Twitter was born of the mobile phone. Back when Jack & co. were developing what was then known as “Twttr”, they thought long and hard about how to make the product work best on our phones.
A lot’s change in the digital world since 2006, including “Twttr” being reborn as Twitter and revolutionizing how we communicate. We’ve also witnessed the smartphone boom and the introduction of the tablet – so mobile is more important now than ever before. All this change only emphasizes how important it is for businesses and individuals to understand how their tweets and profiles are being viewed on mobile devices.
If you’ve never really thought about how your tweets look on your customers’ phones, no fear: we’ve got you covered. Here are 5 ways that you can optimize your profile, your tweets, and your whole Twitter presence for mobile.
1: Don’t go over 140 characters
Rule #1 for tweeting: condense your ideas down to 140 characters.
That’s the rule of the network in general, and it applies doubly-so to mobile. Think about it: if people are reading your tweets on the go, are they likely to want to have to scan down their timeline to read the 4-part tweet you just sent (that happened to be broken up by a dozen tweets sent by others they follow)? Not fun.
Be kind to the busy follower who is glancing at his smartphone sporadically while being jostled on the subway, and keep your ideas succinct.
2: Choose your header and profile picture carefully
If you’ve never even taken a look at how your Twitter profile looks on a smartphone, now’s a good time. Your header and profile picture take center stage, completely outshining your bio (and eliminating your background). Compare my desktop profile (left) to my mobile profile (right) to see just how prominent your header becomes on mobile:
When people visit my profile on their computers, they see everything – but my background and bio aren’t immediately visible on mobile, and my header takes up over a third of the visual real estate. You can still view bios if you swipe to the left, but the vast majority of visitors to your mobile profile won’t bother – so make your pic and header count.
3: Consider video
Although photos and videos won’t show up directly in your followers’ mobile timelines (they have to click your tweet to view them), they’re essential pieces in any multimedia campaign. And while we’ve written before about how to include photos in your tweets that will wow your followers, 2013 is definitely shaping up to be the year of the video.
According to recent statistics, global consumer video traffic is expected to reach 21 thousand petabytes (that’s a lot of data) per month in 2013 – and that will jump to over 45 thousand petabytes by 2016. And the stats tell us that mobile video will represent 66 percent of all global mobile data traffic by 2017. That’s a lot of video being watched – is some of it yours?
The overall growth trend we’re seeing with online videos, coupled with the fact that Twitter just launched its own six-second video app, Vine, is a good indication that you need to develop a video presence, and share it with your Twitter followers
4: Use the old style of retweeting
Not only does the old style of retweeting let you add your comments, but it also raises the profile of your Twitter profile in your followers’ streams.
If you’re unfamiliar with the distinction between the two, take a look at the screenshots below. The one on the left is the “new” way of retweeting (which is how Twitter.com and official Twitter mobile apps natively do it), and the one on the right is the “old” way of retweeting:
You can see that the old style retweet give prominence to the retweeter, Anthony De Rosa in this case. The new retweet minimizes his username and instead puts the focus on the account being retweeted.
If you use old style retweets (and here are some tips on how to do just that) you’ll be gaining more exposure for your brand in people’s timelines – an important thing, given how quickly we flip through our phones while we scan for interesting tweets.
5: Your website should be mobile, too
The last thing anyone wants to see when clicking on a link is a broken website. Is yours mobile-friendly? If you’re tweeting links at all that point back to your company website (including recent deals or your latest blog post), you need to make sure that users across all devices can see your content properly. And that means optimizing not just your Twitter account, but your whole operation for smartphones and tablets.
Got any other tips for keeping your mobile users in mind when tweeting? Let us know in the comments.
(Mobile phone image via Shutterstock)