“You can buy attention (advertising). You can beg for attention from the media (PR). You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free.” –David Meerman Scott, Best-Selling Author & Speaker.

There are many avenues available with social media that individuals can earn attention with for free! Using Twitter, you can create something interesting and valuable with just 280 characters. With viral tweets popping up from Donald Trump to Harry Styles, these 280 characters can greatly advance your brand’s message if you follow a few guidelines including adding visual content i.e. photographs, keeping your brand consistent, and interacting with other Twitter users.

Tweets can link to any web content (blog post, website page, PDF, document, etc.) however, the most effective tool on Twitter is visual content. Photographs, GIFs or videos can have the most impact on your audience. If a picture is worth a thousand words, adding an image to a tweet greatly expands what you can share far beyond the 280-character limit for tweets. A 2017 marketing survey done by Vengage found that 36% of marketers predicted that they would spend over 31% of their marketing budgets just on visual content. If this doesn’t demonstrate the importance of visual content, according to Brain Rules, studies also show that when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. When trying to get your brand’s message out through Twitter,  including a visual can increase the effectiveness and reach exponentially.

Brand consistency is key to your twitter account. It is important that your Twitter presence have the same look and feel as your other online tools. Choose an account name and images consistent with your other online presences and your brand. You can create consistent content by maintaining a consistent palette, by evoking a feeling with filters, or claim your business’s image with text layers. Business blogs suggest placing your business’s name or Twitter handle on your media to ensure that potential customers can always trace their steps back to you. This way your media is always consistent with your brand’s message.

The most important tip for Twitter is to use it effectively! Hootesuite has several suggestions on how to start talking to impact your brand most. It is suggested that when first following other twitter users it is important to be selective because when you follow another Twitter user, you subscribe to read what they share. Follow other businesses in the industry, potential clients, and other businesses in the area. From here, Hootsuite suggests several tweets to be on the lookout for whether in hashtags or the tweets themselves. These include but are not limited to: your brand’s name, your brand’s products name, your competitors, industry buzzwords, brand slogans, your CEO or public representative’s name, and campaign names or keywords. By being on the lookout for these characters you can build a strong twitter presence with effective messaging.

Although 280 characters may not seem like a lot, think of the impact of viral tweets you have seen before. If Harry Styles can have an impact with 280 words, so can you!