Tips and Tricks for better Twitter Cards

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A few weeks ago, we posted More Interactive Tweets, in More than 2000 ways on our blog for the general public. We outlined a few interesting uses of cards (we still call them “expanded Tweets” when talking about them generally). Around about the same time, my colleague Buster Benson, who’s actively working on the future of Cards, had a pretty interesting blog post of his own: Hidden Twitter Cards Potential. “Hidden”, as in “we are just scratching the surface”, rather than “hard to discover”. We wanted to provide a few more tips and tricks.

Get off the beaten path

After reviewing most of these 2000 submissions for technical correctness, I have to agree, the potential of #awesomeness with Twitter Cards is still to be fully realized. Here’s a few suggestions to make the most of Cards and stand out in the timelines, with a few of our favourite existing cards as examples to get you started. Put your thinking cap on!

Use the force, Luke

You get a line of bold clickable text with your Title tag, make the most of it (don’t reuse the same text in the Tweet and the title of the card). @HuffPostFood packs the power and hits the target.

Tips and Tricks for better Twitter Cards

Work it out, go the distance

You also have 200 extra characters available in the description, add more context and entice readers to click and read more. Think like good newspaper section editors, work these clever, witty, insightful headlines and captions! @NFL’s starts you up with the headline and gets you clicking for more.

Tips and Tricks for better Twitter Cards

Two for the price of one

Use the twitter:site and twitter:creator to get two @usernames out there with your Tweet, the main one for your publication and another for the writer, artist, seller, contributor or user of the media you are sharing on Twitter. Using @username in Tweets is a core part of our best practices for journalists (and honestly, it’s great advice for anyone too). @Etsy gives credit to their talented community members using attribution.

Tips and Tricks for better Twitter Cards

Pump it up

Show off those beautiful images! We support images up to 560x750px for high definition displays. Using a stunning picture with your Tweet is like getting an extra 1000 words! Also on mobile: bigger tap targets, better engagement. Take a peek to the great photos @natgeo has been sharing with us.

Tips and Tricks for better Twitter Cards

Freeze frame

Generate static images from your app or system. They travel really well on the network and get great distribution. Grab a frame of your live stream, a snapshot of a map, a badge a user just unlocked, a graph illustrating how the data looks like at this point in time… Quotes, captions, citations, illustrations, drawings. Make more meaning with visual punch. Check out @Findings rendering of quotes.

Tips and Tricks for better Twitter Cards

Come out and play

A player card is another great way to get attention. Make sure it works well natively on iOS and Android platforms (ie. no Flash, go for HTML5). Playlists, enhanced video players, slideshows, interactive images… But keep it “Twittery”. Short and to the point. A moment in time to share, retweet, favorite. You are in the stream. This is not a page you sit on for a long time. Capture the essence of the moment, enlighten us, but make it quick (hat tip to Ignite for teaching us this lesson). @Soundcloud plays it smooth and @Slideshare makes the most of what is shared on it’s network by getting more engagement via Twitter.

Tips and Tricks for better Twitter Cards

Tips and Tricks for better Twitter Cards

What will be your #awesome contribution

Four steps towards enlightenment:

  1. Review the documentation for Twitter Cards
  2. Code it up and test your markup using our preview tool
  3. Once it’s polished (and you are confidently kicking ass) you need to apply to participate
  4. Pro tip: for more complex player cards, apply with a dev or staging subdomains and Tweet from a protected account to test in private

We are eager to see what you will all come up with, the developer ecosystem on our platform never cease to astonish!