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What is a Twitter Card and How Do I Get One

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John Norton - Expert Author

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Twitter Cards

It’s easy to improve your Twitter posts by adding web page extracts, photos or video, so increasing the visibility of your company, products or services with every retweet

You will be familiar with the expansion buttons underneath tweets on your timeline which say “View Photo” or “View Media”. These do just what they say, and appear when the tweet contains a photo or a video, but you may notice that in the same place some tweets say “View Summary”. On opening this summary you will find details of the web page which has been shared in the tweet, showing a summary of the page’s content, a link and often an associated photo.

By including this additional information about their web page the owners enable a more interactive experience, with richer content than just the normal 140 characters, so encouraging more readers to visit the shared site.

So how do you ensure that pages from your site are available in this way, driving more visitors each time your messages are shared on Twitter. It’s really a simple matter of adding the relevant information to your web site and getting Twitter to OK your set up.

Step One

Decide on the type of card you want to use for each page. You might use the same type of card every time but you have a choice of seven in total:

  • Summary Card: Default card, including a title, description, thumbnail, and Twitter account attribution.
  • Large Image Summary Card: Similar to a Summary Card, but offers the ability to prominently feature an image.
  • Photo Card: A Tweet sized photo card.
  • Gallery Card: A Tweet card geared toward highlighting a collection of photos.
  • App Card: A Tweet card for providing a profile of an application.
  • Player Card: A Tweet sized video/audio/media player card.
  • Product Card: A Tweet card to better represent product content.

Step Two

You’ll need to add the necessary additional information to your web page in the form of “metadata”. Don’t panic it’s just a matter of changing some normal English text!

Select the appropriate Card from the list on the reference page noted in Step One, and copy the code section from the bottom of the page, then paste it into a text editor. For example with the Summary Card you will start with this code:

<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary">

<meta name="twitter:site" content="@nytimes">

<meta name="twitter:creator" content="@SarahMaslinNir">

<meta name="twitter:title" content="Parade of Fans for Houston’s Funeral">

<meta name="twitter:description" content="NEWARK - The guest list and parade of limousines with celebrities emerging from them seemed more suited to a red carpet event in Hollywood or New York than than a gritty stretch of Sussex Avenue near the former site of the James M. Baxter Terrace public housing project here.">

<meta name="twitter:image" content="http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/02/19/us/19whitney-span/19whitney-span-article.jpg">

Leave the first line as is, but for the others you should change what’s between the content=”” quotes to what you want on your Twitter Card for that page. So for instance with “twitter:site” the content would be changed from @nytimes to @yourtwittername. Do this for each line so that the Card is tailored to your web page message. Some of the lines can be deleted as they are not essential. Check on the relevant Card documentation page which ones you must have for each Card type.

Once you have the lines how you want them, they need to be added into the <head> area of each web page which needs to use that Twitter Card data. If you aren’t able to do this yourself e-mail the code lines to your web developer and refer them to this article. They should know what they’re doing with it. If you use WordPress there are plugins which will automatically extract the data from your posts and format it into the “meta” data lines.

Step Three

Having done this for a couple of your pages you should then validate and submit those pages to Twitter for checking. Go to the Twitter Card Validator and enter the url of one of the pages you’ve added your Card data to. The validator will check that everything works, and if it does, will invite you to submit your site for approval.

Once you’ve submitted you just have to wait for Twitter to respond. This can take 2-3 weeks as it’s likely that your Cards will be checked by a real member of Twitter’s staff who often reviews your account at the same time.

Once cleared you’ll receive a confirmation e-mail and you can then go ahead and add your “meta” data to other pages from your site. There’s no need to validate and submit any more pages once your site url is approved. You’ll find that once added to a page the summary information appears on all Tweets which include that page link, even if they were posted before you received your verification.

With just these few minutes work you can increase the attractiveness of your tweets, stand out from your competitors, and so increase sharing and the number of visitors to your site.


About the Author

John Norton, is a senior business and finance professional with a big four, blue chip, software and technology background, and board level leadership experience in finance, IT, operations, customer service and general management.

He is owner of No Worry Web, which creates and manages small business web sites and social media presence, for an all-inclusive monthly fee. For further details see www.noworryweb.co.uk or call 0845 5191 275.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-08-16 12:43:58 in Computer Articles

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