Twitter has put together a set of "best practices" for journalists and newsrooms. Essentially, it boils down to the following four items:
1. Tweet your beat
2. Use hashtags for context -
3. @cite your sources
4. Share what you're reading
Twitter says it analyzed thousands of tweets from over 150 news brands and individual reporters around the world to come up with the first four. I guess the last one is a bonus.
"One of the best ways to increase Twitter engagement is to Tweet regularly about the subjects you cover," says Twitter's Creative Content Manager for Journalism & News, Mark Luckie of the first point. "Our research shows that for people who post a concentrated number of Tweets in a short time span, follower growth is 50% more than average (1.5x). Live-tweeting or posting updates about a news event related to your beat is one way to grow followers and increase interaction."
"Tweets with hashtags (the # symbol, immediately followed by the subject or keyword related to the Tweet) can increase engagement almost 100% (2x) for individuals and 50% (1.5x) for brands," says Luckie of number 2. "Journalists and news publishers use hashtags to organize conversations, gather feedback, and to identify and engage with Twitter users discussing a particular topic."
On number 3, he says, "When tweeting about or to a Twitter user (individual or brand), include their Twitter handle (the @ sign, followed by the username). Brands that tweet 20% fewer URLs and 100% more @mentions grow followers 17% more than average. What that tells us is to mix up your Tweets so your feed isn’t just links to your stories. Post tweets that include URLs, but also tweets with @mentions, and tweets with no links at all."
The fourth point basically boils down to sharing stories from other sources, as opposed to only tweeting stuff from your own publication. This includes retweeting, obviously.