Monday, December 4, 2017

21 Best Practices for Twitter in 2018

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

There has been a huge change with Twitter recently—Tweets are no longer limited to only 140 characters. Instead you can use up to 280. The question is, should you?


There are other, less obvious, shifts in the Twitter universe as well. Those feed into how we should approach the length of our updates. Instead of length explanations, I’m going to share a list to help navigate this new paradigm.

Best Practices for Twitter
1. Make sure you’re Twitter bio is completely—and accurately filled out. This means including your website and a recognizable headshot for your profile picture.

2. DO NOT use an auto responder when someone follows you on Twitter. It irritates everyone and is almost universally considered a bad practice.

3. Update your header with a clearly branded high resolution image. Your twitter header is the long rectangle at the top of your Twitter home page. And remember your brand is bigger than a single book. Yes, include your most recent book, but remember one book isn’t your brand.

4. When you reply to someone else’s tweet, don’t include a link to your blog. (Yes, I’ve seen this done) Your blog link should be in your bio and if someone wishes to visit, they can find the link.

5. Learn how to use hashtags correctly. This means limiting yourself to two (maybe three) per tweet, and researching a hashtag before you use it. For instance, there are hashtags that are used primarily for chats. Using one of those hashtags to promote your book will get you lots of irritated attention.

6. Take time to use the robust search engine on Twitter for help. Unlike other social media networks, there’s a lot of valuable—easy to find—info on Twitter help. Get in the habit of searching there when you have questions.

7. Interact with those who interact with you. If someone makes a comment or answers a tweet you sent out, don’t ignore them. Also, if someone regularly retweets you or shares your posts, look for ways to do the same for them. Remember social media is reciprocal.

8. Along that same thought, follow people back who follow you. There are exceptions to this rule. I make it a point to NOT follow spammers or someone who makes me uncomfortable.

9. Don’t send a direct message to all your followers asking them to buy your book. This is actually a violation of Twitter’s Terms of Service (TOS). Everyone who follows you on Twitter is not your customer. Be smarter than that when it comes to marketing.

10. Use the new 280 character length strategically. Create a list, use more than one link to show a natural continuity. But be smart. If you can say it effectively in 140 characters, do so. Shorter is still better on Twitter.

11. Also take advantage of the ability to lengthen your DISPLAY name on Twitter. We all know that our user names cannot be longer than 15 characters, but now our display names came be up to 50 characters.

12. Don’t tag someone in a tweet unless it pertains to them directly. If you mention them in your current blog post, yes tag them. Otherwise, don’t. This is another violation of Twitter TOS.

13. Be sure your Twitter feed is populated with updates that are NOT about you. I recommend Edie’s 5 to 1 rule to keep it from appearing to be self-serving. For every 5 Twitter updates you share, only 1 is about you.

14. DO NOT ever buy Twitter followers. This is another practice that violates Twitter TOS. Twitter is serious about protecting those who follow the guidelines and is really cracking down on spam practices. Educate yourself and make sure you know what is and isn’t considered spam.

15. Always be on the lookout for new accounts to follow. You can do this with ManageFlitter, or by searching your followers, followers. We should never assume we’ve come to a place where our Twitter account will continue to grow automatically.

16. Listen to your instincts. If someone is making you uncomfortable on Twitter, mute or block that account. There are a lot of crazy people out there. Don’t waste time trying to be polite.

17. Vary your updates. Share a quote, ask or answer a question, put up a picture or a meme. Variety is the spice of life and will help your account grow faster.

18. Schedule and space out your updates. I use Hootsuite, but Buffer is also an excellent option to schedule your tweets.

19. Play nice. Google (and other search engines) cache Tweets, so even if you delete something it’s still available online. You’ll never regret being nice, but being rude or ugly can come back to haunt you years after the original update went out.

20. Be yourself. I strive to make sure that no one who’s met me on social media first will be shocked by how different I am in person.

21. Add value, not noise. There is a lot of junk on social media. I try to make sure that the things I share make someone’s life better.

Twitter is still a power house on social media, as long as you use it correctly. Take time to learn the culture and then enjoy the interactions that this network will bring your way.

Now it’s your turn. I’d love to know what you’d add to many list of dos and don’ts for Twitter. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation



  1. I obviously have a lot to learn when it comes to Twitter. I plan to work on some of these starting today. As always, great advice.

    1. Cathy even though Twitter is no longer the hot, new thing. It's still incredibly valuable and we all need to stay current! Blessings, E

  2. I posted a tweet (or tweeted?) yesterday and noticed the character counter wasn’t showing. I wondered if Twitter was allowing more characters, and my immediate thought was I hope not. Even though the 140 characters could be a challenge at times, I like the quickness of reading shorter tweets, that forces you to get straight to the point (coming from the gal whose texts look like book chapters ironically)! :) Thanks for the news and reminders, Edie!

    1. Karen, I admit I was a little sad, too. Then I discovered that shorter is still best, and the extra characters are there if absolutely necessary! Blessings, E

    2. Thanks Edie, I certainly don't intend to offend, so appreciate these tips. Always learning.

    3. Judy, always happy to help! Blessings, E

  3. Sound advice as usual. Thanks Edie.

  4. Thank you for this information. I appreciate all you tell us. I hadn't heard about the change of length in Twitter.

    1. I'm glad you've found this helpful! Blessings, E

  5. Hi. Another informative article. 🙂 But how do you know a hashtag is used mainly for chat?

  6. I just printed this to keep on my board in front of me. Twitter gives me a headache, but I am trying. Great tips!

  7. Great tips. I noticed the increase in yesterday and was surprised to find that I've grown to appreciate the 140 characters. Still a little more wriggle room is nice on occasion.