Holland America Line loves to communicate with cruisers, and social media continues to offer guests unparalleled access to sharing memories, photos, and feedback. Since its inception nearly a decade ago, Twitter has become a household name. However, despite the fact that the popular social media site has over 288 million active users, for many it remains an enigma.
Currently the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 year-old bracket, and Holland America Line is here to de-mystify Twitter for anyone looking to get in on the fun! Whether you’re a casual tweeter who would like to learn more or a first-timer looking to join the conversation, read on for tips and tricks to master Twitter and share your love of cruising with the world.
PICK A HANDLE
If you’ve never used Twitter before then you can get started by signing up and choosing a handle. As mentioned in the Instagram 101 blog post, a handle is a nickname that is uniquely your own. Experts recommend using the same handle across platforms, so if you’ve got a catchy name on Instagram try to use it for Twitter too!
FIND AND FOLLOW
If you’re already on Twitter then you’re most likely following friends, and maybe some key news sources, but you might not know that Twitter can be an outstanding resource for travel tips, connecting with like-minded individuals and keeping up with your interests whatever they might be. For example, Holland America Line follows a host of cruise industry contemporaries, publications, bloggers and enthusiasts. In order to get the most valuable and enjoyable experience out of Twitter, follow a mixture of accounts — from your favorite comedian to hard news sites like the New York Times (@nytimes). To find fun personalities and publications just search in the toolbar based on your interests — i.e. “cruise” — and see what pops up! While you’re at, it don’t forget to follow Holland America Line at @HALCruises!
You might think it’s tough to get much information from 140 characters … not true! With added links, photos and videos, tweets often read like a headline or call to action allowing users to scan a lot of information in a very short period of time and quickly decide if they would like to know more or engage in a particular topic. For instance, Holland America Line typically tweets with links to stories about onboard entertainment, Rudi’s recipes, interesting itineraries and featured sales.
Want to add a link or photo of your own? No problem! There is an option to add a photo or location every time you tweet. Links can be pasted into the body of the tweet and will automatically shorten so they don’t use up all your characters. It should be noted, however, that a photo and a link take up at least 20 characters each, leaving just 100 to get your message across. But that’s ok, sometimes it’s like a fun puzzle when you master the art of delivering a message with limited letters, punctuation and spacing!
#HASHTAGS TO BE HEARD
Chances are you’ve heard that hashtags are an integral part of the Twitter experience. Around the world individuals and organizations establish hashtags to label the topics of their conversations, making them easily searchable and working to facilitate easy communication. Through hashtags people can weigh in live on their favorite television programs, comment on current events, and even have some fun. You’ll notice a bar along the left side of your Twitter feed (if you’re using desktop) that lists a number of trending topics. Those are the people, places and things that the collective “Twitterverse” is talking about in real time.
Want to get in on the fun? Some regular hashtags and trending topics are like games. For instance, Holland America Line loves to tap into #FriFotos, a photo sharing hashtag with a different topic each week. Other fun hashtags include #TravelTuesday, with which folks share their travel stories and favorite destination photos; #TBT (Throwback Thursday), a prompt to re-visit old memories and pictures; and #DidYouKnow, a tag for sharing fun facts!
CHATTING AWAYNow that you know how to find and join conversations and share information, how about taking it one step further and finding your community! Retweeting is a great way to share the information of others with one quick click. Even strangers appreciate a retweet — unlike Facebook and some other social media channels, people generally use twitter to share and find information from the community.
Want to take it one step further? Join a Twitter chat! Twitter chats are hosted by publications and organizations to connect the community on a particular topic. For example, Travel + Leisure holds a chat every Tuesday using the hashtag #TL_Chat. Topics vary from week to week covering a range of topics from destinations to cruises to air travel tips. Holland America Line recently participated in National Geographic’s Travel Twitter Chat that was put on in partnership with the U.S. Dept. of the Interior and featured National Parks.
The one tweet, alone, earned 56 retweets and 110 favorites! To join a chat just follow the host and answer the questions as they come using the agreed upon hashtag.
Twitter Tip: If you add a period in front of the @ handle that you’re including (ie: .@NatGeoTravel), your tweet will appear on all of their followers’ news feed, too! That could mean a lot of exposure for your tweet.
Are you ready to get into the Twitter game? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to follow @HALcruises!