website and actions once there.19 For strategies, go here.
Some aspects of the linked-to strategies involve doing things outlined below. If you want to focus on one of the above outcomes then it is best to visit the strategy page dedicated to it.
The timing of tweets affects their reach, impressions, engagement, website clicks, and acquisition of new followers. When is the best time to send tweets? It depends.20 Twitter’s advice is (nothing more than) to try out different day/time mixtures to see what works best for you.21 The best time is that which maximizes inclusion of your tweets in users’ “recommended timeline” (i.e., “home timeline”).22 Twitter has an algorithm that puts tweets closer to the top of that timeline—and thus more likely to have an impact—“based on accounts you [the user] interact with frequently, [t]weets you engage with, and … a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how much people in your network are interacting with it.”23 It is thought that the algorithm also prioritizes tweets that are more recent, have “rich media” (e.g., images, videos, polls), and come from more engaged accounts.24
The form and content of tweets affect their impact, too. Twitter offers a lot more advice on what to tweet than when. At least initially, therefore, it makes more sense to focus on composing better tweets than figuring out when to send them. This also hits two birds with one stone, as more engaging tweets are more likely to get added to recommended timelines.
“Creatives” are the text, images, and videos of tweets.25 Creatives have a more engaging form when they are:
Actionable—tell the viewer what to do26 and to do it now.27
Branded—make sure the viewer knows its you (i.e., the journal).28
Captioned—write out what is said in videos.29
Consistent—stick to a template.30
Eye-catching—use images and videos that pop with bold colors.31
Human—use an informal tone, emojis, and people in images and videos.32
Pointed—start with the key message and do not distract from it.33
Original—make your own template, branding, images, and videos.34
Short—use less than 100 characters35 and video that is <15 seconds.36
Simple—make the point clear37 with no more than two hashtags (“#”).38
Twitter offers ideas on the general types of content—or themes—to include in tweets, though some of the suggestions overlap with aspects of form:
Advertise + Product forward—put your old and new articles centerstage.39
Background—share the stories and context that led to the journal or its current happenings.40
Before-and-after + Behind-the-scenes—show your journal’s processes and the effects.41
Contest—create a friendly competition involving tweets42 or do a giveaway.43
Customer spotlight—share the “stories, tips, or reviews”44 of people who use your journal.
Data visualization—show the impact your journal is having.45
How to—give instructions, guides, “pro tips” and the like.46
Launch + Update—let people know about new articles or changes to the journal.47
Live video + Stop motion and slideshow—interact with people in real time or show off your journal with a GIF-like video.48
Q&A—shed light on user-questions that are common (i.e., FAQ), solicited, or otherwise received.49
Respond—if someone tweets about the journal, make sure they know they were heard.50
Spotlight + Showcase—show the people involved in making the journal.51
Support—your journal benefits from retweeting, liking, and otherwise engaging with other accounts.52
Survey—see what people think with a Twitter Poll.53
Trending—connect your journal to events like holidays or news.54
Unboxing—help potential authors and readers envision using the journal.55
User-generated content—share users’ positive feedback about the journal.56
Try different campaigns, day/time combinations, creatives, and themes to see what works well for your journal. You can take an evidence-based approach by using Twitter’s analytic resources.57 The journal will have to sign up for a (free) Twitter business account here. By doing so, it will also get better options for creating and sending tweets.
business.twitter.com/en/business-insights.html: Provides a concise overview of the account’s engagement and growth with related pro tips and articles on how to improve.
analytics.twitter.com/user/the-journal’s-handle:58 Provides more details—on the homepage and under “Analytics”—on tweets, including impressions, profile visits, mentions, new followers, link clicks, and more.59 If credit card information is added60 then extra resources become accessible:
“Creatives” include a tweet composer (i.e., a place to draft tweets) with a scheduler; a way to see and filter prior and drafted tweets; a cards library; and, a media library. And here, you can add up to six photos, two more than normal.
“Tools” and “Campaigns” are only relevant if the journal is paying Twitter for promotion, so nothing further is said of them herein.
For further information on how to get better at tweeting, peruse Twitter Business Insights and Twitter Flight School.