PSA Cheat sheet for Twitter - Public Service Association

PSA Cheat sheet for Twitter

PSA Cheat sheet for Twitter – May 2017 (PDF version)



This cheat sheet will provide all the relevant information for beginners to Twitter. Included in this summary for Twitter are terminology explanations, how to get started, understanding your profile page, best optimal specifications for media uploads, best practices for tweets/retweets, and tips to get the most engagement with your profile.


Tweet: A 140-character message.

Retweet (RT): Re-sharing or giving credit to someone else’s tweet.

Feed: The stream of tweets you see on your homepage. It’s comprised of updates from users you follow.

Handle: Your username.

Mention (@): A way to reference another user by their username in a tweet (e.g. @mashable). Users are notified when @mentioned. It’s a way to conduct discussions with other users in a public realm.

Direct Message (DM): A private, 140-character message between two people. You can decide whether to accept a direct message from any Twitter user, or only from users you are following. You may only DM a user who follows you.

Hashtag (#): A way to denote a topic of conversation or participate in a larger linked discussion (e.g. #MyKitchenRules, #Obama). A hashtag is a discovery tool that allows others to find your tweets, based on topics. You can also click on a hashtag to see all the tweets that mention it in real time — even from people you don’t follow.

Getting started

Your profile shows the world who you are, and first impressions count. Each element should showcase your best content and accurately reflect your message.

Here’s an overview of the five different parts of a Twitter profile and some best practices to keep in mind if you plan to post on Twitter.

pic 2

1. Your Twitter @name

Your @name is your unique identifier on Twitter. It can contain up to 15 characters and should help people easily find you. Your name (which you can change as you please) appears above your @name (which is permanent).

2. Your profile photo

Choose a profile photo that visually represents your business or brand and fits well in a small space. This image isn’t just on your profile page; it is the icon in every tweet you post.

3. Your bio

You have 160 characters to let people know what makes your account special, and why they should follow you. Include useful information, such as what you tend to tweet about, your location and a link to your website (

4. Your header image

Consider this your billboard. You can use event photos, use a graphic with text, or highlight your work and team. Swap out this image periodically to spotlight events, news, or just keep things fresh.

5. Your pinned tweet

Keep an important tweet at the top of your timeline by pinning it there. Click on the “more” option on the tweet you want to pin and select “Pin to your profile page”. Use this feature to make sure visitors to your profile can’t miss your biggest, latest news.

Twitter profile specifications

  • The recommended image size for your profile pic is 400×400 pixels; the image will be resized to fit.
  • The recommended size for a Twitter header image is 1500×500 pixels. On mobile, it’ll be cropped to a 2:1 aspect ratio.
  • Use a GIF or PNG file for vector-based and line art images.
  • For photos, upload a JPG or PNG file.

Best practice for tweeting

1. Keep it short

A concise tweet makes an impact. Keep each tweet focused on one specific message rather than trying to communicate multiple things. You can include a link to an article/graphic or website if you have a longer message to convey.

2. Use visuals in your tweets

Adding a bold image, video, or GIF to your tweets adds a touch of personality, and leads to higher tweet engagement rates. In fact, people are three times more likely to engage with tweets that contain videos and photos. Can’t decide which photo to use? You can attach up to four photos to a single tweet.

3. Incorporate relevant hashtags

Hashtags are a powerful tool that allow you to expand your reach and tap into relevant conversations. Focus on keywords that are relevant to your post. Best practices recommend using no more than two hashtags per tweet.

One simple way to incorporate hashtags is by identifying popular events to which you can link your post in an authentic way. Remember, these can be every day, personal events or events such as rallies, strikes or public events such as Valentine’s Day or Chinese New Year.

4. Ask questions and run polls

Asking questions is an effective way to interact with your audience, bring readers into the conversation, and understand people’s opinions. Tweet open-ended questions or use Twitter polls to survey on specific responses.

5. Curate and connect with retweets and replies

Retweeting relevant content and replying to tweets are great ways to maintain a robust Twitter presence. Positive feedback, helpful articles, and messages that align with the PSA are all impactful content to retweet. When in doubt, remember this rule of thumb: your retweets reflect back on the PSA and should align with your purpose and values.

Be responsive to any questions, comments, and criticisms that come your way. To avoid long exchanges, switch to Direct Messages to resolve any complex issues. You can now include a deep link in a tweet that displays a ‘Send a private message’ call-to-action button to enable twitter users to send you a direct message.

Things to keep in mind

Links on Twitter have a “shelf life” of about three hours. In general, the best time of day to tweet is around 5pm. The best days to tweet are days at the end of a work week.

Use caution when promoting! On occasion, you can send a promotional tweet. Be cautious with this though. If it’s done too frequently, people will tune you out.

Tweeting quotes; don’t underestimate the power of quotes. A good quote that is related to your industry can go a long way in getting retweets and replies. It doesn’t always have to be about things in your industry (a good idea is to help promote your comrades in other departments), because a good quote can provide value to the reader.

If you have a Twitter account, let the PSA know by emailing so we have it on file for future social media promotions.

Member Benefits

Our valued member benefits support program.

Union Membership - Unity Strength Respect

As a union member, you are part of Australia’s biggest social movement. Your union’s strength lies in its size; the more voices we have, the greater our power to bargain for better pay, conditions and benefits. Join your union today.

  • Collective strength; being a union member gives you a stronger voice when dealing with your employer
  • Standing up for your job: the PSA campaigns for a better-funded, strong public service
  • Journey insurance; get protection to and from work
  • Member benefits: get great discounts on a wide range of products and services
Back To Top