Twitter cards are a multi-media add-on to tweets. If set up properly, Twitter will automatically add them to tweets that include your website or blog URL as long as you have “twitter:card” meta tag in your site header specifying the type of Twitter card you want to use.

Despite their simple looks, Twitter cards have a great deal of potential when it comes to improving your marketing campaign. Read on to learn more about the various types of Twitter cards, how to set them up on your site, and how you can best use them to promote your school and generate inquiries.

Benefits of Using Twitter Cards

There are many benefits of using Twitter cards.

  • Enhance your tweets. Twitter cards let you go beyond the 140-character limit of regular tweets and add more functionality to them.
  • Multiplier effect. Twitter cards present information in an attractive and engaging manner, making them easier to retweet and gain more engagement from your Twitter followers. There are four different ways you can engage your audience without them ever having to leave Twitter:
    • View an image
    • Watch a video
    • Click through to a landing page
    • Download an app
  • Versatile and easy. The wide variety of Twitter cards ensures there will be one that will suit your need.

Types of Twitter Cards

In this post, we will focus on the two most common types used for school marketing – summary cards and player cards. (You can also set up an App card if you want to promote an app for your school.) Choosing the best card for your application will ensure you take full advantage of these rich media experiences for your audience.

  1. Summary Cards

The main purpose of the summary card is to provide a description of your site, webpage or blog post. The card text gives you a lot of room for copy. The title allows for 70 characters while the description has 200 characters available for you to use. There are two types of summary cards for you to choose from regular summary cards and large image summary cards. Regular summary cards generate a small thumbnail as the link; large-image summary cards generate a full-feed sized image as a preview, making them very eye-catching due to their larger size. Note that, for both types of cards, the image size should not exceed 1MB in size.

Here’s how to set up summary cards on your website.

Twitter cards are easy to set up. There are two methods for doing this on a WordPress site.

  1. If you use a WordPress theme that makes it easy to add code to your header, you can insert the code manually.
  2. If you are using the WordPress Yoast SEO plugin, you can easily insert your code using the plugin. Since this plugin is very popular, I am going to provide instructions using this method.
  • In your dashboard, scroll down to “SEO” and open the “Twitter” tab.
  • Enter your site Twitter username if it’s not already entered.
  • Under “Twitter settings,” click the “Enable” button under “Add Twitter card to meta data.”
  • Use the drop-down menu to choose Summary or Summary with large image
  • For a Summary Card enter meta name = “Twitter:card” content = “summary”
  • For a Summary with Large Image enter meta name = “Twitter:card” content = “summary_large_image”

*Note: For more information on Twitter card tags, click here

How to Effectively Use Summary Cards

When deciding which summary card type to use, think about the image and how it fits into the purpose of the card. If the image is not terribly significant (i.e., a logo) then you might want to use a regular summary card. But if you want to emphasize the image, consider using the large size summary card. Take advantage of the extra character spaces to write compelling copy and highlight important content. Summary cards are great teasers for events as well.

  1. Player Cards

Player cards are an effective way to display multimedia content from your site via an automatic player that is embedded in your tweets. These work especially well with video and audio content (think YouTube and SoundCloud). Player cards have a 200-character description box. Twitter requires the following specifications for player card content:

  • Video: H.264, Baseline Profile (BP), level 3.0, video dimensions up to 640 x 480 pixels at 30 frames per second (fps)
  • Audio: AAC, Low Complexity profile

If you use content that is larger than these dimensions, only part of your content will be displayed.

Setting up Player Cards is a little bit more complicated. I recommend that you visit the Twitter Player Card developer page and follow their instructions.

Once you’ve completed the setup steps, you will need to apply for approval from Twitter to activate the function. To submit your cards for approval:

  1. Head to Twitter’s Card Validator page
  2. Go to the “Validate and Apply” tab
  3. Paste your card’s URL and click “Go”
  4. Twitter will test if the card’s meta tags are properly set up
  5. Click “Submit for Approval” and fill in the provided form

Applications for Player Card activation usually take a few business days to get approved. Twitter provides a set of guidelines to help increase your chances of approval.

Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf Harness the Power of Twitter Cards: How and Why You Should Use Them for Your School to reference in the future and/or share with colleagues in your school.

How to Get the Most Out of Twitter Player Cards

The main advantage of using Twitter Player Cards (as opposed to streaming directly from other sites) is that it delivers content directly from your site, thereby attracting more interest and traffic to your site.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to media content of all types is in the quality of the content itself – take the time to determine the type of content that your audience will experience as valuable. Also, make sure you include a strong call-to-action that is consistent with your other media to reinforce its message.

Validate Your Twitter Card

Once you have set up the meta tags on your site page (by either adding code to your header or using the Yoast SEO Plugin), you will need to validate your card using the Twitter Card Validator Tool.

Link here and then enter the URL of the page you want to validate.

Once you’ve validated the URL, tweet the link to make sure it works.

Note: the Twitter card set up is done separately for each page you want to generate cards for.

Boost the Performance of Your Twitter Cards

Take advantage of Twitter cards by implementing different types of cards for different uses. For example:

  • Summary cards are a great way to increase awareness for your school.
  • Large image summary cards are an excellent way to market a promotion or event.
  • Use a combination of summary cards and player cards to highlight specific content.
  • Create engaging tweets to accompany and lead into each card. I like to highlight or intrigue the audience with a short introductory text that helps generate interest in the card (and makes the audience want to click through).
  • Compel your audience to share your Twitter card content with a good card title, description, text, and call-to-action.
  • Make sure you add “Tweet” sharing buttons on each of your pages to take full advantage of Twitter cards.

Measure the Performance of Your Twitter Cards

Lately, I’ve been delving into Google Analytics in order to determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

In the same way, measuring how well your cards perform is vital for gauging their impact on your overall marketing efforts. Twitter provides a dedicated Cards Analytics tool for this purpose. The Analytics page is divided into three main tabs:

  • URL Clicks
  • Install Attempts
  • Retweets

Each of these tabs has the following sections that break down the traffic generated from your cards:

  • Snapshots: Provides an overview of how well your card content is doing and shows the total number of tweets that contain a link to your site or app.
  • Change over time: Plots the changes in the performance of your cards over time. You can view the changes within a specific date range.
  • Sources:Lists the most common platforms that are used by the people sending tweets linking back to your content. Examples include apps, websites, and widgets.
  • Card types:See the performance of each specific type of cards you have used so far.

These four sections will give you different data depending on the tabs you have chosen but don’t overlook the Best Practices popups that appear. They are personalized tips and suggestions that appear on the right side of your screen. You can learn a great deal about how to further boost the performance of your cards from them.

Twitter Cards are a great way to go beyond the 140-character limit of your tweets and enhance your marketing campaign. To get the most out of them, you need to:

  • Choose the right cards: Understand how each card type functions and decide which ones suit your particular campaign.
  • Integrate cards: Use your cards to strategically highlight specific content and use other tweets to draw attention to the cards themselves.
  • Get your followers to share:Each link that is shared from your site generates a new card. This increases the number of cards you have out there and multiplies their effectiveness accordingly.

Follow these steps, and you can use Twitter Cards to take your marketing campaign on Twitter to a whole new level.

Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf Harness the Power of Twitter Cards: How and Why You Should Use Them for Your School to reference in the future and/or share with colleagues in your school.

About the author 

Brendan Schneider

Hey, I’m Brendan, and this is my blog. After 28 years working in private, independent schools in mostly admissions, enrollment, marketing, communications, and fundraising roles, I decided to make SchneiderB Media my full-time job, where I help schools get more inquiries through my Fractional Digital Marketer program. I also started the MarCom Society, a membership created expressly to help, support, and train marketing and communications professionals at schools.

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