Twitter is under fire. High-level executives are leaving in droves. Potential suitors have all bailed on buying the social media platform. The NFL is not getting the ratings they hoped for. And Twitter recently shut down Vine, a move that leads some to believe the end of Twitter is near.
A lot of anti-Twitter people claim the problem with Twitter is it’s 140 character limit. I am of the belief that this is what makes Twitter attractive. With the extremely rapid evolution of technology and content being readily available at the click of a button or the touch of a screen our attention spans have decreased dramatically. If you don’t hook someone in 7 or 8 seconds you’re not going to hook them at all.
Even though images and video no longer count towards your character limit it seems that some people still struggle with the character limit. Four years ago Twitter launched something that eliminated the 140 character limit but so many Tweeters are still not aware of it, or don’t know how to set it up and use it.
ReIntroducing Twitter Cards
It’s actually a pretty simple explanation. You spend hours, maybe even days writing a blog post. When you share it to Twitter you probably write a clever one line explanation and then add the link. By the time you add this and a few other keywords, you have used up the 140 characters.
Or maybe you want to include a video or audio file as part of the tweet. With a standard tweet, that would mean adding a link back to the original source. Using Twitter Cards you can add a video or audio file to the tweet.
If you’re anything like me you will sometimes find yourself editing and shortening your original tweet just to make it work. With Twitter Cards you can now include more content with your tweet. The tweet will have a view summary option that will display whatever information you want including an image and a link back to the source.
A Twitter Card looks something like this when properly set up:
Types of Twitter Cards
Summary Card-This is the default card and one that is most commonly used. This can include , including a title, description, thumbnail, and Twitter account attribution.
Summary Card with Large Image-Similar to the Summary Card but includes a larger image
Photo Card-A Tweet sized photo card
Gallery Card-A Twitter Card that highlights a photo-gallery
App Card-A card used to provide information about an application
Player Card-A card used to include an audio or video player
Product Card-A card used to highlight a product and relevant content
Twitter Cards are very easy to setup, and even easier if you are using WordPress. There are 4 steps in the setup process and a very quick approval process. This site was approved within minutes. You can review the steps by clicking here.
Analytics: Because You Want To Know What Works
Twitter Card Analytics were also added to Twitter Analytics as of January 23rd, 2014. Now you can see what is effective and what is not. As you can see from the image below, Twitter added a separate tab for just Twitter Cards. You can see how many tweets used Twitter Cards, what types were used and your overall engagement.
Use Those Twitter Cards
While some Twitter purists will think this goes beyond what Twitter is meant to be, I would have to disagree. You are not forced to see all of the content of the Twitter Card. You can click on it if you choose to. That means marketers need to get even more creative to encourage engagement. That seems like a Win/Win to me.
WordPress makes it easy to set up Twitter Cards. You just need to set up Twitter Cards using this link and then add the WordPress plugin.