Like Facebook, Twitter reaches a massive amount of people, with users numbering in the hundreds of millions. A huge difference between the two is that the latter restricts your posts to just 140 characters, so there’s no room for essays on here! That means your posts have to be snappy and grabbing, so make the most of your word limit.
Twitter is all about what’s trending; what’s going on in the news and the world, and what’s popular right now. This is all based on what people are talking, or “tweeting” about. If a particular word or phrase is used a lot, then it’ll go up in popularity and start trending. This is helped by the hashtag function; basically, just shove the “#” symbol in front of a word, or string of words, such as #science, #crowdfunding, #research etc. This allows you to find other people who are also talking about that particular topic, and people who share interests to find you.
Twitter is actually a great hub for scientists and enthusiasts alike, so you’ll easily be able to find people talking about the subject who you might want to follow and tweet your project to. If they like it, they may share it with their followers, which could help it snowball in popularity. Look for scientists, journalists or potential backers who are active users and have a decent number of followers, and start interacting with them. Don’t pester them, but engage in discussion and be positive. If you’re interacting with researchers, feel free to use science speak, but if you’re aiming your tweets at a broader audience, cut out the jargon completely to make your project as accessible and appealing as possible.
Something to think about is also the timing of your tweets. Try to think about when people are most likely to see them – before work, at lunch time, after work and throughout the evening. Studies have shown that the best times at Tweet are around noon, 5-6 p.m. and around 9 p.m., but bear in mind where your audience is based because of timezones. Of course, you might not want to be glued to your phone all the time, and if you’re reaching out to audiences in different timezones, then you don’t exactly want to be losing sleep for the sake of tweeting. But there is a handy tool called Buffer which allows you to schedule your tweets, and best of all, it’s completely free!
Another great function of Twitter is their lists, which are curated groups of Twitter accounts. You can create your own, or join others. Sometimes, people will also add you to lists that they think you’re suited to, such as researchers working in a particular subject area. We’d encourage you to look out for groups that are relevant to your research and your audience, and begin engaging with members, as it’s a great way to reach more people and get them interested in what you’re doing.
Remember to keep a look out for our other pages on using Facebook, LinkedIn and Reddit.