Twitter cards have been around since June 2012, although they were originally called expanded tweets. You may recognise them showing up in your Twitter feed from time to time. They’re the tweets that have buttons below them with phrases like “View photo”, “View media” or “View summary”.
When you click on those buttons you get an expanded tweet that looks like this:
Get more local reviews for your business online smrtl.cl/YNRQLx
— Nick Rink (@NickRink) May 17, 2013
So why are they so useful? With Twitter cards you get a lot more than just your standard 140 characters. They show a longer snippet from your blog post and there are a couple of handy links so folks can follow your Twitter profile. Once you’ve got them setup correctly, Twitter cards will show when anyone tweets content from your site. They help to make your blog content stand out and will also help to boost your follower count.
What type of content can use Twitter cards
There are currently a few different types of Twitter card available. If you’re looking to install them for your own blog then the best choice would be the Summary Card which will include a title, description, thumbnail image and Twitter account attribution (as shown above). If you run an ecommerce site and are looking to promote your products on Twitter then you’d be best choosing the Product Card. Here’s a good looking example from Millies Leeds.
How to install Twitter cards
If you’re running a website using WordPress then it’s actually pretty simple.
First of all install Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin. In the SEO navigation go to Social and check the box marked Add Twitter card meta data. Add your site’s Twitter username (or your personal one if you prefer) and your half way there.
Next you’ll need to head over to Twitter’s development site and navigate to the section all about Twitter cards. Parts 1 and 2 have already been handled by Yoast’s plugin, so head to step 3 – validate your meta tags. Click on the summary card as shown in the image below.
That takes you over to the Card Validator page where you can complete the form as instructed and test that everything works. You’ll get a red circle showing for any of the boxes that you’ve not filled out correctly. Just make any changes necessary and then scroll down to click on Update Preview. Once you’re happy with the preview you can click on Validate & Apply. Enter a URL from your site (homepage will do) and click Go to see what it will look like. If everything check out just follow the instructions to complete the process. You’ll get an email from Twitter after a few weeks notifying you when your Twitter cards have gone live. If you’re not running a WordPress site then set up a call or meeting with whoever manages your website, send them the Twitter cards link and ask them to take care of the installation for you.
These additional social media meta tags can really help your tweets gain visibility and will also help you to gain more followers. If you regularly share your blog content on Twitter then setting up Twitter cards should definitely be high on your to-do list. If you’ve already got them installed let us know how they’re working out for you.
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