4 Twitter Features You Should Try

Picture of Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

4 Twitter Features You Should Try

When you think of the top handful of social networks that continue to be useful for marketing a business, Twitter is up there with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. Twitter can be useful in a number of ways including:

  • Building your brand
  • Showcasing your expertise
  • Providing customer support
  • Connecting with the media

Like the other popular social networks, Twitter is constantly evolving. New features are introduced and older ones get moved around so now you can’t find them.

Here are some useful features you can use to improve how you use, and benefit from using, Twitter.

1. Change Your Twitter Trends

Twitter is a great way to get a sense of the topics on people’s minds. Trends for You is a section that culls the most tweeted topic hashtags, and you can change those based on your geographic location or your location of interest. Your Trends are usually set by default to your physical location.

To modify your Trends geographically, click the gear icon to the right of your current Twitter trends on the web version and un-click "Trends for You." Then pick your location including United States or a specific city. On mobile, click the magnifying glass for Search then pick Trending. Once there, click the gear and select Change Location to shift the trend search to another location.

Note that only specific major cities are represented so find the region that is most relevant to you. This feature is also helpful to immediately see any popular hashtags being tweeted on specific days such as #SundayMorning and #SundayThoughts. Always read through the hashtag search results to make sure it is appropriate to add to your tweets and only add ones that are relevant to your content.

2. Refine Your Search Results

When you go to search Twitter for a particular keyword or hashtag, you have a number of choices to refine your search. On the web version of Twitter, you can filter the search results by:

From Anyone

People you follow


Near You

You can click Advanced Search to narrow things down with additional filters to search by specific words, accounts, and even dates. Advanced Twitter search is not available on the mobile version but you can narrow down by People and Location.

3. Use Twitter Cards

Twitter Cards are a feature that helps you enhance content tweeted from your company website with specific information and images. Summary Cards can be used to promote blog posts, informational articles, product pages, and other information you want to share. They place a summary and image of your choosing into any tweet originating from specific pages on your website.

These types of cards include a Title, Description and a Thumbnail image to help preview the content on your Twitterfeed. The Title can be up to 70 characters, the Description can be up to 200 characters, and your image should be a minimum of 120x120 pixels but no more than 1MB in file size.

You can also use Summary Cards with larger images for greater visual impact. For the exact HTML code to use for Summary Cards and Summary Cards with larger images, search developer.twitter.com for instructions.

4. Add an Animated GIF

Animated GIFs continue to be a popular communications trend on Twitter, and Twitter builds in a GIF search feature when you’re composing a tweet. To find appropriate GIFs, begin typing a tweet then click the GIF box below the camera and images feature. Search for a mood or expression such Grateful or Excited. The search results will combine animated photos and cartoons related to your search term. Click on the GIF that best communicates your message then publish.

Animated GIFs can be posted along with text or can stand alone as the message you’re conveying. You can also use GIFs to comment on tweets. Keep in mind your company’s brand image and carefully gauge which GIFs are appropriate for your audience. GIFs are often used in a humorous way but can also be touching or provide emphasis.

Keeping up with Twitter features can be a challenge, but once you discover the ones that enhance your Twitter experience, it is worth the work!