Holding all the cards
Twitter is getting busier all the while – there are 175 million tweets on an average day.
So how do you make your tweets stand out from the crowd?
Visual impact is increasingly important.
If someone tweets or re-tweets content from your website or blog would you prefer it to look like this:
It’s a no-brainer isn’t it?
The only difference is that the second re-tweet was done after I’d installed Twitter Cards.
What are Twitter cards?
Twitter cards are a free function provided by Twitter itself.
They automatically embed extracts of a post, photo, video etc – provided the tweet is viewed via an official Twitter client (not a third party client like Hootsuite or Echofon).
The key to the process is that word “automatically”.
Whether you tweet your own content or someone else tweets from your site, the content of your choice is automatically embedded.
Interestingly, this is still the case if you use Hootsuite etc. – Twitter cards are activated when you use third party twitter clients but you cannot view them using those clients.
How to get Twitter cards to work on your site
There are three types of Twitter cards:
- summary: The default card, which includes a title, description, thumbnail image, and Twitter account attribution.
- photo: A Tweet sized photo card.
- player: A Tweet sized video/audio/media player card.
Twitter provides detailed instruction on how to add the required html meta-tags to your site.
If you’re not very good at html and run a blog/website hosted on wordpress, then you’ll be glad to know there is a plug-in: JM Twitter Cards which automates the whole process for you.
I’m indebted to @andrewgrill, CEO of Kred, for that tip.
Whether you add the code yourself or use the plug-in, you MUST REMEMBER TO apply formally to Twitter for the company to approve your use of Twitter cards.
This is a straightforward form which takes less than a minute to complete.
You then have to wait for them to approve you, which in my case took 9 days.
For bloggers in particular, Twitter Cards is a great free utility which instantly makes your content look more inviting.
If you do decide to use them, make sure that you are doubly careful to pick striking images that illustrate/fit your post.
If you do start using Twitter Cards, I’d love to know via the comments section below.
If you’d like to develop your tweeting skills, check out my online Twitter coaching service which includes an individualised profile of your Twitter style.