View the PDF for the full document from ECDC on using Twitter, from which the following information is taken.

“With 313 million monthly active users, Twitter is the 4th largest social media platform after Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Both organic and paid for content thrive on Twitter and can be used together or independently as part of a successful social media strategy.

Getting started

“Before you begin, it’s advised that you familiarise yourself with Twitter’s interface and adverts manager.  Twitter’s adverts manager gives exclusive access to certain tools and functionalities which are invaluable for both organic and paid campaigns. Once you’ve familiarised yourself with Twitter’s interface, then it’s time to decide which campaign type will best help you to reach your objective. 

Twitter offers the following campaign types:  

  • Website clicks or conversions: Designed to push people towards your website and encourage them to take action. The campaign will optimise for link clicks and you’ll only be charged for every person who visits your website. 
  • Follower growth: Designed to build and grow your audience. If the majority of your campaigns are organic, investing a small amount into building an initial following could be beneficial. You only pay for the followers you gain and can set the parameters for how much you want to pay. 
  • Awareness: Designed to spread awareness and increase knowledge. You pay for every impression but can often reach a higher quantity of people for a significantly lower price. 
  • Tweet engagements: Designed to increase engagement on your tweets. You only pay for the first engagement a person makes which can be effectively used to encourage people to retweet, reply, or actively engage with your content. 
  • Video views: Designed to increase the number of views on a Twitter video. You pay for every video view. This should only be used for videos uploaded directly to Twitter. Opt for an awareness or tweet engagement campaign instead for YouTube or other third party video views. 

“Determining your core objective before beginning your campaign is vital as it will heavily influence the way you design and measure your campaign and the way Twitter distributes and optimises it. If one  singular objective is not clear then consider multiple campaigns with their own individual objectives.

Creating content

“Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter is much more conversational and runs in real time. This means that establishing yourself through frequent conversational content is crucial. Even though there is a limitation of 140 characters, there are many components that make up a tweet, and deciding how to best use them to spark conversation and action is the key to engaging your audience: 

  • Text: What is your message and what kind of language should you use to best convey that? Consider using engaging questions or direct calls to action to encourage your audience to engage with your tools and services.   
  • Link: Clickable cards with a clear call to action can be used to make your advert stand out, or you can include a link within the body of a regular tweet for a more conversational feel. 
  • Video: Videos can be directly uploaded to Twitter and will automatically play in a user’s timeline. Alternatively videos can be embedded from YouTube and other third party websites. 
  • Hashtag: Hashtags enable you to start or join a conversation with other Twitter users and have your tweets appear in search. This can be incredibly effective for capitalising upon trending events like National HIV Testing Week or World AIDS Day. 
  • Image: Using an appropriate image can help catch your audience’s attention, but not every tweet will require one. Use images often but only where necessary and frequently rotate creatives to keep your campaign looking fresh and compelling. 
  • Tags: Does your tweet relate to another organisation or individual? Tags (@ with username) can amplify your reach by encouraging influential people & organisations to share and engage with your content. 

Creating engaging content

“When creating content, ensuring that it is engaging should be your top priority. Before you send out your first post or advert it’s worth considering the following: 

  • Be consistent: being consistent in the quality and types of posts you create will help to establish your brand voice and message and give your audience a clear understanding of your intentions and objectives and what to expect from you in future.
  • Be brief: even with Twitter’s 140 character count limitation, it’s still good practise to keep your content as brief and to the point as possible.
  • Be timely: be reactive and create content related to breaking news and current events. Plan ahead to take advantage of relevant tent pole occasions like World AIDS Day, Sexual Health Week, National HIV Testing Week, and Valentine’s Day. 
  • Use links: For awareness and engagement posts a link may not always be necessary, but always consider your objectives before posting and use links where applicable.
  • Use engaging images and videos: invest the extra time and money into curating and creating high quality photos and videos. Higher quality content means higher engagement. 
  • Create a two way dialogue: social media is designed to encourage conversation. Make sure you’re engaging your audience in conversation and responding to their comments. Including a question in your content where relevant is proven to massively increase engagement. 
  • Keep it simple: Don’t overwhelm your audience with too much information or multiple different call to actions. Keep it clear and make it as easy as possible for your audience to engage.


“The success of an advertising campaign on Twitter heavily relies on effective targeting. Twitter’s targeting approach is unique and in addition to offering demographic and interest based targeting, it also offers keyword and behaviour based targeting. 

Demographic-based targeting: 

  • Age: your call to action should be relevant to the age group you’re targeting. Are some age groups more at risk in the areas you’re targeting? Are some age groups more likely to engage with your call to action? Effectively narrowing your age group by relevance will increase the success of your campaign and lower your cost per conversion.
  • Gender: Twitter’s gender based targeting is binary and doesn’t allow trans based targeting. Using interest based targeting is currently the only way to reach trans individuals.  
  • Languages: Consider including only those who speak the language your advert is written in. 
  • Location: Only include people in locations that can access your service, and consider exclusively targeting areas that are highly populated with MSM or are most prevalent for HIV. 

Interest-based targeting:

“Sexuality based targeting isn’t available but it’s still possible to target MSM based on their interests or the people they follow. This will never be 100% accurate so some trial and error is always necessary to produce the best possible results. Some examples of pages MSM may follow include targeting LGBT+ celebrities and influencers; adult websites, entertainers and performers; gay media; and gay community groups and organisations.

Keyword & behaviour targeting:

“It’s also possible to target people based on the keywords they use in their tweets or based on their lifestyle patterns and behaviours. Keywords surrounding high risk activity can be used to pinpoint higher risk individuals and certain behaviour categories like “nightlife enthusiasts” and “alcoholic drink buyers” can help to narrow down and target specific subgroups of MSM. 

“A combination of the above targeting methods will produce the best results, and experimenting with different subgroups is the key to reaching the most at risk individuals for the lowest price. 


“Before starting your Twitter campaign, you should have done the following: 

  1. Chosen your campaign objective and outlined your goals. 
  2. Created a selection of highly engaging content that is suitable for your target audience.
  3. Created at least one target group based on a combination of targeting methods.
  4. Allocated a budget and distribution plan and outlined achievable realistic targets.
  5. Set holistic goals to measure the overall success of your campaign and determined a plan to measure and act upon your on-going progress, successes, and failures. 

“Once you’ve completed these tasks you’re ready to start your first campaign. The success of any campaign will always rely on a certain degree of trial and error so remember to follow your campaign through every stage and be prepared to optimise and make changes as you go.”

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