Thursday, February 20, 2014

Jazz Up Your Social Marketing with Special Characters

A picture is worth a thousand words. While special characters, sometimes called wingdings, don’t convey quite that many words, they are a great way of expressing a point in a succinct way, especially on Twitter and other social media sites. From expressing an emotion through an emoticon, to building a bar chart, there are a plethora of ways you can amp up your social marketing efforts using these characters. What's the key in all of this? Keep it professional and brand consistent. Special characters won’t help if they don’t make sense for you and your business.

Spice up your Profile

A Twitter bio only gives you 160 characters, which isn’t all that many when you think about all the things you want to squeeze in. Try these tricks to make the most of your space:
·         Show off your interests. For example, can show that you’re in the music business, while can show that you’ve got a religious affiliation. 

·         Supply contact information. Rather than spell out email or phone, you could use these special characters, respectively: or . Other writing symbols are at your disposal too; for example, or . By using these symbols, you’re saving a ton of characters, which gives you more space to really convey who you are. 

·         Build associations. can show you’re a travel company, while can easily and quickly convey that you’re a flower shop.  Of course, only use a symbol if it makes sense for your company and your brand. For example, since Russ Brown is a motorcycle attorney, a special character of an automobile wouldn’t make sense, and currently there’s no motorcycle character that could be used. In this case, a special character wouldn’t necessarily fit the brand.

Squeeze More into Your Tweets

Every character counts. That’s why you can also condense lists of items. For example, rather than use a string of numbers in this format: 1), you could use arrows like this: , which saves one space per list item. While it’s not saving you many characters, they can still make a difference. The same goes for ellipses. When used correctly, by placing all three dots (...) next to each other, they’ll only count as one character. You can also make sure they’re just one character by typing Alt+0133.

Another way to convey more information in your tweet is to create a bar graph. This can show how such things as job employment rose and fell over time. Bar graphs can be generated using macros like Sparkbars, which works with Excel.

Last but not least, turn your tweets into works of art. Take a look at #TwitterArt for inspiration, and then think outside the box and use ASCII to tell a tweet through a picture.

How to Add Special Characters

Now that you have all these ideas for using special characters on your social media profiles, how do you get started? You have a few options. The easiest way is to simply copy and paste the characters. Alternatively, you can use alt codes to input them yourself (option key on Mac).

Words of Warning

While special characters are widely supported across most browsers, it’s important to note that they don’t always appear as they should. For one, they don’t always appear on mobile devices. Additionally, some social media sites won’t allow you to use special characters, at least in your profile name. Even so, don’t let this deter you. Experiment with your social media profiles, particularly on Twitter, and then start tweeting using your newfound knowledge.