A Guide to Using Twitter Effectively

Why Tweet?

  • Establishing a “voice” in the twittersphere
  • Creating a platform for key messaging
  • Utilizing twitter to comment on world events and news of the day in real time as appropriate
  • Tweets while traveling and on location at conferences and events
  • Mentioning (@) partners; donors; key demographics to get noticed
  • Engaging with or sharing trending topics or conversations
  • Engaging with other organizations, institutions, notable alumni, or celebrities

Setting up an account

Twitter log in
  1. Go to Twitter.com
  2. Login with username and password 
  3. Click on the Tweet button in the upper right corner

Key actions to drive engagement

  • Retweets 
  • Link clicks 
  • Likes 
  • Follows

How to share or retweet

How to retweet
If you see a post that you like, retweet it. This essentially means you are re-posting it.

Best practices and examples

Twitter bird icon

Include 1-2 hashtags (#) when appropriate: 

  • Hashtags link your tweet to content posted by other users who include the same hashtag. 
  • Including hashtags in your tweets will increase the chance that Twitter users following particular topics or conversations will discover your content. 
  • However, including too many hashtags in one tweet can make your content difficult to read or appear desperate for attention. 
  • Check Twitter.com/search to see what the most popular #hashtags are for a subject. (Type in a few and seeing who’s using them.) You can also search Hashtags.org.

Tweet from events


  • Bad Tweet: Hey, Katrina, what did you think of the talk? Want to grab a cup of coffee?
  • Good Tweet: @joesmith Agree that public health needs to take a strong stand on the #opioid crisis.


  • Bad Tweet: What do you think is the next big thing in data management?
  • Good Tweet: @joesmith What do you think of #keychain systems in healthcare data management? #cybersecurity

Include images and links:

  • Tweets with images and/or links tend to receive better engagement than those without. 
  • Multimedia like images, GIFs, or videos are not counted against the 280 character limit.

Don’t forget about @ mentions: 

  • Whenever tweeting about another “influencer”, dept. university, person etc. “tag” them by including their Twitter handle in your tweet. 
  • When you tag someone, the mentioned user will receive a notification and may retweet your content, which can greatly increase the audience reach and impact of your original message. 
  • Yale's Office of Public Affairs and Communications (OPAC) maintains a Twitter list of Yale-affiliated accounts. You can subscribe to this list to view a feed of purely Yale-produced content on Twitter and follow what’s happening on campus.

YSPH Twitter handles

Check this page for YSPH center and department Twitter accounts. Many individuals are also active on Twitter. 

Pay attention to the broader conversation

  • If you follow Twitter conversation from the larger community on topics related to your mission (even if they don’t mention Yale), you’ll be better equipped to post relevant content yourself. 
  • Engage in “social listening” by following conversations about topics of interest to your school or organization. To get started, regularly explore what’s being posted by others who are using hashtags of interest, and follow some of those posters and other influencers in relevant fields. 
  • When conversation takes a turn that’s particularly relevant, consider whether something happening at YSPH would be a useful addition to that conversation. 
  • When you have content to share in that topic, make sure to use the appropriate hashtag(s) or tag influencers to join the conversation.