How journalists can get the most out of Twitter

By @chrisledlin
Monday, 22 September 2014

The real-time, public, conversational and widely distributed nature of Twitter means that news can reach broad audiences in an instant. This gives journalists the unprecedented ability to deliver news to their followers as developments unfold.

Over the last month we have met with journalists and news organisations all over the country to see how they incorporate Twitter into their toolkits. Our bootcamp sessions provided journalists, producers and editors a snapshot of how other organisations and journalists successfully use Twitter and how they can reach an even wider audience with some of the platform’s latest features.

Whether tracking a local story or contributing to a breaking national event, Twitter helps reporters gather and highlights what’s happening the instant it occurs. Here’s our guide on how journalists from any newsroom can make the most of Twitter.

People engage more with rich media Tweets

Adding video, links and photos all result in an impressive boost in the number of Retweets when people are Tweeting about news.

How journalists can get the most out of Twitter

Photos provide the biggest lift in Tweet performance, with quotes coming in a close second. If a journalist normally gets an average of 100 Retweets per post, a photo attached to that Tweet could potentially increase that average to 127. Full study here.

Multi-photo uploads

Journalists and news organisations can share a series of photos that automatically create a collage within one Tweet. When in the Twitter app, simply click the camera button and upload up to four images from your camera roll into one Tweet. This gives your followers a much more visual experience and also helps you showcase your story.



Using Vine in news

@vineapp gives reporters the ability to bring quick six second bursts of video to your story. Once you’ve made your Vine, share it directly to Twitter. Vine also gives you the ability to upload your own video directly to the app with new Vine Camera.



Using #hashtags in news

The hashtag symbol is used to mark keywords or topics. It turns the word into a link and makes it easier for people to find and follow a conversation about that topic.

A quick way to search for a #hashtag is to click the search icon in the top right of the app. Start typing and you’ll get recommended topics based on what you’ve typed.

Don’t use too many hashtags in a single Tweet – we recommend no more than two. Too many can be annoying or confusing to followers. Use hashtags when they serve to add value or context to your message.



Analytics

If you’re wondering how your Tweets are performing and how many times they’ve been seen, all you have access to these metrics. Visit analytics.twitter.com when signed in to your account and you’ll be able to track everything from real impressions to engagement rates. Click here to learn more.

Lastly, remember to also have some fun with Twitter when you can! Don’t feel you need to always give your followers hard news. A mix of opinions, links to stories, photos and live-Tweets will really help grow your following.



For more best practice tips and tricks for journalists and news organisations, visit the Twitter Media Blog.